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NEW BRIDGE COULD ALLOW SPEED HIKE ON PORTION OF KEYSTONE CORRIDOR: The new Eby Chiques Road bridge could allow for the train passing below it on Amtrak's Keystone corridor from their current 110 MPH speed to 125 MPH, reducing travel time between Harrisburg and Philadelphia. The overpass is expected to be complete in September. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 7-25-14]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Assn. of American Railroads reported increased U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending July 19, 2014, with 299,256 carloads, up 7.6 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 7-24-14]

FEDS ANNOUNCE PHASEOUT OF OLDER TANK CARS: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has announced a two-year phaseout of DOT-111 tank cars. The move is seen as a much-needed pathway for enhancing the safe movement of flammable liquids, said the Assn. of American Railroads. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 7-24-14]

U.P. REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: Union Pacific Corp. reported 2014 second-quarter net income of $1.3-billion or $1.43 per diluted share, compared to $1.1-billion or $1.18 per diluted share in the same quarter last year. Operating ratio of 63.5 pct improved 2.2 points. [Union Pacific, 7-24-14]

U.P. OPENING MAINTENANCE BASE IN KANSAS: Marion, Kansas, is getting an economic boost from Union Pacific, as the railroad opens a base of operations for track maintenance there in August. [Peabody Gazette-Bulletin website report, 7-24-14]

BOMBARDIER REVAMPS ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE: Bombardier Inc. announced the implementation of a new organizxational structure that comprises four business segments: Transportation, Business Aircraft, Commercial Aircraft, and Aerostructures & Engineering Services. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-24-14]

BNSF LOSING FREIGHT TO RIVAL AS SERVICE SLOWS: BNSF Railway is losint market share to Union Pacific, its main competitor, as train speeds slow and on-time deliveries drop. [Bloomberg website report, 7-24-14]

ALSTOM BEGINS DELIVERY OF DRIVERLESS METROS TO SINGAPORE: Alstom Transport has delivered the first two of 42 new driverless metros for Singapore's Land Transport Authority. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-24-14]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN SUES TO BLOCK DISCLOSURE OF CRUDE OIL SHIPMENTS: Norfolk Southern has sued the state of Maryland to stop the public release of information about crude oil shipments by rail, according to court documents. [Miami Herald website report, 7-24-14]

METROLINX PICKS CONSULTANT FOR RESIGNALING PROJECT: Metrolinx has selected Hatch Mott MacDonald to provide echnical consultant services for the resignaling of the Union Station rail corridor and the provision of a new control system for the entire GO Transit rail network. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-24-14]

SUN LINK TO OPEN TUCSON STREETCAR SERVICE: The Sun Link streetcar system will launch service July 25 in Tucson with a grand-opening ceremony. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-24-14]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN SELLING 47-MILE MURPHY BRANCH TO WATCO: Norfolk Southern will sell the Murphy Branch, 47 miles of line from Dillsboro to Asheville, N.C., to Watco. [Sylva Herald website report, 7-24-14]

COURT UPHOLDS PROPOSED CALIFORNIA BULLET TRAIN ROUTE: A California appeals court has upheld a proposed route for California's bullet train project connecting the San Francisco Bay area to the Central Valley. [News-10 website report, 7-24-14]

METRO-NORTH NAMES MIKE DONNARUMMA DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT OF NEW HAVEN LINE: Mike Donnarumma is the new district superintendent of Metro-North's New Haven line, with directions to focus on improving conditions on the Waterbury branch. [Harford Courant website report, 7-24-14]

WABTEC REPORTS RECORD RESULTS IN 2-Q: Wabtec Corp. reported record results for its second-quarter. Income from operations was $132-million. [Railway Age website report, 7-24-14]

BNSF TRAIN CARRYING CRUDE OIL DERAILS IN SEATTLE: A BNSF train carrying crude oil derailed in Seattle July 24, but there were no immediate reports of a spill or injury, according to new reports. [Reuters website report, 7-24-14]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: Norfolk Southern reported record net income of $562-million for the second-quarter 2014, 21 pct higher compared with the second-quarter 2013. Diluted earnings per share increased 23 pct to a record $1.79. [Norfolk Southern, 7-23-14]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN HIKES DIVIDEND: The board of Norfolk Southern Corp. voted to increase the regular quarterly dividend on the company's common stock by 3 cents per share, from 54 to 57 cents. [Norfolk Southern, 7-22-14]

ENBRIDGE SEEKS TO BUILD UNIT TRAIN TERMINAL IN ILLINOIS: Enbridge Energy Partners is looking to build a unit-train unloading terminal that could operate two unit trains and store 140,000 barrels of cruide oil daily in Pontiac, Illinois, according to a filing. [Reuters website report, 7-22-14]

CN TRAIN DERAILS IN WISCONSIN, TWO CREW MEMBERS HURT: Evacuations from a train derailment have ended, and crews began removing the damaged engines and rail cars from the tracks where about 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel spilled in Slinger, Wisconsin. The freight train derailed July 20 when it hit rail cars of another train at a crossing, forcing the evacuation of more than 100 nearby homes. Two crew members with Canadian National Railway suffered minor injuries. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel website report, 7-21-14]

BNSF, UNION REACH DEAL FOR SINGLE-PERSON CREWS ON PTC ROUTES: BNSF and the International Assn. of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers have reached a tentative agreement that would permit a single engineer to operate trains that are on routes with Positive Train Control. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 7-21-14]

GBW RAILCAR SERVICES FORMED: The Greenbrier Cos. Inc. and Watco Cos. LLC have completed the formation of a joint rail-car repair venture called GBW Railcar Services LLC. The venture creates the largest independent car repair shop network in North America. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-21-14]

TRAVELLIANCE LANDS AMTRAK CONTRACT FOR EMPLOYEE LODGING, TRANSPORTATION: Amtrak has selected Travelliance, a full-service accommodations and transportation administration company specializing in crew and employee travel, to provide lodging and transportation services to Amtrak employees. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-21-14]

RIO GRANDE PACIFIC NAMES NEW SENIOR V.P. OPERATIONS: Bob Howery, former president of the New Orleans & Gulf Coast Railway, has been named senior vice-president of operations of Rio Grande Pacific Corp. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-21-14]

CLASS I RAILROAD EMPLOYMENT ON THE RISE: Class I railroad employment was up 1 pct as of mid-June 2014, according to the Surface Transportation Board. The jobs figure of 166,139 represented an increase from the same period in 2013 and a small jump from mid-May totals. [Railway Age website report, 7-21-14]

RAIL INDUSTRY JOINS FORCES TO OPPOSE 30 MPH CRUDE OIL SPEED LIMIT: A proposed 30 MPH limit on crude-by-rail in the U.S. would affect farm, auto and passenger rail and carry a 'huge' cost for customers, said Edward Hamberger, president of the Assn. of American Railroads. The industry is working with regulators to show how disastrous that could be to the fluidity of the U.S. rail system, said CSX CEO Michael Ward on a recent call with investors. [Reuters website report, 7-20-14]

METRO-NORTH ADDING M8 RAIL CARS TO N.H. LINE IN CONNECTICUT: Another 16 new M8 rail cars have been delivered to run on Metro-North's New Haven line in Connecticut, bringing the total to 372. [Danbury Daily Voice website report, 7-20-14]

METROLINK TO REDUCE SAN BERNARDINO SERVICE IN OCTOBER: Beginning October 1, service on Metrolink's San Bernardino commuter line in California will be cut back by two mid-day and two late-night trains. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 7-18-14]

KCS REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: Kansas City Southern reported second-quarter 2014 revenues of $650-million. Overall, carload volumes were 7 pct higher than in the same period 2013. Operating income was $206-million. [Kansas City Southern, 7-18-14]

MASSACHUSETTS AGREES TO BUY HOUSATONIC R.R.'S BERKSHIRE LINE.: The Massachusetts DOT board has given authorization to execute an agreement to purchase the Berkshire line from the Housatonic Railroad. The acquisition is a major step toward delivering passenger-rail between New York City and the Berkshires, officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-18-14]

PRESIDENT UNVEILS PLAN TO CREATE TRANSPORTATION INVESTMENT CENTER: President Obama has announced an executive action to create the 'Build Investment Initiative,' which will include a transportation investment center to help cities and state seek more innovate financing and partnerships with the private sector to pursue transportation infrastructure projects. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-18-14]

CSX FORECASTS FLAT 3-Q: CSX is optimistic about its long-term performance, but the railroad's profit during the third quarter will likely be flat, the company said. [Tulsa World website report, 7-17-14]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending July 12, 2014, with 290,607 carloads, up 4.8 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 7-17-14]

CP RAIL REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd announced record 2-Q financial results. Net income was $371-million or $2.11 per diluted share, representing a 48 pct year-over-year improvement. Total revenues were $1.68-billion, an increase of 12 pct. [CP Rail, 7-17-14]

WISCONSIN SIGNS DEAL TO ACQUIRE 70-MILE RAIL LINE FROM UNION PACIFIC: The Wisconsin DOT has signed an acquisition agreement with UP to purchase a 70-mile rail corridor between Madison, Reedsburg and Cottage Grove, including a bridge over Lake Eisconsin in Merrimac, from Union Pacific for $30-million. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-17-14]

LIRR STRIKE AVERTED: New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced July 17 that an anticipated strike by Long Island Rail Road workers, due to begin July 20, has been averted. [Railway Age website report, 7-17-14]

ROYAL REOPENING FOR REBUILT READING STATION: Queen Elizabeth officially opened the rebuilt and expanded Reading station, a major bottleneck on Britain's railway network, July 17. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-17-14]

MAN WHO TRIED TO DERAIL AMTRAK TRAINTO BE DEPORTED: A27-year-old man accused in a foiled plot to derail an Amtrak train between New York and Toronto was sentenced July 16 to time served and will be deported back to his native Tunisia. [N.Y. Post website report, 7-16-14]

CSX REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: CSX Corp. announced second-quarter 2014 net earnings of $529-million or 53 cents per share, up from $521-million or 51 cents per share in the same quarter of 2013. Revenue increased seven pct to an all-time record $3.2-billion on volume growth of eight pct. Operating ration was 69.3 pct. [CSX, 7-15-14]

SIX BUILDINGS IN FRESNO BEING DEMOLISHED FOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT: At least six buildings in Fresno, California, are to be demolished this week to clear the way for construction of the initial 29-mile leg of the state's high-speed rail project. The Madera-Freso segment and the Fresno-Bakersfield leg are the 'backbone' of the 520-mile, $68-billion project. [Fresno Bee website report, 7-15-14]

MOSCOW SUBWAY TRAIN DERAILS, AT LEAST 21 KILLED: A subway train derailed in Moscow during the morning rush hour on July 15, killing at least 21 people and injuring more than 150, officials said. [Wall Street Journal website report, 7-15-14]

UNION PACIFIC UPGRADING RAIL LINE IN WISCONSIN: Union Pacific is investing $6.1-million in upgrades to its rail line between Milwaukee and Sheyboygan, Wisconsin. The railroad will replace 26 miles of track and resurface 62 crossings by September. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 7-15-14]

FOUR CLASS I RAILROADS NAMED TO 'GREEN SUPPLY CHAIN' LIST: BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific have all been named to Inbound Logistics' 2014 list of 'Green Supply Chain Partners,' highlighting the railroads' strong commitment to sustainable supply chains. The prots of Seattle, Tacoma and Long Beach also made the list. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-14-14]

OIL INDUSTRY, RAILROADS SAID TO AGREE ON TANK CAR STANDARD: The oil industry and the railroads that haul its crude have offered regulators a joint plan to phase out a type of older tank car tied to a spate of fiery accidents. The plan also calls for slightly thicker walls for new cars to make them less volnerable to puncture. [Bloomberg website report, 7-14-14]

FREIGHT CARS KEEP N.C. REPAIR SHOP BUSY: Railroads, including CSX and Norfolk Southern, keep the North Carolina company Cape Fear Railcar in business, according to its owner Willard Formyduval. The company repairs about 500 freight cars annually. [Fayetteville Observer website report, 7-13-14]

TEXAS RAIL CONSTRUCTION TO IMPACT AMTRAK SERVICE BETWEEN FORT WORTH AND SAN ANTONIO: Texas Eagle passengers will have to take an Amtrak-provided shuttle bus between Fort Worth and San Antonio until September while construction is completed on Tower 55, a busy control point in downtown Fort Worth. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 7-11-14]

TRACK CONSTRUCTION TO INCREASE DAILY ROUND TRIPS ON CAPITOL CORRIDOR: A new $200-million track construction project will lead to a tenfold increase in daily roundtrips on the Capitol Corridor between Sacramento and Roseville, California. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 7-11-14]

THREE NEW AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE CARS TO BE DELIVERED: CAF USA has announced it will be shipping the first three cars of Amtrak's $300-million order for new long-distance equipment. The cars will be delivered to Albany. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 7-11-14]

POWER PROBLEMS DISRUPT NJT, AMTRAK SERVICE: Power inssues temporarily suspended service on New Jersey Transit and Amtrak on July 8. Service on the Northeast corridor and N.J. Coast line service was resumed, but delays lingered throughout the morning. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 7-11-14]

CSX TO MOVE HISTORIC LOCOMOTIVE: CSX will transport Western Maryland Scenic Railroads newly-acquired steam locomotive from Baltimore to Cumberland using specialized flat cars. The 217-ton Baldwin locomotive no. 1309 was built in 1949. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 7-10-14]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending July 5, 2014, with 270,731 carloads, up 9.4 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 7-10-14]

NEBRASKA COMPANY'S TRANSLOADING FACILITY TO BE SERVED BY BNSF, UNION PACIFIC: An $855,000 Community Block grant will provide working capital for Nebraska-based Adams Industries to enhance transloading. The funds will help the company add switching equipment and track so that BNSF and Union Pacific can serve the facility. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 7-10-14]

HUDSON BAY RAILWAY LINE IN MANITOBA REOPENED: OmniTrax Canada reopened a Hudson Bay Railway Co. line between Gillam and Churchill, Manitoba, on July 5. The line had been closed June 20 due to poor track conditions, primarily severe permafrost issues. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-10-14]

CSX STAGES $25-M MAINTENANCE JAMBOREE: Over the July 4 holiday, more than 525 CSX employees were hard at work replacing about 68,000 ties and 200,000 feet of rail, and completing nearly 120 miles of surfacing work as part of the company's 'Maintenance Jamboree,' a blitz accomplishing about a year's worth of work in six states. [CSX, 7-10-14]

KCS-PLANNED TEXAS RAIL FACILITY COULD BE A BOON TO GULF REFINERIES: Plans by Kansas City Southern and Global Partners to build a rail terminal in Port Arthur, Texas, could mean a doubling of the volume of oil sands coming to the Gulf Coast from Canada. [Houston American City Business Journals website report, 7-10-14]

UNION PACIFIC DONATES 8.5-MILE LINEAR PROPERTY FOR TRAIL USE: Land donated by Union Pacific is being unveiled as the Jamaica North Trail in Lincoln, Illinois, an 8.5-mile stretch that borders Wilderness Park. [Peoria Journal Star website report, 7-9-14]

KCS ANNOUNCES PLAN FOR NEW TERMINAL IN TEXAS: Kansas City Southern and Global Partners L.P. are pursuing plans to build a unit-train terminal on 200 acres in Port Arthur, Texas. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 7-9-14]

U.S. CARLOAD TRAFFIC HITS 6-YEAR HIGH IN JUNE: Carloads for U.S. Class I railroads increased 3.6 pct in June compared with the year-ago level, the highest June level since 2008. Meanwhile, intermodal activity increased 6.7 pct resulting in the highest volume ever. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 7-8-14]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased rail freight traffic for the week ending June 28, 2014, with 298,457 carloads, up 6.3 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume was up 6.0 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 7-3-14]

AMTRAK REQUESTS PROPOSALS FOR 28 TRAINSETS FOR ACELA EXPRESS LINE: Amtrak has issued a request for proposals for 28 new trainsets for the Acela Express line. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 7-3-14]

TEXAS APPROVES $50-M TOWARD AUSTIN'S METRORAIL: The Texas Dept. of Transportation has approved a $50-million grant to help expand the fleet of Austin's MetroRail and build a new downtown rail station. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 7-3-14]

INDIANA CHOOSES 'PREFERRED VENDOR' FOR HOOSIER STATE TRAIN: The Indiana Dept. of Transportation has chosen Corridor Capital LLC as its 'preferred vendor' for the Hoosier State. The train is currently operated four times a week by Amtrak. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 7-3-14]

KCS LEADS STREAMLINING OF U.S.-MEXICO INTERMODAL RAIL: Kansas City Southern is leading efforts to speed up the customs clearance process between the U.S. and Mexico on intermodal rail. The pilot program has reduced Whirlpool delivery times between eight and 10 days, saving what could be millions in inventory costs. [DC Velocity website report, 7-2-14]

CSX FACILITY IN FLORIDA ATTRACTS INDUSTRIAL PARK DEVELOPMENT: A development group has paid Winter Haven, Florida, $8.5-million for 500 acres of land next to a CSX intermodal facility. The developers expect to build an industrial or manufacturing park on the land, and will invest about $400-million in the project. [Lakeland Ledger website report, 7-1-14]

U.P. TO SERVE FRAC SAND PLANT IN WISCONSIN: U.S. Silica Holdings has received approval from Fairchild, Wisconsin, to develop a frac sand mine and plant in the area. Union Pacific will serve the new 650-acre facility, which should be open by the end of 2015. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-1-14]

LOUISVILLE & INDIANA R.R. GETTING NEW PRESIDENT: John Goldman has been named president of the Louisville & Indiana Railroad, taking over for Mike Stolzman on July 11. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-1-14]

U.P., ILLINOIS PARTNER ON $90-M RAIL PROJECT: Union Pacific and the state of Illinois will each spend $45-million to add a third mainline track serving the Chicago region. It is the final piece of the West Line improvement program to enhance commuter and freight travel on one of the state's busiest rail lines. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 7-1-14]

U.P. PROJECT IN CALIFORNIA WRAPS MERCED PORTION: Union Pacific is completing the Merced, California, portion of a $27.8-million project to replace ties and make upgrades to dozens of railroad crossings in the region. The project involves 175 workers. [Merced Sun-Star website report, 7-1-14]

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW COMPLETED FOR 114-MILE PORTION OF CALIFORNIA HSR PROJECT: An environmental review has been completed by the Federal Railroad Administration for a 114-mile section of California's proposed high-speed rail line. This approval for a section in the Central Valley is a key step in advancing the project. [Bloomberg website report, 6-27-14]

FRA TO WORK WITH TEXAS ON HIGH-SPEED RAIL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT: The Federal Railroad Administration announced it will work with the Texas Dept. of Transportation to prepare and environmental impact statement for the Central Texas High-Speed Rail corridor, a privately-proposed project that would connect Dallas and Houston. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 6-27-14]

AMTRAK, CALIFORNIA RULE OUT JOINT PROCUREMENT PLAN: Amtrak and the California High-Speed Rail Authority have scrapped plans to jointly procure rail equipment to cut costs due to divergent specifications. Amtrak is seeking equipment capable of 160 MPH for Acela service, and California wants equipment capable of 220 MPH. It was decided that a common vehicle would not make engineering sense. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 6-27-14]

AMTRAK TO OFFER BIKE-FRIENDLY BAGGAGE CARS TO LONG-DISTANCE TRAINS BY END OF THE YEAR: Amtrak says it will begin equipping all of its long-distance trains, including the Capitol Limited, with roll-on, bike-friendly baggage cars by the end of the year. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 6-27-14]

WATCO TO PURCHASE THREE N.C. BRANCH LINES FROM NORFOLK SOUTHERN: Watco Transportation Services subsidiary Blue Ridge Southern has agreed to purchase three branch lines that feed into the railroad's terminal in Asheville, N.C., subject to STB approval. Totaling 92 miles, the lines run from Murphy Junction to Dillsboro, Asheville to East Flat Rock, and Hendersonville to Pisgah Forest. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-27-14]

SUNRAIL PLANS TO EXTEND COMMUTER RAIL BY LATE 2016: SunRail's Phase II is on target to extend commuter rail service to southern Osceola County, Florida, by late 2016, according to state Dept. of Transportation officials. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 6-27-14]

KCS NAMES GARY JARBOE V.P. MECHANICAL OPERATIONS: Gary Jarboe has been named vice-president mechanical operations for Kansas City Southern Railway. [Railway Age website report, 6-27-14]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN WILL NOT SHARE TRACKS WITH PROPOSED CHARLOTTE, N.C., COMMUTER SYSTEM: Norfolk Southern has told the Charlotte, N.C., Area Transit System it will not share its freight railroad tracks that parallel Interstate 77 for a proposed commuter train. [Blue Ridge Now website report, 6-26-14]

CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACQUIRES SASKATCHEWAN SHORT LINE: The Canadian Wheat Board has become the imminent owner of the Great Sandhills Railway, a 125-mile short line connecting Saskatchewan growers and an Alberta petrochemical producer to a Canadian Pacific interchange at Swift Current. [Railway Age website report, 6-26-14]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending June 21, 2014, with 291,142 carloads, up 0.9 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 6-26-14]

BOMBARDIER, RAILPOOL LAND ORDER FOR TRAXX LOCOMOTIVES: Bombardier Transportation and Eurpoean rolling-stock lessor Railpool have signed a framework agreement for the delivery of 65 Bombardier TRAXX locomotives, with a first 'call-off' of 35 locomotives and an option of up to 30 additional units. The potential value of the contract is $340-million. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-25-14]

DETROIT CITY COUNCIL APPROVES M1 STREETCAR LINE: Permits approved June 24 by the Detroit city council have cleared the way for groundbreaking sometime this summer on the city's public-private partnership M1 streetcar project. [Railway Age website report, 6-25-14]

METRA DEDICATES REHABILITATED CICERO STATION: Chicago's Metra has marked the completion of a $4.5-million renovation of the Cicero station on the BNSF line. [Railway Age website report, 6-25-14]

ALSTOM GETS CONTRACT FOR TRAMWAY SYSTEM IN QATAR: Alstom has been awarded a contract by Qatar Railways to supply a turnkey tramway system for a four-line, 33-KILO tram network in Lusail, Qatar. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-25-14]

TIGER GRANT AWARDED FOR $1.8-M TRACK REHAB IN OKLAHOMA: A $1.8-million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant will be used to rehabilitate 12 miles of track between Erick and Sayre, Oklahoma. Work will include the installation of new ties and repairs to two bridges. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-25-14]

FEDS ORDER CP, BNSF TO GIVE UPDATES ON GRAIN BACKLOG: A backlog of grain shipments across the Great Plains has been reduced, but not eliminated, so U.S. regulators are requiring Canadian Pacific and BNSF to provide weekly updates on their efforts to catch up before harvest. [CBC News website report, 6-24-14]

OIL TRAIN INFO SHOWS HEAVY TRAFFIC: Disclosures from railroads about volatile oil shipments from the Northern Plains show dozens of the trains passing weekly through Illinois and the Midwest, and up to 19 a week reaching Washington state. [Times-Union website report, 6-24-14]

LIRR FACES POSSIBLE STRIKE JULY 20: Long Island Rail Road workers voted in February to authorize a strike, which could take place as early as July 20, stranding about 300,000 daily riders. [New York Times website report, 6-24-14]

RAIL CARS MODIFIED TO ACCOMMODATE TALLER AUTOS: CN, UP and NS have worked with Ford to modify over 350 rail cars to accommodate a new Transit van that is 110.1 inches tall. The new cars have raised top decks that allow up to seven Transit vans to fit on lower decks. [Detroit Free Press website report, 6-23-14]

WASHINGTON METRO'S SILVER LINE TO OPEN JULY 26: The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority plans to open the Silver line July 26, 2014, according to the agency's general manager and CEO, Richard Sarles. Silver line trains will operate between Reston and Largo at the same frequency as most other lines - every six minutes during rush-hour, every 12 to 20 minutes at other times. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-23-14]

CSX NAMED A 'BEST PLACE TO WORK' IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: For the second year in a row, CSX has been named a 'Best Place to Work' in information technology by IDG's Computerworld. [CSX, 6-23-14]

KEOLIS, UNIONS REACH AGREEMENT IN BOSTON: Keolis Commuter Services has reached agreement with all 14 of the labor unions representing 1,800 employees of the MBTA commuter rail service, which Keolis begins operating July 1. [Railway Age website report, 6-23-14]

KCS BUILDING INTERMODAL FACILITY IN TEXAS: Kansas City Southern has broken ground for a new intermodal facility in Wylie, Texas. It will feature two 5,000-foot intermodal tracks, more than 1,500 parking spaces, mechanical tracks and a state-of-the-art automated gate system. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-23-14]

BOMBARDIER GETS $175-M MAINTENANCE CONTRACT EXTENSION FOR U.K.'S VIRGIN TRAINS: Bombardier Transportation has signed a contract with Virgin Trains to extend the provision of maintenance of its Super Voyager fleet operating on the U.K.'s West Coast mainline to March 2019. The contract is valued at $175-million. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-23-14]

NEW GE EVOLUTION LOCOMOTIVE OFFERS LOW EMISSIONS, LONG LIFESPAN: General Electric's latest generation locomotive will have a minimum lifespan of 20 years and produce 70 pct fewer emissions than current models. The locomotive has 250 sensors that pull in 150,000 data points per minute, which turns it into a 'rolling power plant,' according to GE. The company's Texas facilities will sell its newest Evolution models to BNSF and UP this year. [CNET website report, 6-21-14]

