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KCS REPORTS 2014 EARNINGS: For the year 2014, Kansas City Southern reported net income of $504-million or $4.55 per diluted share, compared with $353-million or $3.18 per diluted share. [Kansas City Southern, 1-23-15]

CLASS I RAIL WORKFORCE GAINS IN DECEMBER: U.S. Class I railroads employed 170,841 people as of mid-December 2014, up 0.6 pct versus the previous month, and 4.9 pct compared with December 2013, according to the Surface Transportation Board. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-23-15]

WASHINGTON DC METRO ORDERS SAFETY ACTIONS IN WAKE OF FATAL SMOKE EVENT: The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit authority has ordered 10 safety actions to be taken as the NTSB continues its investigation into the Jan. 12 incident near L'Enfant Plaza when the tunnel was filled with smoke trapping passengers on a stopped train, killing one and injuring 80 others. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-23-15]

COURT REJECTS APPEAL AGAINST VIENNA LIGHT-RAIL ORDER: A court in Vienna has rejected an appeal by Siemens against Wiemer Linien's decision to award Bombardier a contract for up to 156 low-floor light-rail vehicles. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-23-15]

N.Y. GOVERNOR PROPOSES LAGUARDIA RAIL LINK: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has called for construction of a $450-million 1.5-mile rail link between Willets Point station, which serves Long Island Rail Road and the No. 7 subway line, and the LaGuardia Airport in Queens. "You can't get to LaGuardia by train, the governor said. "That really is inexcusable, and that is going to change." [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 1-23-15]

ALL ABOARD FLORIDA PICKS CONTRACTOR FOR THREE STATIONS: All Aboard Florida announced that it has selected a general contractor to oversee construction of three new stations that will serve the Miami-Orlando train service. Construction is slated to begin in March. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 1-23-15]

S.F. MAYOR ENDORSES SECOND BART TUNNEL UNDER BAY: San Francisco's Mayor Ed Lee has endorsed a second Bay Area Rapid Transit rail tunnel under the San Francisco Bay to meet increased demand and allow 24-hour service. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 1-23-15]

MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO STEALING LOCOMOTIVES, CRASHING ONE INTO BNSF TRAIN: A man admitted in court to stealing two locomotives in Campbell County, Wyoming, in October 2014, and crashing them into a train, according to information from the U.S. District Court of Wyoming. Derek Skyler Brux admitted he had taken the locomotives from a coal mine after a dispute with his boss, and ran the locomotives on the main track for about 13 miles before crashing them into a train. He will be sentenced in April. [Casper Star Tribune website report, 1-22-15]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 2014 EARNINGS: For the year 2014, Union Pacific reported net income of $5.2-billion or $5.75 per dilued share. This compares to $4.4-billion or $4.71 per diluted share in 2013, increases of 18 pct and 22 pct respectively. Operating income was $8.8-billion, an 18 pct increase over 2013. [Union Pacific, 1-22-15]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Jan. 17, 2015, with 290,963 total carloads, up 0.3 pct compared with the same week in 2014, but cumulative rail traffic (carloads and intermodal units) declined 1 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-22-15]

CHICAGO RETIRES THE LAST OF ITS 2400-SERIES RAIL CARS: After nearly 40 years of service, Chicago's 2400-series rail cars made their last run Jan. 21, as the transit authority retired the last eight cars remaining in service. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-22-15]

SAN FRANCISCO TO EXPAND MUNI RAIL SERVICE: The San Francisco Municipal Transportation agency has approved a 7 pct increase in Municipal Railway service, one of several measures aimed at improving rail service and access to transportation in the city. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-22-15]

CANADIAN PACIFIC REPORTS 2014 EARNINGS: For the year 2014, Canadian Pacific Rail reported revenue of $6.62-billion, an 8 pct increase and an all-time high. Operating ration fell to a record 64.7 pct, a 520-basis-point drop on an adjusted basis. Reported earnings per share rose 71 pct to a record $8.46. [CP Rail, 1-22-15]

TRAIN DERAILS IN UNIONTOWN, PA.: At least seven freight cars hauling sand derailed early Jan. 22 in Uniontown, Pa., some toppling over just feet away from homes and closing nearby roads. The accident is under investigation. [Washington Times website report, 1-22-15]

