First Video Post – Across the Heartland – from Pentrex

 

First completed on 02 November 2009. Updated with new software on 10 September 2012

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WRR – 05-21-2010

WEEKLY RAIL REVIEW

FOR THE WEEK ENDING FRIDAY, MAY 21, 2010     

THE WEEK’S TOP RAIL AND TRANSIT NEWS (in chronological order):

 (MON) U.S. airlines sued the U.S. National Mediation Board to stop enforcement of the rule change that permits union-organizing elections to be decided on the number of yea and nay votes cast.  The previous rule, which dated back 75 years, required a majority of an entire work group to approve unionization, effectively counting those who didn’t vote as “no” votes.  The rule change is applicable to both the air and rail industries.  The suit, which was filed by the Air Transport Association, alleges that the new change was unjustified and in violation of existing federal law. (ffd: wire services)

 (MON) The Federal Railroad Administration proposed new regulations prohibiting train and engine employees from “improperly” using electronic devices while on duty.  The new regulations would make permanent the ban on using cell phones and related devices on the job, as was ordered by FRA Emergency Order No. 26, which was put into effect following evidence that the engineer who collided his train in the Metrolink-Union Pacific crash in Chatsworth, CA in 2008 had been texting with his cell phone.  The crash killed 26 persons, including that engineer.  The FRA said that it would accept comment on the proposed new regulations by June 17. (ffd: FRA, Progressive Railroading)

 (MON) The Long Island Rail Road put into effect the first of a series of service cuts necessitated by the projected several hundred million dollar deficit of its parent organization, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority.  Peak hour trains were cute on the Babylon, Long Beach, Oyster Bay, Port Jefferson, and Port Washington lines, and daily service to Belmont Park was eliminated altogether.  Several more service cuts are schedule to be implemented in September, including the elimination of weekend service to West Hempstead and Greenport and the shift in weekday off-peak service to Port Washington from half-hourly to hourly. (ffd: CBS Radio)

 (MON) BNSF debuted its newly redesigned website.  Among the new features is a virtual tour, which explains and shows rail equipment and infrastructure.  As before, the website may be linked to at www.bnsf.com. (ffd: BNSF RR, Progressive Railroading)

 (TUE) The E.H. Harriman Memorial Awards were presented in Washington, DC to the railroads with the best employee safety records.  For the 21st year in a row, Norfolk Southern won the gold award for railroads with 15 million or more annual employee hours; for the fourth year in a row, Kansas City Southern won the gold award for railroads with 4 million to 15 million hours; Genesee & Wyoming’s Buffalo & Pittsburgh won the gold award for railroads with 250,000 to 4 million hours; and the Indiana Harbor Belt won the gold award for switching and terminal railroads. (ffd: AAR)

 (THU) Amtrak announced on its website that it had been asked by Virginia Railway Express to continue operating VRE commuter trains past the June 28 date that operation was to be taken over by Keolis Rail Services.  But a VRE spokesman and the Keolis general manager later denied Amtrak’s assertion, saying that it had asked Amtrak for “breathing room.”  “We still believe we are going to make the transition on the 28th,” said the chairman of VRE’s Operations Board. (ffd: Amtrak, NARP, Washington Examiner)

 (THU) A coalition of 11 Northeastern states has asked the Federal Railroad Administration to develop a plan to dramatically upgrade high-speed passenger service in the Northeast Corridor during the next four decades.  In its proposal, the coalition asked that the planning effort be “one of the most comprehensive and inclusive transportation plans ever attempted on a broad, regionwide basis.”  Amtrak has estimated that annual passenger rail ridership on its NEC lines may double to 28 million by 2030, with a four-fold increase to 60 million riders possible by 2050. (ffd: wire services)

STATS – CLASS 1 RAIL TRAFFIC:

 (THU) For the week ending May 15, 2010, U.S. carload rail traffic was up 16.6 percent from the comparable week last year, up 24.5 percent in the East and up 11.6 percent in the West.  Notable traffic increases included metallic ores up 140.9 percent, metals and metal products up 82.9 percent, and motor vehicles and equipment up 39.0 percent; notable traffic decreases included pulp and paper products up 2.8 percent.  Also for the week, U.S. intermodal rail traffic was up 15.2 percent, Canadian carload rail traffic was up 36.4 percent, Canadian intermodal rail traffic was up 20.3 percent, Mexican carload rail traffic was up 14.8 percent, and Mexican intermodal rail traffic was up 18.9 percent.

