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CANADIAN NATIONAL NAMES REMI LALONDE CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER: CN has appointed Remi Lalonde executive vice-president and chief commercial officer effective April 24, succeeding Doug MacDonald, who is retiring. [Progressive Railroading, 4-19-24]

CSX UNVEILS ITS FIRST HYDROGEN-POWER LOCOMOTIVE: CSX GP38H2 locomotive 2100, the company's first hydrogen-powered unit, was unveiled April 16. It was redesigned from a diesel-powered locomotive following a partnership with Canadian Pacific Kansas City to foster innovation and a clean environment. [Freight Waves, 4-18-24]

JAMES FOOTE DIES, RETIRED CEO, PRESIDENT OF CSX: James M. Foote, who had retired from CSX as president and CEO in Sept. 2022, died April 16. He was 70. [Railway Track & Structures, 4-18-24]

CSX REVENUE DROPPING ABOUT $25-M A MONTH DUE TO KEY BRIDGE COLLAPSE: CSX said the recent Key Bridge collapse blocking Baltimore's harbor will be felt to the tune of a $25-million to $30-million hit a month until the port can be reopened. [AP, 4-17-24]

AMTRAK COMPLETES $5-M IN ADA IMPROVEMENTS AT TWO STOPS IN UTAH: Amtrak has completed $5-million in accessibility improvements at its station stops in Green River and Helper, Utah, both of which are served daily by the California Zephyr. [Railway Track & Structures, 4-17-24]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads originated 466,463 carloads and intermodal units in the week ending April 13, 2024, up 1.5 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 8.2 percent, and intermodal was up 11.0 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 4-17-24]

THOMAS VIADUCT IN MARYLAND HONORED AS CIVIL ENGINEERING LANDMARK: The stone-arch CSX (x-B&O) Thomas Viaduct spanning the Patapsco River between Relay and Elkridge, Md., has been honored as a national historic civil engineering landmark by the Maryland Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers. [Railway Track & Structures, 4-15-24]

NTSB CONDUCTING NORFOLK SOUTHERN'S WORK FORCE TO EVALUATE SAFETY CULTURE: The National Transportation Safety Board is conducting a survey of Norfolk Southern's work force to evaluate the company's safety culture. It is part of a special investigation following a number of major accidents dating back to Dec. 2021. [Progressive Railroading, 4-15-24]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN COMBINES TRIPLE CROWN, THOROUGHBRED DIRECT INTERMODAL SERVICES: Norfolk Southern has combined its wholly-owned subsidiaries Triple Crown and Thoroughbred Direct Intermodal services. The new entity began operating as Triple Crown Services on April 1. [Progressive Railroading, 4-15-24]

SUPREME COURT DENIES N.S. CHALLENGE OVER CONTROL OF NORFOLK & PORTSMOUTH BELT LINE: The U.S. Supreme Count has declined to hear a Norfolk Southern challenge to a 2022 STB ruling that N.S. cannot control Virginia's Norfolk & Portsmouth Belt Line, subject of a 2018 antitrust suit from CSX over rate setting. [Railway Age, 4-15-24]

END OF PANAMA'S DRY SEASON SEES PATH TO INCREASED VESSEL TRAFFIC: With the end of Panama's dry season in sight, the Panama Canal authority plans to welcome more vessels in the coming weeks. The authority on March allotted three additional transit slots to vessels, bringing the total number of reservations to 27 per day. [Progressive Railroading, 4-15-24]

UNION PACIFIC TRACK WORKER STRUCK, KILLED BY MACHINERY: A 42-year-old track worker from Arkansas was killed April 11 after being struck by machinery while repairing damage from a washout. [Railway Track & Structures, 4-12-24]

VERMONT RAIL TO ACQUIRE NEW HAMPSHIRE CENTRAL: Vermont Rail has agreed to purchase certain assets and operating rights in freight rail operations of New Hampshire Central Railroad. New Hampshire Central, which runs on track leased from the state between North Stratford and Colebrook, and Groveton and Littleton, will continue to be known by that name. [Progressive Railroading, 4-12-24]

CALIFORNIA HSR AUTHORITY TO RELEASE PROPOSALS FOR HIGH-SPEED TRAIN SETS: California High-Speed Rail Authority's board has approved the release of request for proposals to Alstom and Siemens for the manufacture of six train sets capable of operating at 220 MPH, and testing of up to 242 MPH. [Progressive Railroading, 4-12-24]

ROB FREE NAMED PRESIDENT OF LONG ISLAND R.R.: Rob Free, acting president of Long Island Rail Road for the past six months, has been appointed president. [Progressive Railroading, 4-12-24]

AMTRAK COMPLETES $5.2-M IN ADA IMPROVEMENTS AT TWO STOPS IN WASHINGTON STATE: Amtrak has completed $5.2-million in accessibility improvements at its station stops in Bingen and Wishram, both of which are served daily by the Portland section of the Empire Builder. [Railway Track & Structures, 4-12-24]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS OUTLOOK FOR 1-Q EARNINGS: In an outlook for first-quarter earnings, to be released April 24, Norfolk Southern said adjusted earnings would come in at $2.49 a share, and adjusted operating ration would be 69.9 percent. [Freight Waves, 4-11-24]

BLET, CN REACH TENTATIVE AGREEMENT FOR WISCONSIN CENTRAL LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEERS: The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen reached a tentative agreement with Canadian National covering 600 locomotive engineers at CN's Wisconsin Central Railway subsidiary. [Progressive Railroading, 4-11-24]

NJT TO RAISE FARES 15 PERCENT: N.J. Transit's board has approved a 15 percent fare increase for bus, train and light-rail riders, to become effective July 1. It is the first time its rates will rise in nearly a decade. [NBC New York]

UNION PACIFIC BIG BOY LOCOMOTIVE TO BEGIN 2024 TOUR JUNE 30: Union Pacific's Big Boy steam locomotive 4014 will begin its 2024 tour from Cheyenne on June 30 en route to Roseville, California, before returning to Cheyenne by the end of July. It will make numerous whistle stops in communities along the way, with public display stops July 12-13 in Roseville and July 20-21 in Ogden. [Railway Track & Structures, 4-10-24]

ALASKA R.R. TO REPLACE TERMINAL BUILDING, DOCK IN SEWARD: Alaska Railroad plans on replacing its aging terminal building and passenger dock in Seward, B.C., with the purchase of $137-million in new infrastructure. Completion is scheduled for spring 2026. [Progressive Railroading, 4-10-24]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads originated 450,142 carloads and intermodal units in the week ending April 6, 2024, up 1.6 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 4.5 percent, and intermodal was up 7.6 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 4-10-24]

CALTRAIN ENERGIZES SAN FRANCISCO-SAN JOSE LINE CATENARY SYSTEM: The entire 51-mile Caltrain rail line between San Francisco and San Jose has been energized and tested. The next step is test the Stadler electric multiple-units at maximum speed. Service is expected to begin in September. [Railway Track & Structures, 4-10-24]

QUENTIN SCHULTE NAMED PRESIDENT OF NORTHERN LINES RAILWAY: Anacostia Rail Holdings has appointed Quentin Schulte as president of Northern Lines Railway. Based in Saint Cloud, Minnesota, Northern Lines operates 25 miles of BNSF trackage. [Progressive Railroading, 4-10-24]

NORFOLK REACHES $600-M SETTLEMENT IN EAST PALESTINE CLASS ACTION SUITS: Norfolk Southern has reached a $600-million settlement that, if approved by a court, will resolve all class-action lawsuits within 20 miles of its 2023 East Palestine derailment. The railroad said the settlement is intended to offset costs related to the spill and plume of toxic smoke which displaced many residents and businesses. [Progressive Railroading, 4-9-24]

NORTH AMERICAN RAIL SOLUTIONS ACQUIRES CONDOR SIGNALS & COMMUNICATIONS: North American Rail Solutions, through its subsidiary Universal Rail Systems has acquired Condor Signals & Communications of Oakville, Ontario. [Progressive Railroading, 4-9-24]

BULGARIA ACQUIRES 75 SECOND-HAND COACHES FROM GERMANY'S DEUTSCHE BAHN: Bulgaria' national passenger operator has bought 76 second-hand coaches from Germany's Deutsche Bahn for use on services from Sofia to Varna, Burgas and Ruse. [Railway Gazette, 4-9-24]

SEPTA COMPLETES RECONSTRUCTION, ADDS NEW NAME TO STATION: SEPTA and Drexel University officials have celebrated the newly-reconstructed and renamed Drexel Station at 30th Street. The station is served by the Market-Frankford line, five trolley lines, multiple bus routes, and provides connections to regional rail. [Railway Track & Structures, 4-9-24]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-three percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending April 7, 2024. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 17 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 4-8-24]

AMTRAK INSPECTING TRACK FOLLOWING EARTHQUAKE IN N.J.: Amtrak has initiated track inspections following the 4.8 magnitude earthquake this morning in New Jersey. Speed restrictions have been implemented throughout the Northeast during inspections and delays should be expected. [Amtrak, 4-5-24]

SOUND TRANSIT TO OPEN LINK 1 EXTENSION AUG. 30: Sound Transit's Link 1 extension will be open to passengers on Aug. 30. It will extend 8.5 miles and add four stations north of the current 1 line endpoint at Northgate. [Progressive Railroading, 4-5-24]

FEDS MAKE $20.5-B IN F.Y. 2024 TO SUPPORT PUBLIC TRANSIT: The Federal Transit Administration is making available $20.5-billion to states to support public transit in FY-2024. [Railway Age, 4-5-24]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN OUTLINES INITIATIVES TO DRIVE PRODUCTIVITY, ACCOUNTABILITY: Norfolk Southern has designed new initiatives to drive productivity and accountability to empower chief operating officer John Orr to implement scheduled railroading plans and accelerate operational improvements. An intermodal reservation system will be implemented, and low-volume intermodal lanes that fail to meet productivity targets will be removed. [Progressive Railroading, 4-5-24]

UNIFOR, CANADIAN NATIONAL AUTOPORT RATIFY NEW AGREEMENT, ENDING STRIKE: Unifor members at Canadian National Autoport have ratified a three-year collective labor agreement, ending a 37-day strike at the transshipment facility in Eastern Passage, N.S. [Progressive Railroading, 4-5-24]

PATH BEGINS TWO-YEAR UPGRADE PROJECT: The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey has begun a two-year, $430-million program to upgrade stations, tracks, bridges and rail cars. [Railway Track & Structures, 4-5-24]

METRO TRANSIT TO UPGRADE BLUE LINE: Minneapolis Metro Transit will reportedly upgrade its Blue line. The project could cost about $120-million. The Blue line state-of-good repair phase 3 includes signals, turnouts, rail, communications and stations. [Railway Track & Structures, 4-4-24]

BNSF PROVIDING WATER-BY-RAIL TO NAVAJO NATION IN N.M.: Water issues of the Navajo Nation in New Mexico have inspired a BNSF water-by-rail solution. The source of the water is in Helena, Mississippi, and tank cars loaded with 21,000 gallons of water are moved west to Amory, Mississippi, where BNSF moves them about 1,200 miles to Thoreau, N.M. Navajo Nation families then either collect the water, or mission trucks deliver it to their homes. [Progressive Railroading, 4-4-24]

TRENITALIA INTRODUCES NEW MULTI-MODE LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN SET: Italy's Trenitalia has unveiled its first Hitachi HTR412 long-distance train set which can operate on overhead electric, diesel, battery, or hybrid battery plus diesel. The four-car unit is the first of seven to be supplied this year. [Railway Gazette, 4-4-24]

MARCH 2024 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads originated 1,889,186 carloads and intermodal units in March 2024, up 4.2 percent compared with the same month last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 3.5 percent, and intermodal was up 11.7 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 4-3-24]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN GETS $8.4-M FROM GEORGIA TOWARD LENGTHENING PASSING TRACK: Norfolk Southern has received $8.4-million from the Georgia DOT to go toward a $21-million project that will the length of a passing track in Henry County. The line between Macon and Atlanta connects Garden City Terminal to the metro Atlanta area. [Railway Track & Structures, 4-3-24]

CN ACQUIRING 600 NEW ORE JENNY HOPPER CARS: Canadian National is acquiring 600 new 1150-cubic-foot iron ore hopper cars, also known as 'jennies,' from FreightCar America. [Railway Age, 4-3-24]

FRA MANDATES TWO-PERSON CREWS ON MAJOR FREIGHT RAILROADS: Major freight railroads will have to maintain two-person crews on most routes under a new federal rule that was finalized today. The Federal Railroad Administration released the details of the rule after working on it for the past two years. [AP, 4-2-24]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN ACQUIRES CHICAGO TRANSLOAD SITE: Norfolk Southern has purchased the Great Lakes Reload property, a direct rail and truck-served transload and warehouse facility in Chicago. Company officials said the purchase advances Norfolk Southern's strategy to convert flexible freight to rail. [Railway Age, 4-2-24]

STB APPROVES CONSTRUCTION OF 11-MILE UTAH RAIL LINE: The Surface Transportation Board has signed off on Savage Tooele Railroad's proposal to build and operate approximately 11 miles of line in Tooele County, Utah, subject to certain environmental mitigation conditions. [Railway Age, 4-2-24]

TWO AGENCIES CUT GENESEE & WYOMING'S RATING: S&P Global Ratings has reduced its rating on Genesee & Wyoming debt, even as it gave a strong outlook on the company's North American short line business, from BB+ to BB. Meanwhile, Moody's reduced its rating from Ba2 to Ba3. The ratings by the two agencies are considered equivalent, both below investment grade. The immediate trigger is G&W's refinancing of a package that involves a term loan and a revolving line of credit, actions that will result in $920-million in net additional secured debt. [Freight Waves, 4-2-24]