MODEL OF ROBOT DISRUPTS METRO-NORTH TRAINS: A school kid's goofy cardboard model of a TV cartoon robot caused a panic that shut down parts of Metro-North's New Haven line for three hours the morning of June 20. 'Bender,' from the Comedy Central show Futurama, a cardboard figure with a clock face and comical angry eyes and grin, was left on a bridge over the tracks near the Fairfield station. A town street sweeper saw it and alerted police, who called in a bomb squad and helicopter to seal off nearby streets. Metro-North and Amtrak suspended service between New Haven and Stamford, leaving thousands of fuming commuters stranded or scrambling to find another way to their destinations. It took nearly three hours for officials to realize that the suspicious package was only a harmless model of the robot. Police later identified the culprit as a seventh-grader at a nearby middle school, who said he had left the model at that location accidentally while rearranging his backpack. The model was for a school art project, the student said. [New York Post website report, 6-20-14]

CSX TO SERVE NEW WAL-MART DISTRIBUTION CENTER IN INDIANAPOLIS: Wal-Mart is building a 1.2 million-square-foot ditribution center at AllPoints Midwest in Indianapolis. It will be served by the CSX Avon intermodal yard. The center is scheduled for completion later this year. [Globe St. website report, 6-20-14]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending June 14, 2014, with 295,132 carloads, up 2.2 pct compared with the same week last year. Also, this was the highest week in history for total U.S. intermodal volume, reaching 270,243 units, up 6.3 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 6-19-14]

CSX'S CHRIS DURDEN BESTOWED AAR'S CHAFEE ENVIRONMENTAL EXCELLENCE AWARD: The Association of American Railroads bestowed its highest environmental honor - the John H. Chafee Environmental Excellence award, on CSX's Chris Durden in a ceremony June 18. [CSX, 6-19-14]

AMTRAK VIEWLINER II BAGGAGE CAR GETS FIELD TESTING: The first of Amtrak's 55 new Viewliner II baggage cars, no. 61000, one of four Viewliner II series long-distance car types, is undergoing field testing. The new baggage cars will be used on all 15 long-distance routes in the Amtrak system. [Railway Age website report, 6-17-14]

TWIN CITIES GREEN LINE OPEN: Metro Transit's Green line light-rail linking St. Paul and Minneapolis is now open to passengers. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-16-14]

NEW COLD STORAGE DISTRIBUTION CENTER IN S.C. WILL ACCESS NORFOLK SOUTHERN: Lineage Logistics plans to build a 340,000-square-foot storage distribution facility in North Charleston, S.C., this summer, accessing Norfolk Southern's rail service. The facility will feature high-capacity blast freezing technology, and Norfolk Southern will link it to domestic and international markets. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-16-14]

BUSINESS PARK IN OHIO PLANS RAIL ACCESS: Plans for the Cornerstone Business Park in Twinsburg, Ohio, include building a link to a Norfolk Southern line. FedEx is working to build a 400,000-square-foot facility at the park. [Twinsburg Bulletin website report, 6-16-14]

CN PLANNING EXPANSION IN MEMPHIS: Canadian National plans to acquire an additional 19,000 acres to expand its presence in the Frank C. Pidgeon Industrial Park in Memphis. Last year, CN bought 95 acres in the area to expand its intermodal gateway, which is shared with CSX. [Memphis Daily News website report, 6-16-14]

LIGHT-RAIL TRAINS ORDERED FOR MANILA: The Philippine Dept. of Transport has awarded CNR Dalian a contract worth about $87-million for supply of 12 four-car light-rail trains for use by Manila Metro Rail. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-16-14]

PRESIDENT INTERVENES IN SEPTA STRIKE: An executive order signed by President Obama has forced striking SEPTA engineers back to work and both sides are required to continue negotiations with the help of an emergency mediation board. [CBS Philly website report, 6-15-14]

SEPTA WORKERS GO ON STRIKE: Striking SEPTA workers erected pickets June 14 and surprised travelers found themselves without train service as the Philadelphia region coped with its first rail strike in 31 years. Pennsylvania's governor Corbett asked President Obama to appoint a presidential emergency board to mediate the dispute and compel the striking employees to return to work for 240 days. [Philly.com website report, 6-14-14]

OMNITRAX TO MANAGE TEXAS SHORT LINE: OmniTRAX will manage the Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railroad, a short line railway based in Brownsville, Texas, in a strategic partnership covering a 30-year period. [Railway Age website report, 6-13-14]

SOUTHTON RAIL YARD IN TEXAS OPENS: Southton rail yard, a 300-acre dual rail-serve facility in San Antonio designed for transloading energy-related products, had its grand opening June 11. The facility is served both by Union Pacific and BNSF. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-13-14]

JEFF LEDERER NAMED GM AT PECOS VALLEY SOUTHERN RWY: Watco Terminal and Port Services has hired Jeff Lederer as general manager of the Pecos Valley Southern Railway, succeeding Mike Salts. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-13-14]

GRIDLOCK LOOMS WITH POSSIBLE SEPTA STRIKE: With new construction work on I-95, the emergency closure until at least Labor Day of an I-495 bridge in nearby Wilmington, summerlong lane restrictions, and a closed PATCO train track on the Ben Franklin bridge, the addition of a possible SEPTA strike beginning June 14 provides the makings of regional gridlock in the Philadelphia area. [Philadelphia Inquirer website report, 6-12-14]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased U.S. rail traffic for the week ending June 7, 2014, with 292,924 carloads, up 5.3 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 6-12-14]

CSX REPLACING RAIL BRIDGE NEAR CUMBERLAND, MD.: Work will begin later this month to replace a CSX bridge near Chesapeake & Ohio Canal lift lock 74 south of Cumberland, Maryland. Park officials say the work will continue for about 18 months, and CSX is installing a temporary parking lot nearby at lift lock 75 to accommodate visitors to the canal. [Washington Post website report, 6-12-14]

GROUND BROKEN FOR NIAGARA FALLS INTERMODAL STATION: Ground was broken June 9 for the Niagara Falls, N.Y., International Railway Station and Intermodal Transportation Center at the historic U.S. Custom House on Whirlpool street.[Progressive Railroading website report, 6-12-14]

AZERBAIJAN RAILWAYS ORDERS 30 PASSENGER CARS: Azerbaijan Railways has signed a $133-million contract with Stadler Rail for 27 sleeping cars and three dining cars for use on international services from Baku to Istanbul via a line to be opened next year. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-12-14]

STUDY OF AGING BALTIMORE RAIL TUNNEL MOVES FORWARD: Officials are studying ways to improve a 141-year-old tunnel that carries passenger trains through Baltimore. The tunnel represents a low-speed bottleneck for more than 140 trains a day and impedes traffic along Amtrak's Northeast corridor. [Washington Post website report, 6-11-14]

DRAINAGE PROBLEM CAUSED 2013 VIA RAIL DERAILMENT IN SASKATCHEWAN: The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has determined that inadequate water drainage led to the collapse of an embankment, causing the derailment of a VIA Rail train near Togo, Saskatchewan, April 28. 2013. Two locomotives and two cars derailed, and the fuel tanks ruptured with an ensuing fire. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-11-14]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON PARIS LINE 14 EXTENSION: A groundbreaking was held in Paris June 11 to mark the start of construction on the 3.6-mile northern extension of Line 14 from St. Lazare to Mairie de Saint Quen. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-11-14]

NSW REVEALS SYDNEY RAPID-TRANSIT EXPANSION PLANS: The New South Wales government has announced that Australia's largest city Sydney will see the expansion of a planned Metro concept to include the city center and western suburbs. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-11-14]

SEPTA BRACES FOR POSSIBLE RAIL STRIKE: SEPTA management appears willing to endure a strike to its regional rail system, possibly beginning June 14, rather than delay such action until winter when weather is more severe and ridership is higher. [Railway Age website report, 6-10-14]

BLET MEMBERS RATIFY NEW CONTRACT AT METRA: Over 96 pct of voting members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainment ratified a new five-year collective bargaining agreement with Metra. The agreement covers approximately 200 members. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 6-10-14]

CHESAPEAKE, VA., SEEKS LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: The city of Chesapeake, Va., is to submit a formal request for funding to Hampton Roads Transit for the extension of The Tide light-rail line from the neighboring city of Norfolk. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-10-14]

INDIA OUTLINES PLANS FOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL: India's new Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alloiance government has outlined ambitious plans to built a series of high-speed rail corridors connecting major metropolitan centers during the next 10 years. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-10-14]

BNSF OPERATES FIRST UNIT-TRAIN FOR NEW TRANSCOLD EXPRESS: The first BNSF unit train departed June 4 from Wilmington, Illinois, to officially launch the TransCold Express. The service targets produce growers and meat and dairy producers moving refrigerated cargo bi-directionally between Illinois and Selma, California. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-10-14]

WABTEC ACQUIRES FANDSTAN ELECTRIC GROUP: Wabtec Corp. has completed its acquisition of rail and industrial equipment manufacturer Fandstan Electric Group for $200-million. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-10-14]

ALSTOM INTRODUCES THE CORADIA LINER V200 MAINLINE TRAIN: Alstom recently introduced the Coradia Liner V200, its latest mainline train, at the European Mobility Exhibition for Public Transport in Paris. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-10-14]

RAIL OIL SHIPMENTS FROM WESTERN CANADA EXPECTED TO TRIPLE IN NEXT TWO YEARS: Shipments of oil by rail from western Canada are expected to more than triple in two years, as the sector heads into a severe shortage of pipeline capacity, according to a forecast by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. [Financial Post website report, 6-9-2014]

CONNECTICUT GOVERNOR TO HOLD 'CRISIS SUMMIT' ON METRO-NORTH: Connecticut's governor Daniel Malloy will be meeting with officials from Metro-North June 9 for what is being called a 'crisis summit' after several service disruptions. The most recent problems were with the Walk bridge in South Norwalk which failed to close May 29 and June 6, interrupting rail service. [NBC Connecticut website report, 6-9-14]

FRA LAUNCHES METRA SAFETY INVESTIGATION: The Federal Railroad Administration is launching a 45-day 'focused deep dive safety assessment' of Chicago's Metro in response to several incidents that have taken place in the past two weeks. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-9-14]

AMTRAK PURSUES WI-FI UPGRADE ON NORTHEAST CORRIDOR: Amtrak seeks to improve and upgrade its WiFi coverage along the Northeast corridor, and has issued a request for proposals to implement such action. [Railway Age website report, 6-9-14]

CANADIAN RAIL CORRIDOR PROGRAM MARKS COMPLETION OF THREE OVERPASSES: Three key road-rail overpasses of the Roberts Bank Rail corridor program in British Columbia have been completed. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-9-14]

MUMBAI OPENS FIRST METRO RAIL LINE: Mumbai Metro Line 1 - India's first metro rail project built under a PPP model - began service June 8. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-9-14]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN, UNION PACIFIC MAKE 'STREAMLINER EVENT' A SUCCESS: Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific made North Carolina Transportation Museum's 'Streamliner Event' a success, filling hotels across Rowan County over the weekend. More than 9,000 tickets were sold for the event that featured 26 historic locomotives. [Salisbury Post website report, 6-8-14]

EVERGREEN SHIPPING NAMES UNION PACIFIC R.R. COMPANY OF THE YEAR: Union Pacific has been named the 2013 Railroad Company of the Year, an award given by Evergreen Shipping Agency highlighting service excellence and essential role in Evergreen's business. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-6-14]

BRIDGE HALTS METRO-NORTH COMMUTE AGAIN: For the second time in just over a week, the 118-year-old Walk bridge in Norwalk, Connecticut, became stuck in the open position, stifling train service for some four hours in the middle of the Friday [June 6] rush-hour. [WTNH website report, 6-6-14]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. railroads originated 289.633 carloads in the week ending May 31, 2014, an increase of 7.6 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume increased 9.1 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 6-5-14]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN INTERMODAL CENTER IN OHIO SPURS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Proximity to a Norfolk Southern intermodal facility capable of accommodating double-stacked containers was a driving force behind plans to build the 304,000-square-foot American Showa distribution center near Rickenbacker Airport in Pickaway County, Ohio. [Columbus Dispatch website report, 6-5-14]

R.J. CORMAN TO OPERATE TENNESSEE PORT: The Port of Cates Landing in Tiptonville, Tennessee, has chosen R.J., Corman Railroad Group as operator. R.J. Corman will pay rent plus a percentage of gross operating receipts to the Northwest Tennessee Regional Port Authority. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-5-14]

TORNADO DERAILS TRAIN CARS IN KANSAS: Fifty-two empty coal hoppers of a 134-car Union Pacific train derailed June 4 by a tornado in Willis, Kansas. The weather service confirmed the town was hit by an EF-1 tornado with winds up to 100 MPH. [Times Union website report, 6-4-14]

TRAIN-VIEWING SPOT IN ST. PAUL GETS NAME: A new picnic area overlooking the St. Paul Lowertown train tracks and Division Street wye track has been named the 'Rail View Picnic Area.' The Mississippi River can also be viewed from the picnic area. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-3-14]

BLET MEMBERS AUTHORIZE STRIKE AGAINST SEPTA: A 98.84 pct majority of BLET members working for SEPTA have voted ao authorize a strike when a 30-day cooling-off period ends in less than two weeks. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 6-3-14]

'TANK CAR OF TOMORROW' NEARS TESTING MILESTONE: Union Tank Car's patent-pending prototype 'Tank Car of Tomorrow TIH pressure tank car is nearing completion of its second year of accelerated field tests, considered reliably equaling more than five years of normal service. [Railway Age website report, 6-3-14]

RAPID CITY, PIERRE & EASTERN COMPLETES ACQUISITION OF DM&E WEST END: Genesee & Wyoming's newly-established subsidiary, Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern Railroad has completed the acquisition of the west end of the Dakota Minnesota & Eastern rail line from Canadian Pacific. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-2-14]

LOS ANGELES UNION STATION GETTING TRACK-IMPROVEMENTS: The Southern California Regional Interconnector Project will install four new track sections, reconfiguring the current layout which is hindered by dead-end tracks. When complete, Amtrak and Metrolink trains will be able to run straight through the terminal, and planners expect a 40 to 50 pct increase in the station's capacity. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 5-30-14]

BNSF OFFERS TO DONATE 1929 DEPOT IN CHENEY, WASHINGTON: BNSF has offered to donate its Spanish mission-style Northern Pacific Railroad depot built in 1929 in Cheney, Washington, to the community if residents can find a way to relocate it. [The Spokesman-Review website report, 5-29-14]

UNION PACIFIC HAD 600 JOB OPENINGS AT EL PASO JOB FAIR: Union Pacific's 600 job openings in Santa Teresa, N.M., was a major draw at a job fair in El Paso, Texas, on May 29. [KFOX-TV website report, 5-29-14]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased U.S. rail traffic for the week ending May 24, 2014, with 300,936 carloads, up 6.8 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume was up 8.6 pct. Nine of the 10 carload commodity groups posted increases, with grain leading the way, up 24.4 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 5-29-14]

STUCK BRIDGE CAUSES MAJOR DELAYS ON METRO-NORTH'S NEW HAVEN LINE: A 117-year-old bridge became stuck on Metro-North's New Haven line May 29, causing major problems for commuters across the region. [New Haven Register website report, 5-29-14]

RAILROADS SPONSOR TANK CAR SAFETY TRAINING IN ST. LOUIS: CSX, Union Pacific, BNSF and Alton Southern are sponsoring a regular three-hour course for firefighters in St. Louis to familiarize them with railroad tank cars and training in incident response. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch website report, 5-29-14]

PAULSBORO DERAILMENT & CHEMICAL SPILL CAUSED HEALTH PROBLEMS IN HALF OF RESIDENTS: More than half of the residents of Paulsboro, N.J., surveyed experienced some type of symptoms following the Nov. 2012 train derailment and chemical spill, a N.J. Dept. of Health report states. [South Jersey Times website report, 5-29-14]

SAND SPRINGS RAILWAY BEING ACQUIRED BY OMNITRAX: OmniTRAX Inc. announced May 28 that it is acquiring the Sand Springs Railway, which operates 32 miles of track between Sand Springs and Tulsa, Oklahoma. [Railway Age website report, 5-29-14]

ALL ABOARD FLORIDA UNVEILS PLANS FOR MIAMI STATION: All Aboard Florida unveiled designs for it planned hub in Miami on May 28. It will include mixed-use development with residential, office, commercial and retail space, while serving as a connector between All Aboard Florida's passengers and Miami's existing public transportation system. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-29-14]

STB GETS NEW VICE CHAIR: Deb Miller has been designated as vice chair of the U.S. Surface Transportation Board. She succeeds Ann Begeman, who will continue to serve on the board. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-29-14]

TARGET FIELD MULTIMODAL HUB OPENS IN MINNESOTA: Hennipin County, Minnesota, has opened a new multimodal transportation hub named Target Field station, which connects the Metro Transit Blue and Green lines and Northstar Commuter Rail. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 5-29-14]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN PRESIDENT TO TAKE ON EXTRA DUTIES: Norfolk Southern president James Squires' role will expand June 1 to include overseeing parts of the railroad's marketing and operations efforts. The new duties come as part of the succession planning process. [Assn. of American Railroad SmartBrief, 5-29-14]

MUSEUMS TO TRADE LOCOMOTIVES: The Museum of Transportation in St. Louis and the Virginia Museum of Transportation are in discussions to bring N&W Y6a steam locomotive 2156, currently in the St. Louis museum, back to its place of origin at Roanoke, Va., on a five-year loan in a transaction facilitated by Norfolk Southern. In exchange, the Virginia museum will send to St. Louis a Southern Railway diesel GM EMD FTB unit to complement the St. Louis museum's FTA demo unit. [Norfolk Southern, 5-28-14]

PLANNING ANNOUNCED FOR PHILADELPHIA'S 30TH STREET STATION: Amtrak, Drexel University and Brandywine Realty Trust have selected Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, in association with Parsons Brinckerhoff, OLIN and HR&A Advisors, to develop a comprehensive joint master plan for the area around Philadelphia's 30th street station. The consultants will develop new plans and 're-envision' existing planning efforts to create one plan for the area, Amtrak announced May 27. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-28-14]

UNION PACIFIC OPENS NEW MEXICO RAIL FACILITY: State and railroad officials celebrated the official opening May 28 of Union Pacific's new 2,200-acre facility in Santa Teresa, N.M. The $400-million project includes a fueling station, crew-change buildings and an intermodal ramp with an annual lift capacity of around 225,000 containers. [Railway Age website report, 5-28-14]

INDIANA GATEWAY PROJECT TO PROCEED: Indiana's sole involvement in higher-speed rail planning will official launch May 29 as the 'Indiana Gateway' project proceeds. The plan encompasses $71.4-million in construction projects, with the majority of funding targeting congestion relief at Porter Junction to alleviate conflicts between freight rail activity and Amtrak service. [Railway Age website report, 5-28-14]

SEPTA TO RENEW TRACK ALONG ROUTE 11 TROLLEY LINE: SEPTA will conduct a track-renewal project on a portion of its Route 11 trolley line from June 1 to August 30, 2014. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 5-28-14]

CSX WORKER SERIOUSLY INJURED IN GEORGIA: A CSX railroad employee was seriously injured at a General Mills distribution center in Social Circle, Ga., May 28. He was spotting a train as it backup and got tangled or caught between or under the cars, and was air-lifted to a hospital in Atlanta. [Covington News website report, 5-28-14]

GRAIN SHIPMENTS MOVING WELL, CN SAYS: Canadian National Railway said May 28 that it is exceeding grain-shipment levels mandated earlier this year by the Canadian government, despite a record crop that has squeezed available infrastructure. [Reuters website report, 5-28-14]

CSX OPENS MAIN LINE FOR QUEBEC INTERMODAL TERMINAL: The 1.4-mile main line to the Perron industrial and maritime park in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec, from CSX's intermodal terminal is now open. The line is the latest milestone in construction of the $100-million facility linking the Canadian region with CSX's U.S. network. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-27-14]

CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL AUTHORITY SEEKS $8-B BOND-SALE APPROVAL: The California High-Speed Rail authority will seek to get its plans for the bullet train on track when it asks an appeals court for approval to issue $8-billion in bonds to finance the project. [Bloomberg website report, 5-23-14]

CSX TO PAY TO REPLACE BRIDGE FOLLOWING DERAILMENT IN S.C.: CSX has agreed to pay the costs of replacing the Moncks Corner bridge in S.C. that was knocked out by a train following a derailment last month. [Post and Courier website report, 5-23-14]

REPORT BREAKS DOWN NUMBERS FOR FLORIDA'S ALL-ABOARD RAIL PROJECT: A proposal to build a 235-mile rail-corridor linking Miami and Orlando would create more than 10,000 construction jobs during its two-year construction, according to an analysis by the Washington Economics group. The project would also result in an economic impact of $6.4-billion over a period of eight years, the analysis indicated. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 5-22-14]

SOUTH KOREA DEBUTS MAGNET-POWERED BULLET TRAIN: To get up to top speed, bullet trains have to pull a huge amount of electrical current, typically through overhead power lines. But a newly-debuted train prototype from South Korea sucks up electricity invisibly from the tracks below. A power inverter sends electricity of about one megawatt through power-transfer coils; the elctricity forms a high-frequency field of about 60 kilohertz by switching the polarization from plus to minus 60,000 times per second. As the magnetic field spreads, a line of current collector coils in the train above the power-transfer coil in the track absorbs the magnetic field and immediately transfers it into about 1.2 megawatts of electricity. [Gizmodo website report, 5-22-14]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased U.S. rail traffic for the week ending May 17, 2014, with 298,932 total carloads, up 4.5 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 5-22-14]

LOOP TRACK TO BE BUILT ON CO-OP FARM IN OHIO: The new Heritage Cooperative campus and research farm in Marysville, Ohio, will feature a CSX loop track to facilitate grain deliveries, only the second such track in the state. [Farm and Dairy website report, 5-22-14]

KANSAS CITY BGINS STREETCAR LINE CONSTRUCTION: Kansas City, Missouri, marked the official start of construction of its two-mile north-south streetcar starter line project May 22. The line will travel along Main street and connect the River Market to Crown Center and Union Station. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-22-14]

READING & NORTHERN EARNS 'EMPLOYER EXCELLENCE' AWARD: The Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad has received the 2014 Employers Excellence award for process improvement and product innovation at the annual Manufacturers and Employers Excellence Awards dinner in Orwigsburg, Pa. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-22-14]

FRA SEES 'POCKETS OF CONCERN' WITH MISCLASSIFYING BAKKEN CRUDE: U.S. rail regulators find that most shippers are properly classifying Bakken crude cargoes, FRA administrator Joseph Szabo said. Still, there are 'pockets of concern,' and the agency intends to continue its Bakken Blitz surprise inspection campaign to ensure crude-by-rail shipments are delivered safely. [Platts website report, 5-22-14]

CSX PUT ON NOTICE BY VIRGINIA ENVIRONMENTAL AGENCY: Virginia environmental officials have served a 'notice of violation' with CSX stemming from the April 30 train derailment in Lynchburg. [Washington Post website report, 5-22-14]

BNSF SEES RECORD VOLUMES, REDUCED DELAYS: BNSF Railway is on track to move record volumes on its rail network this year and is making progress on relieving delays and congestion, its chief executive officer Carl Ice said May 22. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram website report, 5-22-14]

FIVE TRAINS DELAYED AFTER TUG STRIKES SUSQUEHANNA RIVER BRIDGE: Four Amtrak trains and one MARC train were delayed Wednesday evening, May 21, after a tug boat struck the Susquehanna River bridge in Maryland. Normal service resumed 11:20PM after the bridge was inspected. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers]

BOSNIAN RAILWAY SEEKS HELP FOLLOWING SEVERE FLOODS: Bosnia's Srpske Republic Railways has issued an urgent international request for assistance following flood damage caused by heavy rain. There has been widespread damage to infrastructure and equipment, and numerous facilities are unservicable. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-21-14]

BAKERSFIELD TO SUE CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL AUTHORITY TO STOP CONSTRUCTION: Nineteen months after authorizing a lawsuit against the California High-Speed Rail Authority, the Bakersfield city council reaffirmed that plan May 21, authorizing the city attorney to sue to stop the multibillion-dollar bullet train. [Bakersfield Californian website report, 5-21-14]

BNSF TO SPEND OVER $400-M IN N.D.: BNSF will spend in excess of $400-million to maintain and improve its rail network in North Dakota. Chairman Matt Rose recently highlighted the company's commitment to safety. [WDAY-TV website report, 5-21-14]

UNION PACIFIC'S 'BIG RED EXPRESS' HOSTS UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA WHISTLE-STOP TOUR: Coaches from the University of Nebraska will board Union Pacific's 'Big Red Express' for a whistle-stop tour June 28, with stops in Columbus, Grand Island and Kearney, Nebraska. [Lincoln Journal Star website report, 5-21-14]

RAIL CONGESTION EXPECTED TO PLAGUE POWDER RIVER BASIN COAL INTO LATE 2014: Wyoming coal shipments were slowed by congested rail lines in the first-quarter 2014, dragging down mining firms' profits and leaving three of the four major companies working in the Powder River basin in the red. The trend is expected to continue into the latter half of 2014, even as utilities clamor to replace the coal stockpiles burned off in one of the coldest winters in recent memory. [Star Tribune website report, 5-21-14]

HOUSE PANEL APPROVES CUTS TO TRANSPORTATION GRANTS, AMTRAK: GOP-drafted legislation that would impose cuts on Amtrak repairs, transit projects and a transportation grant program saidled through a key House panel May 21. In the measure, Amtrak capital grants would be cut by $200-million and employees of the railroad would generally be limited to $35,000 a year in overtime. [The Republic website report, 5-21-14]

