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AMTRAK RESTORING NEC OPERATING PLAN: Amtrak's Northeast corridor train schedules revert to normal operation March 23, except for train 111, which has been annulled. Service had been considerably modified the previous day due to heavy snow conditions. [Amtrak]

MODERNIZED PCC STREETCARS BEING RECEIVED BACK IN EL PASO: The first of six Presidents' Coference Committee (PCC) streetcars dating to 1937 has been returned to El Paso followng a detailed restoration and modernization program at Brookville Equipment's manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania. The streetcars had been removed from service in 1974 and kept in outdoor storage for decades. Three different paint schemes are being applied: green-orange-white for the 1950's, blue-green-white from the 1960's, and light blue-red-white from the late 1960's through 1974. [Railway Age website report, 3-22-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic increased 10 pct to 537,338 combined carloads and intermodal units compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were up 7.5 pct, and intermodal volume was up 12.7 pct. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-22-18]

AMTRAK'S ROCHESTER DEPOT TO BE RENAMED FOR LOUISE SLAUGHTER: Amtrak will rename its train station in Rochester, N.Y., after the late U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter, who died last week at age 88, the railroad announced. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-22-18]

LIRR SHARES PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT PLAN: Long Island Rail Road has shared details of its performance improvement plan. It outlines nearly 60 actions it will take to boost service reliability, seasonal preparedness and customer communications. As part of the plan, LIRR will take steps to maintain and upgrade signals, switches, track, snow covers, snow fighters, third-rail heaters, market research and focus groups. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-22-18]

GE TO 'MODERNIZE' 80 CANADIAN PACIFIC LOCOMOTIVES: GE Transportation has received an order to modernize 80 Canadian Pacific locomotives this year. The process involves outfitting aging units with customized solutions, such as upgraded control systems. In some instances, units are converted from DC to AC traction. So far this year, the company has secured 225 orders for locomotive modernizations from various railroads. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-21-18]

ANN BEGEMAN INSTALLED AS STB CHAIR: President Trump has designated Ann Begeman as chair of the Surface Transportation Board. Her term runs through the end of 2020. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-21-18]

FREIGHT RAILROADS 56 PERCENT PTC COMPLIANT: Positve train-control systems are operating on about 56 pct of freight railroads' route miles that are requred to be governed by PTC systems, up from 45 pct in the third-quarter 2017, the Federal Railroad Administration announced. Passenger railroads have made less progress, with just 24 pct of required route miles, as of the fourth-quarter 2017. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-21-18]

TRANSIT RIDERSHIP DIPS IN 31 OF 35 MAJOR CITIES: Transit ridership dropped in 31 of 35 major cities in 2017, and was at its lowest level overall since 2005, according to a recent TransitCenter research study. [Washington Post website report, 3-21-18]

RALEIGH'S UNION STATION TO OPEN LATER THIS SPRING: Union Station, Raleigh's new downtown train station and future transit hub, will open later this spring. Amtrak passengers will begin using the new $87-million station sometime in the second half of May, following a ribbon-cutting on April 30. The station was built around the shell of a former steel warehouse in the center of a rail junction known as Boylan Wye. [News & Observer website report, 3-20-18]

AMTRAK ENDS DISCOUNTS FOR STUDENTS, AAA MEMBERS: Amtrak has ended discounts for students and AAA members, and has raised the age requirements for senior discounts to 65, an increase from age 62. Meanwhile, Amtrak will evaluate other discount programs. [KFVS website report, 3-20-18]

METRA'S AURORA LINE TO BE FIRST WITH PTC: Metra officials say the BNSF line between Chicago and Aurora will be the first line to implement Positive Train-Control, and is to become effective in June or July. The rail line's schedule has been revised to take into account the extra time needed to initialize the system. [U.S. News & World Report, 3-20-18]

LASALLE STREET STATION IN CHICAGO TO BE RENOVATED: Metra is set to begin a $2.95-million project to renovate the LaSalle Street Station concourse in downtown Chicago. Crews will replace the 20,000-square-foot concourse surface, as well as support pillars. The station serves as the downtown terminal for Metra's Rock Island line to Joliet. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-20-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-eight percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending March 18, 2018. The remaining 62 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 16 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 3-19-18]