FIRST SECTION OF SEOUL'S GTX LINE A OPENS: The initial 17-mile section of the Great Train Express commuter rail network has opened in the Seoul region linking Suseo with Dongtan. Scheduled to open in stages, the 51-mile line with 11 stations will ultimately link Unjeong with Dongtan. [Railway Gazette, 4-2-24]

FRA LACKS NEEDED OVERSIGHT OF FATIGUE MANAGEMENT, REPORT SAYS: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation's office of inspector general has found that the Federal Railroad Administration needs to improve its oversight of procedures related to hours of service compliance and fatigue management. The agency does not have the procedures and accurate data necessary to effectively target its limited resources to the highest risk areas or adequately oversee different railroad types, the report concluded. [Progressive Railroading, 4-1-24]

MARCH 2024 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-eight percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in March 2024. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 13 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 4-1-24]

CSX TO BEGIN NEW DEDICATED BALTIMORE-NEW YORK FREIGHT RAIL SERVICE: CSX will begin a new dedicated freight rail service between Baltimore and New York on April 2 to help mitigate the trade disruption from the closure of the Port of Baltimore resulting from the collapse of the Francis Scott Key bridge following its collision by a cargo vessel. Export freight destined for the Port of Baltimore will also use this service to reach the Port of New York. [CNBC, 4-1-24]

ROCK-HAULING TRAIN DERAILS IN OKLAHOMA, NO INJURIES: Twenty-two out of 90 total cars of a freight train hauling rock rolled over as a result of a derailment east of Davenport, Oklahoma, March 30. No hazardous materials were being transported, and no injuries were reported. [KOCO, 3-30-24]

SEATTLE-PORTLAND AMTRAK SERVICE SUSPENDED DUE TO LANDSLIDE: Amtrak service is suspended between Seattle and Portland due to a landslide and bus service is provided. Normal rail operations are expected to resume late March 31. [Amtrak]

SHIPPING ALONG MISSISSIPPI RIVER THIS YEAR AT RISK DUE TO LOW WATER LEVEL: Shipping along the Mississippi River could prove to be a headache in 2024, per a report from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. An unusually warm and dry winter might herald drought conditions in key areas of the river's basin over the coming months. If this forecast comes to pass, it would mark the third consecutive year in which the river was at risk of bottlenecks. [Freight Waves, 3-29-24]

RAILROAD RETIREMENT BOARD INSPECTOR GENERAL FIRED: President Biden has fired Martin Dickman, inspector general of the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board, on grounds of creating a hostile work environment, engaging in abusive treatment, and use of crude and inappropriate language such as slurs. [The Hill, 3-29-24]

CALTRAIN RETIRES 32 GALLERY CARS: Caltrain has retired 32 of its nearly 40-year-old gallery cars as the agency makes room for its new electric fleet. Caltrain currently has eight of the eventual 23 electric train sets on its property. The gallery cars were not in service, and their retirement will not affect service. The cars will be stored with Sonoma-Marin Rail Transit until they are sold. [Progressive Railroading, 3-28-24]

MARTA PLANS FOUR NET STATIONS: Atlanta's mayor has announced plans for four new stations be be built along the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit's rail lines. Included is a new station at a redevelopment project called Murphy Crossing, which would connect trains to the Beltline trail loop for the first time. Three 'infill' stations are planned, but their locations have not been announced. [Progressive Railroading, 3-28-24]

KEY BRIDGE COLLAPSE IS SERIOUS BLOW TO PORT OF BALTIMORE: The tragic early May 26 collapse of the I-695 Francis Scott Key bridge, which spanned the Patapsco River, following a bridge strike by a container ship weighing 95,000 gross tons, has brought shipping to and from the Port of Baltimore to a halt. The port has suspended all vessel movements into and out of the port. The accident is a serious blow to the port operations of both CSX and Norfolk Southern, particularly for intermodal container, automotive and coal traffic. [Railway Track & Structures, 3-27-24]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads originated 470,593 carloads and intermodal units in the week ending March 23, 2024, up 2.1 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 6.1 percent, and intermodal was up 10.2 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-27-24]

AMTRAK BEGINS HARRISBURG LINE TRACK IMPROVEMENT: Amtrak is accelerating a project to improve track on the Harrisburg line between Lancaster and Harrisburg. The work will require a series of track outages from April 8 through Nov. 21. During that period, Keystone service between Lancaster and Harrisburg will be replaced with buses from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. [Progressive Railroading, 3-26-24]

BRIDGE COLLAPSES IN BALTIMORE FROM SHIP COLLISION: A large container ship collided with the Francis Scott Key highway bridge in Baltimore early March 26, causing it to collapse into the Patapsco River. The ship can carry 10,000 twenty-foot containers, and was operating from Baltimore to Asia. Reportedly, the ship had experienced a loss of control and its pilot was able to notify authorities in advance of its pending collision into the bridge. Highway traffic was stopped, but construction workers were on the bridge at the time, some of whom are missing. Both CSX and Norfolk Southern offer intermodal service to and from the port, and ocean shipping is suspended until the massive debris can be cleared from the channel. Vessels currently in port are trapped as there are no escape routes. [numerous news sources, 3-26-24]

PORTUGAL'S PASSENGER RAIL TO BE RESTORED ON PORTO ORBITAL LINE: Agreement has been reached to restore passenger rail services on an orbital line in the northern suburbs of Porto following a 13-year hiatus. Trains are expected to begin running later this year. [Railway Gazette, 3-26-24]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN'S ANNUAL MEETING IS MAY 9: Norfolk Southern has set May 9 as the date for its annual meeting. This is when an insurgent campaign to put outside directors on the board and a new CEO in place will come to a head. [Freight Waves, 3-25-24]

BLET MEMBERS RATIFY NEW CONTRACT WITH UTAH RWY: Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen members have ratified a new five-year contract with Utah Railway. A Genesee & Wyoming subsidiary Utah Railway is a 59-mile short line operating in Utah and interchanges with BNSF and Union Pacific. [Progressive Railroading, 3-25-24]

RETIREMENTS ANNOUNCED AT UNION PACIFIC: Retiring from Union Pacific are Shane Keller, senior vice-president of operations Northern region; David Giandinoto, senior vice-president of operations Southern region; and Lee Myers, assistant vice-president risk management. John Turner succeeds as SVP operations Northern region; Steven Bybee succeeds as SVP operations Southern region; and Naomi Deines succeeds as assistant vice-president risk management. [Progressive Railroading, 3-25-24]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty (40) percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending March 24, 2024. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 13 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 3-25-24]

MBTA TRAIN DERAILS, NO INJURIES: The MBTA in Boston is investigating after a red line train derailed while moving through a crossover early March 23. No passengers were aboard the train at the time. [Boston 25 News, 3-23-24]

TRAIN STRIKES CAR IN GOOSE CREEK, S.C.: Fire crews of the city of Goose Creek, S.C., responded to a collision between a train and a car late March 22. The car was not occupied at the time of the collision, and no injuries were reported. [Counton 2, 3-23-24]

OVERNIGHT SLEEPER TRAINS GAIN POPULARITY IN EUROPE: Governments in Europe have begun to reinvest in overnight trains as they search for ways to meet reduced emissions. Demand for sleeper trains is increasing. Online platform Trainline says overnight bookings in 2023 rose 147 percent compared with 2019, the year before the pandemic. Nightjet now runs 22 international sleeper routes, mostly in central Europe but extending from Vienna to Paris and Hamburg to Rome. In December, it began rolling out 33 new seven-car trains. [The Columbian, 3-23-24]

CALIFORNIA ZEPHYR CELEBRATES 75 YEARS: Begun in 1949 by the partnership of three western railroads, and included by Amtrak in 1983, the California Zephyr travels 2438 miles between Chicago and the San Francisco Bay area. It is the longest route with daily operation in the Amtrak system. [Railway Age, 3-22-24]

CLASS I RAIL EMPLOYMENT RISES IN FEBRUARY: As of mid-February, class-I railroads employed 123,377 people in the U.S., up 0.6 percent from Jan. 2024, and up 2.6 percent from Febr. 2023. [Progressive Railroading, 3-22-24]

E. SAN FERNANDO VALLEY LIGHT-RAIL CONSTRUCTION TO BEGIN THIS YEAR: East San Fernando Valley light-rail will begin construction this year. Moving into a new phase, this is the first light-rail in the East Valley. It will start at the Metro G Orange line rapid bus in Van Nuys, and end at Sylmar Metrolink. The route includes Panorama City, Arleta, Pacoima and San Fernando. [Railway Track & Structures, 3-22-24]

RAILWAY ON THE MOON ENVISIONED: The U.S. Defense Advanced Research projects agency has commissioned Northrop Grumman to develop a concept for a railway to transport humans, supplies and resources on the Moon. [Railway Gazette, 3-21-24]

PORT OF OSWEGO, N.Y., GETS UPGRADE GRANTS: New York's Port of Oswego has received two grants totaling $4.693-million to boos rail capacity, improve rail safety, and support the state's green energy policies. [Railway Age, 3-21-24]

PITTSBURGH TO REHAB ITS LIGHT-RAIL INFRASTRUCTURE: Pittsburgh Regional Transit plans to begin a multi-year rehab of its light-rail infrastructure. The project calls for expanding an ongoing effort to repair the concrete rail foundations in the downtown rail tunnels, replacing more than 10,000 feet of track and four grade crossings, reconstructing Belasco station, upgrading Station Square and Dormont Jct. stations, and rehab the Panhandle bridge over the Monongahela River. [Progressive Railroading, 3-21-24]

UNION R.R. OPENS FREIGHT CAR REPAIR SHOP IN PA.: Union Railroad has opened its newest North American freight-car repair shop in Duquesne, Pa. It offers full freight car repair, features storage for 500 rail cars, and connections to Canadian National, CSX, Norfolk Southern and several regional carriers. [Progressive Railroading, 3-21-24]

BORING MACHINE BREAKS THROUGH CHILTERN TUNNEL IN U.K.: A tunnel boring machine broke through the north portal of the Chiltern tunnel on High Speed 2, the truncated rail line which will link London with Birmingham and a junction with the West Coast main line at Handsacre. The breakthrough marks completion of the main excavation work on the 9.9-mile twin-bore, the longest tunnel on the 118-mile route. [Railway Gazette, 3-21-24]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads originated 474,596 carloads and intermodal units in the week ending March 16, 2024, up 6.7 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 0.6 percent, and intermodal was up 13.8 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-20-24]

AMTRAK IMPROVING LANCASTER-HARRISBURG TRACK: Amtrak is improving tracks on the line between Lancaster and Harrisburg. Wood ties with an expected lifespan of 25 years are being replaced with concrete ties with an expected lifespan of 60 years. The project began March 15, and is expected to conclude in late December. [Railway Track & Structures, 3-20-24]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN NAMES JOHN ORR CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER: Norfolk Southern has appointed John Orr, formerly with CPKC, as executive vice-president and chief operating officer, effective immediately. He replaces Paul Duncan. [Railway Track & Structures, 3-20-24]

NEW PRESIDENT, CEO FOR FREIGHTCAR AMERICA: FreightCar America has appointed Nicholas Randall president and CEO effective May 1. He will succeed James Meyer who will become executive chairman. [Progressive Railroading, 3-20-24]

CATCHMENT WALL PROJECT COMPLETED IN SAN CLEMENTE, CALIFORNIA: Crews have finished work on the 200-foot-long catchment wall to protect the rail line in San Clemente, California, following the landslide causing service to halt in January. Passenger service is set to resume March 25. [Railway Track & Structures, 3-20-24]

AMTRAK'S SALUKI, ILLINI SCHEDULES ADJUSTED FOR ECLIPSE: On April 8, date of the solar eclipse, Saluki train 391 will leave Chicago earlier, at 6:35 a.m., and arrive Carbondale at 12:05 p.m. Illini train 392 will leave Carbondale at 6:40 p.m., arriving Chicago at 12:10 a.m. [Amtrak]

S.C. PORTS TO EXPAND NORTH CHARLESTON TERMINAL: South Carolina Ports plans to purchase the former WestRock paper mill site in North Charleston to further expand capacity at the Port of Charleston. It also plans to replace the Don Holt bridge, which will remove height constraints for large vessels. [Railway Track & Structures, 3-20-24]

NEW LOOP TRACK FOR PUEBLO TEST FACILITY: MxV Rail, wholly-owned subsidiary of he Assn. of American Railroads, has opened a new multi-campus operation to support the research and test activities in Pueblo, Colorado. MxV recently completed construction on a new loop track, and research and operations teams are accumulating tonnage and data on the FAST track. [Railway Track & Structures, 3-20-24]

CPKC, CSX PARTNER TO DEPLOY HYDROGEN LOCOMOTIVES: Using a conversion kit engineered by Canadian Pacific Kansas City, CSX will retrofit one of its diesel locomotives into an advanced hydrogen unit. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-19-24]

HART BEGINS SECOND-SEGMENT TRACK WORK BETWEEN ALOHA STADIUM AND MIDDLE STREET: Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation on March 18 began track work along the second segment between Aloha Stadium and the future Middle street station. [Railway Track & Structures, 3-19-24]

SOUND TRANSIT TO OPEN EIGHT STATIONS APRIL 27: Sound Transit will open eight stations on its 2 Line on April 27. Trains will run every 10 minutes from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. between South Bellevue and Redmond Technology. [Railway Track & Structures, 3-19-24]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN'S PURCHASE OF CINCINNATI SOUTHERN FINALIZED: Norfolk Southern's purchase of the 337-mile Cincinnati Southern Railway was finalized March 15. [Railway Age, 3-19-24]

STV TO LEAD PROCUREMENT FOR SEPTA'S M5 METRO CARS: STV has been selected by Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority to lead the procurement for up to 200 new M5 metro rail cars for the Market-Frankford line. [Railway Age, 3-19-24]

SON OF ROCKY MOUNTAINEER FOUNDER TO BE COMPANY CEO: The family-owned Rocky Mountaineer is turning to Tristan Armstrong, son of the company's founder, to lead the company as CEO. [Progressive Railroading, 3-19-24]