INDONESIA PUTS HIGH-SPEED RAIL PLAN ON HOLD: Indonesia' transport ministry announced Jan. 22 that proposals to build a high-speed rail line linking the country's two largest cities have been put on hold for at least five years. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-22-15]

MARC PENN LINE DELAYS EXPECTED: Host carrier Amtrak will be performing track work on the Penn Line between Odenton and Bowie, Md., until March 12. The southbound track will be out of service, requiring all trains to share just two tracks. Special platforms will be used at Odenton and Bowie to board southbound passengers on the middle track, which will slow the boarding process. [Md. DOT, 1-21-15]

FORTY NEW COMMUTER LOCOMOTIVES TAKEN OUT OF SERVICE IN MASSACHUSETTS: All 40 new commuter rail locomotives delivered to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority late last year at a cost of $222-million have been sidelined to have their traction bearings replaced. The work will delay the debut of the full complement of locomotives until late this year. [Boston Globe website report, 1-21-15]

LIRR SETS ON-TIME PERFORMANCE GOALS: Long Island Rail Road has, for the first time, established specific on-time performance goals for each of its 11 branches, recognizing that operationally no two branches are the same. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-21-15]

ROCKY MOUNTAINEER COACHES TO BE REFURBISHED: Rocky Mountaineer has awarded Canarail a contract to refurbish its entire luxury tourist Goldleaf fleet, consisting of 16 domed coaches. The work will be performed at the New Richmond workshops in Quebec and is expected to be complete by 2018. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-21-15]

MINNESOTA SHARES INFO ON 'ZIP RAIL': Minnesota transportation officials are making their case for a high-speed rail line. Called 'Zip Rail,' the line would run between Twin Cities and Rochester, a 100-mile trip, in 45 ot 50 minutes at speeds up to 186 MPH. [KSTP-TV website report, 1-21-15]

TWO LOCOMOTIVES DERAIL IN CSX'S SELKIRK YARD: Two locomotives derailed late Jan. 21 after sideswiping one another in CSX's Selkirk Yard, N.Y., the company said. [Albany Times Union website report, 1-21-15]

ITALIAN HIGH-SPEED RAIL CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS AWARDED: Italian Railway Network has signed contracts for civil works on the Brescia-Verona and the Verona-Vincensa section of the Verona-Padova high speed rail lines in northern Italy. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-21-15]

WORK CONTINUES TO PREVENT MUDSLIDES ON BNSF SEATTLE-EVERETT LINE : The state of Washington and BNSF have been working together to bolster the slopes and install preventative drainage along six targeted mudslide spots along the Seattle-Everett corridor. As of Jan. 15, 2015, three had been 79 Sounder trips canceled this winter. Amtrak service has also been disrupted by the slides. Officials hope that train cancelations will be rare by 2017. [Snohomish County Tribune website report, 1-20-15]

JUDGE REJECTS OBJECTION TO NEW ORLEANS STREETCAR PROJECT: A U.S. federal district judge has rejected a request to block construction of a streetcar line along North Rampart street and St. Claude avenue in New Orleans' French Quarter. Those objecting to the project did not present enough proof to validate a restraining order, the judge said, and the move clears the way for work to resume on the project, which began earlier this month. [Railway Age website report, 1-20-15]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: For the week ending Jan. 18, 2015, the Bull Sheet has calculated that 54 percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier. The average arrival of all trains surveyed was 34 minutes late. Of the 46 percent of long-distance trains that arrived behind schedule, their average arrival was one hour and 12 minutes late. Trains included in this survey are Auto Train, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Cardinal, Carolinian, City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder, Lake Shore Limited, Maple Leaf, Palmetto, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle and Vermonter.