FREIGHT TRAINS COLLIDE IN KENTUCKY, FOUR INJURED: Two freight trains collided and derailed shortly before midnight March 18 near Georgetown, Kentucky, injuring four people and igniting a fire that forced nearby residents to evacuate, authorities said. [USA Today website report, 3-19-18]

LYNX BLUE LINE EXENSION OPENS IN CHARLOTTE: The Charlotte Area Transit System has opened its 9.3-mile LYNX Blue line light-rail extension. The largest infrastructure project in the city's history, the $1.1-billion project runs connects Center City to the University of North Carolina's Charlotte campus, and features 11 new stations. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-19-18]

CSX CUSTOMERS SHOULD NOW BE 'SATISFIED,' COMPANY SAYS: CSX freight customers had a reason to complain about service disruptions as the railroad overhauled operations last summer, the company's CEO admits. However, while there is still more work to be done, the company believes operations have now improved enough that customers should be 'satisfied.' [Jacksonville Daily Record website report, 3-19-18]

JAPAN UNVEILS ITS 'SUPREME' BULLET TRAIN: Japan has unveiled a 'Supreme' prototype version of its 186 MPH Shinkansen bullet train, which features a sharper nose profile. Coined the N700S, the trains are slated to debut in 2020 on the line linking Tokyo and Shin-Osaka. [The Verge website report, 3-19-18]

CSX NAMES NEW CONTROLLER: CSX has announced the appointment of Angela C. Williams as vice-president and controller. She replaces Andrew Glassman, who is leaving he company at the end of June. [CSX, 3-19-18]

'RAILS-WITH-TRAILS' PROJECT URGED FOR NKP LINE IN INDIANA: A group that promotes trails and greenways is trying to persuade officials in two Indianapolis suburbs to include both a railway and a trail in the redevelopment of an old 9.2-mile stretch of a former Nickel Plate corridor in Hamilton County. The Hoosier Rails to Trails Council has written county commissioners and the mayors of Fishers and Noblesville to meet to discuss the merits of the proposal. [U,S, News & World Report, 3-18-18]

CONRAIL EXONERATED IN GIRL'S 2011 DEATH IN MICHIGAN: While a jury says Contrail was 'negligent,' it did not 'cause' the death of a 13-year-old girl who was struck by a train at a crossing in suburban Detroit in 2011. The girl's family believed the girl's bike became stuck at the crossing. CSX, which operated the train, was not found negligent either. [U.S. News & World Report, 3-17-18]

CANADA TO FURNISH FUNDING FOR 32 VIA RAIL PUSH-PULL TRAINSETS: Funding for the procurement of 32 push-pull trainsets to replace aging locomotive-hauled equipment which VIA Rail operates in Quebec and Ontario has been confirmed in the 2018 federal budget. [Railway Gazette website report]

MARC SERVICE INTO W.VA. TO CONTINUE: MARC commuter rail service will continue to run from Maryland into West Virginia following West Virginia's governor signing the FY-19 budget for the state. Under the budget, H.B. 4389 will allow the transfer of $1.5-million from the securities division in the state auditor's office to the W.Va. Commuter Rail Access Fund. The funding will last for one year, and it will be paid to the Maryland Transit Administration. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-16-18]

NORTHEAST CORRIDOR TRAINS IMPACTED BY BRIDGE FAILURE IN N.J.: Northeast corridor and North Jersey Coast Line trains were disrupted early March 16 when the 111-year-old Portal Bridge spanning the Hackensack River became stuck in the open position. The swing-bridge had been opened for an inspection, and it failed to close. Train delays were as much as one hour, and residual delays followed after the bridge was restored to service. [, 3-16-18]

CSX PLANNING TO CUT 2,200 JOB BY END OF YEAR: CSX is ready to cut 2,200 jobs by the end of this year, and to reduce the number of rail cars on its tracks by 20 pct by the year 2020. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-16-18]