TRANSCANADA CONSIDERS OIL-BY-RAIL AS KEYSTONE PIPELINE ALTERNATIVE: TransCanada Corp. is in talks with customers about shipping Canadian crude to the U.S. by rail as an alternative route as its Keystone XL pipeline project that has been mired in political delays, its chief executive Russ Girling said May 21. [Huffington Post website report, 5-21-14]

SEPTA UNVEILS PLAN TO REBUILD LEVITTOWN RAIL STATION: SEPTA has unveiled plans to rebuild Levittown's train station at a cost of about $24-million to transform the 1950's station into a modern intermodal facility. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-20-14]

CHICAGO-MEXICO INTERMODAL RAIL SERVICE ANNOUNCED: BNSF Railway and Ferromex have announced a new intermodal service between Chicago and Silao, Guanajuato, Mexico. [Railway Age website report, 5-20-14]

UNION PACIFIC TO OPEN NEW TRANSFER FACILITY IN N.M.: Union Pacific will host a grand opening for itsw new 2,200-acre transfer and fueling facility in Santa Teresa, N.M., on May 28. [Albuquerque Journal website report, 5-20-14]

FRENCH RAIL COMPANY ORDERS TRAINS TOO WIDE FOR PLATFORMS: France's national rail company SNCF admitted that it had ordered 2,200 trains for an expanded network that are too wide for many station platforms, entailing costly repairs that have already begun. The mix-up arose when rail operator RFF transmitted faulty dimensions for its train platforms that were built prior to a certain date. Reconstruction work has already cost $110-million. [Reuters website report, 5-20-14]

PATCO SET TO BEGIN BEN FRANKLIN BRIDGE TRACK REHAB PROJECT: Port Authority Transit Corp. is ready to start a two-year, $103-million rehabilitation project on the Benjamin Franklin bridge which connects the New Jersey and Philadelphia portions of the system. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 5-19-14]

BNSF ORDERED TO PAY BACK WAGES & DAMAGES TO TWO TERMINATED EMPLOYEES: Burlington Northern Santa Fe has been ordered to pay more than $526,000 in back wages and other damages to two workers. The railroad was found in violation of the whistleblower provisions of the Railroad Safety act for terminating the employees in 2010 and 2011 in Havre, Montana. [U.S. Dept. of Labor, 5-19-14]

FCC-RAILROAD DEAL ADDRESSES SOME TRIBAL CONCERNS: The railroad industry took a step toward resolving a dispute with Native American tribes that has stalled positive train control while the tribes exercised their rights to review whether tower construction would affect their sacred grounds. The Federal Communications Commission said that it has reached an agreement with seven rail companies to begin testing on 11,000 poles that had already been constructed. [Bloomberg website report, 5-19-14]

UNION PACIFIC TO RENEW TRACK SEGMENT IN NEBRASKA: Union Pacific is investing $39-5-million in the rail line between Clarks and Schuyler, Nebraska. The company will replace 115,000 concrete ties, renew the surfaces at 15 road corssings, install 15 switches and nearly 44 miles of new rail. [Union Pacific, 5-19-14]

KEOLIS TO OPERATE LIGHT-RAIL SYSTEM IN WATERLOO, ONTARIO: Keolis, as part of the GrandLinq consortium, has been selected to operate and maintain a new light-rail system in the region of Waterloo, Ontario. The new public-private partnership contract will generate over $503-million for Keolis over 33 years, according to the company. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-19-14]

WYOMING TOWN'S DEPOT DAYS A SUCCESS: The Union Pacific Steam Shop was a major attraction for the Cheyenne Depot Days celebration that wrapped up May 18. Visitors stopped in to get a glimpse of UP's historic Big Boy 4014 steam engine. [KGWN-TV website report, 5-18-14]

CSX FACILITY BRINGS HOPE TO FLORIDA BUSINESS PARK: The CSX Central Florida Intermodal Logistics center is described by some as 'the nation's most advanced rail terminal.' It's located near the Longleaf Business Park in Lake Wales, and the park's developers and officials think it could be a game-changer. The center will be able to process 300,000 containers annually. [Lakeland Ledger website report, 5-18-14]

VIRGINIA CONSIDERING SECOND LYNCHBURG-D.C. AMTRAK TRAIN: The state of Virginia is in preliminary discussions on adding a second daily train from Lynchburg to Washington, D.C. [News & Advance website report, 5-18-14]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN STEAM TRAIN OFFERS A GLIMPSE OF HISTORY: Crowds gathered in Danville, Ky., over the weekend to glimpse Norfolk Southern's 21st Century steam train, operated in partnership with the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. Said Boyle County Judge Executive Harold McKinney, "It fits with our historical perspective. How much better can it get?" [Danville Advocate-Messenger website report, 5-17-14]

INTERMODAL SOARS: Intermodal traffic has reached the highest 12-week moving average in three years, hitting 8.5 pct, according to data from the Association of American Railroads. [Business Insider website report, 5-17-14]

UNION PACIFIC BOOSTS CAPITAL EXPENDITURE BUDGET BY $150-M: Union Pacific is adding $150-million to the capital spending budget for 2014, increasing the total plan to $4.1-billion. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-16-14]

STATION RENOVATION AT NEEDLES, CALIFORNIA, COMPLETE: Needles, California, celebrated the completion of station renovation with a ribbon-cutting. The facility, known as El Garces intermodal station, was abandoned for years after serving as a Harvey House until 1949, and then a train station until 1988. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 5-16-14]

BOSTON ORDERS 24 LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES: The Massachusetts DOT has approved the purchase of 24 light-rail vehicles from CAF Spain for the Green line. The contract is valued at $118-million. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-16-14]

METRO-NORTH IMPLEMENTING SAFETY REFORMS: Metro-North has announced a series of reforms seeking to increase the safety of its passengers and employees. These include modification of equipment with alerters, speed reductions, automated track inspections, and in-cab cameras for accident review. In addition, employees will be required to participate in quarterly 'safety stand-downs.' [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 5-16-14]

FARM CO-OP PLANS $35-M FACILITY IN MARYSVILLE, OHIO: The Heritate Cooperatgive has announced plans for a $35-million facility in Marysville, Ohio, to be built on a 277-acre campus to include a grain elevator, fertilizer warehouses and rail access to a CSX line. [Columbus Dispatch website report, 5-16-14]

DUTCH TRAINS TO GET POWER FROM WIND TURBINES IN 2018: All traction power for the Dutch railway network will come from wind turbines under a new energy contract signed May 15. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-16-14]

COPENHAGEN METRO EXTENSIONS APPROVED: The Danish government has reach an agreement with the Copenhagen city council to construct two extensions of the city's automated metro network, branches off the Cityring circle line. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-16-14]

UNION PACIFIC ANNOUNCES TWO-FOR-ONE STOCK SPLIT: Union Pacific Corp. has authorized a two-for-one stock split, distributed as a stock dividend. The stock dividend will not change the proportionate interest that a shareholder maintains in the company. [Union Pacific, 5-15-14]

MM&A RAILWAY SOLD: The Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway has been sold and renamed Central Maine & Quebec Railway. Its new president & CEO John Giles said that his company will require up to $10-million in track investments this year and use a boosted sales and marketing staff to find new customers. [Bangor Daily News website report, 5-15-14]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased U.S. rail traffic for the week ending May 10, 2014, with 296,813 carloads, up 5.6 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 5-15-14]

WABTEC MAKES MANAGEMENT CHANGES: Wabtec Corp. has named Albert Neupaver executive chairman, and has promoted Raymond Betler to president and chief executive officer. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-15-14]

STADLER RAIL LANDS $1-B CONTRACT FOR 29 SWISS EUROCITY TRAINS: Stadler Rail obtained a $1-billion contract from the Swiss Federal Railways to provide 29 EuroCity trains for the future international railway link through the Alps. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-15-14]

EGYPTIAN PASSENGER RAIL TRAFFIC PLUMMETS: Passenger traffic on the Egyptian National Railway network has plummeted by 87 pct year-on-year as a result of political turmoil, according to figures released by the country's railway authority. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-15-14]

TALGO TO TRANSFER TWO HIGH-SPEED TRAIN SETS TO BEECH GROVE, INDIANA: Talgo, the train manufacturer that is abandoning its Milwaukee headquarters, is about to transport its two high-speed trains from Milwaukee to Amtrak's shop in Beech Grove, Indiana, to save on storage costs. The trains were originally commissioned in 2009 by Wisconsin for the Hiawatha service, but the Wisconsin administration canceled contracts and halted payments in 2012, leading Talgo to declare a breach of contract. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel website report, 5-14-14]

QUAD-CITIES PASSENGER RAIL START DELAYED: The start of service for Amtrak's Chicago to Quad-Cities will be delayed, the Illinois Dept. of Transportation has confirmed. The delay is due to the need of more track rehabilitation on the Iowa Interstate Railroad between Wyanet and Moline. [Quad-City Times website report, 5-14-14]

COLORADO GOVERNOR CREATES COMMISSION TO WORK ON CONTINUATION OF S.W. CHIEF ROUTE: Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has signed a bill creating a commission to work with officials in Kansas and New Mexico to continue the existing service of Amtrak's Southwest Chief. The bill also pushes for a new stop in Pueblo. [Nebraska website report, 5-14-14]

METRA'S LOMBARD STATION PROJECT BEGINS: Ground was broken May 14 on more than $9.7-million in improvements at the Lombard, Illinois, station along the Union Pacific West line, including a new pedestrian underpass, rebuilt platforms and new canopies. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 5-14-14]

VIA RAIL REPORTS REVENUE DIP FOR 2013: VIA Rail Canada's revenue declined 2.3 pct compared with the revenue for the previous year, according to the railroad's annual report. But the chairman, Paul Smith, described 2013 as a productive year for the railroad. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-14-14]

CP'S CREEL NAMED 'RAILROAD INNOVATOR': Canadian Pacific president and chief operating officer Keith Creek has won the 2014 'Railroad Innovator Award' from Progressive Railroading and RailTrends. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-14-14]

CN TO REPLACE 46,000 TIES ON NEW BRUNSWICK LINE: Canadian National is replacing 46,000 ties and will perform maintenance on 30 miles of track between Saint John and Moncton, N.B. The railroad will also install a hotbox detector as part of the project. [Daily Business Buzz website report, 5-14-14]

QUEBEC TRAIN DISASTER LEADS TO CHARGES AGAINST RAILROAD, THREE EMPLOYEES: Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway and three of its employees have been charged with criminal negligence in connection with the derailment and explosion of a train killing 47 people in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, last year, the provincial prosecutor's office said. [Bloomberg News website report, 5-13-14]

JAXPORT RAIL TERMINAL CONSTRUCTION BEGINS: Officials gathered May 12 to mark the start of construction on the Jacksonville Port Authority intermodal container facility at Dames Point, Florida. The facility is expected to be operational by the end of 2015. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 5-13-14]

FIRE LEADS TO DELAYS ON METRO-NORTH R.R.: A fire inside a switching control house in Greenwich, Connecticut, caused delays along the New Haven line of Metro-North Railroad May 12. [Seattlepi website report, 5-12-14]

DENVER UNION STATION REOPENS FOLLOWING REVITALIZATION PROJECT: Denver Union Station reopened May 9 and is now a multimodal transportation hub that includes a new bus facility and rail connections, improving transportation options in downtown Denver and beyond. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 5-12-14]

PALMETTO RAILWAYS READY TO HANDLE MORE BMW BUSINESS AT S.C. PORT: Palmetto Railways recently completed a $3.2-million infrastructure improvement project at the port of Charleston's Columbus street terminal to accommodate a BNW plant expansion in Greer, S.C. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-12-14]

STEVEN ANTHONY SWORN IN AS MEMBER OF RAILROAD RETIREMENT BOARD: President Obama has appointed Steven J. Anthony to be the mnagement memberof the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board. He was confirmed by the Senate April 9, and he was sworn into office May 8. He succeeds Jerome Kever, who had served on the board since August 1992. [U.S. Railroad Retirement Board, 5-12-14]

GREECE RESTORES INTERNATIONAL PASSENGER RAIL SERVICES: More than three years after Greece was severed from the European passenger rail network, national train operator Trainose restored international services from Thessaloniki to Bulgaria, Macedonia and Serbia on May 10. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-12-14]

AZERBAIJAN ORDERS 50 LOCOMOTIVES FROM ALSTOM: Alstom has won a contract from Azerbaijan Railways for fifty type KZ8A 8.8MW electric locomotives. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-12-14]

KENYAN RAIL LINE TO BE CONSTRUCTED: An agreement was signed May 11 for the construction of a 378-mile standard-gauge railway linking Mombasa to Nairobi, Kenya. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-12-14]

UNION PACIFIC CREW UNCOVERS OLD TROLLY SYSTEM IN DES MOINES: A Union Pacific crew working to upgrade railroad crossings in Des Moines, Iowa, have uncovered a portion of the city's historic trolley system, which carried passengers between the capitol and the fairgrounds. [WHO-TV website report, 5-12-14]

TRANSCOLD EXPRESS IN SERVICE BETWEEN ILLINOIS AND CALIFORNIA: The TransCold Express refrigerated boxcar service is up and running on BNSF between Wilmington, Illinois, and Selma, California. This is reportedly the first refrigerated boxcar service connecting the Midwest and the West Coast in more than 50 years. [Trucking Info website report, 5-12-14]

GTW ORDERED TO REINSTATE CONDUCTOR, PAY BACK WAGES & DAMAGES: Grand Trunk Western Railroad Co. has been ordered to reinstate a conductor and pay him more than $244,000 in back wages and damages following an investigation by the U.S. Dept. of Labor. The company was found in violation of the whistleblower provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety act in terminating the employee in Flint, Michigan, in 2013. [U.S. Dept. of Labor, 5-12-14]

CP FINED FOR FAILURE TO PROMPTLY REPORT TRAIN DERAILMENT IN ALBANY: Canadian Pacific Railway will be fined $5,000 after four tank cars carrying Bakken crude oil derailed the morning of May 12, 2014, in the railroad's Kenwood rail yard south of downtown Albany, N.Y. [Albany Times Union website report, 5-12-14]

BNSF COAL TRAIN DERAILS IN MINNESOTA: Coal and crushed metal littered the train tracks early May 12 as crews worked to clear the scene of a May 11 train derailment involving 50 cars on a BNSF Railway line near Pillager, Minnesota. There were no injuries. [West Central Tribune website report, 5-12-14]

VIA RAIL CANADA HAS NEW PRESIDENT: Yves Desjardins-Sicilano was appointed president and CEO of Via Rail May 11. The Montreal native, who was the rail company's chief corporate and legal officer and corporate secretary for the last four years, takes the job on a five-year term. [CBC website report, 5-11-14]

EISENHOWER LOCOMOTIVE EN ROUTE BACK TO GREEN BAY: Green Bay's prized historic train engine is on its way back home. After a two-year hiatus at a musuem in England, the locomotive named after President Eisenhower is being shipped back to the U.S. [Green Bay Press Gazette website report, 5-11-14]

SEPTA REJECTS ARBITRATION IN CONTRACT DISPUTE: Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation authority has rejected binding arbitration of its contract dispute with commuter railroad engineers and elecricians, moving a step closer to a possible strike that would halt regional rail service early next year. [Philadelphia Inquirer website report, 5-10-14]

CHINESE-AMERICANS PAY TRIBUTE TO LABORERS AT GOLDEN SPIKE: In what an organizer called a 'photographic act of justice,' some 200 Chinese-Americans, Chinese citizens and other Asian-American friends posed at Promontory Summit, Utah, May 10 on the 145th anniversary of the completeion of the transcontinental railroad. [Salt Lake Tribune website report, 5-10-14]

N.D. GRAIN TRAINS ALMOST A MONTH BEHIND SCHEDULE: North Dakota's lone U.S. representative has released a BNSF railway report that says rail cars carrying grain from North Dakota are almost a month behind schedule. [Inforum website report, 5-10-14]

STOWAWAYS ARE STRANDED IN MEXICO BY TRAIN ENFORCEMENT: Hundreds of Central American migrants trying to make their way to the U.S. have been stranded in Mexico in recent weeks after the freight train line they ride - labeled the 'Beast' - began enforcing a ban on stowaways, migrant advocates say. [New York Times website report, 5-10-14]

CHINA MULLING RAIL LINE TO CONNECT WITH U.S.: According to several state-run Chinese news outlets, Chinese rail officials are considering the construction of a high-speed rail corridor that would connect China with the United States by means of 125 miles of tunnel under the Bering Strait. The proposed line would originate at Beijing, traversing soil before crossing Siberia and the Pacific Ocean to Alaska, then continue across Canada to the U.S. The Chinese-funded project would allow a passenger to make the journey in two days. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 5-9-14]

METRO-NORTH COMPLETES BRONX TRACK PROJECT: Metro-North Railroad has completed a track reconstruction effort that began in July 2013 on the line through the central Bronx used by New Haven and Harlem line trains. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 5-9-14]

NEW RAIL SAFETY TASK FORCE IN VIRGINIA: Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe announced he is forming a new rail safety task force in the wake of the recent fiery train derailment in Lynchburg. [News & Advance website report, 5-9-14]

FORMER C&O MALLET 1309 ACQUIRED BY WESTERN MARYLAND SCENIC R.R.: Former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 Allegheny-type 1309 has been acquired from the B&O Railroad Museum for overhaul and operation by Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. The restoration will be performed by WM Scenic's own steam shop with a goal of operation beginning in the 2016 season. [Railway Age website report, 5-9-14]

AGREEMENT REACHED ON VIRGINIA BEACH LIGHT-RAIL PLAN: After many years of indecision, the mayor of Virginia Beach and the Virginia transportation secretary have agreed to develop plans for a light-rail link between Norfolk and Virginia Beach. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-9-14]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON LIGHT-RAIL LINE IN SETIF, ALGERIA: A ceremony was held in Setif, Algeria, May 8 to mark the official start of construction on the city's light-rail network. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-9-14]

ST. PAUL'S UNION DEPOT MARKS RETURN OF PASSENGER TRAINS: Passenger trains are again rolling into St. Paul's historic Union Depot following a 43-year absence. The first train, the westbound Empire Builder, arrived at 11:13 P.M. May 7, seventy minutes late. [Twin Cities website report, 5-8-14]

INDUSTRIAL PARK IN GEORGIA GETS CSX 'SELECT SITE' DESIGNATION: CSX has designated a portion of the Callaway South Industrial Park in LaGrange, Ga., as a CSX Select Site, a property identified and vetted as a capable location for future manufacturing facilities along the CSX network. [CSX, 5-8-14]

STATE APPROVES 114-MILE PROPOSED ROUTE OF CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL SYSTEM: The 114-mile Fresno-Bakersfield route for the proposed high-speed rail system has been approved by the California High-Speed Rail Authority. [Fresno Bee website report, 5-8-14]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased U.S rail traffic for the week ending May 3, 2014, with 297.432 carloads, up 4.8 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume increased 8.8 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 5-8-14]

KEOLIS NAMES DAVID PLUMB CHIEF MECHANICAL OFFICER FOR MBTA COMMUTER SERVICE: Keolis Commuter Services has named David Plumb chief mechanical officer for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority commuter rail contract that begins July 1, 2014. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-8-14]

40TH ANNIVERSARY OF POUGHKEEPSIE BRIDGE FIRE: May 8 is the fourtieth anniversary of the fire on the Poughkeepsie, N.Y., railroad bridge across the Hudson River. The bridge is now the site of a walkway. [Poughkeepsie Journal website report, 5-8-14]

BOMBARDIER LANDS CONTRACT TO UPGRADE SPANISH MEDITERRANEAN RAIL CORRIDOR: Bombardier Transportation, as the lead in a consortium with Thales, has obtained the second contract to be awarded by Spain's administrator of railway infrastructure for the upgrade of the Mediterranean corridor. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-8-14]

CHINESE RAIL WORKERS FROM 1800'S TO BE INDUCTED INTO LABOR HALL OF HONOR: U.S. Labor secretary Thomas Perez on Masy 9 will formally induct into the Labor Hall of Honor about 12,000 immigrant Chinese laborers who worked on the Central Pacific Railroad between 1865 and 1869. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-8-14]

TRAIN CARRYING NUCLEAR WASTE CONTAINER STRIKES TRUCK IN INDIANAPOLIS: A CSX train carrying a nuclear waste container crashed into a truck loaded with pineapples in Indianapolis May 6. [The Indy Channel website report, 5-8-14]

CSX TRACK IN BALTIMORE CLEARED OF LANDSLIDE: CSX rail service was restored May 2 following cleanup of mud and debris from the April 30 landslide in Baltimore. Residents along the portion of the 26th street area across from the slide have moved away temporarily while engineers assess the stability of the ground. Meanwhile, it has not been established just who is to blame for the landslide.

ST. PAUL UNION STATION OPENS: The last train to serve St. Paul's Midway station was eastbound Empire Builder train 8 on May 7, 2014, and the first train to serve the restored Union Depot is westbound train 7 that evening. [Amtrak, 5-7-14]

WESTBOUND EMPIRE BUILDER TO DETOUR IN N.D. THROUGH END OF SEPT.: Honoring a request by BNSF for a temporary service adjustment, Amtrak will alter its westbound Empire Builder schedule through North Dakota through Sept. 30, 2014, using chartered buses to ensure timekeeping and continue service to Grand Forks, Devils Lake and Rugby. The eastbound train will operate normally. [Railway Age website report, 5-7-14]

CP EXTENDS CEO'S CONTRACT: Canadian Pacific has agreed to a contract extension with its CEO Hunter Harrison, adding a year to his term, which will now run until 2017. [Railway Age website report, 5-7-14]

CAPEFLYER ADDING STATION STOP AT WAREHAM VILLAGE: The Massachusetts DOT has announced the CapeFlyer weekend rail service from Boston to Cape Cod and the islands will operate May 23 through Labor Day with a new station stop at Wareham Village. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-7-14]

CHINA TO ORDER MORE THAN 1,000 ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVES: China Railway Investment Corp. has published tenders for contracts to supply more than 1,000 electric locomotives to Chna Railway Corp. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-7-14]

TRACY, CALIFORNIA, ADDED TO UNION PACIFIC'S 'TRAIN TOWN' REGISTRY: Union Pacific is adding Tracy, California, to its Train Town USA registry, a designation the city will celebrate at a ceremony May 10. [Stockton Record website report, 5-7-14]

RAILROADS WILL CONTINUE TO COMMUNICATE WITH EMERGENCY RESPONDERS, AAR SAYS: The railroad industry will continue to work closely with emergency responders after the Dept. of Transportation called for more communication between local emergency teams and railroads on May 7, according to a statement by the Association of American Railroads. [New York Times website report, 5-7-14]

FEDS TAKE EMERGENCY ACTION TO KEEP CRUDE OIL SHIPMENTS SAFE: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has issued an emergency order requiring all railroads operating trains containing large amounts of Bakken crude oil to notify state emergency response commissions about the operation of these trains through their states. [U.S. DOT, 5-7-14]

WORK STARTS ON NORFOLK SOUTHERN RETAINING WALL IN PITTSBURGH: Norfolk Southern has begun building a retaining wall along its tracks beneath the Mount Washington hillside that gave way last month, burying the rail line. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website report, 5-7-14]

GRANT SOUGHT TO STUDY NEW ORLEANS-ORLANDO RAIL SERVICE: The Southern Rail commission has applied for a $1-million federal grant to look at the feasibility of restoring passenger train service between New Orleans and Orlando. Amtrak's Sunset Limited operated the route until hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005. [New Orleans Advocate website report, 5-7-14]

BIG BOY LOCOMOTIVE TO BE RESTORED IN WYOMING: Union Pacific's steam engine 4014, dubbed 'Big Boy,' will embark on a three- to five-year restoration in Cheyenne this week. "It will literally be taken apart down to its frame and worked on by our staff," said UP spokesman Mark Davis. "We are fortunate to have one of the only shops capable of doing this in-house in America," he said. [Wyoming Tribune-Eagle website report, 5-6-14]

CANADA'S CRUDE-BY-RAIL SHIPMENTS INCREASE NINE-FOLD SINCE 2012: The amount of crude oil being shipped by rail has increased by almost 900 pct in Canada since the start of 2012, according to the National Energy board. [CBC News website report, 5-6-14]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON METRA'S FLOSSMOOR STATION RENEWAL PROJECT: Metra has broken ground on a $4-million project to rebuild the platforms and related facilities at the Flossmoor station on Metra's Electric District line. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-6-14]

FREIGHTCAR AMERICA REPORTS 1-Q LOSS: FreightCar America Inc. reported a net loss of $6.9-million in the first-quarter, compared with a net loss of $2.6-million in the first-quarter 2013. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-6-14]

FIRST UNION RAIL ACQUIRES LONG HAUL HOLDING CORP.: First Union Rail, a wholy-owned Wells Fargo company, has acqired Long Haul Holding Corp., the parent of Helm Financial Corp., a San Francisco-based rail car and locomotive leasing company. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-6-14]

BOMBARDIER LAUNCHES CREWING SERVICES FOR TRANSLINK'S WEST COAST EXPRESS: Bombardier Transportation has launched crewing services for TransLink's West Coast Express commuter rail system in Vancouver, B.C. Bombardier will provide crews for the bi-level commuter rail fleet of 44 vehicles. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-6-14]

UNION PACIFIC HOSTING WHISTLE-STOP TOUR IN NEBRASKA JUNE 28: Union Pacific is celebrating the 'historical connection between the railroad and University of Nebraska with Nebraska communities' with a special train tour featuring coaches and other representatives from the university's 24 varsity sports. The June 28 commemorative tour will begin in Omaha with whistle stops along the way to North Platte. [Omaha World Herald website report, 5-6-14]