BNSF REOPENS TRACKS IN TEXAS FOLLOWING FIRE DAMAGE: After wildfires burned over 1.5 million acres across the Texas Panhandle March 16, sustaining damage to both of its main tracks including the bridge spanning the Canadian River, BNSF engineers have restored service to both tracks. [Railway Track & Structures, 3-19-24]

TURKISH NATIONAL RAIL OPERATOR TO ACQUIRE 95 ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVES: An agreement has been signed for state-owned locomotive and rolling stock manufacturer Turasas to supply national operator TCDD with 95 class E5000 electric locomotives. [Railway Gazette, 3-19-24]

TRANSCO PRODUCTS ACQUIRES TELEWELD: Transco Products, supplier to the nuclear power industry, has acquired Teleweld, producer of rail heater cars and non-destructive testing equipment to railroads. [Progressive Railroading, 3-18-24]

PRESIDENT TO NOMINATE JENNIFER HOMENDY TO CONTINUE TO CHAIR NTSB: President Biden plans to nominate Jennifer Homendy to continue as chair of the National Transportation Safety Board. [Progressive Railroading, 3-18-24]

FREIGHTCAR AMERICA PROFIT RISES: FreightCar America delivered solid results for fourth-quarter 2023 with gross profit up 62 percent on year-over-year margin expansion, said Jim Meyer, president and CEO. [Railway Age, 3-18-24]

PROGRESS RAIL TO SUPPLY EIGHT SD70ACe-BB FREIGHT LOCOMOTIVES FOR BRAZIL: Progress Rail will supply eight SD70ACe-BB freight locomotives to Centro-Atlantica Railway in Brazil for 2025 delivery. [Progressive Railroading, 3-18-24]

FRA ISSUES ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT FOR WASHINGTON UNION STATION PROJECT: The Federal Railroad Administration has issued its final environmental impact statement and record of decision for the proposed expansion of Washington DC Union Station. The project calls for reconstructing and realigning tracks, platforms, train hall and new concourses. Current plans are for full operation in 2040. [Progressive Railroading, 3-15-24]

MICHIGAN GRANTS $5-M TO CSX TOWARD UPGRADES TO DETROIT LIVERNOIS INTERMODAL FACILITY: Michigan has granted $5-million to CSX toward upgrades, track work and paving at Livernois intermodal facility in southwest Detroit. [Railway Track & Structures, 3-15-24]

N.Y. STATE AWARDS CSX FUNDING TOWARD CLEARANCE IMPROVEMENT: The state of New York has awarded $3.944-million to CSX toward vertical clearance projects to remove five abandoned highway bridges representing safety risks along rail lines in the state. [Railway Track & Structures, 3-14-24]

ALSTOM PLANNING TO OPERATE NEW PASSENGER RAIL SERVICE IN ENGLAND, WALES: Alstom has announced plans to operate a new passenger rail service across England and Wales. The open-access operation will be known as Wrexham, Shropshire & Midlands Railway. [Progressive Railroading, 3-14-24]

WABTEC TO SUPPLY THREE NARROW-GAUGE C23EMP LOCOMOTIVES FOR URUGUAY: Wabtec will supply three C23EMP locomotives designed for light-axle-load operations on narrow-gauge tracks in Uruguay. [Progressive Railroading, 3-14-24]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads originated 472,662 carloads and intermodal unit in the week ending March 9, up 5.0 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 3.7 percent, and intermodal was up 13.5 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-13-24]

NJT TO UPGRADE HOBOKEN TERMINAL: N.J. Transit's board has approved a contract for the construction of six new tracks, three high-level platforms and a new rail personnel facility at Hoboken Terminal. There was also a separate contract approved for special track work as part of the project. The agency was awarded an FTA competitive resilience grant for the project to provide flood and surge protection for yard equipment, infrastructure and resilient tracks and platforms. [Railway Track & Structures, 3-13-24]

BRIGHTLINE PLANS NEW RAIL STATION FOR FLORIDA'S SPACE COAST: Brightline is moving forward with a new rail station in Cocoa along Florida's Space Coast. The company is beginning discussions with local and community leaders for the facility, which would be located in Brevard County. [Progressive Railroading, 3-13-24]

UNION PACIFIC'S CEO TOUTS SAFETY RECORD: Jim Vena, CEO of Union Pacific, in remarks at an industrial conference, offered a slide show citing statistics about his company's safety record of no work-related deaths in 2023, a 15 percent year-over-year reduction in serious injuries, a 28 percent drop in derailments in the past 10 years, and a 26 percent improvement in derailments since precision railroading was implemented in 2019. [Freight Waves, 3-13-24]

TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY 'SCOLDS' RAIL INDUSTRY OVER SAFETY: Transportation secretary Buttigieg has reiterated his concerns over rail safety and has scolded the industry for not doing more to improve since last year's fiery derailment in Ohio. In a letter to the freight railroads' main trade group, he said too often regulators encounter resistance when trying to get the industry to do more to improve safety, and that statistics do not show safety improving significantly over the past decade. He added that the railroads have a reputation in recent years of being so obsessed with profits that they neglect priorities such as safety, network development, customer service, worker wellbeing and community engagement. [AP, 3-12-24]

READING & NORTHERN EXPANDING PROPERTY IN NESQUEHONING, PA.: Reading & Northern is updating its former KME properties in Nesquehoning, Pa., which the railroad acquired in 2022. Tracks are under construction to lead into select existing buildings, some of which will be used to service the fleet of 63 diesel locomotives. The company also plans to introduce the Nesquehoning regional railroad station later this year. Plans for a platform are underway, as well as an additional main track to accommodate more rail traffic. This will create opportunities for new excursion routes. [Progressive Railroading, 3-12-24]

UTAH-BASED SAVAGE ACQUIRES CASCADE WAREHOUSE CO.: Utah-based Savage is expanding its transload network into the Pacific Northwest with the purchase of Cascade Warehouse Co., which handles more than 3000 rail cars per year. [Railway Age, 3-12-24]

LE MANS METROPOLE IN FRANCE TO EXPAND CAPACITY OF TRAMS: Alstom ha been chosen by Le Mans Metropole in France to extend the length of existing Citadis trams. Thirty-four of the 315-foot-long trams will be extended 144 feet, increasing passenger capacity by 85 passengers per tram. [Progressive Railroading, 3-12-24]

EAST SAN JOSE LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT APPROVED: The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority's board has approved a construction contract for the East San Jose light-rail extension project. It involves extending service from Alum Rock 2.4 miles to Eastridge, with an elevated guideway above the Capitol Expressway corridor, and stations at Story road and Eastridge. [Progressive Railroading, 3-11-24]

BLET, BERKSHIRE & EASTERN RATIFY NEW BARGAINING AGREEMENT: The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen and Genesee & Wyoming subsidiary Berkshire & Eastern have ratified a new agreement governing rates of pay, benefits and work rules. [Railway Age, 3-11-24]

COURT SIDES WITH UNION PACIFIC IN PLAN TO CLOSE CAR SHOP IN TEXAS: A Texas appeals court has declared an 1872 jobs agreement between Palestine, Texas, and Union Pacific to be 'unenforceable.' The ruling moves the railroad closer to its goal of closing a rail car shop. The court found that an agreement signed in 1872, and updated in 1954, placed restraints on the railroad regarding interstate commerce, which is not permitted under federal law. [Freight Waves, 3-11-24]

GIRL DIES WHILE RIDING ON OUTSIDE OF RAIL CAR IN MD.: A teenage girl died March 8 while riding on the outside of a train car en route to a Silver Spring, Md., Metro station, the transit agency confirmed. [Eldersburg Patch, 3-10-24]

MEXICAN PASSENGER RAIL REFORM PLANS UNVEILED: A package of 20 proposals for reforms intended to support the restoration and development of passenger services on the existing Mexican rail network has been presented. The proposals would give the government the power to grant concessions to private or public companies for the introduction and operation of passenger services. [Railway Gazette, 3-7-24]

AMTRAK'S WOLVERINE 350 & 353 TO BE IMPACTED BY TRACK WORK: Amtrak's Wolverine trains 350 and 353, between May 5 and October 18, will only run Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays due to track curfews. [Amtrak]

SPECIAL TRAIN RUNS PROPOSED FRONT LINE ROUTE IN COLORADO: Colorado's governor and other officials on March 7 rode an inspection train from Denver to Longmont, part of the proposed Front Range passenger rail route between Pueblo and Fort Collins. The route was recently selected as part of the corridor identification and development program, which aims to drive future passenger rail expansion. [Progressive Rail, 3-8-24]

CSX ADDS HERITAGE LOCOMOTIVE HONORING FAMILY LINES: New Family Lines heritage locomotive 1972 has been introduced by CSX. It was repainted with a Family Lines scheme from unit 3057, and is the 11th heritage unit introduced in the current program. [Robert Michaels, 3-8-24]

NORTHEAST CORRIDOR TRAIN SERVICE INTERRUPTED BY ISSUE AT PORTAL BRIDGE IN N.J.: Northeast corridor train service was disrupted early March 7 by an issue on the Portal Bridge in New Jersey. At 12:30 p.m. Amtrak reported that the issue had been resolved, with service resumed between Metropark and New York City, subject to residual delays. [Amtrak, 3-7-24]

NTSB SHEDS SOME LIGHT ON MARCH 2 NORFOLK SOUTHERN DERAILMENT IN PA: An eastbound Norfolk Southern train along the Lehigh River in Pennsylvania collided on March 2 with a stopped train on the same track, and the wreckage that spilled onto an adjacent track was struck by a westbound train. A key question was how such an accident could have happened with positive train-control. Response from a National Transportation Safety Board official was that the trains were not going fast enough to activate the technology. At the speeds involved, the system does not maintain train separations. [Railway Track & Structures, 3-7-24]

N.Y. TO DEPLOY 1,000 NATIONAL GUARD, STATE POLICE TO SUBWAY SYSTEM TO MAINTAIN SAFETY: New York's governor will deploy 1,000 members of the National Guard and State Police to New York City's transit system to assist local police with bag checks as part of a larger plan to keep subway riders safe amid a series of violent crimes. [Progressive Railroading, 3-7-24]

FEBRUARY 2024 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads originated 1,925,860 carloads and intermodal units in Febr. 2024, up 4.9 percent compared with the same month last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 1.3 percent, and intermodal was up 10.9 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-6-24]

CALTRAIN INTRODUCES NEW VENTURE PASSENGER TRAINS FOR SAN JOAQUIN LINE: On March 5, California's new Venture passenger trains were introduced, and they will operate on the Amtrak San Joaquin line. The new rail cars are the first upgrade on the San Joaquin line in nearly three decades. [Progressive Railroading, 3-6-24]

BOHR ELECTRONICS ACQUIRES CENTRAL RAILWAY MFG: Bohr Electronics has acquired the assets of Central Railway MFG, a Florida-based manufacturer of custom onboard equipment and software for the rail industry. [Railway Age, 3-6-24]

PACIFIC SURFLINER SET TO RESUME LIMITED SERVICE THROUGH SAN CLEMENTE: Beginning today [March 6] Amtrak's Pacific Surfliners is scheduled to resume limited passenger service through San Clemente as work continues to build a catchment wall to protect the right-of-way. [Railway Track & Structures, 3-6-24]

BNSF MOVES LARGEST WIND BLADE: BNSF made history last week by moving the largest ever wind blade transported by rail in North America. The shipment was moved by dedicated train from Colorado to Texas. [Railway Age, 3-6-24]

DECISION TO BLOW OPEN TANK CARS FOLLOWING EAST PALESTINE DISASTER LAST YEAR WAS NOT JUSTIFIED, NTSB SAYS: The decision to blow open five tank cars and burn the toxic chemical inside after the massive Norfolk Southern derailment in Ohio last year was not justified, the head of the National Transportation Safety Board told Congress. The decision makers never had the information they needed. Contractors hired by Norfolk Southern felt that no dangerous chemical reaction was happening, but they were left out of the discussion when the decision was made. [AP, 3-6-24]

BRIGHTLINE SELECTS STUART FOR TREASURE COAST STATION: Brightline has selected Stuart, Florida, for its Treasure Coast station. It is about 40 miles north of West Palm Beach. [Railway Age, 3-5-24]

NS, FEC EXPANDING FLORIDA EXPRESS INTERLINE SERVICE: Norfolk Southern and Florida East Coast are expanding their international and domestic interline services. The Florida Express, which is already being leveraged by anchor customer Crowley, creates a two-way solution for moving goods between south Florida and Charlotte, N.C. In the future, Florida Express will move produce, poultry and other commodities in the agriculture industry. [Progressive Railroading, 3-5-24]

NORTH AMERICAN RAIL SOLUTIONS ACQUIRES WEST RAIL CONSTRUCTION: North American Rail Solutions, through its subsidiary American Track, has acquired West Rail Construction of Vancouver, Washington. North American Rail provides industrial rail inspection, construction, maintenance and terminal services. [Progressive Railroading, 3-5-24]

STB APPROVES ROCK ISLAND TO PROVIDE TEMPORARY SERVICE ON OKLAHOMA SHORT LINE: The Surface Transportation Board has approved a request to allow Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific to provide freight service for 30 days along about 37 miles of line that Blackwell Northern Gateway Railroad had operated until the line was shut down last month due to violations of safety regulations. [Progressive Railroading, 3-5-24]

AMTRAK SELECTS AECOM-LED TEAM TO SUPPORT SUSQUEHANNA RIVER BRIDGE PROJECT: AECOM-led team has been selected by Amtrak to support the development of the Susquehanna River Bridge project. Two new bridges will replace the existing 117-year-old double-track bridge in Maryland. AECOM will provide a range of service, including project management, design coordination, stakeholder coordination and schedule management. [Railway Track & Structures, 3-5-24]