NJT GETTING $242-M FROM STATE: New Jersey's governor has assured NJ Transit riders that they will not face a fare hike, thanks to a new state budget that provides an additional $242-million for the agency. The amount will nearly triple NJ Transit's current budget, and it will be put towards supporting, maintaining and repairing light-rail, rail and bus operations, and help fill staffing gaps. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-16-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN RESPONDS TO TRC'S MINI-TENDER OFFER: TRC Capital Corp. has made an unsolicited 'mini-tender' offer to purchase up to one million shares of Norfolk Southern stock at $136 per share, or 4.65 pct below the closing share price on the date of the offer (Febr. 23), with the right to terminate the offer. 'Mini-tender' offers are often used to catch shareholders 'off guard,' tricking investors to sell at below-market prices. Norfolk Southern is in no way associated with TRC, and remains neutral toward the offer. [Norfolk Southern, 3-16-18]

NEW VRE STATION BEING PLANNED AT POTOMAC SHORES, VA.: The final design of a new Virginia Railway Express train station is making progress following an agreement between the state and CSX. The station will be located on the banks of the Potomac River 30 miles south of D.C. to serve a 1,920-acre community being developed by SunCal, whish is sponsoring the station construction work. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-16-18]

INCREASE IN HIAWATHA SERVICE BEING DISCUSSED: Transportation officials have spoken with community members in Glenview, Illinois, regarding proposed projects along Amtrak's Hiawatha line. They are currently studying an increase in service from seven to 10 daily round-trips between Chicago and Milwaukee. Some citizens, however, voiced concerns about health and safety issues, and a proposal to build a holding track for freight trains, which would involve a 20-foot retaining wall that would reduce green space between residential areas and existing tracks. A revised environmental assessment will be released in April. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-16-18]

TWO OUT OF THREE COMMUTER RAILROADS MAY MISS PTC DEADLINE, FEDS SAY: As many as two-thirds of the 29 commuter railroads required to implement positive train-control might not meet the Dec. 31 deadline or qualify for an extension, according to a new U.S. Government Accountability Office report. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-16-18]

HUGE FIRE IN JAMAICA, N.Y., DISRUPTS LIRR SERVICE: A five-alarm fire at the Royal Waste Plant in Jamaica, N.Y., led to massive service suspensions before evening rush-hour March 16 on the Long Island Rail Road. Most service east of Jamaica was affected. [QNS website report, 3-16-18]

CALIFORNIA BULLET TRAIN CONSTRUCTION PACKAGE 4 BEGINS: The California High-Speed Rail Authority has begun major activity for its construction package 4, a 22-mile rail segment in Kern County, including a 102-foot bridge spanning Garces Highway. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-16-18]

B.C. COMMITS FUNDING TO STUDY HIGH-SPEED RAIL TO SEATTLE, PORTLAND: A study looking at high-speed rail connecting Vancouver, B.C., to Seattle and Portland is getting $300,000 from the government of British Columbia. Meanwhile, up to $1.2-million in funding for the study has been approved by Washington State. [U.S. News & World Report, 3-16-18]

FIRST OF FIVE MILWAUKEE STREETCARS SET TO ARRIVE: The first of five streetcars is slated to arrive for testing next week in Milwaukee, with the remaining cars arriving on a monthly basis. The hiring process of operators is expected to begin by the end of April. [WDJY website report, 3-16-18]

GREENWOOD, MISSISSIPPI, SEEKS TO SPRUCE UP ITS TRAIN DEPOT: The mayor of Greenwood, Mississippi, has been in discussion with Canadian National to either purchase or lease the railroad-owned depot which serves Amtrak passengers. Much of the structure is used by CN for storage, while the waiting room has just 10 chairs against a wall and a water fountain. The mayor would like the depot refurbished for the benefit of visitors to Greenwood. [Delta Daily News website report, 3-15-18]