MISSISSIPPI COUNTY SEEKS FEDERAL FUNDS FOR TRACK UPGRADES: Mississippi's George County is asking for more than $2-million in federal funds for a three-phase upgrade and expansion of rail facilities at its Evanston road industrial park. [Mississippi Press website report, 5-6-14]

KCS UPGRADING TRACKS BETWEEN GULFPORT AND HATTIESBURG: Kansas City Southern Railway is upgrading its tracks and crossings from Gulfport to Hattiesburg. The biggest benefit from the project s the port of Gulfport. [Hattiesburg American website report, 5-6-14]

UNION PACIFIC GETS DEMONSTRATION OF DRONES FOR SAFETY CHECKS: Union Pacific is tinkering with drones equipped with cameras to patrol its infrastructure. The company's CEO Jack Koraleski and other senior managers saw their first demonstration of a helicopter-style drone on April 21. [Bloomberg website report, 5-5-14]

AMTRAK BOSS GIVES AGING HUDSON RAIL TUNNELS '20 YEARS TO LIVE': Amtrak chief executive officer Joe Boardman said the two existing rail tunnels that now carry 160,000 commuters a day under the Hudson River will have to be shut within 20 years, according to a published report. [Star-Ledger website report, 5-5-14]

CANADIAN CRUDE-BY-RAIL EXPORTS JUMP 83 PCT IN 4-Q 2013: Canadian exports of crude oil by rail rose 83 pct in the last quarter of 2013 from the same period a year earlier, Canada's National Energy board said. [Reuters website report, 5-5-14]

FORMER HOUSE TRANSPORTATION CHAIR OBERSTAR DIES: Former U.S. representative James Oberstar (D-MN), whose influence over transportation and public works policy spanned nearly 50 years, died May 3 at age 79. [Various news accounts, 5-3-14]

FRESNO-BAKERSFIELD SECTION OF PLANNED CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT SLATED FOR APPROVAL: The Fresno-Bakersfield route of the proposed high-speed rail system in California is set to be approved when the state's high-speed rail authority board meets this week. The authority will issue a report outlining the project's probable construction and operation impact, certify the report and adopt the chosen route for the project. [Fresno Bee website report, 5-3-14]

TUNNEL BORED TROUGH IN CHINA'S QILIAN MOUNTAINS: Workers are celebrating connecting the bores of the 10.1-mile rail tunnel through the Qilian Mountains in northwest China, the final part of the project to build the 1,100-mile-long Lanxin railway from Lanzhou to Urumqi. Work on the tunnel, which reaches an altitude of up to 11,800 feet, began in 2009. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-2-14]

CSX COAL TRAIN DERAILS IN BOWIE, MARYLAND: A CSX freight train carrying coal derailed along a freight line in Bowie, Md., early May 1, according to officials. No injuries were reported. At the scene, three locomotives and 10 cars had left the tracks. The train was en route to Woodzell in southern Maryland. [Baltimore Sun website report, 5-1-14]

GARY COLTER NAMED CHAIRMAN OF CP: Canadian Pacific Railway has announced the election of Gary F. Colter as chairman of the board of directors. He replaces Paul G. Haggis, who concluded his term as chairman but will continue to serve as a director. [Railway Age website report, 5-1-14]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased U.S. rail traffic for the week ending April 26, 2014, with 302,108 total carloads, up 9.5 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 5-1-14]

LONG ISLAND R.R. PRESIDENT FIRED: The head of the MTA April 30 abruptly fired Long Island Rail Road president Helena Williams and named her successor in the midst of intense labor negotiations. She is being replaced by Patrick Nowakowski, 60, executive director of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail project in Washington. [Newsday website report, 5-1-14]

MUDSLIDE BLOCKS CSX TRACKS IN BALTIMORE: Mud, sidewalk, street and automobiles slid onto CSX train tracks in the Charles Village neighborhood of Baltimore April 30 following two days of heavy rain. The rail line, known as the 'Belt Line,' is a heavily used artery for traffic between the South, West and the Northeast. Rail service is currently halted. [Various news accounts, 4-30-14]

CSX TRAIN DERAILS, BURNS IN VIRGINIA: A freight train derailed in downtown Lynchburg, Va, April 30, igniting several CSX crude oil tank cars. The Dept. of Emergency Management has personnel on the scene. [WSET-TV website report, 4-30-14]

BNSF, AMTRAK PLEDGE $6-M TO SAVE SOUTHWEST CHIEF ROUTE: BNSF and Amtrak have pledged a total of $6-million in matching funds for the maintenance of Amtrak's Southwest Chief route that runs through Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico. The pledge adds to the money already raised by local communities in an effort to attract federal dollars to the estimated $200-million project. [Denver Post website report, 4-30-14]

UNION PACIFIC TO IMPROVE RAIL LINE IN MINNESOTA, IOWA: Union Pacific is investing $17.5-million in the rail line between Butterfield,Minnesota, and near Mason City, Iowa. Work is scheduled for completion in mid-July. [Union Pacific, 4-30-14]

STADLER RAIL LANDS $58-M ORDER FOR EIGHT BART TRAINS: Stadler Rail obtained a $58-million order for eight GTW trains from Bay Area Rapid Transit. The diesel multiple units are based on the 37 trains that Stadler has delivered to Texas and New Jersey in the past few years. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-30-14]

SUNRAIL TO BEGIN OPERATIONS: SunRail regional rail service will make an official debut May 1, 2014, serving the Orlando, Florida, metropolitan area. The 32-mile, first-phase portion includes 12 stations. [Railway Age website report, 4-30-14]

SHORT LINE R.R. EYES BUSINESS BOOST IN GRAIN DEMAND: The Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad is hoping for a boost in business this year based in demand for grain. Short line railroads have been a major opportunity for entrepreneurs across the country who tender cargo from the Class I railroads, according to the American Short Line & Regional Railroad Assn. K&O serves both BNSF and Union Pacific. [Wichita Eagle website report, 4-30-14]

CN PLANS $30-M PROJECT IN MINNESOTA: Canadian National plans to spend $30-million on infrastructure enhancements in Duluth, Minnesota, including the purchase of land from the city for track expansion. [WDIO-TV website report, 4-30-14]

TRINITY INDUSTRIES GETS ORDERS FOR 9,625 NEW RAIL CARS IN 1-Q: Trinity Industries Inc. Rail Group received orders for 9,625 new rail cars during the first-quarter, resulting in a record backlog of 42,630 units with a record value of $5.2-billion. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-30-14]

CSX NAMED A TOP 100 CORPORATE CITIZEN: CSX Corp. has been named to a spot on Corporate Responsibility magazine's list of the '100 Best Corporate Citizens' for 2014. The rating comprehended multiple factors including employee relations, philanthropy, environment, climate change, governance, human rights and finance. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-29-14]

UNION PACIFIC DONATES $1-M TO NAU CENTER FOR TEXAS CULTURAL HERITAGE: Union Pacific has donated $1-million to Houston's Nau Center for Texas Cultural Heritage for an interactive exhibit that will highlight the importance of railroads in Texas history. [Houston American City Business Journals website report, 4-29-14]

RAIL ONE OPENS CONCRETE RAIL-TIE PRODUCTION FACILITY IN IOWA: Rail One Group has opened its concrete rail-tie plant in Clinton, Iowa, by sending off its inaugural U.S. load of ties on a Union Pacific train. This is the German company's first U.S. operation. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 4-29-14]

BELARUS TO INTRODUCE FIVE-CAR FLIRT EMU'S: Belaurus Railways will introduce five-car Stadler Flirt electric multiple unit trains on Minsk-Baranovichi, Minsk-Orsha, and Baranovichi-Brest services May 1, replacing four-car Flirts which will be transferred to the recently-electrified Minsk-Osipovichi-Bobruysk line. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-29-14]

BIG BOY LOCOMOTIVE LEAVES CALIFORNIA ON WAY TO WYOMING FOR RESTORATION: Hundreds of onlookers gathered at Cajon Pass in Southern California to watch as the 73-year-old steam engine 4014, known as a Big Boy, passed on the first leg of its journey to Wyoming where it will be restored by Union Pacific and become a traveling exhibit. [Riverside Press-Enterprise website report, 4-28-14]

ONE PASSENGER INJURED AS AMTRAK TRAIN PARTIALLY DERAILS IN MONTANA: Amtrak says its Empire Builder train carrying 117 passengers partially derailed in northeastern Montana April 28, causing a minor injury to one passenger. [Pioneer Press website report, 4-28-14]

LARGE CRUDE-TO-RAIL HUB COMING TO WYOMING: A confluence of several multi-million dollar projects west of Casper, Wyoming, will be completed late this summer, creating one of the largest crude-to-rail hubs in the country. [Casper Journal website report, 4-28-14]

AMTRAK READY FOR IMPROVEMENTS TO EMPIRE CORRIDOR IN N.Y. STATE: Amtrak expects to give contracts the go-ahead by mid-May on a series of rail improvement projects. Work includes a fourth platform track and platform-expansion at the Rensselaer station, a second track between Albany and Schenectady, and signal and crossing improvements between Renssalaer and Poughkeepsie. [Albany Times Union website report, 4-28-14]

CANADA TO FUND RAILROAD CROSSING IMPROVEMENTS: Canada has launched Rail Safety Week with $9.2-million to improvemore than 600 railway crossings across the country. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-28-14]

FEDS GRANT $3.2-M TOWARD MILWAUKEE STREETCAR PROJECT: The Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation has received $3.2-million in federal funds for the downtown Milwaukee streetcar project. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 4-25-14]

NIAGARA FALLS APPROVES $22.7-MILLION FOR MULTIMODAL TRAIN STATION: The Niagara Falls, N.Y., city council has voted to approve a $22.7-million contract for the construction of a new multimodal train station to be served by Amtrak's Maple Leaf line and Empire corridor. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 4-25-14]

MICHIGAN IN DISCUSSION WITH TALGO ABOUT PURCHASE OR LEASE OF IDLE TRAIN SETS: The Michigan Dept. of Transportation has contacted train manufacturer Talgo Inc. to investigate the purchase or lease of train sets that have been sitting unused following Wisconsin's decision not to use the equipment. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 4-25-14]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: Combined rail traffic in the U.S. for the week ending April 19, 2014, increased 6.3 pct year-over-year, according to the Association of American Railroads. Carload traffic increased 5.1 pct and intermodal volume rose 7.6 pct in the same period. [Assn. of American Railroads, 4-24-14]

SEPTA TO GET AT LEAST $150-M IN ADVERTISING CONTRACT: SEPTA's board of directors has approved an advertising contract with Titan Outdoor LLC that will pay the authority at least $150-million over nine years for ads on SEPTA vehicles and stations. [Philadelphia Inquirer website report, 4-24-14]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: Norfolk Southern reported first-quarter net income of $368-million or $1.17 per diluted share, compared with $450-million or $1.41 per diluted share earned in the same period, 2013. Railway operating revenues totaled $2.7-billion, and the railway operating ratio was 75.2 pct. [Norfolk Southern, 4-23-14]

SEPTA TO REPLACE CRUM CREEK VIADUCT: SEPTA is moving forward with the design phase on a project to replace the Crum Creek viaduct, with construction expected to start in late 2015. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-23-14]

CANADA TOUGHENS CRUDE, ETHANOL RAIL SAFETY REGS: Trains carrying 20 cars or more of crude oil or ethanol must not exceed 50 MPH under a new directive issued by Transport Canada April 23, and that limit may be lowered for some locations. [Railway Age website report, 4-23-14]

TEHRAN OPENS METRO LINE 3 EXTENSION: The second phase of Tehran Metro Line 3 was inaugurated April 22 when the city officially opened the 7.5-mile, $804-million extension from Vali-e Asr to Azadegan. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-23-14]

METRO-NORTH NAMES THREE TO TOP LEADERSHIP POSTS: Metro-North has named Glen Hayden as vice-president of engineering, Michael Yaeger as chief mechanical officer, and Kevin O'Connor as chief transportation officer. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-23-14]

FEDS FIND UNION PACIFIC AT FAULT IN TERMINATING INJURED EMPLOYEE: Union Pacific Railroad has been ordered to reinstate an injured employee and pay the worker more than $85,000 in damages plus legal fees for improperly terminating the employee following the reporting of a workplace injury in the company's North Platte, Nebraska, terminal in 2012. [U.S. Dept. of Labor, 4-23-14]

CANADIAN PACIFIC REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd has announced record 1-Q financial results. Reported net income was $254-million or $1.44 per diluted share, versus $217-million or $1.24 per share in the first-quarter 2013, a 16 pct year-over-year improvement in earnings per share. [Canadian Pacific, 4-22-14]

JIM COWAN NAMED SENIOR VP OPERATIONS OF GREENBRIER COS.: The Greenbrier Cos. Inc. announced Jim Cowan has joined the company as senior vice-president of operations, a newly-created position. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-22-14]

ELECTRIFICATION STARTS ON ADDIS ABABA LIGHT-RAIL LINES: China Railway Engineering Corp. has started work to electrify the 21/3-mile light-rail network under construction in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-22-14]

CANADIAN NATIONAL REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: CN reported net income in the first-quarter 2014 was $623-million or 75 cents per diluted share, compared with net income of $555-million or 65 cents per diluted share for the year-earlier quarter. Operating income increased five pct to $820-million. [CN, 4-22-14]

NTSB CHIEF SAYS RAIL TANK CAR SAFETY HAS BEEN COMPROMISED: The recent spate of rail accidents involving crude-oil shipments demonstrates that 'far too often, safety has been compromised,' National Transportation Safety Board chair Deborah Hersman said April 22. The amount of crude shipments has more than quadrupled since 2005. [Chicago Tribune website report, 4-22-14]

PUBLIC WELCOME TO REVIEW, COMMENT ON OREGON RAIL PLAN: The draft Oregon state rail plan is available for formal public review and comment through June 20, 2014. A public hearing has been scheduled for the state's transportation commission's May 16 meeting in Astoria. [Oregon Dept. of Transportation, 4-22-14]

METRO-NORTH UPGRADES NEW HAVEN LINE POWER SUPPLY: Metro-North Railroad has upgraded the power supply for the New Haven line at its Mount Vernon East substation to provide additional redundancy and increase capacity. Four old transformers were replaced by two new ones that will ensure reliability to handle additional loads and allow electricity generated by the brakes of the new fleet of M-8 rail cars to be fed back into the power grid. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-21-14]

PORT MANATEE PURCHASES TWO DIESEL LOCOMOTIVES: Florida's Port Manatee has purchased two new diesel-electric locomotives. The port is linked to CSX tracks via a short line. [Bradenton Times website report, 4-18-14]

MASSACHUSETTS TO FUND $2.3-B FOR RAIL PROJECTS: The Massachusetts state house passed a transportation bill the includes $2.3-billion to bring MBTA commuter rail service to the South Coast, an extension of the Green line to Medford, and upgrades to Boston South Station. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 4-18-14]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending April 12, 2014, with 295,294 carloads, up 7.2 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 4-17-14]

FREIGHT RAIL INDUSTRY WILL NOT MEET 2015 PTC DEADLINE, BLAMES FCC: Only one-fifth of its track will be equipped with mandatory positive train control technology by the deadline set by Congress, the freight railroad industry said. The Association of American Railroads now says about 20 pct of the approximately 60,000 miles of track being equipped with the technology will meet the deadline of Dec. 31, 2015. The association said the Federal Communications Commission is holding up the placement of about 20,000 antennas that are necessary to complete installation of the technology. [Associated Press website report, 4-17-14]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: Union Pacific Corporation reported 2014 first quarter net income of $1.1-billion or $2.38 per diluted share, compared to $957-million or $2.03 per diluted share, in the first quarter 2013. Diluted earnings per share of $2.38 improved 17 pct. Operating revenues totaled $5.6-billion, up 7 pct. Operating income totaled $1.85-billion, up 14 pct. Operating ratio of 67.1 percent improved 2.0 points. [Union Pacific, 4-17-14]

CANADIAN NATIONAL CATCHING UP ON LUMBER SHIPMENTS IN B.C.: Canadian National Railway Co. said it's alleviating a shortage of rail capacity for lumber shipments in British Columbia. A railroad spokeswoman said CN's ability to move wood products is gradually catching up with demand following extreme winter conditions in North America this year. [Bloomberg Businessweek website report, 4-17-14]

FRACKING SAND SPURS SILOS FOR RAIL TRANSPORT: The U.S. shale oil boom is putting millions of tons of sand onto North American railroads, enabling carriers to pack trains full instead of hauling just a handful of cars at a time. With the emergence of fracking, drilling companies are able to fill trains pulling 100 cars from shiny metal silos. [Bloomberg Businessweek website report, 4-17-14]

TESTING BEGINS ON DALLAS-FORT WORTH LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: Dallas Area Rapid Transit operated its first test run on the 5-mile light-rail Orange Line extension to Dallas Forth Worth International Airport on April 16. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-17-14]

UNION PACIFIC TO EXPAND YARD IN WISCONSIN: Union Pacific plans to spend around $30-million to expand its rail yard in Altoona, Wisconsin, to handle traffic increases from the fracturing sand industry. Work will be done in two phases, and will include extending eight yard tracks, adding sorting tracks, a wye track and more. [Eau Claire Leader-Telegram website report, 4-17-14]

KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: Kansas City Southern reported first quarter 2014 revenues of $607-million. Overall, carload volumes were 4 pct higher than in first quarter 2013. [Kansas City Southern, 4-16-14]

COURT CLEARS WAY FOR TRIAL OVER CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT: A California appeals court has rejected a petition by the California High-Speed Rail Authority, potentially clearing the way for a trial over whether the agency's controversial and ambitious bullet-train plan can comply with state law. [Fresno Bee website report, 4-16-14]

ALGERIA OPENS LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: Algeria inaugurated the 2.6-mile eastern extension of Algiers light rail Line 1 from Bordj El Kiffan to Kahouat Echergui on April 16. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-16-14]

CSX REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: CSX Corp. reported first-quarter net earnings of $398-million or $0.40 per share, down from $462-million or $0.45 per share in the same quarter of 2013. For the quarter, revenue grew 2 percent to $3.0-billion on volume increases of 3 percent, with strength in intermodal and merchandise markets more than offsetting declines in coal. CSX also announced that its board of directors approved a 7 percent increase in the company's quarterly dividend to $0.16 per share. [CSX, 4-15-14]

CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST KCS: A class action lawsuit has commenced against Kansas City Southern alleging that the company issued false and misleading statements regarding the company's financial performance and future prospects during the period Oct. 18, 2013, and Febr. 18, 2014. MORE.. [Robbins Geller Rudman & Doud LLP 4-15-14]

ENGINEERING STUDY BEGINS ON AMTRAK'S SUSQUEHANNA RIVER BRIDGE: Amtrak, in conjunction with Maryland and the Federal Railroad Administration, has launched a preliminary engineering study for rehabilitation or replacement of the 108-year-old Susquehanna River rail bridge. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-14-14]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN BELLEVUE YARD EXPANSION NEARING COMPLETION: A major expansion of Norfolk Southern's Bellevue yard in Ohio is nearing completion and is expected to wrap up construction by the end of this year. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-14-14]

NEW UNION PACIFIC FACILITY ENHANCING BUSINESS IN N.M.: Union Pacific's new intermodal facility in Santa Teresa, N.M., is drawing new business to the area with two 25-acre plots planned as storage and shipping yards. Six companies have plans to transfer their operations to Santa Teresa, and the area is expected to create 2,500 jobs. [Albuquerque Journal website report, 4-14-14]

SURVEY CAPTURES IRE OF METRO-NORTH COMMUTERS: In a survey, 90 pct of affected commuters pointed to the railroad's leaders as a root cause of late trains, crowded conditions and other problems that have often made going to work on Metro-North's New Haven line an ordeal in the past year. [Stamford Advocate website report, 4-14-14]

GO-AHEAD FOR MELBOURNE AIRPORT RAIL LINK: The government of Victoria has committed to the construction of a heavy-rail link connecting central Melbourne with the city's airport, 14 miles to the north, although it has not indicated how much it will cost or when it will open. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-14-14]

LIRR STARTS LONG BEACH BRANCH RESTORATION: The Long Island Rail Road has launched a $120-million construction program designed to protect the railroad's Long Beach branch from devastating storm damage. [Railway Age website report, 4-14-14]

TUCSON STREETCAR LINE NEARS READINESS: Six of eight streetcars ordered by Tucson for its Sun Link service have arrived as the city prepares to launch service, tentatively for July 25, 2014. [Railway Age website report, 4-14-14]

AGREEMENT WOULD RESTORE PASSENGER RAIL SERVICE ON VANCOUVER ISLAND: Southern Railway of British Columbia and VIA Rail Canada have reached a tentative agreement to return passenger rail service to Vancouver Island with $20-million in funding for track and bridge improvements. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-14-14]

CONVERTING USED R.R. TIES INTO BIOFUEL BEING STUDIED: The Coalition for Sustainable Rail is initiating research on the conversion of used railroad ties into an advanced biofuel in partnership with the Indiana Rail Road. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-14-14]

REPLICA OF LINCOLN FUNERAL TRAIN CAR BEING CONSTRUCTED: To mark the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln's assassination next year, David Kloke of Illinois is constructing a full-size replica of the funeral train car that carried the president's body from Washington to Springfield. The car is intended for use in a nationwide traveling exhibit car. [Northwest Herald website report, 4-13-14]

NEW HAVEN TRAIN STATION RENOVATION BEGINS: New Haven's parking authority has begun a $2.3-million renovation of its union station. The scope of the work includes repairs to the facade and roof, waterproofing at the front plaza, as well as masonry and other restorations. The project is scheduled for completion in Dec. 2014. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 4-11-14]

RIDERSHIP DECLINES ON PRINCETON DINKY: New Jersey Transit reported that the Princeton Dinky has seen a sharp decline in ridership since the decision to relocate the old Dinky station to a temporary, less-convenient site 1,200 feet down the line. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 4-11-14]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported rail traffic for the week ending April 5, 2014, with 296,039 total U.S. carloads, up 5.4 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 4-10-14]

BNSF, METRA TO BEGIN TIE, SURFACE PROJECT ALONG ILLINOIS LINE: A major tie replacement and track resurfacing project will get underway during the last two weeks of April on Metra's BNSF line to Aurora, Illinois. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-10-14]

CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL ON TRACK FOR 2028 LAUNCH: A 2028 timeline for finishing California's bullet-train project is intact in a new business plan. It now projects lower revenues because of preference for shorter trips, but continues to maintain that taxpayer subsidies will not be needed for operation. [KCRA-TV website report, 4-10-14]

WISCONSIN CENTRAL IMPROPERLY TERMINATED CONDUCTOR FOR REPORTING INJURY: The U.S. Dept. of Labor has found Wisconsin Central railway in violation of the Federal Railroad Safety act for terminating a conductor following the reporting of a workplace injury that occurred in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and has been ordered to pay to conductor over $352,000, including back wages, compensatory and punitive damages, plus attorney's fees. [U.S. Dept. of Labor, 4-10-14]

ILLINOIS GRANTS $233-M FOR AMTRAK CHICAGO-ROCKFORD SERVICE: Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has announced a $233-million agreement with Union Pacific Railroad toward Chicago-Rockford passenger rail. [MyStateLine website report, 4-10-14]

CHINA RAISES 2014 RAIL BUDGET TO $116-B: China Railways Corp. will increase its 2014 investment budget to $116-billion. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-10-14]

TRANSIT CENTER OPENS IN ALBUQUERQUE: City officials and other dignitaries marked the opening of the Montano Transit Center in Albuquerque April 7. It will accommodate New Mexico Rail Runner Express and bus passengers. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-10-14]

TWO-PERSON CREWS ON OIL TRAINS TO BE REQUIRED IN U.S.: U.S. regulators, acting after an oil train derailment last year killing 47 people in Canada, said they intend to require at least two crew members for crude shipments, a proposal opposed by the railroads. [Bloomberg News website report, 4-9-14]

AMTRAK AWARDS EMPIRE CORRIDOR CONTRACT WORK: Amtrak has awarded engineering company Michael Baker Jr. Inc. a $4.2-million contract for construction maqnagement and inspection services involving several projects on its Empire corridor in New York State. [Railway Age website report, 4-9-14]

AMTRAK DELAYS POSSIBLE AFTER MISSOURI FLOODS: Rail damage from recent flash flooding in Missouri could cause delays for Amtrak's River Runner passenger train. Host carrier Union Pacific is repairing a section of line east of Warrensburg. Trains are running, but subject to delay. [Daily Statesman website report, 4-8-14]

DUTCH TRAXX LOCOMOTIVES GROUNDED: At the request of manufacturer Bombardier, Netherlands Railways has withdrawn its entire fleet of Traxx F140 MS class 186 multi-system locomotives from service, reportedly due to excessive pantograph wear. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-8-14]

CN-SERVED FRAC SAND FACILITY OPENS IN ALBERTA: Evergreen Transloading and Superior Silica Sands LLC have announced the opening of a CN-served frac sand transload facility in Sexsmith, Alberta. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-8-14]

ALSTOM TO SUPPLY SIX CORADIA LINT TRAINS TO LOWER SAXONY: Alstom will supply six new CaradiaLint regional trains to Germany's Lower Saxony State public transit authority, LNVG. The company will also adapt 13 trains already in service so they can be operated in multiple with the new trains. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-8-14]

ENGINEER IN FATAL METRO-NORTH ACCIDENT HAD SLEEP DISORDER, FEDS SAY: The engineer of a train that derailed on a curve in Dec. 2013 in New York City, killing four passengers, had an undiagnosed sleep apnea at the time of the accident, the National Transportation Safety Board April 7. [Huffington Post website report, 4-7-14]