 For the period January 1 through May 15, 2010, U.S. rail volume grand totaled 585.9 billion ton-miles, up 7.3 percent from the comparable period last year.  Also for this period, U.S. carload rail traffic was up 6.3 percent, U.S. intermodal rail traffic was up 10.3 percent, Canadian carload rail traffic was up 20.1 percent, Canadian intermodal rail traffic was up 9.7 percent, Mexican carload rail traffic was up 23.1 percent, and Mexican intermodal rail traffic was up 34.5 percent. (ffd: AAR)

(NOTE: Canadian counts include traffic from the U.S. operations of the two Canadian-based Class I railroads, Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Railway.)

EXPANSIONS, CONTRACTIONS AND ALIKE:

 (MON) NC Railroad, a subsidiary of National Coal Corporation, announced the sale of its 42-mile line between Oneida, TN and Devonia, TN to R. J. Corman Railroad.  The line sold for approximately $3 million. (ffd: Knoxville News-Sentinel, Progressive Railroading)

 (MON) The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) announced that the shortline holding company Patriot Rail had been selected as the new operator of the former Piedmont & Northern line between Gastonia, NC and Mount Holly, NC, which is owned by NCDOT.  Totaling approximately 12 miles in length, the line has been out of service for about 20 years. (ffd: Gaston Gazette, Trains)

 (TUE) The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey announced that it would develop a trash transfer facility at Greenville Yards in Jersey City, NJ.  The facility will receive New York City trash moved by barge across New York Harbor and there transfer it in sealed containers for shipment via rail out of the region.  A PANYNJ spokesman said the new facility will handle the equivalent of 360,000 truckloads of trash annually by 2013.  The spokesman added that New York New Jersey Rail’s car float operation across the harbor will continue to use Greenville Yards as its western terminus. (ffd: PANYNJ, Progressive Railroading)

 (THU) The California Transportation Commission gave final approval for use of public funds to help build a flyover at Colton, CA outside Los Angeles.  The flyover will grade-separate the junction there of BNSF’s Transcon Line and Union Pacific’s Sunset route, where approximately 100 trains a day presently cross.  State and federal funds are anticipated to cover $125 million of the flyover’s $202 million expected total cost. (ffd: Trains)

 (THU) CSX filed to abandon approximately four miles of its Southern Region-Nashville Division-CE&D line in and near Terre Haute, IN. (ffd: STB)

 (FRI) The State of Pennsylvania announced a grant of $4.3 million to the Kiski Junction Railroad to extend a spur nine miles along the Allegheny River to serve an expanding coal mine.  The grant will come from PennDOT’s Rail Freight Capital Budget & Transportation Assistance Program. (ffd: Pittsburgh Tribune Review)

APPOINTMENTS, ACHIEVEMENTS AND MILESTONES:

 (SAT) James Burnett passed away at Age 62 from complications related to diabetes.  Mr. Burnett was the chair of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board in the early 1980s. (ffd: Washington Post)

 (SUN) A.W. “Bill” Johnston passed away at Age 85 in Pawleys Island, SC.  Mr. Johnston had been the AAR’s VP-Operations & Maintenance when he retired in 1988, and was earlier an operating officer with CSX predecessor Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. (ffd: UTU News)

 (MON) The Obama Administration nominated John Pistole to be the head of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.  Mr. Pistole is presently the deputy director of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. (ffd: New York Times)

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WRR – 05-14-2010

WEEKLY RAIL REVIEW

FOR THE WEEK ENDING FRIDAY, MAY 14, 2010     

THE WEEK’S TOP RAIL AND TRANSIT NEWS (in chronological order):

 (SAT) National Train Day was celebrated across the U.S.  Major events took place at Amtrak stations in Chicago, IL, Los Angeles, CA, New York, NY, Philadelphia, PA and Washington, DC.  This was the third annual National Train Day, which is held on or near the May 10 anniversary date of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869. (ffd: NARP)

 (MON) The U.S. National Mediation Board (NMB) ruled that it would recognize union representation if a simple majority of a company’s workers cast ballots in favor of organizing.  The NMB’s previous rule required a majority of the entire work force to favor unionizing, meaning that workers that chose not to vote were effectively counted as “no” vote.  Analysts suggested that this may make easier the organizing of workers in the airline and rail industries. (ffd: Philadelphia Inquirer, wire services)