AMTRAK INCREASES NORTHEAST REGIONAL SERVICE: Amtrak has announced an increase in its Northeast Regional service, adding an additional eight trains throughout the week, representing a 20 percent weekday increase, and 10 percent boost on Sundays. The change adds an additional capacity of more than one million seats per week. [Runaway Girl Network, 3-5-24]

MAYAN TRAIN OPENS SECTION OF NEW YUCATAN PENINSULA RUN: Mayan Train opened the latest section of its new line on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula as planned Febr. 29. Phase 3 runs from Cancun International Airport to Puerto Morelos and Playa del Carmen. Train pairs run in the early morning and evening for local workers, with three train pairs targeting tourists during the day. [International Railway Journal, 3-5-24]

APPROVAL SOUGHT TO EXTEND MD. PURPLE LINE OPENING TO WINTER 2027: Officials are seeking Maryland Board of Public Works approval to extend the contractual deadline for achieving 'revenue service available' of the Purple light-rail line between Bethesda and New Carrollton to winter 2027. The project itself is now more than 65 percent complete. [Railway Track & Structures, 3-4-24]

STB RELEASES ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT OF SAVAGE TOOELE RAIL LINE PROPOSAL IN UTAH: The Surface Transportation Board has released a final environmental assessment for Savage Tooele Railroad's proposal to build and operate an 11-mile line in Utah. The agency will use the assessment to help determine whether or not to approve the project. [Railway Age, 3-4-24]

CN REACHES TENTATIVE AGREEMENT WITH TRACK, BRIDGE WORKERS UNION: Canadian National has reached a tentative three-year collective agreement with United Steelworkers Local 2004, representing about 2500 track and bridge workers who perform maintenance across Canada. [Railway Age, 3-4-24]

CUYAHOGA VALLEY SCENIC R.R. SUSPENDS OPERATIONS FOR TWO MONTHS: The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is suspending service over the next couple of months in order for it to 'upgrade operational tools and refine procedures' as it gears up for its busy summer runs. [Akron Beacon Journal, 3-4-24]

SIEMENS BUILDING NEW SIGNALING FACTORY IN BRITAIN: Siemens Mobility will build a new manufacturing, digital engineering research and development center at Chippenham in Britain. It is due to open in 2026. [International Railway Journal, 3-4-24]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAILS IN PA., TWO LOCOMOTIVES FALL INTO RIVER: A collision and derailment involving three Norfolk Southern trains along the Lehigh River in Lower Saucon, Pa., early March 2 sent part of two locomotives in the the water. Three trains were involved, but only one of them derailed. No injuries were reported. [Morning Call, 3-2-24]

FRA CHIEF RAISES RED FLAG OVER UNION PACIFIC FURLOUGHS: Federal Railroad Administration head Amit Bose told Union Pacific that the company's furloughs of maintenance of equipment workers jeopardizes the safety of railroad workers and the public. [Railway Track & Structures, 3-1-24]

FEBRUARY 2024 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-nine percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in February 2024. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and seven minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 3-1-24]

HERZOG LANDS CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT FOR AMTRAK MAINTENANCE FACILITY IN PHILADELPHIA: Herzog Contracting will design and construct the heavy maintenance facility at Amtrak's Penn Coast yard in Philadelphia. The facility will service many of Amtrak's Acela and Northeast Regional trains that operate on the Northeast corridor. [Railway Track & Structure, 3-1-24]

BNSF FURLOUGHS 362 WORKERS IN FOUR STATES: BNSF has reportedly furloughed 362 workers in Kansas, Montana, Nebraska and Texas, according to the Transportation Trades Dept. with the AFL-CIO. [Freight Waves, 3-1-24]

NORTHEAST CORRIDOR TRAINS TRANSITIONING TO FIXED FORWARD, BACKWARD SEATING: Amtrak's Northeast corridor and Empire service trains will begin transitioning to permanent fixed forward and backward seating on March 2. The arrangement enhances services with more frequencies by reducing dwell between runs formerly needed to turn equipment to accommodate all forward-facing seating. Forward-facing seating will be available on a first-come basis, but are not guaranteed. The current Acela fleet will transition later this year. [Amtrak]

KEOLIS MBTA WORKERS DESCRIBE LOW PAY, BENEFITS: More than a dozen Keolis MBTA workers packed into an MBTA board meeting Febr. 29 to describe low pay and lackluster benefits, and they urged the agency to think about 'safeguards' it can install when the time comes to decide the future of commuter rail operations. [NBC Boston, 2-29-24]

DOWNTOWN DENVER LIGHT-RAIL RECONSTRUCTION TO BEGIN IN MAY: The Regional Transportation District Denver expects to begin the first phase of construction for a $152-million project to reconstruct light-rail in downtown Denver in May. [Progressive Railroading, 2-29-24]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN COMPLETES RAIL BRIDGE REPLACEMENT IN CONNEAUT, OHIO: Norfolk Southern has completed a 1300-foot railroad bridge replacement in Conneaut, Ohio. The replacement marks the completion of several major Ohio infrastructure project undertaken which included ones in Campbellstown and Circleville. About 20 trains cross the Conneaut bridge daily. [Railway Track & Structures, 2-29-24]

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION EARMARKS $9.8-B TO SUPPORT PUBLIC TRANSIT: The Biden administration has earmarked $9.8-billion to support public transit agencies. The funding is part of a strategy to ensure that the nation's public transit systems remain viable and efficient. [BNN Breaking, 2-29-24]

BNSF CUTS MECHANICAL JOBS IN NEBRASKA, KANSAS: BNSF announced this week that it was cutting some jobs at mechanical shops in Nebraska and Kansas. News reports regarding the number of layoffs differed, but it appears that at least 100 positions were cut. [Railway Track & Structures, 2-29-24]

LIGHT-RAIL LINE FROM ISTANBUL TO SIRKECI OPENS: A light-rail on the alignment of a former railway to the historic Sirkeci station on the European side of Istanbul was opened on Febr. 26. [Railway Gazette, 2-29-24]

RAIL TRANSIT LINE'S FIRST PHASE OF THE LAGOS OPENS IN NIGERIA: Nigeria's first phase of the 16-mile Lagos red transit rail line from Agbado to Oyingbo with eight stations opened Febr. 29. [Railway Gazette, 2-29-24]

BLET OPPOSES TAKEOVER ATTEMPT OF NORFOLK SOUTHERN: Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen officials said the union will vigorously oppose Ancora's attempt to remake Norfolk Southern's board and replace the company's CEO. The union's position may be he first time in its 161-year history that it has taken a side in a proxy battle at a Class I railroad. [Progressive Railroading, 2-28-24]

UNIFOR MEMBERS STRIKE CN-OPERATED AUTOPORT HUB IN HALIFAX: About 239 members of Unifor Local 100 went on strike Febr. 27 at Canadian National-operated Autoport vehicle processing and transshipment hub in Halifax, N.S. [Progressive Railroading, 2-28-24]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads originated 483,656 carloads and intermodal units in the week ending Febr. 24, 2024, up 7.7 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were up 2.6 percent, and intermodal was up 12.6 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-28-24]

BNSF RECEIVES ENGINEERING EXCELLENCE AWARD FOR SANDPOINT JCT PROJECT: BNSF has received a 2024 engineering excellence award for its Sandpoint Junction project in Idaho. The award comes from the American Council of Engineering Companies in Illinois. [Progressive Railroading, 2-28-24]

STB WANTS AMTRAK GULF COAST STATUS UPDATE BY MARCH 15: A Surface Transportation Board decision issued Febr. 26 relates to a Febr. 14 hearing at which the board wanted to know from participating parties when Amtrak's Gulf Coast service would begin. After receiving that report, the agency will determine further steps. [Progressive Railroading, 2-27-24]

AMTRAK FACES MAINTENANCE OF EQUIPMENT CHALLENGES, REPORT SAYS: Amtrak faces challenges managing its $239-million inventory of parts and materials used to maintain its fleet of locomotives and rail cars, the Amtrak office of inspector general said in a new report. Amtrak's approach can limit the rolling stock available for service, delay trains, limit onboard service and amenities and incur excess costs to manage surplus and obsolete inventory, the OIG found. The report states that Amtrak has an imbalance of such inventory, which includes more than $49-million in surplus or obsolete items. [Progressive Railroading, 2-27-24]

R.J. CORMAN SWITCHING BEGINS OPERATIONS IN WAYNE COUNTY, W.VA., FACILITY: R.J. Corman Switching Co. has marked the start of operations of its Central Appalachia Inland Port at Prichard division in Wayne County, W.Va. R.J. Corman Switching has established partnerships with railroads, car owners and clients to operate mechanical car repair services at 12 other sites nationwide. [Progressive Railroading, 2-27-24]

FASTFRATE RENEWS CPKC DEAL CONNECTING CANADA, U.S., MEXICO: Fastfrate Group and Canadian Pacific Kansas City have announced the renewal and expansion of their agreement providing intermodal and drayage services connecting Canada, U.S. and Mexico. The five-year pact aims to improve North America's supply chain, particularly the automotive industry. [Freight Waves, 2-27-24]

CHINESE RAIL EXPANSION CONTINUES: Expansion of the Chinese railway continued apace during 2023. Many of the projects inaugurated in the latter part of the year were focused on filing gaps in the country's emerging grid of eight vertical and eight horizontal high-speed axes, while further conventional lines have been completed to open up rural areas. China Railway announced Jan. 9 that the total length of high-speed line in operation had reached 28,000 route miles. This accounts for more than 25 percent of the country's entire rail network. [Railway Gazette, 2-27-24]

BNSF ANNOUNCES 4-Q, YEAR-END RESULTS: BNSF announced total revenue for fourth-quarter and full-year 2023 decreased 6 percent and 8 percent, respectively, compared with the same periods in the previous year. Operating income for 4-Q and full-year was $1.9-billion and $7.4-billion, respectively, a decrease of 7 percent and 14 percent compared with the same periods in 2022. BNSF posted operating ratios of 68.7 percent for 4-Q and 68.4 percent for the full year, compared with 67.8 percent and 65.9 percent, respectively. [Progressive Railroading, 2-26-24]

METRO-NORTH PURDY'S STATION HAS BEEN MADE FULLY-ACCESSIBLE: Purdy's station is the third Metro-North station this year to be made fully-accessible. Officials announced the opening of a new elevator and connecting sidewalk. [Railway Track & Structures, 2-26-24]

FUNDING APPROVED TO COMPLETE WORK ON HUDSON BAY RWY: Canadian and Manitoba officials have announced a joint investment of up to $60-million (C) for the Arctic Gateway Group to use to finish work on the Hudson Bay Railway, and start redevelopment at the Port of Churchill. The rail line serves remote and Indigenous communities, and links the Port of Churchill as the only deepwater Arctic port connected to the North American surface transportation network. [Progressive Railroading, 2-26-24]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty-five percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending Febr. 25, 2024. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-26-24]

METRA TRAIN DERAILS ON UNION PACIFIC N.W. LINE: Chicago's Metra service along the Union Pacific Northwest line was suspended from Crystal Lake to Harvard due to a derailment early today. An inbound locomotive derailed as it entered Crystal Lake station, blocking the tracks. It was a low-speed derailment and there were no passengers on board. [ABC News 7, 2-24-24]

BNSF TRAIN DERAILS IN N.D.: Two Locomotives and several cars of a westbound BNSF derailed early Febr. 24 near Burlington, N.D. There were no injures, and nothing in the train leaked or was ignited. [KFYR-TV, 2-24-24]

HARRISON, N.J., PATH STATION MODERNIZATION COMPLETED: Port Authority New York & New Jersey has completed its $47.2-million station house at the Harrison, N.J., stop. It is the latest step toward the agency's modernization of the regional transit hub. [Railway Track & Structures, 2-23-24]

CLASS-I RAIL EMPLOYMENT RISES IN JANUARY: Class-I railroads in the U.S. employed 122,677 workers last month, up 0.27 percent from the previous month, and a 2.88 percent year-over-year increase, according to the Surface Transportation Board. [Progressive Railroading, 2-23-24]

STB CHAIR OBERMAN CONCERNED OVER NORFOLK SOUTHERN TAKEOVER ATTEMPT: Martin Oberman, chairman of the Surface Transportation Board, in a Febr. 23 interview with Progressive Railroading, said he is 'concerned' about the potential of activist investors succeeding in their effort to replace Norfolk Southern's top leadership. He emphasized that he was speaking only for himself, and not the entire STB. Such a strategy would be 'a huge detriment' for the entire rail industry. He added that the activist investors have a 'very short-term goal,' it is not constructive, and it will have other rail CEO's 'looking over their shoulders.' [Progressive Railroading, 2-23-24]

WOMAN KILLED BY REMOTE-CONTROLLED LOCOMOTIVE IN CSX YARD IN BUFFALO: A woman was struck and killed Febr. 16 by a remote-controlled locomotive in CSX's Frontier Yard in Buffalo, N.Y. The yard is not completely closed to the public, and use of remote-controlled units in such an environment poses a significant public safety risk. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 2-23-24]

SEMINOLE GULF RWY RESTORES CALOOSAHATCHEE RIVER BRIDGE: Seminole Gulf Railway has successfully operated its first test train across the entire restored spans of the bridge that crosses the Caloosahatchee River into Fort Myers, Florida, 17 months since hurricane Ian hit the area. The railroad expects to begin regular freight service in March, and to restore the entire route of the Murder Mystery Dinner Train in late spring. [Railway Track & Structures, 2-22-24]

UNION PACIFIC ANNOUNCES 2024 CAPITAL BUDGET OF $3.4-B: Union Pacific has announced its capital budget will total $3.4-billion in 2024. Over half of the budget will go toward upgrading and replacing infrastructure, while $600-million will go toward locomotives and equipment. The company will continue to modernize its locomotive fleet, upgrading older core units. The plan also includes targeted freight car acquisitions, and investments in capacity and technology projects. [Progressive Railroading, 2-22-24]