HISTORIC CABOOSE DESTROYED BY FIRE AT MUSEUM IN TEXAS: An historic train caboose that was on display outside the Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum in Texas caught fire Jan. 18 and sustained severe damage before firefighters could douse the blaze. None of the other displays at the museum were damaged, according to officials. [KWTX-TV Waco website report, 1-19-15]

ACTOR KILLED BY TRAIN IN CALIFORNIA: Authorties say George Plitt Jr., 37, was killed by a Metrolink passenger train in Burbank, California, Jan. 18. The Baltimore-born actor and fitness instructor, who also went by the name of Greg Plitt, was reportedly being filmed by two others when the incident happened. [Town Hall website report, 1-19-15]

CHINA APPROVES $7-B METRO PROJECT IN SHANDONG PROVINCE: China has approved construction of the $7-billion first phase of the metro network in Jinan, the capital of Shandong province. Phase 1 comprises three lines totaling 51 miles. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-19-15]

RAIL SERVICE THROUGH ENGLISH CHANNEL TUNNEL SUSPENDED BY SMOKE: Railway operator Eurostar suspended all services Jan. 17 due to a smoky load being transported through the Channel Tunnel triggering an alarm. No injuries were reported. The tunnel reopened Jan. 18. [Sky News website report, 1-18-15]

CALIFORNIA FACES FUNDING SHORTAGE FOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL, CONGRESSMAN SAYS: U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-CA) says that the state will face a $68-billion funding shortage and will struggle to complete the full line from San Francisco to Los Angeles. He suggests the entire proposal go back to the voters for reassessment. [Sacramento Bee website report, 1-18-15]

WOMAN KILLED AFTER TRAIN STRIKES VEHICLE ON TRACKS IN PA.: Authorities said a 64-year-old woman was killed by a freight train Jan. 16 after her sport-utility vehicle became stuck on the tracks in Macungie, Pa. She had aparently become disoriented and made a turn onto the tracks, and the approaching train was unable to stop before striking the vehicle. [Sun Gazette website report, 1-17-15]

BNSF PLANS DOUBLE-TRACK PROJECTS IN NEBRASKA: BNSF plans to construct two double-track segments along the Ravenna subdivision, which runs 130 miles from Lincoln to Ravenna, Nebraska, which has heavy coal traffic. [Lincoln Journal Star website report, 1-16-15]

BNSF OUTLINES $6-B CAPITAL EXPENDITURES PLAN: BNSF on Jan. 15 announced details about the major capital projects to plans to complete in 2015. The plan includes $2.9-billion to replace and maintain core network and related assets, nearly $1.5-billion on expansion and efficiency projects, $200-million for continued implementation of positive train control, and about $1.4-billion for locomotives, freight cars and other equipment. [Railway Age website report]

FED'S NEW DESIGN FOR OIL TANK CARS TO BE PRESENTED IN MAY: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation will offer a new design for oil tank cars by mid-May as officials try to make sure crude oil is moving safely on tracks. The next-generation cars will have a thicker shell, more heat protection and other safety features. Details have not been finalized. [Inforum website report, 1-15-15]

MAN KILLED BY TRAIN IN CROYDON, PA.: A man was killed Jan. 15 after being struck by a train in Croydon, Bucks County, Pa. SEPTA said all inbound service on the Trenton line was suspended by the accident, and outbound trains were being delayed by up to 30 minutes. Bristol Township police are investigating. [6ABC News website report, 1-15-15]

ALL ABOARD FLORIDA NAMES NEW PRESIDENT: Mike Reininger has been named president of All Aboard Florida. He replaces Don Robinson who has resigned to perform his own consulting work. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-15-15]

CHARLOTTE STREETCAR DEBUT NOW SET FOR JUNE: The 1.5-mile Charlotte, N.C., streetcar line's opening, originally set for March, has been reset for sometime in June, city officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-15-15]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Jan. 10, 2015. Total cumulative traffic - carloads and intermodal units - was 517,520, up 4.9 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-15-15]

NORTH CAROLINA, CSX TO BEGIN A-LINE CROSSOVER PROJECT: CSX, in partnership with North Carolina, will begin construction on projects to build universal crossovers on the A-Line at South Weldon, Enfield and Rocky Mount. Construction will include grading, drainage, and track and signal construction. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-15-15]

BNSF ROLLS OUT FIXTURES TO IMPROVE WIND-TURBINE LOGISTICS: BNSF and Energo have developed fixtures to facilitate the transport of wind turbine components. The Blade Runner fixtures increase efficiency and drive down costs when moving wind turbines. The fixtures are universal and can be used in rail or ocean transport. [North American Wind Power website report, 1-15-15]