UNION PACIFIC MAKING IMPROVEMENTS IN NEBRASKA, IOWA: Union Pacific will strengthen Nebraska's and Iowa's transportation infrastructures by investing more than $9-million in the rail line between Missouri Valley, Iowa, and Arlington, Nebraska. The railroad will replace over 19,000 concrete ties, install over 10,000 tons of ballast, renew the surfaces at 19 road crossings and install two switches. [Union Pacific, 4-7-14]

VIA RAIL POSTING PERSONNEL AT TROUBLESOME CROSSINGS: Personnel from VIA Rail Canada will be monitoring the grade crossing area near Fallowfield station in Ottawa following several reports of faulty signals. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-7-14]

BNSF INVESTS IN REVITALIZATION OF TOPEKA, KANSAS: BNSF has pledged $200,000 over a three-year period to help efforts to revitalize downtown Topeka, Kansas. The donation, along with funds from other private groups, will help build pocket parks and provide aesthetic improvements, according to Downtown Topeka Inc. [Topeka Capital-Journal website report, 4-7-14]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN STEAM EXCURSIONS ANNOUNCED: Norfolk Southern in partnership with the Tenessee Valley Railroad Museum and Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society plan 18 steam excursions in seven states April through July 2014. Schedule includes April 5 Bristol-Radford, Va.; April 6 Bristol-Bulls Gap, TN; April 12, 13 & 19 Grundy, Va.-Devon, W.Va.; May 3-4 Elkhart, IN-Bryan, OH; May 10-11 Chicago-Argos, IN; May 17-18 Cincinnati-Danville, Ky.; May 31-June 1 Lexington, KY-Oneida, TN; June 7 Chattanooga-Oneida, TN; July 5-6 Detroit-Toledo; July 12-13 Detroit-Fort Wayne. [Norfolk Southern, 4-4-14]

RALEIGH APPROVES CONTRACT FOR NEW UNION STATION: The Raleigh city council has approved a $200,157 contract with Clancy and Theys/Skanska Joint Venture to serve as construction manager at risk for the Union Station project. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-4-14]

BOMBARDIER TO SUPPLY 240 TRAXX AFRICA LOCOMOTIVES: The value of the contract between Bombardier Transportation South Africa Ltd and Transnet Freight Rail for the delivery of 240 electric TRAXX Africa locomotives is $1.2-billion. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-4-14]

HARSCO RAIL NAMES CRAIG FAIRLEY PLANT MANAGER IN COLUMBIA, S.C.: Harsco Rail has hired Craig Fairley as plant manager of the company's production facility in Columbia, S.C. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-4-14]

BEVERLY HILLS RAIL LAWSUIT DISMISSED: Los Angeles County may proceed with construction of the Westside subway extension, routing the Purple line underneath Beverly Hills High School, a county court judge has ruled. [Railway Age website report, 4-4-14]

BRITAIN'S S.W. MAIN LINE REOPENS AFTER MAJOR REPAIRS: The main rail line linking London, Plymouth and Penzance has reopened following repairs to damage caused by storms in February. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-4-14]

WORK STARTS ON RIYADH METRO PROJECT: Construction began April 3 on the$22.5-billion six-line metro to be built in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-4-14]

AMTRAK PRESIDENT LAUDS BIRMINGHAM'S INTERMODAL STATION: Amtrak president Joseph Boardman traveled to Birmingham tospeak of the economic and social benefits that will come with the new $30-million intermodal station. Construction began on the facility last month, which will host Amtrak, regional transit and Greyhound. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 4-4-14]

CATENARY FAILURE DISRUPTS AMTRAK, MARC SERVICE: Downed catenary disrupted Amtrak and MARC commuter service on the Northeast corridor Penn line for roughly six hours April 3. Crews worked throughout the morning to address the problem, and were able to get trains running again around 3PM. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 4-4-14]

MARCH 2014 RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased U.S. rail traffic for March 2014. Intermodal traffic increased 9.9 pct compared with March 2013, and U.S. carload originations increased 3.5 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 4-3-14]

AMTRAK TRAINS TO SERVE ST. PAUL UNION DEPOT BEGINNING MAY 7: Passenger-rail service will return to Union Depot in St. Paul May 7 when the Empire Builder will begin using the facility. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-3-14]

VALLEY METRO TO BUILD SOLAR PLANT AT LIGHT-RAIL FACILITY: A new solar plant will be installed at Valley Metro's light-rail operations and maintenance facility in Phoenix later this year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-3-14]

SWISS RAILWAYS COMPLETES RAIL PASSENGER CAR RENOVATION PROJECT: Swiss Federal Railways has completed a five-year project to renovate its fleet of 232 EuroCity passenger cars which will extend the life of its fleet for another 20 years. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-3-14]

ALSTOM TO SUPPLY 12 SUBURBAN TRAINS FOR CHILE: Alstom has been awarded contracts worth $96.5-million to supply and maintain 12 X'Trapolis suburban trains for the new Rancagua Xpress and Metro de Valparaiso service in Chile. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-2-14]

WABTEC LANDS PTC CONTRACTS WITH ALASKA R.R.: Wabtec Corp. has obtained contracts totaling $16.6-million from Alaska Railroad to provide positive train control equipment and services, including computer-related dispatch and back office systems. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-2-14]

SCOTT TREECE TO HEAD KEOLIS UNIT AT MBTA: Keolis Commuter Services has appointed Scott Treece as head of transportation for the company's Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority commuter-rail contract. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-2-14]

RAIL PARK OPENING IN TEXAS: The Alamo Junction Rail Park opens April 2 in Bexar County, Texas. Served by BNSF and Union Pacific, the 400-acre industrial park aims to attract manufacturing, distribution, transloading and oil field service facilities tageting the Eagle Ford Shale and San Antonio region. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-1-14]

RAIL VEHICLE COMPONENTS PLANT TO BE BUILT IN SHANGHAI: Voith is investing $34-million in the construction of a plant for rail vehicle components in Shanghai. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-1-14]

MUDSLIDE DISRUPTS PASSENGER TRAIN SERVICE IN PACIFIC N.W.: BNSF suspended passenger train service between Seattle and Everett, Washington, April 1 for 48 hours following a mudslide. [Seattle Times website report, 4-1-14]

ISRAEL RECEIVES FIRST COACHES FOR ELECTRIC RAIL SERVICES: Israel Railways has received the first six of 72 push-pull double-track coaches currently being built by Bombardier to serve new electrified services to be introduced on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem and Acre-Carmiel lines. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-1-14]

FEDS ISSUE RULE TO RAILROADS TO ADOPT 'CRITICAL INCIDENT STRESS PLAN': The Federal Railroad Administration has announced a new rule requiring Class I, intercity passenger and commuter railroads to establish and implement a plan for employees who are under stress after being directly involved in, or a witness or responder to, a 'critical incident.' [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-31-14]

PLASTIC R.R. TIE PLANT PLANNED FOR LOUISIANA: IntegriCo Composites of Texas plans a $20-million plant to make plastic railroad ties and other railroad products near Springhill, Louisiana. [Shreveport Times website report, 3-31-14]

AMTRAK MAKES CHANGES TO EMPIRE BUILDER SCHEDULE: Amtrak announced that eastbound Empire Builder trains will originate three hours earlier in an attempt to address performance issues. The schedule between St. Paul and Chicago is largely unchanged. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 3-28-14]

MAINE COMPANY PROPOSES PASSENGER SERVICE TO NEW HAMPSHIRE, VERMONT: The Golden Eagle Rail Corp. says it believes there is a sufficient base for freight and passenger rail traffic between Portland and the White Mountains region of northern New Hampshire, and is going to begin discussions to upgrade 45 miles of track between Westbrook and Freyburg. Known as the Mountain Division, its last passenger train was in 1959, and freight service ended in 1983. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 3-28-14]

HOUSTON, DALLAS, FORT WORTH SUPPORT HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT: The mayors of Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth have announced their joint support for proposed high-speed rail between the cities, a project led by Texas Central High-Speed Railways. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 3-28-14]

K.C. COUNCIL ENDORSES STREETCAR EXTENSIONS: A conceptual plan for streetcar extensions totaling almost eight mileshas been given the go-ahead by the Kansas City council. The move would add to the existing starter streetcar line, now under construction. [Railway Age website report, 3-28-14]

PACER SHAREHOLDERS APPROVE ACQUISITION BY XPO LOGISTICS: Pacer International shareholders have approved the acquisition of Pacer by XPO Logistics Inc. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-28-14]

AUTOMATED METRO LINE OPENED IN BUDAPEST: Line 4, Budapest's first automatic metro line, opened March 28. The 4.6-mile line connects two of Budapest's main stations and interchanges with lines 2 and 3. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-28-14]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending March 22, 2014, with 291,525 carloads, up 4.5 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-27-14]

SOLUTION PROPOSED FOR CHICAGO RAIL BOTTLENECKS: A new 150-mile rail line may be a solution to the congestion that freight railroads encounter when moving trains through Chicago. Frank Patton, managing partner of Great Lakes Basin, says at least two new tracks running from Maxon, Illinois, to Kingsbury, Indiana, would cut at least 16 hours from the current rail transit time. [Midwest Energy News website report, 3-27-14]

X TRAIN OFFERING BUYOUTS TO INDEPENDENT PASSENGER-RAIL OPERATORS: X Train Holdings, which operates a luxury train travel service, is seeking existing privately-owned passenger-rail companies interested in an exit strategy. X Train will offer an 'all cash buyout' plan that would pay for businesses that sell their passenger-rail operations to the company. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-27-14]

SYDNEY'S INNER WEST LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION OPENS: The 3.5-mile extension of the Sydney, NSW, light-rail network to Dulwich Hill was formally opened on March 27. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-27-14]

DART'S AIRPORT STATION TO OPEN AUG. 18: Dallas Area Rapid Transit will connect North Texas commuter to Dallas-Fort Worth International airport with the opening of the airport station Aug. 18, four months ahead of schedule and under budget. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-26-14]

RAIL COMMUNICATION TOWERS COLLAPSE IN KANSAS, KILLING TWO: Two men were killed March 25 near Blaine, Kansas, when two Union Pacific communication towers collapsed near Blaine, Kansas. The collapse occurrred as workers were disassembling the older of the two structures. [Topeka Capital-Journal website report, 3-26-14]

SIEMENS REVEALS FIRST AVENIO LRV FOR THE HAGUE: The first of 60 bi-directional Avenio low-floor light-rail vehicles for the Hague has rolled off the production line at Siemens Simmering plant in Vienna. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-26-14]

CSX'S WINTER HAVEN TERMINAL TO OPEN APRIL 2: CSX plans to open its new intermodal terminal in Winter Haven, Florida, on April 2. Construction began on the 318-acre facility in late 2012, and it will be operated by CSX's Evansville Western Railway subsidiary. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-26-14]

JOINT VENTURE FORMED TO MANUFACTURE RAIL BEARINGS IN RUSSIA: The Timken Co. and United Wagon Co. have agreed to form a joint venture to manufacture Timken AP-2 rail bearings in Russia. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-26-14]

CTA BLUE LINE TRAIN DERAILS AT O'HARE TERMINAL, 32 HURT: Thirty-two people were injured when an 8-car Blue line train jumped the track and came to rest on escalators leading to O'Hare airport terminals early March 24. Safety board investigators were looking into the possibility that the train operator fell asleep at the controls and whether an automatic braking system was operating properly. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-25-14]

N.C. BEGINS DOUBLE-TRACK PROJECT ON NORFOLK SOUTHERN LINE: The North Carolina dept. of transportation has launched construction of 11 miles of second track on a Norfolk Southern line between Salisbury and Kannapolis. The $19.9-million project also calls for upgrading or closing several grade crossings. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-25-14]

METRO-NORTH COMPLETES SIGNAL UPGRADES: Metro-North Railroad has completed changes to its signal system to ensure automatic speed enforcement at five critical curves and five moveable bridges in New York and Connecticut. The signal display will automatically indicate reduced allowable speeds on approaches to the affected locations; if the engineer does not reduce the speed accordingly, the train will automatically stop. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-25-14]

RAILROADS TO UPGRADE TANK CAR FLEETS: Class I railroads are taking steps to upgrade their tank car fleets and replace older DOT-111 cars. BNSF announced the first batch of next-generation tank cars could begin production in January 2015. Canadian National will invest $7-million to replace the 40 tank cars and 143 leased cars in its network, while Canadian Pacific has already begun retrofitting some 200 tank cars. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 3-25-14]

PROPOSED INTERMODAL RAIL FACILITY IN BALTIMORE CAUSING FRICTION: Baltimore and Maryland officials are re-evaluating their approach to a proposed rail intermodal cargo facility in Mount Clare yard in southwest Baltimore, acknowledging that their initial response to community concerns fell flat. The backlash stalled the CSX project, which is nearly a year behind schedule, and created tension between local officials, who are collaborating on bringing the project considered critical to the port to fruition. [Baltimore Sun website report, 3-22-14]

N.M. TO FUND STUDY TO MAINTAIN S.W. CHIEF ROUTE: New Mexico's governor has approved a budget that allocates funds to study a cost-sharing proposal to maintain and improve 600 miles of BNSF track running through New Mexico and two other states to allow Amtrak's Southwest Chief to operate on the same route as it does presently. The annual cost is estimated at $4-million for each of the states, Amtrak and BNSF, over the next 10 years. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 3-21-14]

UNION PACIFIC BOARD ELECTS CHAIRMAN: The Union Pacific board of directors has elected its CEO, Jack Koralski, as chairman of the board, and alsoadded David Dillon to the board as a member. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-21-14]

FEDS APPROVE WASHINGTON, D.C., PURPLE LINE: The Federal Transit Administration has issued a record of decision approving plans for the 16-mile Maryland Purple line light-rail line, which will serve the northern suburbs of Washington with 21 stations. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-21-14]

CHARLESTON, S.C., INTERMODAL CENTER TO MOVE FORWARD: The Charleston, S.C., Area Regional Transportation Authority plans to proceed with building the $14.5-million regional intermodal transportation center, situated near the North Charleston Amtrak station. The original site of the center will be sold, with portions of the proceeds going to the new site and to federal interests for work done on the engineering and design of the project. ]Charleston Regional Business Journal website report, 3-20-14]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending March 15, 2014, with 289,375 carloads, up 3.1 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-20-14]

SALE OF MMA RAILWAY DELAYED: A New York investment firm's purchase of the bankrupt Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway has been delayed, as Canadian regulators say they do not have all the paperwork needed before they can approve the deal. [Portland Press Herald website report, 3-20-14]

CALTRAIN TO BEGIN SERVING NEW SAN BRUNO STATION ON APRIL 1: Caltrain will begin service for passengers at its newly grade-separated San Bruno station April 1. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-20-14]

MARC INCREASES WEEKEND CAPACITY ON PENN LINE: The Maryland Transit Administration has added more cars to increase Saturday and Sunday capacity on the Penn Line between Baltimore and Washington. Three-car trains had been running; now four- and five-car trains have been assigned. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-19-14]

'BREAKTHROUGH YEAR,' NORFOLK SOUTHERN CHIEF SAYS OF 2013: Describing 2013 as a breakthrough year, Wick Moorman, CEO of Norfolk Southern, said in the company's annual report, "We achieved record performance levels as our investments in network capacity, technology, and new talent delivered the safe, efficient and dependable service our transportation customers deserve." [Norfolk Southern, 3-19-14]

UNION PACIFIC TO IMPROVE TRACK SEGMENT IN NEBRASKA, IOWA: Union Pacific Railroad will strengthen Nebraska's and Iowa's transportation infrastructures by investing nearly $4.5-million in the rail line between Omaha, Nebraska, and near Missouri Valley Iowa, by replacing over 31,000 concrete ties, installing nearly 17,000 tons of ballast, and renewing surfaces at 29 road crossings. [Union Pacific, 3-19-14]

BOMBARDIER LANDS $83-M CONTRACT FOR 15 TRAXX LOCOMOTIVES FOR GERMANY: Bombardier Transportation and Paribus-DIF-Netz- West-Lokomotiven GmbH & Co. have signed an $83-million contract for the delivery of 15 Bombardier TRAXX diesel multi-engine locomotives in Germany. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-19-14]

MOST LIRR, METRO-NORTH TRAINS TO GET VIDEO RECORDING GEAR: The Long Island and Metro-North commuter railroads plan to install inward-facing and outward-facing video cameras and audio recorders on most ot their trains, MTA officials said. [Newsday website report, 3-19-14]

CN'S CEO SEES GRAIN BACKLOG EXTENDING INTO 2015: A record-shattering Canadian harvest, combinedwith one of the most frigid winters in decades, has created a grain-handling backlog that will not be cleared until next year, the head of Canadian National Railway said March 19. [Grainews website report, 3-19-14]

BNSF TO ADD 5,000 WORKERS IN 2014 AS RAILROAD EXPANDS: BNSF Railway plans to hire 5,000 workers this year as part of a $5-billion investment in the railroad, Carl Ice, the company's new president and CEO, said during a March 18 interview on CNBC. [Fort Worth Star Telegram website report, 3-18-14]

CONTRACT AWARDED FOR 32 DIESEL LOCOMOTIVES FOR AMTRAK ROUTES IN FIVE STATES: A contract has been awarded to Siemens and Cummins to supply 32 diesel-electric locomotives for use on Amtrak services in the states of Illinois, California, Michigan, Missouri and Washington. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-18-14]

L.A. UNION STATION REHAB WORK PROCEEDS: The main entrance to the Los Angeles Union Station closed for repair work March 17 as part of a larger effort to restore the building to a state of good repair. The entrnace is scheduled to reopen April 5. [Railway Age website report, 3-18-14]

AMTRAK PROPOSES USE OF NEC OPERATING PROFITS TO HELP FUND CAPITAL PROJECTS: Revenues from passenger operations on Amtrak's Northeast corridor will exceed operating costs by about $290-million next year. Company president Joseph Boardman has asked congressional leaders that Amtrak be allowed to use that surplus to help pay for $735-million in capital costs on the corridor, including new rail cars, station improvements and rail and signal upgrades. He said the full operating deficit of long-distance trains of about $618-million this year should be paid from the federal budget. [Philadelphia Inquirer website report, 3-18-14]

PASSENGER RAIL FROM BATON ROUGE TO NEW ORLEANS COULD COST AS LITTLE AS $10 A TRIP: A trip on the proposed passenger train between Baton Rouge and New Orleans would take about an hour and 35 minutes with seven stops on the way, a feasibility study says. The train, which would travel between the cities once each in the morning and afternoon in the beginning would cost as little as $10 each way and serve about 210,000 passengers in the first year. [Times-Picayune website report, 3-18-14]

GROUP PLANS RESTORATION OF FORMER N&W TRAIN STATION IN VA.: A committee has been organized to advance restoration on the former Norfolk & Western passenger train station in North Tazewell, Va., which Norfolk Southern donated to the town of Tazewell in 2007.N&W built the wooden structure for the Clinch Valley line in the late 1880's, and there is hope that its restoration in time for the town's sesquicentennial in 2016. [Bluefield Daily Telegraph website report, 3-17-14]

CHINESE RAIL CAR MAKER TO BUILD ASSEMBLY PLANT IN MASSACHUSETTS: China-based Changchun Railway Vehicles Co., the largest maker of transit and rail passenger cars in the world, plans to build a 125,000-square-foot rail car assembly plant and accompanying 33,750-square-foot office building on the 40-acre former Westinghouse site on Page boulevard in East Springfield, Massachusetts. [Mass Live website report, 3-17-14]

OVER 1,000 LOCOMOTIVES ORDERED FOR SOUTH AFRICA: Transnet South Africa placed it largest-ever locomotive order March 17 when it signed contracts worth $2.6-billion with four international suppliers for a total of 1,064 locomotives for its freight-rail subsidiary. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-17-14]

TIBET RAILWAY EXTENSION SET FOR SEPTEMBER OPENING: The Chinese government reports that the 157-mile extension of the Quinghai-Tibet Railway from Lhasa to Xigaza will open in September 2014. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-17-14]

CSX TO WORK ON FEASIBILITY STUDY ON RESTORING N.C. RAIL LINE: CSX will work with officials in Duplin County, N.C., on a feasibility study to see if a 27-mile unused rail line, abandoned since the 1980's, can be restored. [Wilmington Star-News website report, 3-14-14]

OLD TACOMA FREIGHT HOUSE MIGHT NOT BE SUITABLE FOR USE BY AMTRAK: According to a Washington Dept. of Transportation official, concerns about the weak foundation and swampy soil underneath the Tacoma freight house structure, it is likely that an all-new station will be built rather than incorporating the structure of the old freight house. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 3-14-14]

FEDS RELEASE RESULTS OF SAFETY ASSESSMENT OF METRO-NORTH: The Federal Railroad Admiistration has released the results from a 60-day safety assessment of Metro-North Commuter Railroad, with its findings that Metro-North's overemphasis on on-time performance has been detrimental to safe operations and infrastructure maintenance. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 3-14-14]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported 274,480 total U.S. carloads for the week ending March 8, 2014, down 1 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume was 244,015 units, up 3.7 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-13-14]

DENVER TO BREAK GROUND ON NORTH METRO RAIL PROJECT: Regional Transportation District of Denver officials will mark the start of construction on the future North Metro rail line with a groundbreaking ceremony March 20. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-13-14]

POWER UPGRADE COMPLETED ON NEW HAVEN LINE: A $10-million power upgrade to Metro-North's New Havenline is now complete, providing full backup power redundancy for the east- and westbound lines. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-13-14]

THE HAGUE ORDERS 20 MORE SIEMENS LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES: Siemens announced March 13 that The Hague Tramways has exercised an option for 20 additional Avenio low-floor light-rail vehicles, taking its total order to 60 vehicles. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-13-14]

REBUILT ROTTERDAM CENTRAL STATION OPENS: Netherlands has formally inaugurated the rebuilt Rotterdam Central station. It had been reconstructed shortly after the second World War, but lacked the capacity to cope with current traffic volumes. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-13-14]

RAILWAY AGE NAMES SHORT LINE, REGIONAL RAILROADS OF THE YEAR: Railway Age magazine has named Coos Bay Rail Link the 2014 Short Line railroad of the year, and Arkansas & Missouri Railroad as Regional railroad of the year. [Railway Age website report, 3-13-14]

FREIGHT RAILROADS TO SPEND $26-B IN PRIVATE FUNDS ON NATIONWIDE NETWORK IN 2014: The Association of American Railroads estimates the nation's freight railroads in 2014 will spend approximately $26-billion to build, maintain and upgrade their rail network, and to hire more than 12,000 people. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-12-14]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN UNVEILS COMMEMORATIVE LOCOMOTIVE: Norfolk Southern has unveiled a one-of-a-kind 'GoRail' locomotive to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the non-profit GoRail organization dedicated to educating the public about the benefits of moving freight by rail. The SD60E model features a paint scheme combining the infinity lines of the Norfolk Southern livery with the tracks of the GoRail logo. [Norfolk Southern, 3-12-14]

AMTRAK'S PRESIDENT HONORED AS RAILROADER OF THE YEAR: Joseph H. Boardman, president and CEO of Amtrak, accepted Railway Age's 2014 Railroader of the Year award on March 11 at a dinner at Chicago's Union League Club attended by more than 400 of his industry's colleagues. [Railway Age website report, 3-12-14]

X TRAIN ELECTS CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD: The Las Vegas Expess Inc. X Train board of directors has elected Michael Barron as chairman, succeeding John McPherson who is moving to become chairman of the compensation committee. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-12-14]

UNION PACIFIC RECOGNIZED FOR VETERAN-HIRING: Profiles in Diversity Journal has recognized Union Pacific as one of the nation's 25 most influential companies for its commitment to veteran hiring, progressive reservist policies and dedication to supporting employee veterans. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-12-14]

RAILCOMM ASSISTS OHIO RAIL YARD EXPAND ITS CONTROL SYSTEM: A railroad yard in North Baltimore, Ohio, has chosen to upgrade its control system to include 18new switch locations with use of the RailComm Domain Operations Controller. Sixteen derail locations are also being added throughout the yard. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-12-14]

GARY SEASE NAMED CSXT V.P. CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS: Gary T. Sease has been appointed vice-president corporate communications for CSX Transportation effective March 30, succeeding Vance Meyer who is leaving the company. Sease joined CSXT in 1986 following work with United Press Internation, and earlier with the Florida Times-Union. [CSX, 3-12-14]

CSX EXPECTS MODEST GROWTH REFLECTING CHALLENGING WEATHER: Fredrik Eliasson, CSX chief financial officer, said, "The severe weather has challenged CSX operations and volume, with the impact on first-quarter earnings now expected to approach 10 cents per share. However, we still expect full-year earnings growth in 2014, though at a more modest rate than previously anticipated." [CSX, 3-12-14]

JUDGE ALLOWS COAL TRAIN CASE AGAINST BNSF TO PROCEED: A federal judge has allowed a lawsuit over coal trains against BNSF Railway to proceed. Seven environmental groups sued the railroad alleging it violated federal law by allowing coal dust and other pollutants to spill into protected waterways from open-top rail cars. [San Francisco Chronicle website report, 3-12-14]

SHIPXPRESS ACQUIRES RAIL FLEET MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE SERVICES BUSINESS: ShipXpress Inc. has acquired the rail fleet management software services business of FreightCar America. It plans to integrate the acqured softward platform into its existing suite of rail fleet management and maintenance solutions. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-12-14]

NTSB CHAIR STEPPING DOWN: Deborah Hershmen will step down as chair of the National Transportation Safety Board effective April 25. Vice chairman Christopher Hart will begin serving as acting chairman upon her departure. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-12-14]