MBTA EXPERIENCES POWER OUTAGE, TRAIN FIRE: MBTA commuters were crammed into buses Febr. 21 after a Red line train caught fire and multiple lines were shut down because of a massive power outage which was caused due to a failed joint in a feeder cable. The outage lead to disruptions on the Blue, Green and Orange lines. [NBC Boston, 2-22-24]

WABTEC TO SUPPLY 30 NEW EVOLUTION SERIES LOCOMOTIVES FOR BRAZIL: Wabtec has agreed with MRS Logistics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, to provide 30 new Evolution series locomotives for delivery beginning this year. [Progressive Railroading, 2-22-24]

METRANS ACQUIRES ADRIA RAIL GROUP: The Metrans rail freight subsidiary of Hamburger Hafen & Logistik has expanded in southeast Europe with the acquisition of Adria Rail Group. [Railway Gazette, 2-22-24]

STRAIT OF MESSINA BRIDGE DESIGN APPROVED: The final design for a rail and road bridge to link Sicily with the mainland has been approved by the project company Stretto di Messina. The work was suspended for 10 years until it was reconstituted by the government in March 2023. [Railway Gazette, 2-22-24]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN IMPLEMENTING 'SIX-POINT SAFETY PLAN': Norfolk Southern is implementing its six-point safety plan, addressing findings of a safety consultant, installing digital train inspection portals and incorporating feedback from labor union leaders as spelled out in a letter to employees. It was further noted that the railroad achieved a 42 percent reduction in main line accident rate year over year in 2023. [Progressive Railroading, 2-21-24]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads originated 474,226 carloads and intermodal units in the week ending Febr. 17, 2024, up 3.7 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 0.6 percent, and intermodal was up 7.9 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-21-24]

MARYLAND SECURES $213-M IN FUNDING TOWARD REPLACEMENT OF LIGHT-RAIL FLEET: Maryland has secured more than $213-million to support the replacement of 52 aging light-rail vehicles in its fleet. [Progressive Railroading, 2-21-24]

IDAHO RAIL SHOP BUSINESS ACQUIRED BY SAVAGE: Savage, a Utah-based global infrastructure and supply chain services company has acquired the Idaho Rail Shop business and property near Savage Railport. The shop provides rail car repair for Idaho businesses. [Progressive Railroading, 2-21-24]

SEPTA TO RECEIVE $317-M TOWARD PURCHASE OF RAIL CARS FOR MARKET-FRANKFORD LINE: SEPTA will receive $317-million to purchase about 200 new rail cars for its Market-Frankford line. [Progressive Railroading, 2-21-24]

METRA TO BUY BATTERY-POWERED TRAIN SETS: The board of Chicago's Metra has approved a contract with Stadler to buy zero-emission, battery-powered train sets. Metra will be one of the first in the nation to operate this technology. The contract includes a base order for eight two-car train sets, including engineering, training and spare parts, with options for eight additional train sets and up to 32 trailer cars to increase capacity by one or two cars per train. The equipment will have low-level boarding with ADA-compliant lifts. Metra plans to introduce the trains between LaSalle street and Blue Island on the Beverly branch of the Rock Island line. [Metra, 2-21-24]

FRA CHAIR URGES NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO FOCUS ON SAFETY: Amit Bose, head of the Federal Railroad Administration, has urged Norfolk Southern to focus on safety after a group of activist investors proposed replacing the company's top management. Said he, "Any backsliding, as a result of a change in leadership or otherwise, on the safety-oriented path you have laid out and communicated to us, will likely attract renewed oversight attention from my office." [Yahoo Finance, 2-21-24]

INVESTOR GROUP PROPOSES NEW LEADERS FOR NORFOLK SOUTHERN: An investor group led by Ancora Holdings, which holds a large equity stake in Norfolk Southern, has announced the nomination of eight independent candidates for election to the Norfolk Southern board. The group also announced two proposed new leaders: Jim Barber Jr., former UPS executive; and Jamie Boychuk, former CSX executive. It has been reported that the investor group plans to run a proxy fight aimed at overhauling the Norfolk Southern board, and replacing Alan Shaw, the president & CEO. [Progressive Railroading, 2-20-24]

WYOMING STANDS TO GAIN THREE AMTRAK ROUTES FROM PROPOSED SERVICE EXPANSION: Three passenger rail routes through Wyoming are now on a map for proposed expansion developed by the Federal Railroad Administration. The routes that appear on the preferred new long-distant plan run through the state. Currently there are none. [Cowboy State Daily, 2-20-24]

CALIFORNIA PANEL AWARDS $7.2-M TO ORANGE COUNTY TO RESTORE RAIL LINK: The California Transportation Commission has awarded $7.2-million to the Orange County Transportation Authority to help restore a link in southern California's rail network. The funding enables the authority and Metrolink to construct a catchment wall at Mariposa Point in San Clemente and advance other mitigation measures to protect the track from landslides. [Progressive Railroading, 2-20-24]

WORK STOPPAGE THREATENED AT CANADA'S TWO LARGEST RAILROADS: The union representing almost 9,300 workers at Canada's two biggest rail operators says Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Kansas City are pushing toward a work stoppage after negotiations have deadlocked over issues of working conditions and wage increases. The railroads filed notices of dispute with the federal labor minister and requested the appointment of a conciliator for the bargaining process over an agreement for conductors, engineers and yard workers. [Freight Waves, 2-20-24]

RAILPOOL SIGNS 250-LOCOMOTIVE FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT: Leasing company Railpool and Siemens Mobility have signed a framework agreement for the supply of up to 250 Vectron locomotives. This covers variants that can operate in up to 16 countries in Europe. Depending on the variant, the 6.4 MW locomotives will have a maximum speed of up to 143 MPH. [Railway Gazette, 2-20-24]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-five percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending Febr. 18, 2024. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and four minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-19-24]

CSX TRAIN DERAILS IN S.C., BLOCKING HIGHWAY: A CSX freight train derailed about 17 cars early Febr. 17 in Marion County, S.C., shutting down part of U.S. 301. There were no injuries. [WMBF, 2-17-24]

UNION PACIFIC TO RESTORE SERVICE ON RAIL LINE TO SAVAGE TOOELE R.R. IN UTAH: The Surface Transportation Board has granted a Union Pacific request to restore service on one mile of line in Tooele County, Utah, that would connect with Savage Tooele Railroad. Restoration is part of a transaction with Savage Tooele to sell the right-of-way and track assets along the Warner Branch, and to build 11 miles of new rail line connecting to the branch and serving Lakeview Business Park. Meanwhile, the STB denied a BNSF petition over a trackage rights issue. [Progressive Railroading, 2-16-24]

GRAIN TRUCK STRUCK BY TRAIN IN HURLOCK, MD: A tractor-trailer hauling grain was t-boned by a Maryland & Delaware Railroad train early Febr. 16 in Hurlock, Md., cutting the truck in half with its front and back ends on opposite sides of the track. There were no injuries. [WBOC, 2-16-24]

PRESIDENT BIDEN CALLS EAST PALESTINE DERAILMENT 'COMPLETELY PREVENTABLE': President Biden on Febr. 16 called the toxic derailment of a Norfolk Southern train in East Palestine, Ohio, completely preventable during a visit o the area a year after the incident. Norfolk Southern has estimated it will cost the company more than $800-million to clean up the hazardous chemicals, help the community rebuild, and respond to lawsuits. [Reuters, 2-16-24]

FRA WORKSHOP CONCLUDES IN MASSACHUSETTS: In Cambridge, Massachusetts, Febr. 15, another in a series of nationwide workshops led by the Federal Railroad Administration concluded. The project is aimed at shaping a vision for expanding Amtrak's long-distance network with 15 new routes. They are:

The plan also aims to schedule Cardinal and Sunset Limited to seven days a week rather than the current three. [Rail Passengers Assn., 2-16-24]

PROGRESS RAIL TO SUPPLY 54 FREIGHT LOCOMOTIVES TO INDONESIA: Progress Rail will supply 54 EMD GT38AC freight locomotives to PT Kereta Indonesia for transportation in South Sumatra to expand the railway's existing fleet. [Progressive Railroading, 2-16-24]

STADLER TO SUPPLY SIX ADDITIONAL HYDROGEN-POWERED TRAIN SETS TO CALTRANS: The California Dept. of Transportation has announced a $127-million agreement with Stadler Rail for the order of six more zero-emission, hydrogen-powered passenger train sets. [Progressive Railroading, 2-15-24]

FRA ISSUES SAFETY BULLETIN ON TRAIN-CONTROL SOFTWARE MALFUNCTION: The Federal Railroad Administration has released a safety bulletin about a software defect found in the interoperable electronic train management system's onboard software. The defect could cause a speed restriction to be overlooked by a positive train-control system, although such has not yet occurred in a rail operating environment. [Progressive Railroading, 2-15-24]

RENOVATIONS COMPLETED AT SELMA-SMITHFIELD UNION DEPOT IN N.C.: Amtrak has announced the renovations to the Selma-Smithfield Union Depot in N.C. are complete. The $2.5-million project included a new 325-foot concrete platform and other improvements. [Railway Track & Structures, 2-14-24]

CSX TRACK WORKER KILLED ON THE JOB IN N.C.: An investigation is underway after a CSX track maintenance worker was killed on the job Febr. 13 on the Northend subdivision in Roanoke Rapids, N.C. [Freight Waves, 2-14-24]

PALMETTO RWYS TO CONVERT TWO DIESEL SWITCHERS TO LITHIUM-ION BATTERY UNITS: Palmetto Railways is partnering with Innovative Rail Technologies to convert two diesel switchers to lithium-ion battery-powered locomotives. [Progressive Railroading, 2-14-24]

WABTEC TO MODERNIZE CSX AC4400 LOCOMOTIVES: Wabtec has signed an agreement to transform the remaining AC4400 locomotives in CSX's fleet by modernizing them with new digital solutions, innovations and services. More than 200 locomotives are involved. [Progressive Railroading, 2-13-24]

CSX INTRODUCES HERITAGE LOCOMOTIVE HONORING RF&P: CSX has revealed its latest heritage locomotive, numbered 1836, as a tribute to the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad. [Railway Age, 2-13-24]

BNSF TRAIN DERAILS IN KANSAS: Early Febr. 12 a BNSF mixed-freight train derailed about 17 cars east of the rural community of Hazleton, Kansas. There were no injuries to the crew. [Hutchpost, 2-13-24]

CSX TRAIN DERAILS IN MORGAN COUNTY, W.V., CAPITOL LIMITED ANNULLED: A CSX freight train derailed the afternoon of Febr. 12 near Magnolia in Morgan County, W.Va., along the Potomac River. Nine cars were involved and there were no injuries. Amtrak's Capitol Limited from Washington was returned to the station, and the eastbound run from Chicago was canceled. [Martinsburg Journal-News, 2-12-24]

BNSF RUNS FIRST TRAIN FROM LOGISTICS INTERMODAL FACILITY IN HUDSON, COLORADO: The first BNSF train has departed from a private intermodal facility that recently became operational at the logistics center in Hudson, Colorado. The center is located on 430 acres with access to Interstate 76 and the BNSF main line. [Progressive Railroading, 2-12-24]

FRA TO HOLD HEARING ON PETITION BY GENESEE & WYOMING SUBSIDIARIES TO TEST ZERO-EMISSION FREIGHT RAIL TECHNOLOGY: The Federal Railroad Administration will hold a hearing March 12 to receive public input on a petition from two Genesee & Wyoming subsidiaries to test zero-emission freight rail technology by Parallel Systems. [Progressive Railroading, 2-12-24]

NTSB RELEASES PRELIMINARY REPORT ON JAN. 12 BRIGHTLINE COLLISION WITH TRUCK: The National Transportation Safety Board has released its preliminary report on an accident involving a Brightline train and pickup truck Jan. 12 in Brevard, Florida. The truck occupied by a driver and one passenger approached the crossing with the gates lowered, flashing lights and bells on. The truck then drove around the lowered gate and entered the crossing. Both the truck driver and passenger died. [Progressive Railroading, 2-12-24]

D.C. METRO PLANS RED LINE CONSTRUCTION, CLOSING CERTAIN STATIONS: Washington DC Metro plans station closures along part of the Red line between summer 2024 and summer 2026. Track work will continue through summer, winter, and extended weekend outages to avoid extensive single-tracking. Stations at Glenmont, Wheaton, Forest Glen, Silver Spring and Tacoma will be closed starting in June until early September, with a possibility of reducing the work zone so Takoma can be reopened before the start of the closure. Work will be planned in coordination with Purple line's project to build a new mezzanine on the platform of Silver Spring station. [Railway Track & Structures, 2-12-24]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending Febr. 11, 2024. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 25 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept, 2-12-24]

WESTERN MARYLAND SCENIC R.R. ACQUIRES DORMANT RAIL LINE: The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad has acquired through a lease agreement a dormant rail line in Allegany County, Md., which had operated as the Georges Creek Railway. The line is structured as a separate business managed by the WMSR, and the lease will enable it to diversify, expand and pursue both passenger and freight rail opportunities. Maintenance work is required on the track to restore service, and portions of the line could be operational by late this year. [Progressive Railroading, 2-12-24]

ISSUES RAISED OVER JULY 2023 WASTEWATER SPILL FROM MOFFAT TUNNEL: Union Pacific and Colorado officials are debating questions about a large wastewater spill last July from Moffat Tunnel. Colorado had issued a notice of violation to Union Pacific for allowing untreated groundwater and industrial wastewater from the tunnel to bypass treatment and discharge directly into Fraser River. Meanwhile, the railroad is negotiating with the state to renew its lease to run trains through the tunnel, which is owned by the state. [The Gazette, 2-11-24]

STB TO HOLD AMTRAK GULF COAST HEARING FEBR. 14: The Surface Transportation Board will hold a Febr. 14 hearing on a settlement agreement among Amtrak, CSX, Norfolk Southern and Alabama port officials, despite a request from those parties to cancel the hearing. The board ruled it will conduct the hearing to obtain information about the status of the implementation of the settlement. [Progressive Railroading, 2-9-24]