WASHINGTON DC METRO SMOKE CAUSED BY THIRD RAIL, INVESTIGATOR SAYS: The smoke that cost the life of one person and injured others Jan. 12 was caused by something touching the third rail, according to a National Transportation Safety Board investigator. Nearly two dozen people remained hospitalized the day following the incident. [N.Y. Daily News website report, 1-14-15]

CSX TO ELIMINATE 300 MANAGEMENT POSITIONS: CSX will be eliminating 300 management positions, the company said. Fewer than 100 will be laid off, and the company hopes to finish the process by the end of the month. [Florida Times-Union website report, 1-14-15]

TEN KILLED AS BUS SLIPS OFF HIGHWAY IN TEXAS, STRIKING TRAIN: An inmate bus skidded off an icy highway in Penwell, Texas, Jan. 14, sliding down an embankment into a passing Union Pacific freight train. Ten people were killed, including the driver, one other corrections officer, and eight inmates. [ABC News website report, 1-14-15]

CSX SETS 2015 CAPITAL EXPENDITURES AT $2.5-B: CSX has reported that it will target a $2.5-billion capital expenditure program in 2015, up from $2.3-billion in 2014. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-14-15]

MAGLEV FIRM NAMES EXECUTIVE V.P.: Northeast Maglev has nasmed Nazih Haddad executive vice-president effective Febr. 3. He will mamage the development of a proposed maglev system between Washington DC and New York City. [Progressive Railroading website report]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: For the week ending Jan. 11, 2015, the Bull Sheet calculated that 40 pct of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time. Average arrival of all trains surveyed was one hour and 11 minutes late. Average arrival of trains that were behind schedule (excluding those that arrived on time) was one hour and 58 minutes late.

ONE KILLED, TWO SERIOUSLY INJURED BY SMOKE IN WASHINGTON D.C. METRO TUNNEL: A woman is dead after smoke filled both a stopped Washington Metro train and the L'Enfant Plaza station Jan. 12. Two people are in critical condition and 84 others are being treated at hospitals for various injuries, the D.C. fire department said. The incident is under investigation. [WUSA 9 website report, 1-13-15]

CSX REPORTS 2014 EARNINGS: CSX Corp. reported new all-time records in 2014 for revenue of $12.7-billion, operating income of $3.6-billion, net earnings of $1.9-billion, and earnings per share of $1.92. Operating ratio remained relatively stable at 71.5 pct. CSX continues to expect to generate double-digit growth in earnings per share and margin expansion in 2015, progressing toward a mid-60's operating ratio longer term. [CSX, 1-13-15]

ELIZABETH, N.J., TRAIN STATION TO BE REBUILT: N.J. Transit has unveiled preliminary design plans for a $55-million rebuilding of the Elizabeth train station. Plans include a two-story building with a street-level ticket office, waiting room and vendor space, and high-level platforms to accommodate 12-car trains. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-13-15]

N.C. RAILROAD COMPLETES BRIDGE, PASSING SIDING: Construction has been completed on a bridge and two-mile passing siding on North Carolina Railroad's corridor near the Lenoir-Wayne County line. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-13-15]

DONALD SEALE RETIRING FROM NORFOLK SOUTHERN: Donald W. Seale, executive vice-president and chief marketing officer of Norfolk Southern, plans to retire effective March 1. His successor will be named at a later date. [Norfolk Southern, 1-13-15]

BATTERY-POWERED TRAIN ENTERS PASSENGER SERVICE: A British project to evaluate battery-powered rolling stock advanced Jan. 12 when a Bombardier 25kV 50Hz AC class 379 Electrostar multiple-unit operated under battery-power for the first time in passenger service. The four-car train is equipped with six battery rafts, each comprising a battery box, isolation switch, power distribution control panel, battery-charging inverter, batteries and mounting system. Initially, the train will use lithium iron magnesium phosphate batteries, but other battery technologies will also be evaluated. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-13-15]

BOMBARDIER WINS GOOD-DESIGN AWARD FOR DRIVERLESS MONORAIL SYSTEM: Bombardier Transportation has won a Good-Design Award for its Innovia Monorail 300 driverless transit system from the Chicago Athenaem Museum of Architecture and Design. The company is currently delivering the awarded systems to Saudi Arabia and Brazil. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-13-15]