PENNSYLVANIA, CSX PACT TARGETS HAZMAT TRAFFIC: The Pennsylvania Management Agency has entered into a memorandum of understanding with CSX that will enable the agency to obtain information regarding the movement of hazardous materials in the state. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-12-14]

YAWKEY COMMUTER RAIL STATION OPENS IN BOSTON: The newly-revamped Fenway's Yawkey station had its debut March 11 along with an expanded schedule on the Worcester-Framingham line. Three inbound and four outbound trains have been added to the weekday schedule. [Boston Globe website report, 3-11-14]

SRI LANKA CHOOSES CONTRACTOR FOR 55-MILE KATARAGAMA RAIL EXTENSION: The government of Sri Lanka has selected a Chinese contractor to build the 55-mile extension of the Colombo-Matara-Beliatta line to Kataragama in the south of the country. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-11-14]

MAGGIE SILVER DIES, RETIRED PINSLY R.R. LEADER: Short line industry pioneer and longtime Pinsly Railroad leader Marjorie Maggie Silver died March 9. She was 88. She retired from Pinsly in 1997 after more than 40 years at the company her father Samuel Pinsly created in 1938. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-11-14]

METRO-NORTH EMPLOYEE KILLED BY TRAIN: A Metro-North railroad employee died after he was struck by a train early March 10 while working on the tracks in Manhattan. [Journal News website report, 3-10-14]

AMTRAK OUTLINES 2014 INFRASTRUCTURE PLANS: The expansion of positive train-control and upgrading a key section of the Northeast corridor for 160 MPH operation are among the highlights of Amtrak's 2014 infrastructure program announced March 10. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-10-14]

POLAND ORDERS 10 DIESEL LOCOMOTIVES: Polish State Railways' long-distance subsidiary PKP Intercity has awarded a $43.4-million contract for the supply of 10 four-axle 87 MPH diesel-electric locomotives. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-10-14]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON EVERGREEN LINE RAIL TUNNEL IN VANCOUVER, B.C.: Construction has started on the 1.2-mile Evergreen line rail tunnel in Vancouver, B.C. The line will link Burnaby, Port Moody and Coquitlam, and be fully-intergrated into the existing system connecting onto the Millennium line at Lougheed Town Center station. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-10-14]

CANADA ADOPTS MEASURES TO GET MORE EXPORT GRAIN MOVING BY RAIL: The Canadian Transport and Agriculture ministries annoounced new measures to help prompt the movement of more export grain by rail. The government will set minimum volumes of export grain that CN and CP must move and require the railroads to report their weekly shipments. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-10-14]

JUNIATA VALLEY R.R. TO SERVE RAIL AUTHORITY'S PROPERTY: The SEDA-COG Joint Rail authority recently purchased 19.5 acres for industrial development in Mifflin County, Pa. The site, once known as North Yards, will be served by the Juniata Valley Railroad and operated by North Shore Railroad. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-7-14]

MARYLAND MTA PROPOSES RED LINE LIGHT-RAIL IN BALTIMORE: The Maryland Transit Administration proposes to build the Baltimore Red Line, a light-rail line between Woodlawn through downtown Baltimore to Bay View. The project includes 19 stations and 58 light-rail vehicles. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 3-7-14]

KEOLIS AWARDED MBTA CONTRACT: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has awarded Keolis North America a $2.6-billion, eight-year contract to manage, operate and maintain the passenger rail service. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-7-14]

BNSF PLANS $250-M EXPANSION IN N.D.: BNSF Railway says it plans to spend almost $250-million to expand rail traffic on its network in North Dakota. The company plans to double-track its line between Minot and Glasgow, Montana, to add sidings across its North Dakota network, and to install additional traffic control monitoring between Fargo and Bismarck. [St. Cloud Times website report, 3-7-14]

CONGO ORDERS 18 DIESEL LOCOMOTIVES: Congo National Railways has awarded a contract to China CNR Corp. for the supply of 18 diesel-electric locomotives. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-7-14]

SANTIAGO TO EXTEND LIFE OF 40-YEAR-OLD METRO TRAINS: Santiago Metro has awarded a contract to Alstom to modernize a fleet of 35 seven-car trains which were supplied more than 40 years ago. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-6-14]

BUDAPEST ORDERS 37 LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES: Budapest Transport Center has ordered 37 low-floor light-rail vehicles of two types, with an option for another 87 units. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-6-14]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased rail freight for the week ending March 1, 2014, with 287,294 carloads, up 1.4 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume increased 3.4 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-6-14]

TOO MUCH PROPANE MAY BE FACTOR IN EXPLODING TRAINS: As regulators continue investigating why derailed tank cars filled with crude oil have exploded recently, energy experts say part of the problem might be that producers are leaving too much propane in their product, making the oil riskier to transport. [Inside Climate News website report, 3-5-14]

MONTANA RAIL LINK RECRUITING LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEERS: Montana Rail Link is recruiting certified locomotive engineers. Applications are being accepted through March 14 for positions with a projected start date of April 14. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 3-4-14]

SAN DIEGO TO RESTORE 1946 PCC TROLLEY: The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System has taken delivery of a 1946 Presidents' Conference Committee car that will be restored for future service on the San Diego Vintage Trolley's Silver line. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-4-14]

FEDERATED RAILWAYS TO ACQUIRE COLD TRAIN INTERMODAL SERVICE: Federated Railways Inc. has entered into an agreement to acquire the assets of Rail Logistics L.C., including its Cold Train express intermodal service in the Pacific Northwest. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-4-14]

GREENBRIER COS. LANDS $460-M IN RAIL CAR ORDERS: The Greenbrier Cos. Inc. has received new orders for 5,600 rail cars valued at $460-million in its second fiscal quarter, which ended Febr. 28. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-4-14]

LANCASTER, PA., AMTRAK STATION UPGRADES ALMOST COMPLETE: After 15 years, upgrades to Lancaster's 85-year-old Amtrak station are almost complete. Yet to be completed are changes to the restrooms to make them compliant with the Americans With Disabilities act. [Lancaster Online website report, 3-4-14]

AMSTERDAM-MILAN INTERMODAL SHUTTLE BEGINS: Dutch railfreight operator Herik Rail Cargo launched its first intermodal service from the port of Amsterdam to the Segrate terminal near Milan on March 3. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-4-14]

UNION PACIFIC, BNSF INVEST TO REDUCE CONGESTION IN FORT WORTH: The $100-million Tower 55 project in Fort Worth is well underway. Union Pacific and BNSF have each contributed to the project's cost. A north-south line has been added, and bridge and crossing work will be done. In all, there will be 22 different construction phases. [KXAS-TV website report, 3-4-14]

THE EFFICIENCIES OF MOVING FREIGHT BY RAIL: "Between 1980 and 2013, the number of ton-miles moved by railroads has doubled. But the amount of fuel they are using has remained relatively constant," said Tyler Dick, a research engineer at the University of Illinois. [Washington Post website report, 3-3-14]

MASS STABBINGS IN CHINESE TRAIN STATION: At least 10 assailants armed with long knives stormed through a crowded train station March 1 in the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming, slashing people at random, state media said. Thirty-three were reported dead and 130 were injured. [Wall Street Journal website report, 3-3-14]

CALTRAIN ELECTRIFICATION PLAN ADVANCES: Commuter rail operator Caltrain has released its draft environmental impact report for the planned electrification of the 51-mile line between San Francisco and San Jose. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-3-14]

HONG KONG TAKES DELIVERY OF FIRST SOUTH ISLAND LINE TRAIN: MTR Corp. has taken delivery of the first of 10 three-car trains which will be used on Hong Kong's new South Island line. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-3-14]

RESTORATION OF STEAM ENGINE UNDERWAY IN FLORIDA: Project inspectors crawled in and around the rust of old 1504, the 94-year-old Atlantic Coast Line locomotive and tender parked outside the Prime Osborn Convention Center in Jacksonville, Florida, for 24 years. Next up is its cosmetic restoration, funded by $20,000 in grants from Trains Magazine and CSX. A restoration plan should be done in the next week, with patching and paint done by the end of the month. [Florida Times-Union website report, 3-2-14]

KCS CREATES PROCESS IMPROVEMENTS: To enhance its systems and services, Kansas City Southern has started to develop a new business process improvement program based on the 'Six Sigma' methodologies. KCS says projects include limiting the dwell time of intermodal cross-border traffic and improving communication with customers. [Railway Age website report, 3-1-14]

NARP PRESIDENT ROSS CAPON STEPPING DOWN: Ross Capon, the face of the National Association of Railroad Passengers for 39 years on Capitol Hill, is stepping down from his role as president. Dr. Larry Scott will serve as acting president while the organization conducts a search for a permanent successor. [Railway Age website report, 2-28-14]

SOUND TRANSIT IDENTIFIES ALIGNMENT FOR TACOMA LINK EXPANSION: Sount Transit has identified an alignment along Stadium way and Martin Luther King Jr. way to the Hilltop district for the planned expansion of Tacoma Link light-rail service. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-28-14]

LONDON UNDERGROUND TO ACQUIRE 250 TRAINS: Expressions of interest have been invited by London Underground for a fleet of 250 trains for operation onfour of its deep-level lines under its 'New Tube for London' project. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-28-14]

CP TO SERVE TRANSLOAD FACILITY IN DAVENPORT, IOWA: Davenport, Iowa, plans to build a transload facility, to be served by Canadian Pacific, to help shippers in the area gain access to freight rail. [KWQC-TV website report, 2-27-14]

FORTUNE MAGAZINE NAMES CSX ONE OF WORLD'S MOST ADMIRED COMPANIES: CSX Corp. has been named one of the World's Most Admired Companies in 2014, according to a survey published by Fortune Magazine, released Febr. 27. [CSX, 2-27-14]

CSX IS MEETING GROWING TRANSPORTATION DEMAND IN INTERMODAL SERVICE: Today, more than 90 pct of CSX intermodal traffic travels over double-stack cleared routes, which can carry double the freight on the same number of rail cars. That percentage will rise in the next several years when the company completes the National Gateway project, the public-private partnership designed to increase the flow of freight between mid-Atlantic ports and Midwestern consumption centers. [CSX, 2-27-14]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Febr. 22, 2014, with 281,678 total carloads, up 1.3 pct compared with the same week in 2013. [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-27-14]

WASHINGTON METRO GETS ADDITIONAL CAPITAL COMMITMENT FUNDS: The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has received an increased capital commitment of $750-million from the states of Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia to reduce crowding and add system capacity. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-27-14]

FEDS APPROVE N.C. LIGHT-RAIL PROJECT: The U.S. Federal Transit Administration has granted conceptual planing approvalto the construction of a 17-mile, $1.34-billion light-rail line in Durham, N.C., linking Alston avenue in East Durham and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill with 17 stations. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-27-14]

BRAZIL'S VLI EXPANDS LOCOMOTIVE FLEET: VLI, the railfreight subsidiary Brazilian mining company Vale, has taken delivery of four Dash-9 locomotives from GE Transportation, and is also receiving seven SD70ACe units from EMD. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-27-14]

FLORIDA PORT PURCHASES TWO NEW SWITCHERS: Port Manatee, Florida, began operating a new switcher last month, and expects to add a second one in March. Manufactured to National Railway Equipment Co., the N-Vironmotive 2GS-14B locomotives replace a switcher built in 1958. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-27-14]

CN COUNTS ON COMMUNITY OUTREACH TO HELP BOLSTER SAFETY: CN on Febr. 26 announced it is reaching out to municipalities along its network to review the railroad's safety practices, share relevant information on hazardous materials traffic and discuss emergency response planning. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-27-14]

PRESIDENT VISITS ST. PAUL UNION STATION: The White House chose St. Paul's Union Depot for President Obama's announcement Febr. 26 of a $600-million competition for federal grants to fund infrastructure projects that create jobs. [News Times website report, 2-26-14]

FEC RAIL SERVICE BEGINS AT PORTMIAMI: Florida East Coast Railway has started to haul cargo from PortMiami's new on-dock rail facility. [Miami Herald website report, 2-26-14]

SHERIFFS USE RADAR GUNS TO CLOCK TRAIN SPEEDS IN ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y.: The Rockland Sheriff's office has begun using radar to check speeds of CSX trains hauling oil and other freight on the River Line, which passes through four of the county's five towns. It also wants to railroad to provide local officials with a daily list of the hazardous materials aboard the trains. [Journal News website report, 2-26-14]

N.J. TRANSIT NAMES NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: New Jersey Transit's board of directors has appointed Veronique Hakim as its new executive director, effective March 1, 2014. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-25-14]

CHICAGO'S O'HARE BRANCH IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM SET TO BEGIN: Starting in March, the Chicago Transit Authority will begin the first project in its $492-million improvement program for the Blue Line O'Hare branch to provide faster commutes and improved facilities. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-25-14]

PATH OPENS WTC PLATFORM A: PATH has heralded the opening of the first 'modernized' platform at its World Trade Center station in lower Manhattan. Platform A will accommodate passengers traveling between WTC and Hoboken. [Railway Age website report, 2-25-14]

UNION TANK CAR SETS NEW INSPECTION, REPAIR RECORD: Union Tank Car Company's network of mobile repair teams and dedicated mini shops established a new record in 2013, with more than a half million car 'touches,' including field inspections, repairs and tank car qualfications. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-25-14]

ALBERTA, SASKATCHEWAN SEEK RAIL SERVICE IMPROVEMENTS FOR GRAIN: The provincial governments of Alberta and Saskatchewan are calling on the Canadian government to increase railroads' accountability for a grain-movement backlog in western Canada. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-25-14]

KAMCHIK PASS RAILWAY GETS FINANCING BOOST: The Uzbec Reconstruction and Development fund has allocated a $280-million loan to help finance the construction of a new railway through the Kamchik Pass in eastern Uzbekistan which will allow east-west freight traffic to bypass northern Tajikistan. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-25-14]

GTS RAIL ORDERS LOCOMOTIVES AND CARS FOR INTERMODAL SERVICE: Italian open-access operator GTS Rail has ordered two Bombardier Traxx F140 DC electric locomotives for Febr. 2015 delivery, together with 100 articulated container cars from Legios, Czech Republic. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-25-14]

MOSCOW ORDERS 832 METRO CARS: Moscow Metro has placed a $4.1-billion supply and maintenance order for 832 metro cars with deliveries to begin this year. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-25-14]

CSX'S J&L TUNNEL PROJECT WINS ENGINEERING AWARDS: CSX'S J&L tunnel modification project in Pittsburgh has won the Project of the Year award from the Engineers' Society of Western Pennsylvania, and the Diamond award for Engineering Excellence from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania. Completed late last year, the project increased the vertical clearance of a 130-year-old tunnel running through Pittsburgh's SouthSide Works. [CSX, 2-25-14]

CLASS I RAIL EMPLOYMENT UP SLIGHTLY IN JANUARY: Employment at U.S. Class I railroads rose 0.15 pct in January year-on-year, according to figures released by the Surface Transportation Board, although it dropped slightly from the December 2013 level. Train and engine employment gained 1.15pct over the 12 months ending January 2014. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 2-25-14]

SHIPPERS ORDERED TO TEST, CLASSIFY BAKKEN OIL: Shippers are now being required by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation to test and classify Bakken crude as Packing Group I or II hazardous material. This basically limits Bakken oil shipments to the most commonly-used type of tank car, known as DOT-111, which is more robust than others. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 2-25-14]

BUSY YEAR FOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL CONSTRUCTION: Projects worth $4.4-billion are under construction this year, which makes 2014 the 'busiest year' for high-speed rail construction. There are currently 47 projects either under construction or about to be, according to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation. [The Hill website report, 2-25-14]

MAJOR RAILROADS INITIATE SAFETY PRACTICES FOR CRUDE SHIPMENTS: Class I railroads in North America will initiate voluntary safety practices for crude-by-rail operations after the Association of American Railroads, the Dept. of Transportation and other stakeholders agreed to adopt the practices. The initiatives include more frequent track inspections, brake-system upgrades and heightened emergency planning. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 2-24-14]

NORTHSTAR COMMUTER SERVICE GETTING SERIOUS DELAYS: Minnesota's Metro Transit has advised riders to expect delays of from 60 to 90 minutes due to heavy freight rail activity and ongoing congestion problems. [Railway Age website report, 2-24-14]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON PERRIS VALLEY METROLINK EXTENSION: Construction has begun on the $248-million, 24-mile Perris Valley Metrolink extension to the 91line to add new stations in North Riverside, Moreno Valley-March Field, downtown Perris and South Perris-Menifee. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-24-14]

COURT RULINGS CLEAR WAY FOR HONOLULU RAIL PROJECT: Two federal courts have ruled that the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation has complied with applicable laws for its $5-billion rail transit project, clearing the way for the project to move forward. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-24-14]

KCS WORKS WITH MEXICAN GOVERNMENT ON RAIL RULES: Officials from Kansas City Southern and its division in Mexico are working with the Mexican government on legislation that could change some provisions of the Mexican Regulatory Railroad Services Law. The measure received a green light from the House of Deputies and has moved to the Senate, where it could undergo some changes. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-24-14]

ILLINOIS COUNTY CONSIDERS STATION IN E. ST. LOUIS FOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL: St. Clair County, Illinois, is weighing whether to commit $500,000 toward an East St. Louis station along an emerging high-speed Amtrak route. [Belleville News-Democrat website report, 2-24-14]

TWO INJURED IN CSX DERAILMENT IN KENTUCKY: A derailment of two locomotives of a CSX freight train Febr. 22 in Covington, Kentucky, injured two crew members and prompted the evacuation of two homes near the accident as a precaution. [Cincinnati.com website report, 2-23-14]

AMTRAK RETURNING TO DENVER UNION STATION: Beginning Febr. 28, passengers will return to using Denver Union Station following redevelopment and use of a temporary location since 2011. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 2-21-14]

SOUTHWEST CHIEF'S ROUTE IN JEOPARDY: New Mexico's state legislature adjourned Febr. 20 without identifying a solution for the continuation of Amtrak's Southwest Chief over its current route, although legislators have vowed to fight on until the necessary funding is secured. To keep the train on its current route, Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico are asked to chip in $4-million per year over the next 10 years to maintain the segment to the level required for passenger service. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 2-21-14]

METRA LOOKING TO OTHER AGENCIES FOR SURPLUS EQUIPMENT: Already facing a shortage of spare cars, Metra has announced that it will look to other agencies to lease more cars. Metra hopes to increase its equipment to a point that 10 pct of its fleet will be spares. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 2-21-14]

NJT'S EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RESIGNING: New Jersey Transit's executive director Jim Weinstein has submitted his resignation to become effective March 5, 2014. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 2-21-14]

CALIFORNIA BULLET TRAIN GETS MORE TIME TO RAISE CASH: California bullet train officials have been granted an extra three months to come up with funding to start meeting their obligations under a grant for the project, federal officials said. Under the plan, the state would begin spending its own money starting July 1 rather than April 1. [Los Angeles Times website report, 2-21-14]

TWENTY EMU'S ORDERED FOR POLAND: Polish long-distance operator PKP Intercity has selected Pesa to supply and maintain twenty 99MPH electric multiple units in a deal worth $430-million. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-21-14]

TRAINS PLANNED FOR RETURN TO OKINAWA: Okinawa, currently without a conventional railroad, is to develop plans for a 43-mile line linking Naha and Nago, with construction to begin in 2019. A network of railways once radiated from Naha, but much of the system was destroyed in the second World War and never reopened. Its last railroad ceased operations in 1983. [Interational Railway Journal website report, 2-21-14]

METROLINK LAUNCHES PTC SYSTEM ON BNSF TRACK: Metrolink launched its positive train control system in a revenue-service demonstration Febr.20 under the authority of BNSF Railway. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-21-14]

WORK RESUMES ON PANAMA CANAL'S THIRD LOCK SET: Work resumed Febr. 20 following a payment dispute on the third set of locks in the Panama Canal's expansion project. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-21-14]

BNSF MAKES MAJOR BET ON SAFER OIL TANK CARS: In a bid for improved safety of oil shipments by rail, BNSF Railway is acquiring as many as 5,000 tank cars whose safety features go beyond current standards. [Reuters website report, 2-20-14]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported decreased U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Febr. 15, 2014, with 270,632 total U.S. carloads, down 2.9 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-20-14]

NTSB RECOMMENDS METRO-NORTH SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS: The National Transportation Safety Board, in response to the Dec. 1, 2013, fatal derailment in the Bronx, has recommended that Metro-North install recorders on its vehicles and add new speed-limit signs along its tracks. [New York Post website report, 2-19-14]

IRVING OIL TO CONVERT TANK CAR FLEET TO NEWER-MODEL SPECS: Irving Oil plans to convert its proprietary fleet of crude oil-carrying tank cars to AAR-recommended specifications for DOT-111 tank cars constructed after Oct. 1, 2011. The conversion is slated for completion by April 30. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-19-14]

THREE RAILROADS TO SERVE CRUDE-OIL TERMINAL IN BATON ROUGE: Genesis Energy will construct a $150-million terminal in Baton Rouge that will import and export crude oil. The terminal will be served by both CN and Kansas City Southern with 'superb interconnectivity' with Canadian Pacific. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-19-14]

CN TO INVEST OVER $2-B IN 2014 CAPITAL PLAN: Canadian National's 2014 capital plan includes an investment of about $2.1-billion tocontinue to raise network safety and efficiency, improve service and grow the business. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-19-14]

YOUNGSTOWN & SOUTHERN R.R. GETS NEW OWNER: The Columbiana County Port Authority has sold the Youngstown & Southern Railroad's assets to Mule Sidetracks LLC for $3-million. The new owner plans to maintain rail service on the 36.8-mile line. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-18-14]

JACKSON, OHIO, SHORTLINE GETS NEW OPERATOR: The city of Jackson, Ohio, has transferred operations of its 70-mile short line from U.S. Rail Corp. to the Indiana Eastern Railroad. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-18-14]

MARTIN OBERMAN ELECTED CHAIRMAN OF METRA: Metra's board has elected former Chicago alderman Martin Oberman as its chairman. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-18-14]

S.D. GOVERNOR SUPPORTS SALE OF CP'S DME LINE: Genesee & Wyoming's proposed acquisition of the west-east line of Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad, owned by Canadian Pacific, has received the support of S.D. governor Dennis Daugaard, who had previously been an opponent of the plan. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-18-14]

PENNY WHITE NAMED PRESIDENT OF X TRAIN: The Las Vegas Railway Express Inc. X Train has named Penny White president and chief operations officer. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-18-14]

FLORIDA TO PROVIDE $215-M FOR ORLANDO AIRPORT RAIL STATION: Florida has announced a financial package of up to $215-million to assist construction of a rail station at Orlando International Airport. [Railway Age website report, 2-18-14]

ATLANTA GETS FIRST TWO SIEMENS S70 STREETCARS: The first two Siemens S70 streetcars for the streets of downtown Atlanta have been delivered. The final two cars of the four-car order are slated for delivery next month. [Railway Age website report, 2-18-14]

BNSF, WATCO TO NEGOTIATE WITH OKLAHOMA FOR PURCHASE OF SOONER SUB LINE: BNSF Railway and Watco Cos. have been selected by the Oklahoma Dept. of Commerce to enter into negotiations with the state to purchase the 97.5-mile Soonser Sub rail line. [Tulsa World website report, 2-18-14]

CALIFORNIA COURT TO EXPEDITE REVIEW OF HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT: The Third District Court of Appeals in Calfiornia will speed up its review of Sacramento County Superior Court's ruling that prevents the state's High-Speed Rail authority from issuing bonds to fund the project. The state has been given until early April to submit its counter arguments. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 2-18-14]

RUSSIAN RAILWAYS TO ACQUIRE 629 NEW LOCOMOTIVES THIS YEAR: Russian Railways has announced plans to acquire 629 new locomotives in 2014. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-17-14]

CSX UPGRADING 50-MILE STRETCH OF TRACK IN MISSISSIPPI: CSX is replacing crossties and upgrading road crossings along a 50-mile stretch in Mississippi. [Mississippi Press website report, 2-17-14]

FIVE DIE, 25 INJURED IN TRAIN EXPLOSION IN PAKISTAN: Five people were killed and more than 25 were injured when an explosion hit a passenger train in Pakistan's southern Kashmore district Febr. 16. Initial investigation reports indicated the blast was caused by a remote controlled device and the explosive maerials were fixed at the track. [Global Times website report, 2-15-14]

JIM YOUNG DIES, UNION PACIFIC CHAIRMAN: Union Pacific Corp. chairman Jim R. Young died of panceatic cancer Febr. 15. He was 61. He was elected chairman in Jan. 2007. [Union Pacific, 2-15-14]

INTERMODAL VOLUME INCREASES AT PORT OF CHARLESTON: The Port of Chalrleston, S.C., has increased intermodal rail volume by 50 pct since 2011. The portis served by both CSX and Norfolk Southern. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-14-14]

ANKARA OPENS M3 METRO LINE: A ceremony was held in Ankara, Turkey, Febr. 12 to mark the opening of the city's second heavy metro line M3. The 9.6-mile line runs east-west from the end of line M1 at Batikent to OSB Torekent in Sincan, and has added 10 stations to the network. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-14-14]

FREIGHT TRAIN HAULING OIL & GAS DERAILS IN PENNSYLVANIA: Twenty-one cars of a Norfolk Southern freight train hauling oil and gas derailed Febr. 13 in Vandergrift, Pa., 30 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, striking a building that houses a specialty metals firm, authorities said. No one was reported injured. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website report, 2-13-14]