 (MON) Amtrak’s system timetable for the spring and summer of 2010 took effect.  The system timetable again includes Northeast Corridor trains, which had earlier been listed in a separate timetable due to numerous temporary schedule changes related to ongoing trackwork.  Among the service changes reflected is the restoration of checked baggage service on the “Cardinal,” which operates between New York and Chicago via Cincinnati, OH. (ffd: Amtrak)

 (TUE) At Norfolk Southern’s annual shareholders meeting, NS CEO Wick Moorman criticized the efforts of a “cynical and short-sighted” group of rail shippers who support new federal rail regulatory legislation.  Mr. Moorman said, “We are still engaged in defending against the long-running initiative by a small, but well-funded, group of rail shippers who are attempting to alter the economic regulatory regime which governs us, so as to lower their rates, and at the same time seriously damage our ability to earn adequate returns for our shareholders, and invest in our future.”  He added that while “relatively few” members of Congress support making significant changes in the status quo, “unfortunately for us, a couple of those do hold key committee chairmanships.” (ffd: Journal of Commerce)

 (TUE) A federal appeals court largely let stand a U.S. Surface Transportation Board ruling ordering BNSF to pay $100 million for overcharges in 2004 through 2008 for coal shipments between Powder River Basin mines in Wyoming and a power plant in Moba Junction, WY.  The order was the largest ever benefiting a customer whose shipments are captive to a single railroad.  The court said in its decision that BNSF did not raise its statutory argument “in a timely manner before the board.” (ffd: Journal of Commerce)

 (TUE) Union Pacific noted to the California High-Speed Rail Authority its objections to sharing railroad rights-of-way for high-speed passenger rail services.  In a letter to the authority, UP said that high-speed passenger trains would interfere with rail freight operations and could potentially lead to unsafe conditions.  They also said that they would resist efforts by the state to obtain necessary land through power of eminent domain. (ffd: San Jose Business Journal)

 (TUE) Axion International Holdings announced that it had constructed and put in service the first railroad bridge made from nearly 100 percent recycled plastic.  A spokesman said that the bridge is able to support the weight of a 120-ton locomotive and was less expensive to build than one using steel, concrete or wood.  The bridge was placed in service on railroad tracks of the U.S. Army Transportation Corps in Fort Eustis, VA. (ffd: Virginia Business)

 (THU) The Federal Railroad Administration gave initial approval to begin design and construction of a new high-speed passenger rail line connecting Orlando and Tampa, FL.  Funding for the line, which will be the first of its kind in the U.S., will come from $1.25 billion targeted by the FRA from the $8 billion in passenger rail funding appropriated by last year’s American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA). (ffd: wire services) 

 (FRI) The OneRail Coalition, whose membership includes the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, the Association of American Railroads, rail labor unions and related rail constituencies, commented in support of the Federal Railroad Administration’s proposed National Rail Plan.  Included in the coalition’s comments was the suggestion that the plan establish a national framework for transportation investment in the context of an overall multi-modal transportation network; continue dedicated funding for commuter rail, and establish new dedicated funding sources for high-speed and intercity passenger rail; recognize the complexities of passenger and freight rail partnerships; and boost rail workforce development and planning leadership to support rail industry growth. (ffd: Progressive Railroading)

STATS – CLASS 1 RAIL TRAFFIC:

 (THU) For the week ending May 8, 2010, U.S. rail volume grand totaled 32.2 billion ton-miles, up 16.2 percent from the comparable period last year.  U.S. carload rail traffic was up 14.7 percent, up 16.3 percent in the East and up 13.7 percent in the West.  Notable traffic increases included metals and metal products up 99.7 percent, metallic ores up 70.2 percent, and motor vehicles and equipment up 50.8 percent; notable traffic decreases included grain mill products down 4.8 percent.  Also for the week, U.S. intermodal rail traffic was up 14.0 percent, Canadian carload rail traffic was up 58.0 percent, Canadian intermodal rail traffic was up 9.9 percent, Mexican carload rail traffic was up 37.9 percent, and Mexican intermodal rail traffic was up 36.0 percent.

 For the period January 1 through May 8, 2010, U.S. rail volume grand totaled 553.6 billion ton-miles, up 6.7 percent from the comparable period last year.  Also for this period, U.S. carload rail traffic was up 5.8 percent, U.S. intermodal rail traffic was up 10.0 percent, Canadian carload rail traffic was up 19.3 percent, Canadian intermodal rail traffic was up 9.1 percent, Mexican carload rail traffic was up 23.6 percent, and Mexican intermodal rail traffic was up 35.5 percent. (ffd: AAR)

(NOTE: Canadian counts include traffic from the U.S. operations of the two Canadian-based Class I railroads, Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Railway.)