PANAMA CANAL EXPANSION 83 PCT COMPLETE: The more than $5-billion Panama Canal expansion is now about 83 pct complete, and is expected to be finished in early 2016. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-13-15]

CALIFORNIA AWARDS CONTRACT FOR SECOND-SEGMENT OF HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT: The California High-Speed Rail Authority has awarded a $1.36-billion contract for design and construction of its second segment of rail line in the central San Joaquin Valley, a 65-mile stretch from south of Fresno to the Tulare-Kern county line. [Fresno Bee website report, 1-13-15]

SLOW CORN MARKET SHIFTS RAIL DEMAND IN NORTHERN PLAINS: Demand for grain cars is shifting as corn markets continue to slump, delaying shipments until later in the winter and spring. Weekly ag transportation reports from BNSF and CP show uneven progress in the Northern Plains. [Grand Forks Herald website report, 1-13-15]

SAN FRANCISCO TO PURCHASE 40 ADDITIONAL LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES: The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency on Jan. 13 announced a major expansion of the Muni rail fleet with the $210-million purchase of 40 additional Siemens light-rail vehicles. [Progressive Railroading website report]

NEW M-8 RAIL CARS NOW RUNNING ON METRO-NORTH'S NEW CANAAN BRANCH: Connecticut announced Jan. 13 that new M-8 rail cars have begun operating on Metro-North's New Canaan branch. The cars affect two morning departures from New Caanan and two evening departures from Grand Central Terminal. Nearly all New Haven line trains are now operating with M-8 cars. [Progressive Railroading website report]

BNSF PAUSES ON TANK CAR PURCHASE: BNSF is taking a second look at an earlier plan to purchase up to 5,000 tank cars for hauling oil products. Crude-by-rail only accounts for four pct of BNSF's traffic, and the company wants input from its customers if they still want the company in this business. BNSF will, in any event, delay purchase of the new equipment until the Federal Railroad Administration sets new regulations, expected in the first quarter of this year. [Railway Age website report, 1-12-15]

SARAH FEINBERG NAMED ACTING ADMINISTRATOR OF FRA: Sarah Feinberg, formerly U.S. DOT chief of staff, has been named acting administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration. She replaces Joseph Szabo, who has resigned. [U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1-12-15]

ILLINOIS BOOSTS CHICAGO-ST. LOUIS HIGH-SPEED RAIL FUNDING: Illinois has announced a $102-million capital investment in improving high-speed rail. Together with federal funds, the investment will allow Union Pacific to construct a new bridge and double-track a busy corridor on the Chicago-St. Louis line, boost speeds on portions of the line from 79 to about 110 MPH, cut the travel time by an hour and enable more daily round trips. [Gas2 website report]

AMTRAK'S LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE, CHRISTMAS 2014 PERIOD: The Bull Sheet's statistical department tracked the performance of Amtrak's long-distance trains over the period Dec. 20, 2014, through and including Jan. 6, 2015. Each train's arrival at final destination was recorded. During this period, 53 percent of long-distance trains arrived on time. To review the result of this survey, click on the link.. MORE..

CALTRAIN'S ELECTRIFICATION PROJECT GETS CERTIFIED: The Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board has certified the final environmental impact report and approved the planned electrification of the Caltrain corridor between San Jose and San Francisco. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-9-15]

APPALACHIAN RAILCAR SERVICES ACQUIRES BRC RAILCAR SERVICES: Appalachian Railcar Services has acquired BRC Rail Car Services of Lynchburg, Virginia. BRC will operate under a new division that was established for the acquisition. With the addition of BRC, Appalachian will double its workforce to more than 300 employees. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-9-15]

WASHINGTON METRO NAMES INTERIM GENERAL MANAGER: The Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority has appointed Jack Requa as interim general manager and chief executive officer. He is replacing Richard Sarles, who is retiring. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-9-15]

VICTIMS OF QUEBEC RAIL DISASTER AGREE TO $200-M SETTLEMENT: Victims of the Lac-Megantic, Quebec, oil-by-rail disaster that killed 47 people in 2013 have reportedly agreed to a nearly $200-million settlement from the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railroad and its parent company, an attorney for the victims said. The settlement must be approved by the courts. [SRN News website report, 1-9-15]