FRA WORKSHOP ON AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE NETWORK BEGINS IN SACRAMENTO: The third of four scheduled rounds of in-depth FRA workshops to create an enhanced long-distance passenger rail network began this week in Sacramento. The study team got their first look at the 'preferred' route selections with 15 new routes. Included are Chicago-Miami via Nashville and Atlanta; Dallas-Miami; Seattle-Denver via Portland and Boise; El Paso-Billings; and Twin Cities-Denver via Sioux Falls, Pierre and Cheyenne. Enhanced service selections offer Atlanta, Denver and Kansas City as hubs. If the map is fully-realized, 89 percent of the U.S. population would have access to Amtrak trains, including 19 million more in the most-populated metropolitan areas, adding 102 stations in rural communities. A public comment period will open at the end of next week with comments accepted through March 8. [Rail Passengers Assn., 2-9-24]

MASS COASTAL R.R. BUYING ASSETS OF BAY COLONY R.R.: Massachusetts Coastal Railroad is purchasing assets of Bay Colony Railroad, which serves North Dartmouth and Millis, Massachusetts. Mass Coastal operates a network of lines totaling 135 route-miles from Fall River to Hyannis, and is custodian of an additional 42 miles of state-owned track. Mass Coastal will now add the rights to 35 miles of track and add customers in Dartmouth and Westport. [Railway Age, 2-9-24]

ALABAMA PORT AUTHORITY TO LOCATE CONTAINER TRANSFER FACILITY IN DECATUR: The Alabama Port Authority has announced its third intermodal container transfer facility will be located in Decatur, in partnership with CSX. It will complete rail connectivity from the facility at the Port of Mobile to customers in the central and northern parts of the state. The port will redevelop a portion of an existing CSX facility, which will expedite its ability to serve north Alabama, officials said. [Progressive Railroading, 2-8-24]

LONG ISLAND RAIL ROAD SEEKS TO ADD UP TO 26 COACHES THROUGH LEASE AGREEMENT: The Long Island Rail Road is interested in obtaining up to 26 highly reliable coaches to supplement a portion of its current fleet of locomotive-hauled vehicles through a lease agreement. [Progressive Railroading, 2-8-24]

UNION PACIFIC OPENS NEW INTERMODAL TERMINAL IN PHOENIX: Union Pacific on Febr. 1 opened a new intermodal terminal in Phoenix which introduces a first-of-its-kind intermodal service between the Los Angeles basin and Phoenix. [Railway Track & Structures, 2-8-24]

FTA ADMINISTRATOR NURIA FERNANDEZ TO RETIRE: The Federal Transit Administration has announced that its administrator Nuria Fernandez will retire Febr. 24. Acting administrator will be its current deputy Veronica Vanterpool. [Progressive Railroading, 2-8-24]

CSX TRAIN DEMOLISHES CAB OF SEMI-TRUCK IN OHIO: A CSX train smashed into the cab of a semi-truck which was stopped and fouling a crossing Febr. 7 in Versailles, Ohio. There were no injuries. The truck cab was demolished, spilling fuel, which was cleaned up by firefighters. [New York Post, 2-8-24]

TRAIN DERAILS IN JOHNSONVILLE, N.Y.: A train derailed in Johnsonville, N.Y., late Febr. 7. Officials said a train derailed from CSX tracks. Ten cars went off the tracks, and two of them went into the Hoosic River. No injuries were reported. [News10, 2-8-24]

FRA SHUTS DOWN OKLAHOMA SHORT LINE: The Federal Railroad Administration has ordered the Blackwell Northern Gateway Railroad to shut down due to the short line's operations posing 'an imminent threat to public safety.' The railroad operated on about 37 miles of line owned by the Oklahoma Dept. of Transportation and the Blackwell Industrial Authority from Blackwell to Wellington, where it interchanged with BNSF. The FRA determined that under its current ownership the railroad had operated locomotives not safe for use, allowed them to be operated by people not qualified as engineers, and failed to qualify any engineers or conductors under existing regulations. The FRA began investigating operations following a Dec. 2023 derailment in which investigators found the short line was operating 'with complete disregard for the safety of the public.' [Progressive Railroading, 2-7-24]

HART SECURES FUNDING FOR TRANSIT EXPANSION: The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation has secured a full-funding grant agreement with the Federal Transit Administration that will unlock the first federal funding for the city's transit rail project since 2017. This paves the way for the completion of the line between Skyline to the Kaka'ako Civic Center. The next sections involve an extension from Aloha Stadium to Inouye International Airport, and another extension to the Civic Center station. [Progressive Railroading, 2-7-24]

JANUARY 2024 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads originated 2,231,182 carloads and intermodal units in January 2024, down 0.7 percent compared with the same month last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 7.2 percent, and intermodal was up 5.5 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-7-24]

AMTRAK SELECTS BUILDER FOR REPLACEMENT OF B&P TUNNEL IN BALTIMORE: Amtrak has selected Kiewit/J.F. Shea Joint Venture to build the Frederick Douglas tunnel that will serve electrified Amtrak and MARC commuter trains. Located just south of Baltimore Penn Station, the new tunnel will replace B&P tunnel with two parallel, single-track tubes, each about two miles long. Construction is set to begin in 2026. [Progressive Railroading, 2-6-24]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN COMPLETES $1-B IN IMPROVEMENTS IN 2023: Norfolk Southern's engineering team last year completed $1-billion worth of infrastructure improvement and upgrade projects throughout its network. Included were tracks, bridges and public grade crossings. [Progressive Railroading, 2-6-24]

STADLER TO SUPPLY NEXT GENERATION TRAIN SETS TO SAUDI ARABIA: Saudi Arabia Railways has signed contracts for Stadler to supply its next generation of passenger trains. They include a base order for 10 train sets, full maintenance support and spare parts for 10 years. There are also options for 10 additional train sets. [Railway Gazette, 2-6-24]

N.Y. SUBWAY ADDS OPEN GANGWAY CARS TO C LINE: New York City's subway system has rolled out R211T open gangway subway cars on the C Line, running between Washington Heights and East New York. The launch marks the first time an open gangway trains has operated in the modern history of subways in the U.S., officials said. [Progressive Railroading, 2-5-24]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-eight percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending Febr. 4, 2024. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and six minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-5-24]

HYPERLOOP TECHNOLOGY TO BE TESTED IN ITALY: Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has been designated the tech provider within a joint venture of Italian-based industrial companies of Webuild and Leonardo. The venture will study the feasibility of a hyperloop operating prototype for cargo and passengers. When completed, the effort could lead to the construction of the world's first commercial system in Italy. [Progressive Railroading, 2-5-24]

AMTRAK SUNSET LIMITED TO BE IMPACTED BY TRACK WORK: From Febr. 11 to March 24, Amtrak's eastbound Sunset Limited will depart Los Angeles three hours earlier, El Paso two and one-half hours earlier, and Alpine two hours earlier, because of track work. [Amtrak]

GULF COAST AMTRAK SERVICE UPDATE: Work is still under way on settlement terms and conditions for launching Amtrak's Gulf Coast service between New Orleans and Mobile. Parties asked the Surface Transportation Board in a Febr. 1 filing to continue holding the case in abeyance until at least May 1. [Railway Age, 2-2-24]

CSX, FOUR UNIONS AGREE ON PAID SICK LEAVE BENEFITS: CSX has announced agreements with four more rail labor unions to provide paid sick leave benefits. The unions include SMART-TD Conductors and Trainmen, SMART-TD Yardmasters, Brotherhood of Boiler Makers, and Carrolton Road-Transportation Communications Union. [Progressive Railroading, 2-2-24]

UNION PACIFIC LISTED ON FORTUNE'S LIST OF MOST ADMIRED COMPANIES: Union Pacific announced on Febr. 1 that it has been named to Fortune magazine's list of World's Most Admired Companies for the 18th time in 22 years. [Railway Age, 2-2-24]

CPKC TO RUN STEAM-POWERED TRAIN IN CANADA, U.S., MEXICO THIS SPRING: Canadian Pacific 4-6-4 Hudson type nicknamed The Empress will haul a special CPKC excursion through Canada, U.S. and Mexico beginning April 24. It begins in Calgary, Alberta, is called the 'Final Spike Anniversary Steam Tour,' and is said to be the first-ever steam-powered passenger train in North America to traverse those three countries in a single trip. [Railway Age, 2-1-24]

ACTIVIST GROUP PLANS PROXY FIGHT AT NORFOLK SOUTHERN: According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, an investor group led by activist Ancora Holdings intends to run a proxy fight to replace Alan Shaw, Norfolk Southern's president and CEO, and will likely try to take control of the board to enact management and operational changes. [Railway Age, 2-1-24]

CPKC JOINS RAILPULSE COALITION: Canadian Pacific Kansas City has joined the RailPulse Coalition, becoming the third Class-I railroad and the 10th member of the coalition, which was established in late 2020 to develop, broaden and accelerate the use of GPS and other technologies on railcars. [Progressive Railroading, 2-1-24]

JANUARY 2024 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty-two percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in January 2024. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 23 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-1-24]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads originated 467,222 carloads and intermodal units in the week ending Jan. 27, 2024, up 0.7 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 9.0 percent, and intermodal was up 10.1 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-31-24]

METRA TO ALLOW BICYCLES ON ALL OF ITS TRAINS: Chicago's Metra is making permanent a covid-era policy allowing bicycles on all trains, and has begun manufacturing and installing bike racks on its coaches. The racks can hold two to four bikes or e-scooters, and are being produced in-house and installed initially on about 50 vehicles. [Railway Gazette, 1-31-24]

AMTRAK AIMS TO DOUBLE RIDERSHIP BY 2040: Amtrak on Jan. 31 reported that it aims to double ridership by 2040 by attracting new riders, serving new communities and transforming passenger rail. [Railway Age, 1-31-24]

CPKC REPORTS 4-Q EARNINGS: Canadian Pacific Kansas City reported revenues of $3.8-billion in fourth-quarter 2023. Diluted earnings per share decreased to $1.10 from $1.36 in fourth-quarter 2022, and core adjusted combined diluted EPS increased to $1.18 from $1.14. Reported operating ratio increased to 61.8 percent from 59.8 percent. [Railway Age, 1-30-24]

FIRST OF TWO NEW PLATFORMS DEDICATED AT BALTIMORE PENN STATION: The first of two new platforms at Baltimore's Penn Station has been inaugurated, and it is expected to begin serving trains sometime this spring. The station is the eighth busiest on Amtrak's network, and Amtrak ridership increased by 29 percent in Baltimore during the last year. The second platform is slated for completion in the fall. [Railway Track & Structures, 1-30-24]

CALIFORNIA ZEPHYR COLLIDES WITH TRUCK IN COLORADO, DERAILS: Amtrak's eastbound California Zephyr crashed into a truck carrying milk and partially derailed at a crossing near Keensburg, Colorado, late Jan. 29, seriously injuring the train's engineer and sending three passengers to a hospital for treatment. According to police, the driver of the truck failed to yield to the approaching train, but neither he nor his passenger were injured. The rail line was shut down and the following day's California Zephyr was annulled between Denver and Lincoln. [KDVR, 1-30-24]

RESTORATION OF RAIL SERVICE ADVANCING IN SAN CLEMENTE FOLLOWING LANDSLIDE: The Orange County Transportation Authority is working with Metrolink to clear the area and restore rail service as quickly as possible following the massive landslide in San Clemente, California. However, no timeline has been set on when service can resume. [Railway Track & Structures, 1-29-24]

PEND OREILLE VALLEY R.R. DEDICATES LOCOMOTIVE HONORING LATE CHIEF MECHANICAL OFFICER: Short Line Pend Oreille Valley Railroad has dedicated newly-painted GP9 unit 102 honoring its former chief mechanical officer Brad Byrd who died last year. The railroad operates 17 miles of former Milwaukee Road track in Washington State, 25 miles of former Great Northern track in Washington and Idaho, and seven miles of trackage rights on joint BNSF/Union Pacific line in Idaho. [Railway Age, 1-29-24]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO SUPPORT CONFIDENTIAL CLOSE CALL REPORTING SYSTEM: Norfolk Southern and two of its employees' unions, in partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration, have announced their joint participation in the FRA Confidential Close Call Reporting System pilot program designed to enhance rail safety. Under the one-year pilot, covered employees may report safety concerns with the certainty that such reports will not result in discipline. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 1-29-24]

PLANS FOR MILWAUKEE-MADISON AMTRAK SERVICE ADVANCE: There are plans to extend Amtrak's Hiawatha service from Milwaukee to Madison. Additional stops proposed along the route include Watertown and Pewaukee, and there are also plans to eventually extend the line further to Eau Claire and the Twin Cities. It could ultimately extend past the Twin Cities to Superior, Wisconsin, and Duluth, Minnesota. [Milwaukee Sentinel, 1-29-24]

VALLEY METRO IN PHOENIX OPENS N.W. PHASE II LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: Valley Metro in Phoenix marked the opening of the Northwest Phase II extension of light-rail service on Jan. 27. The extension includes three stations, and is anticipated to initially attract 1,400 new riders to the system daily. The line provides greater access to the West Valley. [Progressive Railroading, 1-29-24]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty-one percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending Jan. 28, 2024. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 12 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-28-24]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO CUT 7 PCT OF ITS NON-UNION STAFF: Norfolk Southern plans to lay off 7 percent of its non-union work force amid a tough freight cycle. Workers include management and administrative staff, roughly translating to around 330 people. [Seeking Alpha News, 1-26-24]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 4-Q EARNINGS: Norfolk Southern reported fourth-quarter 2023 railway operating revenue of $3.1-billion, down 5 percent compared with the same quarter 2022. Railway operating income was $808-million, down 32 percent. Included was a $150-million charge associated with the Febr. 3, 2023, derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. Adjusting for that charge, income from railway operations was $958-million. [Progressive Railroading, 1-26-24]