MEXICO TO INVEST $9.4-B IN PASSENGER & FREIGHT RAIL: Mexico's Transport and Communications Ministry has announced plans to invest at least $9.4-billion in 13 passenger and freight railway projects. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-13-14]

BOXCAR SERVICES MERGES WITH VERTEX RAIL TECHNOLOGIES: Freight-car lessor Boxcar Services LLC has merged with Vertex Rail Technologies to form Vertex Rail Manufacturing. Beginning in 2-Q 2014, the new company will manufacture tank cars, boxcars and covered hoppers at facilities in Massachusetts and North Carolina. [Railway Age website report, 2-13-14]

NEW RAIL YARD IN TEXAS OFFERS BENEFITS TO SHALE SHIPPERS: The newly-opened $54-million Southton Rail yard near San Antonio offers numerous benefits to Eagle Ford Shale shippers with its several features, including dual trackage rights with BNSF and Union Pacific. Arrow Material Services is the facility's operator. [San Antonio American City Business Journal website report, 2-13-14]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported 261,254 total U.S. rail carloads for the week ending Febr. 8, 2014, a 4.3 pct decrease comparedwith the same week in 2013. [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-13-14]

WABTEC TO ACQUIRE FANDSTAN ELECTRIC: In a deal worth about $215-million, Wabtec Corp. has signed an agreement to acquire London-based Fandstan Electric Group Ltd., a rail and industrial equipment manufacturer. [Railway Age website report, 2-12-14]

FEC FACILITY IN PORT EVERGLADES, FLORIDA, TO BE ENHANCED BY CSX, NORFOLK SOUTHERN CONNECTIONS: CSX and NS connections with Florida East Coast are expected to provide FEC with expanded service for its $73-million intermodal container transfer facility at Florida's Port Everglades, according to port officials. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 2-12-14]

CN RAISES RATES TO TRANSPORT CRUDE IN OLDER CARS: Canadian National Railway is charging shippers more to transport crude in older tank cars, a sign that rail operators are actively discouraging use of the type of cars involved in several recent explosions. [Reuters website report, 2-12-14]

RAIL SAFETY RESEARCH CENTER OPENS IN TEXAS: A newly-opened University Transportation Center for Railway Safety at the University of Texas-Pan American is the second of its kind in the U.S., and will serve as a research center for rail equipment and technology development. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 2-12-14]

ISRAEL RAILWAYS REPORTS STRONG PASSENGER TRAFFIC GROWTH: Passenger traffic on Israel Railways increased by 12 pct in 2013, with traffic growing by 25 pct since 2009. Punctuality averaged 93.3 pct in 2013, compared with 90 pct in 2012. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-12-14]

HOUSTON-DALLAS HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE CONSTRUCTION COULD BEGIN IN 2016: Work on the proposed, private, high-speed rail line between Houston and Dallas could start in 2016, and could use the N700-I Bullet Train - the same as used in Japan, according to the Texas Central Railway. [Pflugerville Community Impact website report, 2-12-14]

CN TO SELL DEUX-MONTAGNES LINE: Montreal's Metropolitan Transportation agency has agreed to buy the Deux-Montagnes line from CN. The purchase is subject to approval by the Quebec government. [Railway Age website report, 2-11-14]

ETHANOL-FILLED TANK CARS DERAIL ON BRIDGE IN JACKSONVILLE: Five ethanol-filled tank cars derailed on Acosta bridge in Jacksonville Febr. 11. The incident caused several evacuations, but it has since been contained. The train belonged to Norfolk Southern but was on Florida East Coast tracks. [Florida Times-Union website report, 2-11-14]

SWISS VOTERS APPROVE $7.1-B RAIL INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN: Voters in Switzerland have approved the Faif project to invest $7.1-billion in maintaining and upgrading the national rail network. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-11-14]

RUSSIAN RAILWAYS TO SELL HALF ITS STAKE IN AEROEXPRESS: The board of Russian Railways has decided to sell half of its 50 pct holding in airport express operator Aeroexpress which it acquired in 2008. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-11-14]

LINZ ORDERS SIX MORE BOMBARDIER LRV'S FOR NETWORK EXTENSION: Linz Linien, Austria, has awarded a contract to Bombardier for six Flexity light-rail vehicles to be delivered in mid-2015 for operation on an extension to Traun in the southwest of the city. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-11-14]

ONTARIO AWARDS FUNDS FOR GO STATION IMPROVEMENTS: The province of Ontario is making $5-million in upgrades to the Etobicoke North GO Transit station, which will include extending the platform to accommodate 12-car trains and other improvements. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-11-14]

GREENBRIER DEVELOPS SAFE TANK CAR SOLUTIONS: The Greenbrier Companies says development is under way of a new-generation tank car as well as retrofit solutions for cars already in service or under construction that will improve the safety of hazardous materials including crude oil and ethanol. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-10-14]

GB RAILFREIGHT EXPANDING ITS LOCOMOTIVE FLEET: British operator GB Railfreight has ordered another 13 class-66 diesel locomotives from EMD, and is acquiring 16 class-92 electric units as part of its plan to double is annual turnover within the next three years. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-10-14]

EDMONTON LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION TO OPEN IN JUNE: Edmonton, Alberta, will be opening the latest extension to its light-rail system in late June 2014, when the 2-mile Northwest line is extended from Churchill Station to the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. [Railway Age website report, 2-10-14]

AMTRAK EXPANDS WI-FI ON MIDWEST TRAINS: High-speed, wireless internet is now available on eight Amtrak routes in the Midwest. The expansion, launched this week, includes four daily Lincoln service trains, the Illini-Saluka service and the Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandberg service. [State Journal-Register website report, 2-10-14]

SEVERE WEATHER CUTS ALL RAIL LINKS TO S.W. BRITAIN: All three rail lines connecting London and Bristol with southwest England have been severed by flooding and a landslide, in addition to a washout between Exeter and Newton Abbot. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-9-14]

UNION PACIFIC PLANS $3.9-B CAPITAL PROGRAM: Union Pacific has approved its 2014 capital spending plan of approximately $3.9-billion, up about $300-million versus 2013, driven primarily by the acquisition of 200 locomotives. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-7-14]

CSX PLANS NEW YARD IN HOPKINSVILLE, KY: CSX plans to build a new rail yard in Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky, for inspection and fueling, primarily supporting unit coal trains serving local mines. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-7-14]

N.Y. TRANSIT COMPLETES $54-M STATION PROJECT: New York City Transit has completed a $31-million rehabilitation of Upper Manhattan's Dyckman street 1 Interborough rapid transit station after two years of work. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-7-14]

PATH PLANS WEEKEND CLOSURES TO ALLOW PTC INSTALLATION: PATH weekend train service between New Jersey points and downtown Manhattan will cease for 45 weekends this year in order to expedite installation of positive train control. [Railway Age website report, 2-7-14]

OPERATOR SOUGHT FOR ROYAL SLOPE LINE IN WASINGTON STATE: The Washington State DOT is seeking a freight-rail operator for the long-shuttered 26-mile Royal Slope rail line in Grant and Adams counties, expected to be ready for service following a 16-tear hiatus in May. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-7-14]

HOURLY STUTTGART-ZURICH DOUBLE-DECK RAIL SERVICE TO BE INTRODUCED IN 2017: Officials have reached an agreement to introduce an hourly double-deck intercity rail service on the Stuttgart-Zurich main line in Dec. 2017 retaining a three-hour journey. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-7-14]

AMTRAK ADDS NEWEST LOCOMOTIVE TO SERVICE: The first of 70 new advanced technology ACS-64 electric locomotives entered revenue service Febr. 6 on train 171 from Boston to Washington. It is energy-efficient and uses a regenerative braking system to feed energy back into the power grid. Together, the fleet of locomotives could save more than $300-million over 20 years, according to Amtrak. [Amtrak, 2-6-14]

LANCE FRITZ NAMED PRESIDENT OF UNION PACIFIC: Lance M. Fritz has been elected president and chief operating officer of Union Pacific Railroad. Most recently he was executive vice-president operations. Cameron A. Scott has been named to succeed Fritz. Meanwhile, Jim R. Young has retired as an employee but will continue to serve as chairman of the board of directors in a non-executive role. [Union Pacific, 2-6-14]

UNION PACIFIC HIKES DIVIDEND 15 PCT: Union Pacific's board voted to increase the quarterly dividend on its common shares by 15 pct, or 12 cents, to 91 cents per share. [Union Pacific, 2-6-14]

TACOMA APPROVES LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: Tacoma, Washington, has endorsed its preferred route along Stadium Way for extending the city's 1.6-mile Link Light Rail operated by Sound Transit. [Railway Age website report, 2-6-14]

CTA AWARDS STATION REHAB CONTRACT: The Chicago Transit Authority has awarded a $25.6-million design-build contract for the rehabilitation of the Damen, Western and California stations. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-6-14]

BOMBARDIER TO BUILD, MAINTAIN LONDON CROSSRAIL FLEET: Bombardier will be awarded a contract to supply and maintain 65 trains for the new Crossrail network under construction in London. ]International Railway Journal website report, 2-6-14]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported 270,903 U.S. rail carloads for the week ending Febr. 1, 2014, down 1.5 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-6-14]

CSX FREIGHT TRAIN SPILLS ACID INTO FLORIDA CREEK: A CSX freight train derailment near Molino, Florida, Jan. 28 spilled up to 30,000 gallons of a corrosive acid into a creek feeding the Escambia River, according to the officials. [Pensacola News Journal website report, 2-6-14]

RAIL EXPANSION COMPLETED AT FORT BENNING: A 3.9-mile, $7.5-million expansion of the Ochilee Railhead at Fort Benning, Georgia, has been completed. [Columbus Ledger-Enquirer website report, 2-6-14]

EMD PROTESTS LOCOMOTIVE CONTRACT AWARD: Electro-Motive Diesel has filed a formal protest with the Illinois DOT over the multi-state locomotive procurement contract for up to thirty-five 125-MPH diesel locomotives, for which Seimens Industry received a notice of intent to award on Dec. 18, 2013. [Railway Age website report, 2-5-14]

BRITISH MAIN LINE SEVERED BY STORM: The London-Penzance main rail line has been badly damaged by a severe storm which washed away track along the coastal section at Dawlish west of Exeter. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-5-14]

BNSF PLANS $5-B FOR RAIL INVESTMENTS IN 2014: BNSF plans to invest more than $5-billion in rail-related projects this year. The spending plan will focus primarily on projects such as rail infrastructure for enhanced service to several markets. [Railway Age website report, 2-4-14]

FEDS IMPOSE FINES ON THREE FIRMS FOR MISLABELED CRUDE-OIL SHIPMENTS: The U.S. DOT has imposed fines on Hess Corp., Whiting Oil & Gas Corp., and the Marathon Oil Corp. for mislabeled crude-by-rail shipments from the Bakken region. [New York Times website report, 2-4-14]

RAILROAD TANK CAR LEAKS OIL ALONG 70 MILES OF TRACK IN MINNESOTA: A single leaking tank car on a Canadian Pacific oil train left a sheen of crude oil along 70 miles of track between Red Wing and Winona, Minnesota, Febr. 3, officials said. An estimated 12,000 gallons of oil, or less than half the car's contents, leaked out before the malfunctioning valve was discovered. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune website report, 2-4-14]

ROTTERDAM ORDERS ADDITIONAL 16 FLEXITY SWIFT LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES FROM BOMBARDIER: Bombardier Transportation announced the Rotterdam Transport Authority in the Netherlands has exercised an option for 16 additional Flexity swift light-rail vehicles for 2016 delivery. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-4-14]

CIT GROUP ACQUIRES NACCO SAS: CIT Group Inc. has acquired Paris-based Nacco SAS which owns more than 9,500 rail cars and provides services for more than 150 customers in 16 countries. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-4-14]

CONNECTICUT PLANS NEW HAVEN RAIL LINE POWER UPGRADE: The Connecticut DOT will undertake a $10-million project to upgrade the power supply for Metro-North's New Haven line. It is intended to prevent the type of power failure that occurred in the fall of 2013 in Mount Vernon, N.Y., disrupting service. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-3-14]

SEVERAL SUPER BOWL FANS AWAITING SECURITY CHECKS REPORTEDLY COLLAPSE AT SECAUCUS TRAIN STATION: Seveal people apparently collapsed in the Secacus Junction train station while waiting in long lines to watch the Super Bowl. Long lines came to a standstill in front of security machines that apparently could not handle the crowd volume. NJ Transit officials, however, denied claims that fans were passing out and said no one was treated for a medical condition. [CBS New York website report, 2-2-14]

STRIKE POSSIBLE ON LIRR IN MARCH: Unions representing workers on the Long Island Rail Road are preparing for a strike which could come as early as March 21. According to the Transportation-Communications Union/IAM, the carrier has rejected a Presidential Emergency Board recommendation. [TCU, 1-31-14]

NARP SEEKS SOLUTION TO EMPIRE BUILDER DELAYS: Following months of serious delays of up to eight hours or longer to the Empire Builder, the National Association of Railroad Passengers has issued a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx asking him to bring together stakeholders to address the ongoing problem. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 1-31-14]

DERAILED TRAIN IN MISSISSIPPI LEAKS FUEL OIL FORCING EVACUATION: A Canadian National freight train derailed near a trailer park in New Augusta, Mississippi, Jan. 31, forcing the evacuation of nearby residents, officials said. Twenty-one cars were involved, eight of which spilled their contents. No injuries were reported. [Reuters website report, 1-31-14]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN OPENS BULK TRANSFER TERMINAL IN CHESAPEAKE, VA.: Norfolk Southern has opened a new Thoroughbred Bulk Transfer terminal in Chesapeake, Va., less than three miles from downtown Norfolk, operated under lease by RSI Leasing. The railroad now has a network of 32 such facilities in 17 states. [Norfolk Southern, 1-31-14]

CN PLANS TO END SAULT SAINTE MARIE-HEARST PASSENGER TRAIN: CN has announced the proposed discontinuance of its Sault Sainte Marie-Hearst passenger train effective March 31, 2014, due to the federal government ending support. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 1-31-14]

READING & NORTHERN PURCHASES 105 COAL HOPPERS: The Rading, Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad has purchased 105 three-pocket, open-top hoppers to move anthracite coal across the nation. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-31-14]

CALIFORNIA ALLOCATES $27-M FOR THREE RAIL PROJECTS: The California Transportation Commission has allocated $27-million in new funding to three projects that it says will improve passenger rail and further strengthen the state's economy. It includes a grade-separation in Fullerton, a double-track project between Raymer and Bernson, and acquisition of three Metrolink locomotives. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-31-14]

U.S. CLASS I RAILROAD EMPLOYMENT RISES 0.1 PCT IN DECEMBER: Employment at U.S. Class I railroads rose 0.10 pct in December 2013 year-on-year, according to the Surface Transportation Board. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 1-31-14]

TWO RAILROADS JOIN AAR AS MEMBERS: The Association of American Railroads has welcomed the Indiana Rail Road and Pan Am Railways as its newest members. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 1-31-14]

METRA NAMES NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE: Don Orseno, a 30-year Metra veteran and former locomotive engineer, was appointed Jan. 31 to run the nation's second-largest commuter rail agency. [Chicago Tribune website report, 1-31-14]

BNSF WINS APPEAL OF RULING LOWERING COAL RAIL RATES: BNSF Railway has won an appeal of a Surface Transportation Board ruling that the carrier's rates for shipping western coal were too high. A U.S. court of appeals sent the case back to the board to consider arguments that the formula the agency used to determine overcharges failed to measure variations in costs of the proper effect traffic volume should have on rates. [Bloomberg website report, 1-31-14]

MOSCOW OPENS NEW SECTION OF METRO LINE 8: Moscow completed a 2-2-mile western section of metro line 8 from Park Pobedy to Delovoy Tsentr Jan. 31. The 2-station underground section includes some of the deepest tunnels on the Moscow network. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-31-14]

FEC TO ACQUIRE 24 LOCOMOTIVES FROM GE: Florida East Coast Railway will acquire 24 new ES44C4 locomotives from GE Transportation, based in Erie, Pa. [Railway Age website report, 1-30-14]

CN REPORTS 2013 EARNINGS, HIKES DIVIDEND: CN reported 2013 revenues increased seven pct to $10.57-billion. Net income was $2.6-bllion. Carloadings increased 3 pct. The company's board approved a 16 pct increase in its quarterly cash dividend. [CN, 1-30-14]

OHIO MAN FOUND GUILTY OF DEATH, INJURIES TO CSX WORKERS: Cody Rickard of Woodville, Ohio, has been found guilty of killing one worker and injuring two others for driving through a barricade and crashing into a CSX work crew in October 2013. Rickard, 26, was sentenced to 29 years to life in prison. [Toledo Blade website report, 1-30-14]

MUDSLIDE HALTS AMTRAK, SOUNDER SERVICE IN PACIFIC N.W.: A mudslide onto railroad tracks between Seattle and Everett, Washington, Jan. 30 shut down Amtrak and Sounder service for 48 hours, according to BNSF. [Seattle Times website report, 1-30-14]

FALL CONSTRUCTION START PLANNED FOR AMTRAK MAINTENANCE HUB IN DELAWARE: Amtak is rolling toward a fall 2014 construction start for a more than $12-million maintenance hub in Wilmington, Delaware, to support its new locomotive fleet. [Delaware Online website report, 1-30-14]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Jan. 25, 2014, with 280,761 total carloads, up 5.6 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-30-14]

CSX RECOGNIZED ON CDP'S SUPPLIER CLIMATE PERFORMANCE LEADERSHIP INDEX: CSX Corp. has received a position on the CDP supplier climate performance leadership index for environmental stewardship in 2013. [CSX, 1-30-14]

GO-AHEAD FOR BANGALORE METRO PHASE 2: The Indian cabinet has approved plans for the $4.2-billion second-phase of the Bangalore metro network. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-30-14]

CANADIAN PACIFIC REPORTS 2013 EARNINGS: Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd reported 2013 full-year results with total revenues of $6.1-billion, an increase of 8 pct and a company record; and net income of $875-million or $4.96 per diluted share versus $484-million or $2.79 per share in 2012. Adjusted net income of $1.1-billion represents a 48 pct improvement compared with 2012. [Canadian Pacific, 1-29-14]

PATRIOT RAIL ACQUIRES RAIL-CAR REPAIR FACILITY IN VIRGINIA: Patriot Rail has acquired the assets of Alderman Railcar Services through a bankruptcy process. An Alderman facility in Keysville, Va., provides rail-car repair and cleaning services, and will be renamed Blue Ridge Railcar Repair. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-29-14]

MONTANA ORGANIZATION GETS GRANT FROM BNSF: Big Brothers-Big Sisters of Great Falls, Montana, has received a $10,000 grant from Burlington Northern Santa Fe, which the organization plans to use to help maintain their current partnerships, mentor training and monthly group outings. [KRTV website report, 1-29-14]

CHARLOTTE APPROVES $12-M FOR ENGINEERING WORK ON GOLD LINE EXTENSION: The Charlotte council has approved the authorization of $12-million to help advance the city's transit system's second phase of the LYNX Gold line phase 2 project. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-29-14]

CSX SEES GREAT POTENTIAL FOR LNG-POWERED LOCOMOTIVES: The prospect of using liquified natural gas to power locomotives is looked upon favorably by a number of railroads. "LNG technology has the potential to offer one of the most significant developments in railroading since the transition from steam to diesel in the 1950s," says CSX vice-president and chief operating officer Oscar Munoz. [Forbes website report, 1-29-14]

CN DERAILMENT SHUTS DOWN METRA'S NORTH CENTRAL LINE: Metra's North Central line from Antioch was shut down the morning of Jan. 28 after a freight car derailed in Mundelein, according to officials. The shutdown affected hundreds of riders on one of the coldest commutes so far this winter. [Chicago Tribune website report, 1-28-14]

NRHS ANNOUNCES 2014 RAILCAMP PROGRAM: The National Railway Historical Society is offering two summer railcamp program in 2014 - one at Wilmington, Delaware, and one in Tacoma, Washington. The program is open to high school students who are currently freshmen through seniors, including those becoming freshmen in 2014. Scholarships are available. [National Railway Historical Society]

BOMBARDIER WINS BID FOR 846 RAIL CARS FOR CTA: Bombardier Transportation Corp. has emerged as lead bidder for 846 Chicago Transit Authority 7000-series cars with a 'hybrid seating arrangement.' [Chicago Tribune website report, 1-27-14]

BIG BOY STEAM LOCOMOTIVE ARRIVES IN COLTON: Thousands of rail fans watched Jan. 26 as Union Pacific's Big Boy locomotive 4014 hit the rails for the first time in more than half a century and made a stately 20 MPH journey from Pomona to Union Pacific's West Colton yard. [Press-Enterprise website report, 1-27-14]

LONG ISLAND R.R. IS BUSIEST U.S. COMMUTER RAIL SYSTEM: More passengers rode the Long Island Rail Road in 2013 than any other commuter rail line in the country. Figures show that the Long Island carried 83,384,250 passengers, about 5,700 more than Metro-North. [MyFoxNY website report, 1-27-14]

KCS HIKES DIVIDEND 30 PCT: Kansas City Southern's board has declared a quarterly dividend of 28 cents per share, an increase of 30 pct from the previous quarterly dividend. [Kansas City Southern, 1-27-14]

MORE RAIL COACHES ORDERED FOR GO TRANSIT: Metrolinx has ordered from Bombardier Transportation 65 new bilevel coaches for GO Transit, with options for an additional 75 coaches. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-27-14]

NEW BARCELONA SUBURBAN TRAINS ENTER SERVICE: Catalan Government Railways introduced its new fleet of class 113 1.5KV DC suburban electric multiple-unit trains on Jan. 27. The first three trains of four cars each are now in service on lines S1 and S2. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-27-14]

CRUDE OIL SHIPMENTS THROUGH D.C. ARE RARE, CSX SAYS: CSX says residents in a southeast Washington community who have raised concerns about trains carrying crude oil passing through can rest assured that such transportation through the city is rare, and that there is no market in the area for it. [Washington Post website report, 1-27-14]

CONTRACT AWARDED FOR $23-M RAIL YARD IN JACKSONVILLE: The Jacksonville Port Authority has awarded a $23-million construction contract for an intermodal container facility to offer faster access to markets to and from CSX and Norfolk Southern facilities on the west side of the city. [Florida Times-Union website report, 1-24-14]

KCS REPORTS 2013 EARNINGS: Kansas City Southern's 2013 revenue was a record $2.4-billion, up 6 pct over 2012. Carloads were 2.2 million, a 2 pct increase over the prior year. Operating income was $739-million. [Kansas City Southern, 1-24-14]

FRA ISSUES RULES ON RAIL-FLAW DETECTION PROCESSES: The Federal Railroad Administration on Jan. 24 amended the Federal Track Safety Standards by establishing minimum qualification requirements for rail-flaw detection equipment operators, and revising requirements for rail inspection frequecies, remedial actions and inspection records. The agency is removing requirements concerning joint bar fracture reporting. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-24-14]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON DART'S SOUTH OAK CLIFF THREE LINE EXTENSION: Dallas Area Rapid Transit and local officials celebrated the start of the DART South Oak Cliff Three line extension Jan. 24. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-24-14]

CN TO RETAIN NEW BRUNSWICK FREIGHT LINE: The New Brunswick provincial government will invest up to $25-million in infrastrucure improvements on the CN Newcastle subdivision, and CN will invest a comparible amount to operate and maintain the line. The arrangement will ensure the future of the Irvco-Nepisquit Junction and Catamount-Nelson Junction sections for 15 years. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-24-14]

MOROCCO TAKES DELIVERY OF 30 DIESEL LOCOMOTIVES: Rolling stock supplier TZV Gredelj and National Railway Equipment Company have completed the delivery of 30 GT26CW-3W locomotives for Moroccan National Railways. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-24-14]

NTSB OFFERS RECOMMENDATIONS TO ENHANCE HAZMAT SAFETY: The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended better route planning, enhanced response plans, and proper classification of hazardous materials with a safety and security plan in place. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 1-24-14]

PROPOSALS REQUESTED FOR 43 HIGH-SPEED TRAINSETS: Amtrak and the California High-Speed Rail Authority have issued a joint request for proposals for 43 high-speed trainsets - 28 for the Northeast corridor, and 15 for California - seating from 400 to 450 passengers each. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 1-24-14]

COMMITMENT MADE TO RESTORE SANDPOINT, IDAHO, RAIL STATION: Sandpoint, Idaho's, historic rail depot has been given a boost with Amtrak officials committing to restoring the station rather than abandoning it and relocating the stop to a location less convenient to the center of town. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 1-24-14]

OKLAHOMA CITY ACQUIRES RIGHTS TO ITS SANTA FE DEPOT: Oklahoma City has acquired the rights to the Santa Fe depot, clearing the way for a $28.3-million renovation that will turn the station into a modern intermodal hub for the city's public transportation network. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 1-24-14]

RAIL ACADEMY TO BE ESTABLISHED IN UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Thales and the Center of Excellence for Applied Research & Training have signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a rail academy in the United Arab Emirates. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-24-14]

AMTRAK SERVICE IMPACTED BY COLD WEATHER: Amtrak riders continue to face delays because of the extremely cold weather. Couplers and switches freeze, and snow ends up in passenger car vestibules causing doors to freeze shut. The weather also stresses overhead power lines. [6ABC website report, 1-23-14]

METRO-NORTH TRAIN LOSES POWER IN CONNECTICUT: About 200 Metro-North passengers were stranded on an unheated train on one of the coldest nights of the year for nearly two hours Jan. 22 after it lost power and stalled near Westport, Connecticut. [NBC New York website report, 1-23-14]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 2013 EARNINGS: Union Pacific Corp. reorted 2013 net income total $4.4-billion or $9.42 per diluted share, up 11 and 14 pct from 2013 respectively. Operating ratio was 66.1 pct, improving 1.7 points from the previous record set in 2012. [Union Pacific, 1-23-14]