EXPANSIONS, CONTRACTIONS AND ALIKE:

 (FRI) CSX filed to abandon approximately one mile of its Speedway Running Track in Indianapolis, IN. (ffd: STB)

 (FRI) Tunnel boring began for the long-planned Second Avenue Subway in Manhattan in New York City.  The new line, which will supplement the existing Lexington Avenue line, one of the world’s busiest, will run from 125th Street to Hanover Square.  The project is targeted for completion by 2016. (ffd: Progressive Railroading)

APPOINTMENTS, ACHIEVEMENTS AND MILESTONES:

 (WED) Robert Pattison passed away at Age 88.  Originally with the New York Central Railroad, Mr. Pattison became the general manager of the Penn Central and then Conrail Metropolitan [commuter rail] Region in the mid-1970s, and was the president of the Long Island Rail Road from 1976 to 1978. (ffd: Washington Post)

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WRR – 05-07-2010

WEEKLY RAIL REVIEW

FOR THE WEEK ENDING FRIDAY, MAY 7, 2010       

THE WEEK’S TOP RAIL AND TRANSIT NEWS (in chronological order):

 (SAT) Amtrak operated a ceremonial test train over RailAmerica’s Florida East Coast line between Jacksonville, FL and Miami, FL.  A number of state dignitaries were aboard the train, all of whom expressed interest in restoring passenger service on the line as soon as possible, which would serve the many communities between those two cities on Florida’s east coast.  Passenger service on the line was discontinued in 1968, before the 1971 Amtrak startup. (ffd: Florida Times Union)

 (SUN) Notably heavy rains resulted in flooding in parts of Kentucky and Tennessee, particularly so in mid-Tennessee, where more than 13 inches of rain fell in a 24-hour period.  Flooding resulted in the temporary cancellation of the Nashville & Eastern’s Music City Star commuter train, as well as the temporary closure of Norfolk Southern’s line between Memphis, TN and Sheffield, AL.  Most impacted was probably CSX’s line between Memphis and Nashville, TN, which saw three major bridges washed out. (ffd: Nashville Business Journal, Trains, wire services)

 (SUN) Union Pacific closed what was believed to be the last Armstrong-type interlocking tower in service in the U.S.  Armstrong towers operated signals and switches that were connected to the controlling levers in the tower through iron pipe.  The tower, known as Ridgely Tower, located in Springfield, IL. (ffd: Trains)

 (MON) House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chair James Oberstar (D-MN) and House Railroad Subcommittee Chair Corrine Brown (D-FL) held a field hearing in Miami, FL to promote and encourage more national passenger train service.  Said Rep. Brown, “As the chair of the Rail Subcommittee, [my] eventual goal is to have high-speed intercity passenger and commuter rail lines connected nationwide to serve as an alternative to our current systems of transportation.” (ffd: Jacksonville Transportation Examiner)

 (MON) The U.S. Department of Transportation announced said that it had begun accepting applications for the second round of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants.  USDOT will award $600 million in TIGER-II discretionary grants through the federal Fiscal Year 2010 Appropriations Grant Program.  A USDOT spokesman said that pre-applications will be accepted until July 16 and final applications will be accepted until August 23. (ffd: Progressive Railroading, USDOT)

 (MON) Southern California commuter rail operator Metrolink took delivery of the first of 117 new passenger rail cars.  The new cars include in their design new “crash energy management” technologies that, if the car is collided with, will allow it to crumple so that non-passenger areas, such as electrical service closets, bicycle storage areas, vestibules and stairwells, absorb the main impact. (ffd: The Daily Breeze)

 (TUE) The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority announced that it had sued Rocla Concrete Tie Corporation related to the deterioration of their concrete ties installed several years ago on MBTA’s Old Colony commuter rail line near Boston, MA.  The ties were marketed by Rocla as having a 50-year lifespan, and so the agency is suing for negligent misrepresentation, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and breach of warranty.  Rocla earlier settled with Amtrak and Metro-North over the same issue. (ffd: Boston Globe, Trains)