FRA ANNOUNCES RULE TO IMPROVE SAFETY ON FREIGHT TRAINS WITH HAZMATS: The Federal Railroad Administration has announced a final rule to improve employee safety on freight trains transporting hazardous materials. Railroads will be required to provide emergency escape breathing apparatuses for employees who could be exposed to an inhalation hazard, and to ensure that the equipment is in proper condition and employees are trained in its use. [Progressive Railroading, 1-26-24]

N.J. TRANSIT TO REDIRECT $503-M FEDERAL TRANSITGRID GRANT TO OTHER IMPROVEMENTS: With the approval of the Federal Transit Administration, New Jersey Transit is redirecting $503-million in federal grant funding, originally allocated to the agency's TransitGrid facility in Kearny, N.J., to instead support resiliency infrastructure improvements at Hoboken Terminal, New Brunswick County Yard, and the Raritan River Bridge. [Railway Age, 1-26-24]

LANDSLIDE IN SAN CLEMENTE, CALIFORNIA, DISRUPTS RAIL SERVICE: Amtrak and Metrolink service was suspended Jan. 24 due to another landslide in San Clemente, California. [Railway Track & Structures, 1-25-24]

CSX REPORTS 4-Q EARNINGS: CSX reported fourth-quarter 2023 revenue at $3.68-billion, down 1 percent from the same quarter the year before. Operating income of $1.32-billion was down 10 percent, diluted earnings per share of $0.45 decreased 8 percent, and net earnings of $886-million were down 13 percent. Operating ratio was 64.1 percent versus 60.9 percent from the prior year's fourth-quarter. [Railway Age, 1-25-24]

BNSF ANNOUNCES 2024 CAPITAL INVESTMENT PLAN: BNSF has announced its 2024 capital investment plan of $3.92-billion. The largest component of the plan is $2.88-billion to maintaining the railroad's core network and related assets. About $440-million is for equipment acquisitions. [BNSF, 1-25-24]

FEDS AWARD $28-M TOWARD IMPROVEMENTS TO RAIL YARD IN ELKO, NEVADA: Federal funding of $28-million has been announced supporting the Elko, Nevada, rail corridor enhancement project. on the Union Pacific rail yard in Elko. The improvements at the Union Pacific's Elko rail yard will reduce an average of two and one-half hours of delay per freight train using the corridor. [White House Fact Sheet, 1-25-24]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 4-Q RESULTS: Union Pacific reported fourth-quarter 2023 net income of $1.7-billion or $2.71 per diluted share, up from $1.6-billion or $2.67 per diluted share in the same quarter the previous year. Total operating revenue was $6.2-billion. [Progressive Railroading, 1-25-24]

U.S. SENATE CONFIRMS THREE TO AMTRAK BOARD: The U.S. Senate has confirmed Anthony Coscia, Amtrak chairman; Joel Szabat, Aviation Strategies president; and Christopher Koos, mayor of Normal, Illinois, as members of Amtrak's board. [Progressive Railroading, 1-25-24]

MEXICO MULLS RAIL CORRIDOR TO COMPETE WITH PANAMA CANAL: Officials in Mexico predict an opportunity for the country's $2.8-billion Isthmus of Tehuantepec interoceanic corridor, a 188-mile east-west rail corridor, which could handle up to 1.4 million 20-foot equivalent units annually by 2033. The project could be an alternative to ocean vessels transiting the Panama Canal, which is subject to periodic drought conditions restricting its use by ships. [Freight Waves, 1-25-24]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads originated 397,553 carloads and intermodal units in the week ending Jan. 20, 2024, down 13.2 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 22.4 percent, and intermodal was down 4.5 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-24-24]

CN REPORTS 4-Q EARNINGS: Canadian National reported fourth-quarter 2023 revenue of $4.5-billion (C), down 2 percent compared with the same quarter last year; net income of $2.1-billion, up 50 percent; and $3.29 diluted earnings per share, up 57 percent. [Progressive Railroading, 1-24-24]

NEW SHORT-LINE ESTABLISHED IN W.VA.: Empire River Rail, a new short-line, has been established by Empire Diversified Energy at the Port of West Virginia. Empire River will strive to be a clean-energy rail system as it serves the port by connecting the movement and storage of freight. [Progressive Railroading, 1-24-24]

HYDROGEN HIGH-SPEED TRAIN TO BE DEVELOPED: Funding has been awarded in Spain for a project to power a Talgo gauge-changing high-speed train set using renewable hydrogen. Talgo class 730 electro-diesel train sets used by national operator RENFE have a power car behind each driving car containing a diesel engine for use on non-electrified lines. The project will replace one of these power cars with a vehicle containing fuel cells and batteries. Overhead electrification will be used where available for traction and charging the battery, with hydrogen and battery power used on non-electrified lines. [Railway Gazette, 1-24-24]

VIRGINIA REPORTS RECORD STATE-SUPPORTED AMTRAK RIDERSHIP: The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority reported that more than 1.32 million passengers traveled on its state-supported Amtrak trains in 2023, the highest ridership since service began in 2009, and an increase by 29.8 percent over 2022. [Railway Age, 1-23-24]

FEDS GRANT $226-M TOWARD LOUISIANA INTERNATIONAL TERMINAL CONSTRUCTION: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has awarded a $226.2-million grant to the Port of New Orleans to assist the first construction phase of the 1,200-acre Louisiana International Terminal in Violet. It will leverage the port's connectivity with all six Class-I railroads. [Railway Age, 1-23-24]

CSX HONORS MONON R.R. WITH COMMEMORATIVE LOCOMOTIVE: CSX locomotive 1897 has been released from the Waycross paint shop with a commemorative paint scheme honoring the Monon Railroad, a predecessor line that operated mostly in Indiana from 1897 to 1971. [Railway Age, 1-23-24]

BISON TRANSPORT PARTNERS WITH CPKC IN INTERMODAL TRANSPORT: Trucking firm Bison Transport and Canadian Pacific Kansas City have agreed to provide intermodal services on CPKC's corridor connecting Canada, U.S. and Mexico. The agreement provides Bison's customer base immediate access to cross-border multimodal solutions. [Progressive Railroading, 1-23-24]

U.S. DOT APPROVES $2.5-B PRIVATE-ACTIVITY BONDS TO BRIGHTLINE WEST PROJECT: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has approved a $2.5-billion private-activity bond allocation to the Brightline West intercity passenger rail project linking Las Vegas and southern California. [Railway Age, 1-23-24]

NEW HAMILTON-MONTREAL INTERMODAL RAIL SERVICE BEGINS: The Hamilton, Ontario, Container Terminal, in collaboration with the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority and Canadian National, has begun direct intermodal rail service between Hamilton and Montreal. An inaugural train has completed its journey and is set to transition into a regular weekly service. [Progressive Railroading, 1-23-24]

GATX REPORTS 4-Q, FULL YEAR RESULTS: GATX Corp. has reported fourth-quarter 2023 net income of %66.0 million or $1.81 per diluted share, compared with $48.4-million or $1.36 per diluted share in the same quarter last year. For the full year, net income was $259.2-million or $7.12 per diluted share, versus prior year's $155.9-million or $4.35 per share. [Railway Age, 1-23-24]

CRACKS DISCOVERED IN CALEDONIAN SLEEPER CARS: Hairline cracks have been found in the T slots of eight of 75 MkV cars in U.K.'s Calendonian Sleeper fleet at points where the yaw damper bracket joins the body of the vehicle. The cars with cracks have been taken out of service pending repair. [Railway Gazette, 1-23-24]

STB CALLS FOR STATUS REPORT ON AMTRAK'S GULF COAST SERVICE SETTLEMENT: The Surface Transportation Board will require additional information regarding the status of the settlement agreement to allow Amtrak to operate service in the Gulf coast region. The board has scheduled a hearing for Febr. 14 for the parties involved to report more fully on the settlement status. [Railway Age, 1-22-24]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-five percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending Jan. 21, 2024. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 41 minutes late. Twenty-six percent of scheduled runs during the week were canceled or truncated, many due to severe snow and ice storms. The Empire Builder did not even run at all. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-22-24]

AMTRAK TRAINS IMPACTED BY WINTER WEATHER: Jan. 18 was not a good day for Amtrak, on either end of the Lake Shore Limited route, and in a number of other places. Half of the Acela trains on the Northeast corridor were canceled, and many of the trains in the Midwest were canceled as well. The Empire Builder did not operate, either, and has not run since Jan. 11. Amtrak is blaming the cancelations on equipment issues and host railroad conditions. [Railway Age, 1-19-24]

OVERNIGHT TRAINS ARE BACK IN VOGUE IN EUROPE: With the launch of next-generation rolling stock on OBB's international overnight trains and the revival of a Paris-Berlin service, the stage is set for a night train renaissance in Europe. The market centers mainly on leisure travel, but night trains have potential to attract business travelers, too. Night trains have enjoyed favorable publicity. OBB pointed out in 2020 that a train between Wien and Brussels emitted one-tenth the CO2 as flying. [Railway Gazette, 1-19-24]

CALIFORNIA HSR CHIEF TO RESIGN: Following six years leading the California High-Speed Rail Authority, Brian Kelly has submitted his letter of resignation. He plans to stay in the role as the agency begins its search for a new chief executive. [Railway Age, 1-19-24]

SIEMENS TO SUPPLY 70 EMU'S TO AUSTRIA: Austrian Federal Railways has placed a firm order for 70 electric multiple-units based on a development of Siemens Mobility's established Mireo design. They will be supplied in three variants for entry into service from the end of 2027. [Railway Gazette, 1-19-24]

FORMER KCS CEO ELECTED TO BOARD OF J.B. HUNT: J.B. Hunt Transport Services has elected former Kansas City Southern president and CEO Patrick Ottensmeyer to its board. [Progressive Railroading, 1-19-24]

CSX HONORED AS 'TOP PERFORMER' IN INTERMODAL SERVICE: CSX was named top performer in intermodal service, according to a recent survey in Sept. and Oct. 2023 by the Journal of Commerce. [Progressive Railroading, 1-19-24]

BRIGHTLINE WEST TO BEGIN TO RECRUIT WORKERS: Brightline West will begin to recruit workers to construct its high-speed rail system. An anticipated 11,000 workers will build 218 miles of rail by the summer, and 3,000 construction workers are expected to be hired within southern Nevada. Completion of the project is slated for summer 2028, in time for the Olympics in Los Angeles. [Railway Track & Structures, 1-18-24]

FEDS WITHDRAW PERMIT FOR RAIL CONSTRUCTION THROUGH UTAH FOREST: The U.S. Forest Service has withdrawn approval of a Uinta Basin Railway project permit allowing construction through about 12 miles of protected forest in Utah. The decision follows a U.S. court ruling that struck down an approval involving an 88-mile rail line to connect oil and gas producers to the broader rail network. Approval could yet be reissued if deficiencies in the environmental impact statement are addressed. [Railway Age, 1-18-24]

U.S. FREIGHT FUNDAMENTALS TO IMPROVE IN 2024, ACT RESEARCH REPORT SAYS: After a prolonged freight recession, U.S. freight cycle fundamentals will improve in 2024, according to the latest release of ACT Research's 'Freight Forecast, U.S. Rate and Volume Outlook' report. That scenarios will play out as freight demand is still below trend, but starting to recover as post-pandemic effects fade, both real disposable incomes and retail sales are accelerating and disruptions in ocean shipping are likely catalyzing the end of the 18-month destock. DC Velocity, 1-18-24]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads originated 457,453 carloads and intermodal units in the week ending Jan. 13, 2024, down 4.1 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 10.2 percent, and intermodal was up 1.9 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-17-24]

FRA SEEKS PUBLIC COMMENTS ON SELF-PROPELLED CONTAINER RAIL VEHICLE: The Federal Railroad Administration is seeking public comments on a proposal from two short line carriers who want to test self-propelled electric rail vehicles for movement of containers over short distances. Comments on the program are due March 18. [Progressive Railroading, 1-17-24]

TWO CPKC HYDROGEN-POWERED LOCOMOTIVES IN SERVICE IN CALGARY: Canadian Pacific Kansas City's hydrogen-powered units 1001 and 1002, designed and built by in-house engineers, are operating in regular service in the Calgary, Alberta, terminal where they are switching and serving customers. [Railway Age, 1-17-24]

TRIP OPTIMIZER SURPASSES 1-B MILES: Wabtec's Trip Optimizer has passed a milestone as railroads have used the software for more than one billion auto miles worldwide, collectively in 12,000 locomotives, the equivalent of more than 40,000 trips around the planet. The process is a smart cruise-control system for trains that comprehend terrain, train makeup, speed restrictions and operating conditions to calculate an optimum speed to control locomotive throttle and dynamic brakes, reduce fuel and provide efficient train handling. [Progressive Railroading, 1-17-24]

WINTER STORMS IMPACT CERTAIN AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAINS: Due to winter storms, Amtrak has canceled a number of its long-distance trains. Included on Jan. 17 are the Lake Shore Limited, Empire Builder and northbound Texas Eagle. The Empire Builder is also canceled Jan. 18 and 19. Other cancellations or partial cancellations could potentially develop. [Amtrak]

GERMAN-DUTCH CROSS-BORDER RAIL CONNECTION APPROVED: Approval has paved the way for the start of preliminary works for the reintroduction of passenger rail service on a freight-only line from Neuenhaus, Germany, to Coevorden, Netherlands. [Railway Gazette, 1-17-24]

CONTAINER TERMINAL PLANNED SOUTH OF PORT OF NEW ORLEANS: In an effort to lure jumbo cargo ships up the Mississippi River, a preliminary deal has been signed to build a 900-acre container terminal about 20 miles south of the Port of New Orleans. The land is on the river's west bank about 50 miles above the mouth of the Mississippi River. [Freight Waves, 1-16-24]