TAIWAN ORDERS TWO ADDITIONAL EXPRESS TRAIN SETS: Hitachi has won an additional order for two 8-car TEMU1000 tilting train sets for a limited express service for the Taiwan Railway Administration. Six earlier train sets were delivered in 2006 and 2007. [Hitachi, 1-9-15]

HUGH TARBUTTON DIES, FORMER PRESIDENT OF SANDERSVILLE R.R.: Hugh Tarbutton, who for more than 60 years served the Sandersville Railroad Co., including a long stint as president, died Jan. 7. He was 82. [Progressive Railroading website report]

SUNSET LIMITED DEPARTING EARLIER EASTBOUND FROM L.A.: Between Jan. 28 and March 22, 2015, eastbound train 2, the Sunset Limited, will depart Los Angeles at 8:00 PM, two hours earlier than usual, and operate two hours earlier at all stations through its arrival in El Paso. East from El Paso the normal schedule will remain. [Amtrak]

PLANS IN EFFECT TO REDUCE WINTER COLD AT CHICAGO UNION STATION: Amtrak is changing pedestrian traffic patterns at Chicago Union Station to improve temperature conditions. Limiting the use of some doors will improve the control of the influx winter air into the station during certain hours, and foot traffic to the ticket offices will be redirected. These measures will be in effect through Febr. 28. [Amtrak, 1-9-15]

OVERHEAD WIRE PROBLEM CAUSES TRAIN DELAYS IN NEW YORK: Cold weather is likely to blame after an overhead wire fell in Amtrak's Sunnyside Yard early Jan. 8, delaying Amtrak and N.J. Transit trains throughout the morning. [NJ.com, 1-8-15]

MARC PENN LINE TRAIN DELAYS EXPECTED DUE TO TRACK WORK: MARC Penn Line passengers should expect delays from Jan. 16 to March 12 with the southbound track out of service for track work between Odenton and Bowie, Md. [WUSA9 website report, 1-8-15]

RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT FOR 2014: The Association of American Railroads reported increased rail freight traffic for the year 2014 with 28,673,776 carloads, containers and trailers, an increase of 4.5 pct over 2013, and the highest annual total since 2007. Eighteen of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked annually by the association saw increases. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-8-15]

LEHIGH GORGE EXCURSION TRAIN BOOSTS ANNUAL RIDERSHIP TO RECORD LEVEL: The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway posted record ridership in 2014 after expanding its regular schedule to include stops in seven additional Pennsylvania towns. Operated by the Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern as a sister company, the railroad served a record 72,295 passengers during the year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-8-15]

CP HOLIDAY TRAIN GENERATES $1.1-M AND 300,000 POUNDS OF FOOD: Canadian Pacific's 2014 Holiday Train saw more than $1.1-million raised and 300,000 pounds of food donated to North American food banks and shelves. [Railway Age website report, 1-8-15]

FEDS REPORT POSITIVE RAIL ALCOHOL, DRUG-TESTING RATES: According to data from the Federal Railroad Administration, the rail industry's random drug testing positive rate has remained below 1.0 pct for the last two years. [United Transportation Union, 1-8-15]

HUNGARY NATIONALIZES BOMBARDIER PLANT: The Hungaran government has acquired a 64.9 pct stake in the rail-car works at Dunakeszi, near Budapest, from Bombardier in a deal worth $7.8-million. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-8-14]

CALIFORNIA BREAKS GROUND ON HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE: California marked the official start of construction on the state's high-speed rail network Jan. 6 with a groundbreaking at the site of the future station in Fresno. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-7-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN FACILITATES $5.7-B IN INDUSTRIAL INVESTMENT ALONG RAIL LINES IN 2014: Norfolk Southern assisted 94 industries in locating or expanding their business along its rail lines in 2014, representing an investment of $5.7-billion by those customers, expected to generate more than 205,000 carloads annually. [Norfolk Southern, 1-7-15]

AMTRAK TRAINS ROLL ONCE AGAIN BETWEEN SEATTLE & BELLINGHAM: Host carrier BNSF has cleared its tracks of a landslide and reopened the route between Seattle and Bellingham, Washington, to Empire Builder and Cascades trains. [Amtrak, 1-7-15]