 (TUE) Two BNSF trains collided at slow speed on the BNSF main line near Ashland, NE.  No one was injured in the accident, which derailed two locomotives and one car, although two crewmembers were taken to the local hospital for evaluation.  The cause of the accident was under investigation at press time. (ffd: WOWT TV)

 (TUE) The Association of American Railroads released a report that said that, for every $1 billion in capital investment on freight rail, 7,800 green jobs are created across the U.S. economy.  Entitled “Full Speed Ahead: Creating Green Jobs Through Freight Rail Expansion,” the report was prepared by the BlueGreen Alliance and the Economic Policy Institute. (ffd: AAR)

 (WED) Various rail officials noted recent domestic economic growth.  Among these was a spokesman for the Association of American Railroads, who noted that all 19 carload commodity groups increased in the week ending April 24.  The spokesman said that this was the first week in more than five years that every one of these groups had shown increase. (ffd: Bloomberg News)

 (WED) Speaking before a small group of shipper activists, Senate Commerce Committee Chair Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) said that one major railroad is resisting efforts to negotiate rail re-regulation legislation being proposed by him and his committee.  “There are four railroads.  I think we are making inroads with three; there’s one that we are not making inroads with,” said Sen. Rockefeller.  He added, “Can three trump one with pressure?  I think the answer to that should be yes, but what they want is complex.” (ffd: Journal of Commerce)

 (THU) New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced that the scheduled layoff of approximately 1,000 of its employees will save approximately $115 million of a projected $400 million budget deficit.  However, it said that several programs will curtailed, including a planned zero-tolerance policy against scratched windows on two subway lines.  The scratched-window vandalism, which significantly obscures Plexiglas windows, is known as “scratchiti.” (ffd: New York Times)

 (THU) San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit subway system noted the apparent success of a smart phone application known as “Foursquare.”  The app allows BART riders to share their locations on the system, as well as tips, such as places to go near BART station stops.  A BART spokesman said that, in a recent survey, 14 percent of respondents said that they have been riding BART more often because of Foursquare. (ffd: Progressive Railroading)

 (FRI) New York State and CSX officials met concerning high-speed rail service on the CSX line between Albany and Buffalo, NY.  The state and CSX have been in disagreement over high-speed rail, with the state insisting that maximum passenger train speeds increase from 90mph to 110mph, and CSX insisting that a third track must be built for 110mph trains, with that third track at least 30 feet from the existing CSX double-track main line. (ffd: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)

 (FRI) In a prepared report, Amtrak noted that it had paid host railroads 16 percent more in the previous fiscal year, which ended September 30, 2009, because more Amtrak trains on those railroads had improved on-time performance.  Among various statistics in the report, Amtrak also noted that it had paid BNSF $115.4 million for passenger train operating rights in that fiscal year, which it said equated to $4.44 per train-mile. (ffd: Bloomberg News)

 (FRI) The U.S. Department of Transportation discussed a new national transportation planning initiative, “Transportation For A New Generation.”  Elements of the initiative include shifting more freight from trucks to rail, establishing community “livability” concepts into freight facility planning, and putting greenhouse gas considerations firmly into freight funding and regulatory practices.  USDOT said that the initiative’s draft plan will be open for public comment starting May 15. (ffd: Journal of Commerce)

STATS – CLASS 1 RAIL TRAFFIC:

 (THU) For the week ending May 1, 2010, U.S. rail volume grand totaled 32.9 billion ton-miles, up 16.7 percent from the comparable week last year.  U.S. carload rail traffic was up 16.3 percent, up 22.3 percent in the East and up 12.5 percent in the West.  All 19 carload commodity groups showed increase, notably metallic ores up 333.1 percent, metals and metal products up 109.2 percent, and waste and scrap materials up 67.0 percent.  Also for the week, U.S. intermodal rail traffic was up 13.2 percent, Canadian carload rail traffic was up 29.4 percent, Canadian intermodal rail traffic was up 15.0 percent, Mexican carload rail traffic was up 13.3 percent, and Mexican intermodal rail traffic was up 11.7 percent.

 For the period January 1 through May 1, 2010, U.S. rail volume grand totaled 521.4 billion ton-miles, up 6.2 percent from the comparable period last year.  Also for this period, U.S. carload rail traffic was up 5.3 percent, U.S. intermodal rail traffic was up 9.8 percent, Canadian carload rail traffic was up 18.3 percent, Canadian intermodal rail traffic was up 9.0 percent, Mexican carload rail traffic was up 22.8 percent, and Mexican intermodal rail traffic was up 35.4 percent. (ffd: AAR)

(NOTE: Canadian counts include traffic from the U.S. operations of the two Canadian-based Class I railroads, Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Railway.)