NEW AMTRAK STATION TO BE BUILT AT BRATTLEBORO, VT.: Construction on a new $7.4-million Amtrak station in Brattleboro, Vt., will begin in March. It will house a waiting area, restroom, engineer's room, an outdoor seating area, and include a 345-foot-long high-level platform. [Railway Track & Structures, 1-16-24]

S&K STEEL PRODUCTS ACQUIRED BY IRWIN TRANSPORTATION PRODUCTS: S&K Steel Products, manufacturer of rail bars, plates and wheel stops for railroads, has been acquired by Irwin Transportation Products. S&K will remain in Madison Heights, Michigan. [Progressive Railroading, 1-16-24]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-eight percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending Jan. 14, 2024. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 41 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-15-24]

METRO-NORTH'S SCARSDALE STATION IS NOW FULLY-ACCESSIBLE: Metro-North's station in Scarsdale, N.Y., has been made fully-accessible with the opening of a second elevator that serves the Grand Central-bound platform. [Progressive Railroading, 1-15-24]

VRE'S 2025 BUDGET APPROVED: Virginia Railway Express's FY-2025 has received final approval along with a six-year capital improvement program. The budget allows for the operation of Saturday service, elimination of fares for those 18 and under, and simplifies fare payment options. Agreement with host carriers for Saturday service will be required. [Progressive Railroading, 1-15-24]

AMTRAK CLEARED FOR HIGH-SPEED TRAIN TESTS: The Federal Railroad Administration has cleared Amtrak's new high-speed trains to begin testing on its Northeast corridor. French manufacturer Alstom is building the trains at its Hornell, N.Y., plant. [Progressive Railroading, 1-15-24]

BNSF REPORTS RECORD YEAR FOR WORKPLACE SAFETY: BNSF reported 2023 was a record year for workplace safety with the lowest injury frequency rate in its 175-year history. The company's employees worked without a loss of life, and the fewest injuries ever. [Progressive Railroading, 1-15-24]

BRUNSWICK, MD., INTERLOCKING TOWER TO BEGIN EXTERIOR RENOVATION: The city of Brunswick, Md., will begin to renovate the exterior of former CSX (x-B&O) WB Tower on Jan. 15. It was moved across the tracks from its formerly in-service location in April 2022, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The three-month project involves restoring the structure to its original appearance, and building a viewing platform. [City of Brunswick, via. Bill Haines]

NEW TOURIST TRAIN BEGINS SERVICE IN ITALY: FS Group has formed FS Treni Turistici Italiai, sporting refurbished rolling stock in blue livery. The fleet includes sleeping and couchette cars, a dining car and baggage car. [Railway Gazette, 1-14-24]

TWO BRIGHTLINE CROSSING ACCIDENTS AT SAME LOCATION RESULT IN THREE DEATHS: A 62-year-old male driver was killed Jan. 10 and a 52-year-old female and 54-year-old male were killed two days later when struck by Brightline trains at the same crossing in Melbourne, Florida. Three others were injured in the Jan. 10 incident. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-13-24]

PLANS UNVEILED FOR RENEWABLE NATURAL GAS POWERED LOCOMOTIVE TENDER: Plans in the U.S. have been unveiled for the development and testing of a prototype main line freight locomotive with a powered tender, which will be fueled by renewable natural gas. Renewable natural gas is a purified biogas that can be used interchangeably with conventional natural gas. The capital cost is expected to be offset by savings in annual operating costs and higher reliability. [Railway Gazette, 1-12-24]

RAIL UNIONS WARN FEDS OF SAFETY, RELIABILITY CONCERNS: A group of rail labor unions has filed a safety and reliability report with the Surface Transportion Board warning that the six big freight railroads' continued faith in precision scheduled railroading is leaving them on the 'precipice of a self-made disaster.' Recommendations made by the unions include surprise safety inspections, and disqualifying rail personnel who show themselves as unfit to perform safety-sensitive functions. [Rail Passengers Assn., 1-12-24]

SYSTEM DEVELOPED FOR HIGH-SPEED OVERHEAD WIRE INSPECTION: Central Japan Railway has developed an automated overhead line inspection system that can be fitted to series-built trains used on the Tokaido Shinkansen. It is able to check the position of wires and the condition of fittings while trains are traveling up to 186 MPH using roof-mounted equipment. [Railway Gazette, 1-12-24]

MAERSK SHIFTS OC1 PANAMA CANAL TRAFFIC TO PANAMA CANAL RAILWAY: Due to projected water levels in Gatan Lake and the need to reduce the amount and weight of vessels through the Panama Canal, Maersk is amending its OC1 service to omit the canal, instead using the Panama Canal Railway as a land bridge both east and west. [Railway Age, 1-11-24]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads originated 417,257 carloads and intermodal units in the week ending Jan. 6, 2024, up 2.3 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were up 0.9 percent, and intermodal was up 3.7 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-10-24]

COMPLY365, VISTAIR ANNOUNCE MERGER: Comply365 LLC and Vistar Ltd. announced the completion of a merger to create a global provider of compliance, safety and data intelligence technologies serving the rail, aviation and defense industries. [Progressive Railroading, 1-10-24]

FIRST E6800 ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVE BEGINS TESTING IN TANZANIA: Tanzania Railways is testing the first of 17 E6800 electric locomotives that Hyundai Rotem is supplying for the standard-gauge railway project. [Railway Gazette, 1-10-24]

MEXICO INVESTIGATING FREIGHT RAIL TRANSPORTATION MARKET: Mexico's antitrust authority is investigating the country's freight rail transportation market amid government plans to build out rail infrastructure. The country's rail sector is dominated by Canadian Pacific Kansas City and Grupo Mexico's transport unit. [Reuters, 1-10-24]

PSC GROUP ACQUIRES BAYPORT RAIL TERMINAL IN TEXAS: PSC Group has acquired Union Pacific-served Bayport Rail Terminal in Texas from U.S. Development Group. The terminal serves the chemical industry on the Bayport Loop and Port Houston, offering loaded and empty rail car staging, switching, repair, cleaning, and rail-to-container transloading. [Railway Age, 1-9-24]

STB ISSUES DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT FOR PROPOSED RAIL LINE IN N.Y. STATE: The Surface Transportation Board on Jan. 5 issued a draft environmental assessment for proposed construction and operation of a new rail line in Suffolk County, N.Y., by Townline Rail Terminal. The line would add one New York & Atlantic Railway round trip train five days a week to the Long Island Rail Road. NY&A is a short line that currently operates freight rail service on the LIRR main line in conjunction with LIRR passenger operations in Suffolk, Nassau, Kings and Queens counties, N.Y. [Railway Age, 1-9-24]

THREE CALTRAIN ELECTRIC TRAIN SETS COMPLETE 1,000 MILES OF TESTING: Three of Caltrain's 23 electric train sets have completed 1,000 miles of testing along the line's corridor in southern California. The entire fleet must meet all safety and quality standards prior to start of service in fall 2024. [Progressive Railroading, 1-9-24]

CERTAINTEED ROOFING BREAKS GROUND ON UNION PACIFIC-SERVED CENTER IN TEXAS: CertainTeed Roofing, a building products manufacturer, is expanding its service and production capabilities in Texas. The Saint-Gobain Corp. subsidiary broke ground recently on a new warehouse and distribution center in Bryan, which will be served by Union Pacific. [Railway Age, 1-9-24]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN AIMS FOR LOW-CARBON FUTURE: Norfolk Southern has released its inaugural climate transition plan, aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emission intensity by 42 percent by 2034. [Railway Gazette, 1-9-24]

NEW LIGHT-RAIL STATION TO BE BUILT IN SACRAMENTO AREA: The board of Sacramento Regional Transit district has voted to approve a new light-rail station for the Dos Rios area of Sacrament, near Marisol Village, an affordable housing community. [Railway Track & Structures, 1-9-24]

STADLER SUPPLIES FOUR DMU'S TO AZERBAIJAN: Azerbaijan's national railway ADY has taken delivery of four Stadler Flirt diesel multiple units. [Railway Gazette, 1-9-24]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Seventy (70) percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending Jan. 7, 2024. The remaining trains, on average, arrived 44 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-8-24]

CONTRACTORS SELECTED FOR BALTIMORE HOWARD STREET TUNNEL PROJECT: A joint venture between Skanska & Fay and S&B USA Construction has been selected for the $293-million Howard street tunnel clearance project. It includes modernizing the 125-year-old tunnel on CSX's north-south corridor in Baltimore. [Railway Track & Structures, 1-8-24]

TRI-RAIL'S EXPANDED SERVICE INTO MIAMI CENTRAL STATION BEGINS JAN. 13: The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority will start Tri-Rail's expanded service into the Miami Central station Jan. 13. It will be introduced as a train-to-train transfer in Hialeah, where a shuttle train will spur out of the South Florida rail corridor onto Florida East Coast's track for a direct service to Miami Central and back. [Progressive Railroading, 1-8-24]

KENOSHA MAYOR VOICES SUPPORT FOR KENOSHA-RACINE-MILWAUKEE COMMUTER RAIL: The mayor of Kenosha, Wisconsin, is voicing support for a plan to create a commuter rail line between Kenosha, Racine and Milwaukee. It would serve nine stations six of them new, providing connection to Metra's UP-North line in Kenosha. [Kenosha News, 1-7-24]

BNSF ACHIEVES RECORD PRODUCTION AT CORWITH TERMINAL: BNSF achieved an all-time record production performance from its Chicago-based Corwith Intermodal Terminal in 2023. which saw a 25 percent increase in traffic from previous months. [Railway Age, 1-5-24]

D.C. METRO DERAILMENT IN OCT. 2021 WAS RESULT OF 'POOR SAFETY CULTURE,' NTSB SAYS: A Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority train derailment in Oct. 2021 was the result of a 'poor safety culture,' the National Transportation Safety Board said. The accident occurred in a tunnel south of Rosslyn, and was because the wheels of one wheel set had migrated outward on its axle. Investigators found that one department within the transit agency was aware of the wheel migration but did not conduct a trend analysis to monitor the incidence of migration or how effective its migrations were. [Progressive Railroading, 1-5-24]

TRAIN DERAILMENT IN MISSOURI CRASHES INTO HOME: No one was injured late Jan. 5 when a train derailed into a trailer on an adjacent property in Vernon County, Missouri. A half dozen cars reportedly derailed. [KZRG, 1-5-24]

METRA TO CLOSE ITS REMAINING TICKET WINDOWS: Chicago's Metra will be closing its remaining ticket windows. Outlying station windows on the BNSF line close Jan. 8, and on all other locations Febr. 1. Vending machines have been installed at the busiest stations, and tickets may also be purchased through the Ventra app and from conductors on trains. Some of the ticket agents will be retained as customer service representatives. [Railway Age, 1-4-24]

CSX PAYS TRIBUTE TO NEW YORK CENTRAL WITH HERITAGE LOCOMOTIVE: CSX has introduced locomotive 1853 in New York Central colors. It is the eighth heritage locomotive to roll out of its Waycross, Ga., shop, and its number recognizes NYC's founding year. [Railway Age, 1-4-24]

READING & NORTHERN REPORTS GROWTH IN FREIGHT, PASSENGER OPERATIONS: For the second consecutive year, the Reading & Northern Railroad logged double-digit growth in both its freight and passenger excursion operations in 2023. It handled 37,000 freight cars, up from 33,000 the year before. Excursion ridership rose to 320,000 from 250,000. [Progressive Railroading, 1-4-24]

N.Y. SUBWAY TRAINS COLLIDE: A low-speed crash between two subway trains near New York's 96th street station on Jan. 4 caused both trains to derail, more than 20 minor injuries, and service disruptions on the 1, 2 and 3 lines. Federal safety officials are investigating. [Fox-5, 1-4-24]

AMTRAK PLANS RENOVATIONS TO CHICAGO UNION STATION CONCOURSE: Amtrak plans to renovate the concourse at Chicago Union Station, and is seeking project ideas from the public. Improvements to the boarding process, modernized amenities and new services are among the changes to be designed. This will be the first major enhancement at track level and above since 1991. [Progressive Railroading, 1-3-24]

U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT FOR 2023: U.S. railroads originated 24,369,229 carloads and intermodal units in 2023, a decrease of 2.3 percent compared with the previous year. Calculated separately, carloads were up 0.7 percent, and intermodal was down 4.9 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-3-24]

U.S., MEXICAN PARTNERSHIP TO EXPAND RAIL CAR FERRY SERVICE: Genesee & Wyoming has announced that Grupo Mexico Transportes will become its partner in CG Railway, a rail car ferry operation linking ports in the U.S. and Mexico. The ferry service offers weekly trips between ports of Mobile and Coatzacoalcos, and gives shippers access to 13 ports in the U.S. and Mexico through rail interchanges in both countries. [Freight Waves, 1-2-24]

BUSES WITH MIGRANTS UNLOAD AT N.J. RAIL STATIONS TO AVOID NEW YORK'S DROP-OFF RULE: Faced with a new directive by New York City requiring charter bus operators to provide 32 hours of advance notice of the arrival of migrants from the southern border, along with restricting their arrival times, about a dozen buses unloaded their passengers at N.J. Transit stations in New Jersey for their transfer into the city by rail. [Railway Age, 1-2-24]

BNSF RESUMES OPERATION OF MONTANA RAIL LINK: Beginning Jan. 1, BNSF resumed operations across what is now the MRL subdivision of the Montana division, welcoming Montana Rail Link members to the BNSF family. Luke Johnson, division general manager, will oversee operations. [Railway Age, 1-2-24]

BART TRAIN DERAILS: Several people were injured and service was disrupted when a Bay Area Rapid Transit train derailed Jan. 1 and caught fire in the San Francisco Bay area. All passengers were evacuated and fire crews quickly extinguished flames in two cars. [AP, 1-1-24]

AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE IN 2023: Forty-three percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in 2023. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 26 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept.]


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