INITIAL IEP TRAIN SHIPPED TO BRITAIN: The first of 111 super-express trains ordered by Britain as part of its Intercity Expess Program left Hitachi's Kasado plant in Japan Jan. 7. Test trials of the five-car, 140 MPH train will begin near Nottingham in April. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-7-15]

TEEN STRUCK & KILLED BY MARC TRAIN IN GAITHERSBURG, MD.: An 18-year-old man was struck and killed by a Brunswick-bound MARC train in Gathersburg, Md., Jan. 5. [4 NBC Washington website report]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN UNVEILS PUBLICLY-FUNDED EMISSIONS-FRIENDLY LOCOMOTIVES: The first emissions-friendly locomotives funded by the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Qualty Improvement Program have been released for road-testing from Norfolk Southern's Juniata locomotive shop in Altoona, Pa. The first two GP33ECO switching locomotives, rebuilt from GP50's, sport a distictive green paint scheme that reflects their environmentally-friendly mission. After testing, they will be permanently assigned to their respective grant-award areas of Chicago and Atlanta. [Norfolk Southern, 1-6-15]

BNSF ISSUES INTERMODAL EMBARGO TO WEST COAST PORTS: BNSF has issued an embargo on westbound intermodal freight destined for ports on the West Coast as the railway anticipates further slowdowns and congestion at marine terminals in light of a labor dispute with the Pacific Maritime Association. [Desert Dispatch website report, 1-6-15]

TWO DEAD, SEVERAL HURT WHEN SCHOOL BUS HITS TRAIN IN N.D.: A school bus returning students home in Larimore, N.D., Jan. 5, struck a BNSF train killing the 62-year-old driver and a 17-year-old girl, and injuring the dozen other student passengers who were admitted to hospitals. Early reports indicate the bus driver failed to yield at a stop sign and struck the train. [West Central Tribune website report, 1-5-15]

WATCO LAUNCHES SHORT LINE IN LOUISIANA: Watco launched its 32nd short line Jan. 1 when it began operating the Bogalusa Bayou Railroad in Louisiana. The line will serve an International Paper Co. plant in Bogalusa and interchange loaded rail cars with CN. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-5-15]

D.C. STREETCARS SET TO BEGIN SERVICE JAN. 19: Washington, D.C., officials announced that the 2.4-mile H Street streetcar line is expected to commence passenger service on Jan. 19. [Railway Age website report, 1-5-15]

NJT READIES RARITAN VALLEY LNE UPGRADE: Rail riders on N.J. Transit's Raritan Valley line will gain direct access to and from New York's Penn Station beginning Jan. 12, but not during morning and evening rush hours due to N.E. corriidor capacity constraints between Newark and New York. [Railway Age website report, 1-5-15]

FEDS ESTABLISH NEW RAILROAD REPORTING REQUIREMENTS FOR CROSSINGS: The Federal Railroad Administration is establishing new reporting requirements for railroads about the warning devises and signs they post to direct traffic where trains cross highways, roads, sidewalks and pathways. The agency says that about half of the railroads already comply with the new rule. [The Hill website report, 1-5-15]

HOUSTON READIES NEW CAF LIGHT-RAIL CARS FOR SERVICE: The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas, will introduce six new CAF overhead-catenary light-rail cars into revenue service Jan. 7, marking the entry of Houston's third-generation of rail cars. Other new CAF vehicles will enter service over the next several weeks leading up to the opening of two new rail lines. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-5-15]

CSX CUSTOMERS INVESTED MORE THAN $3.5-B ALONG RAILROAD'S NETWORK IN 2014: In 2014, CSX and its customers worked together on 107 projects to build or expand facilities on CSX's network and short line partners. CSX customers invested more than $3.5-billion in these projects, which are expected to generate nearly 5,800 new jobs in local communities and approximately 161,000 annual carloads of new business for CSX. [CSX, 1-5-15]

GENESEE & WYOMNG COMPLETES ACQUSITION OF PINSLY ARKANSAS DIVISION RAILROADS: Genesee & Wyoming has completed the acquisition of Pinsly Railroad's Arkansas division for approxmately $40-million in case, subject to adjustment for final working capital. The transaction includes the Arkansas Midland, Prescott & Northwestern, Warren & Saline River railroads, and two transload operations. [Genesee & Wyoming, 1-5-15]