EXPANSIONS, CONTRACTIONS AND ALIKE:

 (MON) A new connection between CSX and the North Carolina Railroad, operated by Norfolk Southern, was put in place at the junction between the two in Greenville, NC.  The new connection enables southbound CSX trains to proceed directly east onto the NS-operated line.  Previously CSX trains had to cross the diamond and then make a reverse move. (ffd: NCDOT, Trains)

 (THU) Progress Rail Services announced their acquisition of FCM Rail.  FCM Rail specializes in maintenance-of-way equipment leasing and related equipment services, including warehouse leasing and short- and long-term equipment rentals. (ffd: Progressive Railroading)

 (FRI) Port Harbor Railroad filed to lease, from Illinois’s Tri-City Regional Port District, approximately three miles of line in and near Granite City, IL. (ffd: STB)

 (FRI) Wichita, Tillman & Jackson Railway filed to grant overhead trackage rights to the Hollis & Eastern Railroad over approximately five miles of line in and near Altus, OK. (ffd: STB)

APPOINTMENTS, ACHIEVEMENTS AND MILESTONES:

 (WED) Steve Allman passed away from acute melanoma at Age 51.  Mr. Allman was a longtime Amtrak engineering and transportation principal, and was most recently the general superintendent of Amtrak’s Mid-Atlantic Division.

 (WED) Stephen Branscum was re-elected chair of the University of Denver’s Intermodal Transportation Institute (ITI).  Mr. Branscum is currently, and will continue as, BNSF’s Group VP-Consumer Products. (ffd: ITI, Progressive Railroading)

 (WED) The California High-Speed Rail Authority appointed Roelof van Ark as its new chief executive officer.  Mr. van Ark was most recently the president of Alstom Transportation. (ffd: San Mateo County Times)

 (FRI) Phillip Pagano, the executive director of Chicago area commuter rail operator METRA, took his own life by stepping in front of a METRA train.  Mr. Pagano, who had been with METRA since 1990, had been put on paid administrative leave the previous week related to allegations of misconduct. (ffd: Chicago Tribune)

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WRR – 04-30-2010

WEEKLY RAIL REVIEW

FOR THE WEEK ENDING FRIDAY, APRIL 30, 2010              

THE WEEK’S TOP RAIL AND TRANSIT NEWS (in chronological order):

 (MON) The New York City Transit Authority suffered an on-duty employee fatality.  James Knell, a maintenance-of-way supervisor, was killed while working on the subway line out to Far Rockaway in Queens.  Mr. Knell was believed to have tripped and come in contact with the electrified third rail.  At his funeral mass later that week, several of his fellow track workers wore their orange safety vests over their suits and ties in a gesture of respect. (ffd: New York Daily News)

 (MON) The Surface Transportation Board agreed to postpone action on the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic’s recent application to abandon approximately 233 miles of line in northern Maine.  The STB also said that it would help conduct mediation talks between the Maine Department of Transportation and the railway, so that a plan to continue the lines in operation could be developed. (ffd: Business Week, wire services)

 (MON) The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics announced that it would expand its portfolio of transportation indicators to include a table on freight rail yields.  The monthly table will tabulate freight railroad revenue per ton-mile.  This increases the total number of transportation indicators tracked by USBTS to 21. (ffd: Progressive Railroading, USDOT)

 (TUE) The Association of American Railroads released a study noting the economic benefits of installing Positive Train Control (PTC) to be substantially lower than what some shipper groups, notably the Chlorine Institute, have claimed.  The study, conducted by the Oliver Wyman firmed, pegged industry PTC benefits at $413.2 million over 20 years versus expected costs of between $7 billion and $24 billion over that time.  The Chlorine Institute had earlier stated that PTC would bring $5 billion in benefits and suggested that undervaluing benefits by railroads would enable them to pass on more costs to shippers through higher rates. (ffd: AAR, Dow Jones Newswire)

 (TUE) CSX CEO Mike Ward said the U.S. must make a “renewed and aggressive” national commitment to modernize its infrastructure in order to maintain its leading position in the global economy.  “Other nations are making serious forward-looking investments,” said Mr. Ward.  The U.S. needs to do the same and [also] do a better job of maintain the strong but aging systems we already have in place.”  Mr. Ward made his comments at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles, CA. (ffd: Progressive Railroading)