NATURAL GAS LOCOMOTIVES MAY PROVE LESS EXPENSIVE, CLEANER THAN DIESEL: Rail companies want to take advantage of booming natural gas production that has cut the price of the fuel by as much as 50 pct. Natural gas may revolutionize the industry, said General Electric's locomotive division, one of several companies that will test new natural gas equipment later this year. Changes are sure to come slowly, but will be helped by new hydraulic fracturing drilling techicques. [Island Packet website report, 1-23-14]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased U.S. rail traffic with 289,825 total carloads for the week ending Jan. 18, 2014, up 4.5 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-23-14]

TURIN RECEIVES CORADIA MERIDIAN TRAINS: Alstom handed over three ETR 234 Coradia Meridian four-car electric multiple-unit trains to Turin Transport Group on Jan. 21. The trains accommodate 400 passengers and will be used on the SFM1 route between Rivarolo and Chieri. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-23-14]

SPAIN PLANNING SINGLE-TRACK HIGH-SPEED LINES TO CUT COSTS: Spain is planning to install only single track on most new sections of high-speed lines in a bid to reconcile plans to extend the reach of the standard-gauge network within budget restraints. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-23-14]

BROKEN WATER PIPE IMPACTS NEWARK AIRPORT RAIL STATION SERVICE: Amtrak and N.J. Transit trains avoided stopping at the Newark Liberty International Airport rail station during the evening rush Jan. 22 after a water pipe burst, requiring emergency repairs. [Star-Ledger website report, 1-22-14]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 2013 EARNINGS: Norfolk Southern Corp. reported 2013 net income totaled $1.9-billion, up 9 pct from the previous year. Diluted earnings were $6.04 per share, an improvement of 12 pct. [Norfolk Southern, 1-22-14]

KOPPERS COMPLETES ACQUISITION OF CANADIAN CROSSTIE-TREATING BUSINESS: Koppers Inc. has completed the purchase of the crosstie treating business and related manufacturing facility of Tolko Industries Ltd in Ashcroft, B.C. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-22-14]

UNION PACIFIC CLASSIFICATION YARD MOVES FORWARD IN ARIZONA: Union Pacific's proposed Red Rock classification yard in Arizona's Pinal County moved closer to fruition when the state and railroad hired firms to look at the project's technical issues. [Casa Grande Valley Newspapers website report, 1-22-14]

JUNE OPENING SET FOR ST. PAUL METRO GREEN LINE: St. Paul's Metro light-rail Green line - formerly called the Central corridor - is now slated to open for revenue service June 14, 2014. The 11-mile line will serve Union Depot, linking it with the Minneapolis Hiawatha light-rail line. [Railway Age website report, 1-22-14]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON THE L.A. CRENSHAW LIGHT-RAIL LINE: Los Angeles marked the beginning of construction of its new 8.5-mile Crenshaw light-rail line Jan. 21. The $2-billion line links and overlaps wth other light-rail services. [Railway Age website report, 1-22-14]

DELIVERY SET FOR TWO 'CLUB X TRAIN' RAIL CARS: Las Vegas Railway Express will soon take delivery of the first two 'Club X Train' rail cars, the first of 20 being outfitted to provide luxury rail service. Initially, the cars will be coupled to existing passenger trains on select routes. In February officials plan to launch a luxury service between Los Angeles and San Diego. The firm plans to expand to other routes in the future, including Los Angeles to Las Vegas. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-22-14]

NEW BRUNSWICK SOUTHERN CONSTRUCTING SECOND TRACK: A surge in freight traffid in St. John, N.B., has prompted New Brunswick Southern Railway to construct a second track along the Saint John Throughway. [CBC website report, 1-22-14]

VA. PORT'S RAIL ACTIVITY RISES: Rail operations at the Port of Virginia increase 11.7 pct in 2013, year-on-year. [Journal of Commerce website report, 1-22-14]

R.R. MUSEUM OF PA. GETS GRANT FOR PUBLIC SEARCH SYSTEM: The Norfolk Southern Foundation has awarded the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania a $20,000 grant to be used to enhance its online search system to the museum's library and archival holdings. The grant will also help the effort to convert the museum's photographs and paper holdings to a digital format. [Lancaster Online, 1-21-14]

AUSTIN, TEXAS, PLANS CAPACITY UPGRADE ON ITS LEANDER RED LINE: Austin Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority has revealed plans for a $27-million capacity upgrade on the Capital Metro Red line between central Austin and Leander, Texas, less than four years after the line opened. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-21-14]

BIRMINGHAM STATION CONSTRUCTION SET TO BEGIN: Construction on Birmingham's new $30-million, three-block intermodal station should start within the next couple of months. The project will bring together Amtrak, Greyhound and local transportation together in one place. [Birmingham News website report, 1-21-14]

INVESTMENT FIRM WINS AUCTION FOR MMA RAILWAY: The New York-based Fortress Investment Group emerged as the winner in the auction of the bankrupt Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, whose train derailment July 6 in Quebec caused an explosion and fire that killed 47 people. [Portland Press Herald website report, 1-21-14]

BRAZIL TO INVEST $853-M IN BELO HORIZONTE METRO EXPANSION: Brazil announced Jan. 17 that the federal government will invest $853-million in the expansion of Belo Horizonte city's metro network. The projects involved will increase the length of the network to over 27 miles. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-21-14]

BOMBARDIER LANDS $2.7-B QUEENSLAND ORDER: Bombardier Transportation, as part of a consortium contract, will supply 75 electrical multiple units, build a new depot and provide 30 years' maintenance for the state of Queensland, Australia. Bombardier's share of the contract is valued at $2.7-billion. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-21-14]

GE TRANSPORTATION REVENUE RISES: GE Transportation's revenue rose seven pct during fourth-quarter 2013 and five pct for the full year compared with 2012 results. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-21-14]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN ELECTS TWO TO BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Amy E. Miles and James A. Squires have been elected directors of Norfolk Southern Corporation effective Jan. 21. [Norfolk Southern, 1-21-14]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN RAISES DIVIDEND 4 PCT: Norfolk Southern's board of directors increased the regular quarterly dividend on the company's common stock by 4 pct, from 52 to 54 cents per share, payable to holders of record on Febr. 7. [Norfolk Southern, 1-21-14]

AMTRAK PRESIDENT URGES 'MULTIMODAL STRATEGY' FOR SURFACE TRANSPORTATION: A modern surface-transportation plan that integrates America's rail, highway and port networks should be created to maintain the nation's economic growth and global competitiveness, said Amtrak president and CEO Joe Boardman. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-21-14]

TRAIN CARRYING CRUDE OIL DERAILS ON PHILADELPHIA BRIDGE: The Coast Guard says a train carrying crude oil derailed on the Schuylkill Arsenal bridge in Philadelphia early in the morning Jan. 20. There is no report of any oil leaking from the cars, and the cause of the accident is under investigation. [San Francisco Chronicle website report, 1-20-14]

WORK SLOWS ON PANAMA CANAL: Work on the Panama Canal has slowed by as much as 75 pct as a dispute over who will pay for cost overruns continues. A delay in the June 2015 completion date could mean a delay of months or years setting back the arrival of larger ships, according to reports. [Washington Post website report, 1-20-14]

FARMRAIL NAMES JUDY PETRY PRESIDENT, GENERAL MANAGER: Farmrail System has appointed Judy Petry president and general manager. Formerly she was controller. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-20-14]

CSX NAMES VICE-PRESIDENT STATE GOVERNMENT POST FOR VIRGINIA: CSX has appointed Bryan Rhode as regional vice-president of state government affairs in Virginia. He will also oversee similar efforts in Maryland and Delaware. [CSX. 1-20-14]

OIL SPILLED FROM TRAINS REACHES STAGGERING RECORD: More crude oil was spilled in U.S. rail incidents in 2014 than was spilled in nearly four decades since the federal government began collecting data on such spills, an analysis of the data shows. [McClatchy DC website report, 1-20-14]

UNION PACIFIC TO SPONSOR VETERANS' JOB FAIR IN OMAHA FEBR. 19: Union Pacific will sponsor a job fair for military veterans and their spouces in Omaha Febr. 19 from 10AM to 2PM. In addition, several dozen vets will be able to attend a pre-fair workshop where they can learn how to enchance their job-seeking skills. [Wichita Eagle website report, 1-19-14]

MAN KILLED BY TRAIN WHILE POSING FOR PHOTO: A forty-two-year-old man from Las Vegas was killed by an Amtrak Cascades train while posing for a photograph being taken by his girlfriend in Auburn, Washington, Jan. 18. [Houston Chronicle website report, 1-18-14]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON FINAL SECTION OF KORALM TUNNEL IN AUSTRIA: Construction began Jan. 17 on the third and final section of the 20.4-mile Koralm tunnel, the centerpiece of the new 83-mile Koralm rail line between Graz and Klagenfurt. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-17-14]

TEXAS SEEKS FUNDING TO STUDY RAIL LINE BETWEEN SAN ANTONIO AND MONTERREY: The Texas DOT has asked the U.S. Dept. of Transportation for an additional $400,000 to expand a study that is currently looking at connecting Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Oklahoma City with train service, to include a segment to Monterrey, Mexico. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 1-17-14]

MORNINGSTAR NAMES CP'S HARRISON 2013 CEO OF THE YEAR: Independent investment research provider Morningstar has named Canadian Pacific chief executive officer E. Hunter Harrison as its 2013 CEO of the year. [Railway Age website report, 1-17-14]

POWER PROBLEMS IMPACT METRO-NORTH TRAINS ON NEW HAVEN LINE: Metro-North said power problems and a disabled train in the Bridgeport, Connecticut, area caused morning delays of up to 20 minutes on the New Haven line Jan. 16. [Seattle Post Intelligencer website report, 1-16-14]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported 256,849 U.S. carloads for the week ending Jan. 11, 2014, down 8.2 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-16-14]

FEDS OK MILWAUKEE STREETCAR ROUTE ADJUSTMENT: The Federal Transit Administration has granted Milwaukee its request to adjust a portion of its proposed streetcar route through downtown, sought by the city in order to reduce utility relocation costs. [Railway Age website report, 1-16-14]

COAL SHIPMENTS DECLINE ON CSX IN 4Q: Coal traffic declined 5 pct and revenue fell 9 pct on CSX in the fourth-quarter on a year-over-year basis. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-16-14]

ALSTOM TO ASSEMBLE LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES IN BRAZIL: Alstom will invest in a new assembly line at its Taubate hydro manufacturing plant in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo to produce light-rail vehicles for the South American market. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-16-14]

CSX REPORTS 2013 EARNINGS: CSX Corporation reported 2013 net earnings were $1.83 per share compared with $1.79 per share in 2012. Revenue increased 2 pct to a record $12-billion, and the operating ratio increased to 71.1 pct compared with 70.6 pct in 2012. [CSX, 1-15-14]

FRA IN LINE TO HIRE ADDITIONAL 45 RAILROAD INSPECTORS: The Federal Railroad Administration will receive $185-million to hire an additional 45 railroad inspectors as part of the omnibus spending bill now before Congress. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-15-14]

NTSB ISSUES PRELIMINARY REPORT ON METRO-NORTH ACCIDENT: The National Transportation Safety Board issued its preliminary report on the Dec. 1, 2013, derailment of a Metro-North passenger train in New York pointing to speed as a contributing factor of the accident. The track where the derailment occurred has a six-degree curve and a speed limit of 30 MPH, but the train speed at the time of the accident was 82 MPH. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-15-14]

VIA RAIL POSTS HOLIDAY-SEASON RIDERSHIP GAIN: More than 274,000 riders used VIA Rail Canada between Dec. 18, 2013, and Jan. 7, 2014, an increase of 9.5 pct compared with the previous year holiday season, VIA Rail announced. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-15-14]

N.D. MAN SENTENCED FOR ASSAULT ON AMTRAK CREW MEMBERS: Twenty-nine year old Preston Freeman of Fargo, N.D., has been sentenced to 15 days in jail and a year of probation for his drunken assault upon two Amtrak crew members Jan. 10 after the train left Grand Forks. The assault forced the train to make an unscheduled stop in Larimore. [WDAZ website report, 1-15-14]

TRAIN CARS DERAIL AT BAILEY YARD IN NEBRASKA: Twenty-four rail cars derailed at Union Pacific's Bailey Yard Jan. 13, but none of them tipped over, an official said. There were no injuries, and the cause is under investigation. [North Platte Telegraph website report, 1-14-14]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON AUSTRIA'S SEMMERING BASE TUNNEL: Main construction has begun on Austria's 17-mile Semmering Base Tunnel between Murzzuschlag and Gloggnitz on the Vienna-Villach/Graz main line. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-14-14]

CHINA TO MAKE $104-B IN RAIL INVESTMENT IN 2014: China Railways has announced plans to invest $104.2-billion in fixed assets in 2014. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-14-14]

MUDSLIDES DISRUPT AMTRAK, SOUNDER TRAINS IN PACIFIC N.W.: Heavy rains sent mudslides onto BNSF tracks north of Seattle Jan. 12 disrupting passeger train travel. One slide hit tracks south of Everett, following by another one at Mukilteo. Crews cleared the tracks for freight service, but there is a 48-hour moratorium for Amtrak and Sounder trains with passengers being bused. [Columbus Republic website report, 1-13-14]

CANADA PROPOSES REGULATIONS TO BOOST RAIL HAZMAT SAFETY: The Canadian Transport Ministry has proposed regulatory amendments airmed at further improving the safety of transporting hazardous materials by rail. The regulations would introduce new standards for certain tank cars. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-13-14]

BNSF TRANSCOLD EXPRESS TO EXPAND: Logistics firm McKay TransCold has hatched a plan with BNSF Railway to ship eggs and other Midwest products to the West Coast in refrigerated boxcars that will then return with California produce. The service, known as TransCold Express, will launch in April with 50 BNSF refrigerated cars running between California's Central Valley and the Chicago area. [Star Tribune website report, 1-13-14]

GERMANY APPROVES VOSSLOH DIESEL LOCOMOTIVES: Germany's Federal Railway Authority has approved Vossloh's G12 and G18 four-axle freight locomotives for operation on the German network. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-13-14]

BELARUS RAIL LINE TO BE ELECTRIFIED: Belarus Railways has awarded a contract to electrify the 48-mile line from Maladzyechna to Gudohay. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-13-14]

CZECH LONG-DISTANCE PASSENGER OPERATOR ORDERS 45 COACHES: Czech open-access long-distance passenger operator RegioJet is set to expand its capacity following the acquisition of 45 coaches from Austrian Federal Railways. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-13-14]

AMTRAK SERVICE MOSTLY RESTORED FOLLOWING COLD SNAP: Following a crippling cold snap that froze much of the country, Amtrak service was mostly restored to nrmal operations as of Thursday [Jan. 9] evening. The Chicago hub was particlarly hard hit, experiencing severe cold and wind that brought temperatures to as low as minus-42 degrees. At least one Amtrak train was trapped overnight by snow drifts. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 1-10-14]

PASSENGER RAIL SERVICE TO RETURN TO ROANOKE BY 2017: Roanoke, Va., will get passenger rail service within 42 months, a state rail official said as he gave new details about the construction of track and accessories needed. The train will travel east to Lynchburg and then to Washington and beyond. Roanoke has been without rail service since 1979. [Richmond Times-Dispatch website report, 1-10-14]

NEW FACILITIES ALONG CSX IN 2013 REPRESENT $3-B INVESTMENT: CSX and its customers worked together to develop 121 new or expanded failities on the CSX rail network or its connecting short line partners in 2013. These facilities represent $3-billion in customer investments and more than 1,600 new job opportunities at those facilities. [CSX. 1-10-14]

RAIL-SERVED GRAIN FACILITY TO BE BUILT IN MISSOURI: Construction is expected to begin later this month on a high-speed shuttle train facility on a Union Pacific line near Grayridge, Missouri, designed to load 110-car trains. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-10-14]

PACER INTERNATIONAL TO BE SOLD: XPO Logistics Inc. has entered into an agreement to acquire Pacer International.The transaction is subject to regulatory clearance and shareholder approval. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-10-14]

FINNISH DOUBLE-DECK DINING CARS REVEALED: VR Group Finland has unveiled the first of 26 new IC2 DuettoPlus double-deck dining cars. The lower deck is fitted out with a 53-seat restaurant, and the upper deck seats 41 passengers plus 12 in a conference compartment. The new cars will allow VR to withdraw 37 older cars of four different types, the oldest of which date back to the 1970s. [International Railway Journal, 1-10-14]

TESTING BEGINS ON DEHLI METRO PHASE 3: Delhi Metro launched trial operation on the first completed section of the third phase of the city's metro network on Dec. 30. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-10-14]

ASBESTOS FOUND IN TWO AUSTRALIAN DIESEL LOCOMOTIVES IMPORTED FROM CHINA: An Australian rolling stock supplier could face a fine for overseeing the import of two diesel locomotives from China that were subsequently found to be contaminated with asbestos. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-10-14]

JOSEPH GIULIETTI NAMED METRO-NORTH PRESIDENT: Joseph J. Giulietti has been named president of Metro-North Railroad to replace Howard Permut who retires Jan. 31. [Railway Age website report, 1-9-14]

KEOLIS WINS BOSTON COMMUTER RAIL CONTRACT: Keolis will take over operation of the Massachusetts commuter rail system beginning July 1. The French company won the state's largest operating contract in history with a bid that was six pct lower than that of the current operator which has operated the system since 2003. [Boston Globe website report, 1-9-14]

RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT FOR 2013: The Association of American Railroads reports the year 2013 saw record intermodal growth but a slight decrease in carloadings. Intermodal volume was up 4.6 pct over 2013, while carloads declined 0.5 pct. Sizable gains were reported for petroleum and petroleum products, up 31.1 pct, but coal volume declined 4.3 pct and grain declined 8.0 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-9-14]

L.A. BLUE LINE GETTING $1.2-B OVERHAUL: The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation authority Blue line is undergoing a $1.2-billion overhaul replacing power stations, overhead power lines, tracks, rail cars and improvements to station platforms in a multiyear investment. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-9-14]

FREIGHT TSI POSTED RECORD HIGH IN NOVEMBER: Freight hauled by for-hire transportation carriers - including railroads - increased 1.2 pct between Oct. and Nov. 2013, reaching a high of 116.5, according to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation' freight transportation services index. [Transport Topics website report, 1-9-14]

MARYLAND APPROVES $13-M FOR POSITIVE TRAIN CONTROL ON MARC TRAINS: The Md. board of Public Works has approved a $13-million contract to begin installing positive train control equipment on MARC commuter trains. [Baltimore Sun website report, 1-8-14]

NINE DIE IN TRAIN FIRE IN INDIA: Nine people were killed in a fire on a train in western India early Jan. 8, authorities said. The blaze ripped through three coaches of the Decradun express train, en route from Mumbai. The cause of the fire is under investigation. [CNN website report, 1-8-14]

OIL TRAIN ACCIDENTS FORCE LOOK INTO TANK CAR SAFETY: Recent train expolosions have revived concerns that older railroad tank cars need to be strengthened to better withstand accidents. Tank cars now carry more than 10 pct of U.S. oil, up 40-fold in five years, according to the Association of American Railroads. Industry officials say it could cost billions to retrofit up to 65,000 older cars. Federal regulators are now considering whether to require it. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune website report, 1-8-14]

CHICAGO TRANSIT TO RENOVATE BLUE LINE STATION: The Chicago Transit Authority has approved a plan to rehabilitate and improve the accessibility of the Blue Line's Illinois Medical District station by making all three entrances accessible to customers with disabilities and other upgrades. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-8-14]

KOPPERS TO ACQUIRE CROSSTIE TREATING BUSINESS: Koppers Inc. has signed an asset purchase agreement to acquire the crosstie treating business and related manufacturing of Tolko Industries Ltd. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-8-14]

THREE INJURED AS TWO UNION PACIFIC TRAINS DERAIL FOLLOWING REAR END COLLISION: Two freight trains collided in Utah Jan. 8 spilling corn onto an interstate highway and injuring three railroad workers. One train rear-ended another near the mouth of Weber Canyon. [Chicago Tribune website report, 1-8-14]

UNION PACIFIC LAUNCHES TEXAS-TENNESSEE INTERMODAL SERVICE: Union Pacific has begun a new intermodal service between Laredo, Texas, and Memphis, Tennessee, to support needs for the automotive manufacturing and intermodal marketplaces. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-7-14]

BART ORDERS 365 ADDITIONAL RAIL CARS: The Bay Area Rapid Transit has confirmed a $681-million order with Bombardier for 365 additional rail cars for its 'Fleet of the Future.' Bombardier now has firm orders for 775 cars with a total value of $1.5-billion, according to Bombardier. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-7-14]

LATVIA, LITHUANIA TO COOPERATE ON INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS: Latvianand Lithuanian railways have signed a series of agreements aimed to improving and expanding cross-border operations between the two countries. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-7-14]

THREE AMTRAK TRAINS STALLED BY SNOW IN ILLINOIS: The eastbound Southwest Chief was trapped about 80 miles west of Chicago when it ran into ice and snow Jan. 6. Two more trains - Illinois Zephyr and California Zephyr - were halted behind the first train. In all, about 500 passengers were stranded. Amtrak said all passengers en route to Chicago reached their destination by early the following afternoon, and no injuries were reported. [Kansas City Star website report, 1-7-14]

TRAIN DERAILS, CATCHES FIRE IN CANADA: A Canadian National railway train en route from Toronto to Moncton carrying propane and crude oil derailed and caught fire Jan. 7 near Plaster Rock, N.B. No injuries were reported. [Chicago Tribune website report, 1-7-14]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN FACILITATES $2.3-B IN INDUSTRIAL INVESTMENT ALONG RAIL LINES IN 2013: Norfolk Southern participated in the location of 67 new industries and the expansion of 25 existing industries along its rail lines in 2013. This represents an investment of $2.3-billion by rail customers and is expected to create ore than 3,100 new jobs and eventually generate more than 136,000 carloads of new rail traffic annually. [Norfolk Southern, 1-7-14]

METRO-NORTH PRESIDENT RETIRING: Howard Permut, president of Metro-North railroad, annoounced his retirment at a meeting late Jan. 6. He is expected to be replaced by Joseph Giulietti, executive director of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority. [New York Times website report, 1-6-14]

AMTRAK EYES ADDING STOP IN MONTANA: Culbertson, Montana, may be added to Amtrak's Empire Builder due in part to ongoing shale oil activity in the Bakken formation, according to the National Association of Railroad Passengers. [Railway Age website report, 1-6-14]

NEW TALGO TRAINS ADDED TO EUGENE-VANCOUVER ROUTE: New Talgo passenger trains join the Pacific Northwest route Jan. 6, affecting both train and bus schedules, the Oregon Dept. of Transportation said. [Statesman Journal website report, 1-6-14]

WORK TO BEGIN ON LAOS RAIL LINK: Construction is expected to begin this month on a 137-mile railway in southern Laos from Savannakhet to Lao Bao, linking the borders of Thailand and Vietnam. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-5-14]

FEDS ISSUE SAFETY ALERT ON BAKKEN CRUDE FLAMMABILITY: The Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Administration has issued a safety alert that the type of crude being transported by rail from the Bakken Shale region may be more flammable than traditional heavy crude. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-3-14]

AMTRAK'S CRESCENT TO TERMINATE AT ATLANTA MONDAY-THURSDAY: Amtrak's trains 19 and 20 will not operate between Atlanta and New Orleans Monday-Thursday between Jan. 6 and Febr. 6, 2014, due to track work. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 1-3-14]

AUTO TRAIN CAPACITY INCREASING: Amtrak will increase the capacity of its Auto Train by up to 60 additional seats through the end of March 2014. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 1-3-14]

GENESEE & WYOMING TO BUY DAKOTA, MINNESOTA & EASTERN PORTION FROM CP: Canadian Pacific will sell the west end of its Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad line to Genesee & Wyoming for $210-million. The west end encompasses about 660 miles in Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Nebraska. The sale is subject to Surface Transportation Board approval. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-3-14]

KOREAN RAIL STRIKE ENDS: Train services started to return to normal Jan. 3, 2014, following the end to a 22-day strike by railway workers. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-3-14]

BNSF CONTINUES TO DEAL WITH N.D. DERAILMENT: BNSF emergency personnel continue to work with specially trained hazardous materials response teams and local emergency responders at the site of a derailment near Caselton, N.D., Dec. 30, 2013. A westbound grain train derailed about one west of Casselton, causing an eastbound crude train to collide and derail, and more than 20 cars caught fire. The majority of cars in the 112-car grain train and 106-car crude train did not derail and have been pulled away from the site. The National Transportation Safety Board will lead the investigation into the cause of the accident and handle all media inquiries, BNSF said. No injuries to crew members were reported. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-2-14]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Dec. 28, 2013, advanced, the Association of Americn Railroads reported. Carload traffic gained 8.1 pct when measured against the comparable week last year. Intermodal volume advanced 10.6 pct. Nine of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked on a weekly basis posted increases, led by grain, up 36.8 pct. But for the 52 weeks of 2013, cumulative volume of carloads declined 0.5 pct. from the same period last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-2-14]

BROKEN AXLE FOUND AT SCENE OF N.D. TRAIN DERAILMENT: Federal investigators said they have recovered a broken axle at the scene of an oil train derailment and fire in southeastern North Dakota, but they don't know whether it caused the wreck. [Pioneer Press website report, 1-1-14]

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