CSR DIESELS DELIVERED TO THAILAND: CSR Qishyuan of China has begun delivery of an order for 20 six-axle meter-gauge SDA3, 75 MPH diesel locomotives for the State Railway of Thailand. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-5-15]

FEDS TO PLEDGE $1-B FOR MASSACHUSETTS TRANSIT EXTENSION: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation is expected to announce nearly $1-billion in federal support for an extension of the Green line in Massachusetts between Somerville and Medford, according to the Associated Press. Six new stations would be built and an existing one relocated. [MassLive website report, 1-4-15]

HIGH-SPEED MOSCOW-BEIJING RAIL LINE BEING PLANNED: Russia plans to build a high-speed railway with trains that would speed from Moscow to Beijing in just 48 hours. Currently it takes about seven days to make such a journey, and it requires changes of trains. The Kremlin has reportedly awarded the project to China Railway High-Speed, which is working in a joint-venture with the local firm Uralvagonzavod. [Free Republic website report, 1-4-15]

SUBSTATION FIRE FORCES METRO-NORTH HARLEM LINE CLOSING: Metro-North officials say the Hawthorne, N.Y., station on the Harlem Line was shut down early Jan. 4 due to a substation fire, causing trains to be held. There were no injuries. [Leader Herald website report, 1-4-15]

N.J. LAWMAKERS PRESENT A UNITED FRONT FOR NEW RAIL TUNNEL: A bipartisan Congressional delegate from New Jersey is gearing up to win support for a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River. Rail access to New York City has taken on a new urgency following Amtrak's revelation that the existing two-track tunnel, built over a century ago, will fail within 20 years because of damage from superstorm Sandy. [North Jersey Record website report, 1-4-15]

MEXICO TO RELAUNCH BIDDING PROCESS FOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL CONTRACT: Mexico will publish preliminary terms on Jan. 14 for a $3.75-billion high-speed train contract that was abuptly canceled in November, Mexico's Transportation Ministry said Jan. 4. [Reuters website report, 1-4-15]

TEN YEARS SINCE GRANITEVILLE TRAIN ACCIDENT: Jan. 6 marks the tenth anniversary of the Norfolk Southern train wreck and chemical spill killing nine people and injuring hundreds at Grantiveville, S.C., a extile community still haunted by an accident that few imagined could happen. Some people still suffer from decreased lung functions, the likely result of breathing high concentrations of chlorine from the wreck. [Charlotte Observer website report, 1-4-15]

MAN DEAD AFTER FALLING FROM RAILROAD BRIDGE IN CUMBERLAND, MD.: Authorities say a man is dead after apparently falling through the crossties of the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad bridge spanning the North branch of the Potomac River near Cumberland, Md., Jan. 3. [My Fox 5 News website report, 1-3-15]

PEDESTRIAN KILLED BY CSX TRAIN IN GERMANTOWN, MD.: A pedestrian was struck and killed by a CSX freight train in Germantown, Md., early Jan. 2, leading to delays on MARC's Brunswick line during the morning rush hour. [4 NBC Washington News website report, 1-2-15]

COAST STARLIGHT PASSENGERS TO USE BUS BETWEEN EUGENE & PORTLAND CERTAIN DATES: Due to track work, Amtrak's Coast Starlight passengers will be provided bus transportation between Eugene and Portland, Oregon, in both directions Jan. 16 through 23, Febr. 1 through 8, and Febr. 16 through 23. [Amtrak]

FEDS ADDRESS CHICAGO RAIL PERFORMANCE: The Surface Transportation Board has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking of new regulations that would require all Class I railroads and the Chicago transportation coordination office to report certain service performance metrics to the board on a weekly basis. The data will enable the board to more quickly identify and help resolve possible regional or national service disruptions in the future. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-2-15]

NTSB ISSUES SAFETY ALERT ON VISIBILITY OF WAYSIDE RAILROAD SIGNALS: The National Transportation Safety Board has issued a safety alert focusing on the visibility of railroad signals. Light-emitting diode (LED) railroad signals may mask nearby incandescent signals, preventing incandescent signals from being clearly visible to train crews. If these are installed close to one another, the LED signal may appear brighter, or closer, causing crews to misread the sequence of the signals as they approach. [National Transportation Safety Board, 1-2-15]

 

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