 (TUE) Southeastern Michigan officials have said that they believe a proposed commuter rail service between Detroit and Ann Arbor will be delayed indefinitely due to a lack of funding.  The officials said that they needed another $40 million to $50 million to start service.  They added that they eventually hope to offer round trips daily between Detroit and Ann Arbor, with stops in Dearborn, Ypsilanti and Detroit Metropolitan Airport. (ffd: Detroit News)

 (WED) The New York City Transit Authority suffered another on-duty employee fatality, the second in one week, although this one was not work-related.  Domenick Occhiogrosso dropped dead in the control compartment of the subway train he was operating on the system’s G Line.  The train’s “dead-man’s control” feature halted the train when Mr. Occhiogrosso failed to respond to it. (ffd: New York Times)

 (WED) The Surface Transportation Board called into question Canadian National’s report of crossings blocked for more than 10 minutes on its newly-acquired Elgin, Joliet & Eastern line.  CN’s report indicated that, in November and December, 2009, it had blocked crossings on that line, and for that length of time, on 14 occasions.  However, an independent audit stated that it had blocked crossings in that manner on 1,457 occasions. (ffd: Chicago Tribune)

 (WED) A report by the IHS Global Insight firm predicted that world trade by all modes of transportation was expected to grow 8.5 percent in 2010.  The report stated that “carriers are beginning to respond to an upturn in cargo volume by increasing capacity.”  The report additionally predicted world trade to grow 7.8 percent in 2011. (ffd: Global Insight, Progressive Railroading)

 (WED) New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority approved a $1 billion deal to develop the air rights over the Long Island Rail Road’s West Side Yards in Manhattan.  The 26-acre site, which is Manhattan’s largest remaining plot of undeveloped, privately-held land, locates between 30th and 33rd Streets near the Javits Convention Center. (ffd: MTA)

 (THU) Canadian National and the Halifax Port Authority announced an agreement that it said would “enhance the port’s role as a preferred gateway on the [North American] east coast.”  The agreement establishes performance standards for Halifax Gateway partners – CN, the Halifax Port Authority, Cerescorp, and the Halterm Container Terminal – regarding times for loading and unloading containers between vessels and cars, the timing and placement of rail cars at the terminal, and CN transit times to key markets in eastern and central Canada and the U.S. Midwest. (ffd: CN Corp.)

 (FRI) Amtrak noted several capital improvement projects underway this year on its Northeast Corridor Line.  These projects include replacement of the Niantic River Bridge in East Lyme, CT; continued replacement of the catenary system on the Hell Gate Line between New York, NY and New Rochelle, NY; and a major rebuilding of its Wilmington, DE rail station.  Amtrak said that it is this year spending $420 million from its Fiscal Year 2010 and $590 million in funding from the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for these and other infrastructure projects. (ffd: Amtrak)

 (FRI) Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) announced completion plans for the final sections of its Green Line light rail line.  DART officials said that it would open the first part of the Green Line on September 14 of this year, and that it will open the final two sections in December.  The December opening will complete the 20-station, 28-mile, $1.8 billion project. (ffd: Progressive Railroading)

STATS – CLASS I RAIL TRAFFIC:

 (THU) For the week ending April 24, 2010, U.S. carload rail traffic was up 14.6 percent from the comparable week last year, up 17.9 percent in the East and up 12.3 percent in the West.  All 19 carload commodity groups showed increase, notably metallic ores up 163.0 percent, metals and metal products up 80.2 percent, and waste and scrap materials up 59.7 percent.  Also for the week, U.S. intermodal rail traffic was up 15.1 percent, Canadian carload rail traffic was up 22.5 percent, Canadian intermodal rail traffic was up 10.1 percent, Mexican carload rail traffic was up 27.3 percent, and Mexican intermodal rail traffic was up 4.8 percent.

  For the period January 1 through April 24, 2010, U.S. rail volume grand totaled 488.5 billion ton-miles, up 5.6 percent from the comparable period last year.  Also for the week, U.S. carload rail traffic was up 4.6 percent, U.S. intermodal rail traffic was up 9.5 percent, Canadian carload rail traffic was up 17.7 percent, Canadian intermodal rail traffic was up 8.7 percent, Mexican carload rail traffic was up 23.3 percent, and Mexican intermodal rail traffic was up 37.0 percent. (ffd: AAR)

(NOTE: Canadian counts include traffic from the U.S. operations of the two Canadian-based Class I railroads, Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Railway.)

STATS CONTINUED – 1ST QTR., 2010 RESULTS:

 (TUE) Norfolk Southern reported the following results for the First Quarter 2010 versus the First Quarter 2009:  Revenues of $2.238 billion versus $1.943 billion earlier, an increase of 15.2 percent; operating income of $555 million versus $383 million earlier, an increase of 44.9 percent; net income of $257 million versus $177 million earlier, an increase of 45.2 percent; and an operating ratio of 75.2 percent versus 80.3 percent earlier, an improvement of 5.1 percentage points. (ffd: NS RR)

 (WED) Canadian Pacific Railway reported the following results for the First Quarter 2010 versus the First Quarter 2009: Revenues of C$1.1668 billion versus C$1.1096 billion earlier, an increase of 5.2 percent; operating income of C$205.0 million versus C$132.2 million earlier, an increase of 55.1 percent; net income of C$99.8 million versus C$57.3 million, an increase of 74.2 percent; and an operating ratio of 82.4 percent versus 88.1 percent earlier, an improvement of 5.9 percentage points. (ffd: CPR RR)

 (WED) Kansas City Southern reported the following results for the First Quarter 2010 versus the First Quarter 2009: Revenues of $436.3 million versus $346.0 million earlier, an increase of 26.1 percent; operating income of $108.2 million versus 47.6 million earlier, an increase of 127.3 percent; net income of 32.6 million versus a net loss of $8.1 million earlier; and an operating ratio of 75.2 percent versus 86.2 percent earlier, an improvement of 11.0 percentage points. (ffd: KCSR RR)

EXPANSIONS, CONTRACTIONS AND ALIKE:

 (TUE) The Escanaba & Lake Superior filed to abandon approximately 43 miles of line between Ontonagon and Sidnaw, MI.  (ffd: STB)

 (THU) CSX and Canadian Pacific announced plans for a joint-use corridor utilizing CSX’s line between Fresh Pond Jct., NY and Albany, NY, and CPR’s former Delaware & Hudson line between Albany, NY and the international border crossing at Rouses Point, NY.  Per their filing with the STB, CPR would operate all trains between Saratoga Springs, NY and Rouses Point, and both railroads would operate between Albany and Saratoga Springs.  The arrangement also calls for CSX to handle certain CPR traffic moving between Albany and Fresh Pond Jct.; CPR to increase service frequency between Montreal and Fresh Pond Jct.; and CPR to retain trackage rights between Albany and Fresh Pond Jct. (ffd: CSX RR, Progressive Railroading, Trains)

APPOINTMENTS, ACHIEVEMENTS AND MILESTONES:

 (SAT) Bill Moedinger passed away at Age 97.  Mr. Moedinger was the last survivor of the original investor group that acquired and rehabilitated Pennsylvania’s Strasburg Railroad into what Trains Magazine has referred to as “one of the top steam tourist railroads of the world.”  Mr. Moedinger was the Strasburg’s president for 17 years and is survived by his son Linn, who is now the Strasburg’s president and chief mechanical officer. (ffd: Trains)

 (MON) Richard Latini was noted to have passed away on April 13.  Mr. Latini was a longtime principal in rail car sales and leasing, and was most recently with Babcock & Brown’s North American Rail Group.  (Editor’s Note: We extend our sympathies to the family of Mr. Latini, who was a longtime Weekly Rail Review reader.)

 (MON) Shortline holding company Patriot Rail appointed Dan Kisner to the newly created position of Director-Fleet Management & Mechanical.  Mr. Kisner was most recently VP-Motive Power Leasing for CIT Rail. (ffd: Progressive Railroading)

 (WED) The National Association of Railroad Passengers announced that it was awarding this year’s Gary Burch Memorial Safety Award to James Oberstar (D-MN), the chair of the U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.  A NARP spokesman said that Mr. Oberstar was being honored “for his work as the primary sponsor of the Railroad Safety Improvement Act of 2008.” (ffd: NARP, Progressive Railroading)

 (THU) CSX appointed Cressie Brown its VP-Service Design & Advance Technology.  Ms. Brown succeeds Alan Blumenfeld, who is retiring.  Succeeding Ms. Brown is Susan Arko, who was most recently CSX AVP-Customer Service Operations. (ffd: CSX RR, Progressive Railroading)

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