UNION PACIFIC'S USE OF DRONES TO WATCH WORKERS IRKS UNION: Union Pacific was using drones to monitor their workers and see if safety guidelines were met. The company stopped using the drones, temporarily, earlier this month, but the response from the workers has been to flood the Union Pacific safety hotline with complaints that the drones actually make their work more dnagerous. Meanwhile, the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers has advised its members to file complaints with both the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration. Union Pacific says it plans to resume the surveillance in coming weeks. Drone DJ website report, 3-15-18]

LAST YEAR SAW LIRR'S WORST ON-TIME PERFORMANCE IN 18 YEARS, STATE SAYS: New York's state comptroller says 2017 marked Long Island Rail Road's worst on-time performance in 18 years, with over nine million riders inconvenienced by delays and cancelations. The railroad says it is working hard on improvements. [U.S. News & World Report, 3-15-18]

WAVE OF RAIL STRIKES PLANNED NEXT MONTH IN FRANCE: French rail unions have called a wave of strikes, setting up a confrontation with the country's president as he tries to push through an overhall of the state-run rail operator. The strikes a planned to begin April 3. [Reuters website report, 3-15-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending March 10 was 534,282 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 6.2 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Railway Age website report, 3-14-18]

SEPTA TO REPLACE TRACK ALONG ROUTE 36 TROLLEY LINE: The Southeastern Pa. Transportation Authority is set to begin a project to renew over 3000 feet of 1970's-era track along its Route 36 trolley line on Elmwood avenue between 59th and 65 streets in Philadelphia. Slated to run through June 9, buses will replace the trolleys during the project. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-14-18]

METRA TO RENEW OVER 17-MILES OF TRACK ON MILWAUKEE DISTRICT NORTH LINE: Chicago's Metra will replace 17,000 ties, replace five switches and upgrade the signal system to accommodate positive train-control over a 17-mile single-track span along the Milwaukee District North line from Libertyville to Fox Lane beginning April 5 and continuing through April 27. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-14-18]

CSX EMPLOYEE KILLED IN MAINTENANCE ACCIDENT IN NASHVILLE: A 59-year-old CSX employee with 39 years of service was killed in a work-related accident late March 12 in Nashville when he was struck by a piece of equipment while performing maintenance work. [WKRN website report, 3-14-18]

PASSENGER TRAINS TO RUN ON GERMAN RAIL LINE AFTER 44-YEAR HIATUS: A 17-mile freight-only rail line linking Bad Bentheim and Neuenhaus, Germany, will have its passenger service reintroduced in December, some 44 years after it was withdrawn by German Federal Railway. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-14-18]

TRACK WORK TO IMPACT LINCOLN SERVICE, TEXAS EAGLE: From March 18 through 20, track work will impact Lincoln Service and Texas Eagle. Trains 303 and 304 will only operate between Chicago and Bloomington-Normal, and southbound Texas Eagle will hold at the Bloomington station until 4:15 P.M. for an open track. [Amtrak]

HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE SET TO OPEN IN MOROCCO THIS YEAR: Moroccan National Railways says it is on course to open Africa's first high-speed rail line in the third-quarter of this year. A fleet of 12 Alstom Euroduplex trains will operate at up to 199 MPH on the new line. [International Railway Journal website report]

AMTRAK SUSPENDS N.Y.-BOSTON SERVICE DUE TO STORM: Amtrak service was temporarily suspended between New York and Boston on March 13 due to 'inclement weather,' the company said. Most of the service was slated to be restored the following day.

AMTRAK'S AUTO TRAIN STRIKES VEHICLE IN VA.: An Amtrak Auto Train struck a vehicle on the tracks near Lorton, Va., early March 13, after the driver ended up on the tracks after making a wrong turn. Nobody was injured, but rail traffic was considerably disrupted, including trains on the VRE Fredericksburg line. [WTOP website report, 3-13-18]

FATE OF HISTORIC GRAIN ELEVATORS IN HOBSON, MONTANA, IN JEOPARDY: The destruction of more-than-a-century-old grain elevators along BNSF tracks in Hobson, Montana, is planned for this coming fall, unless a suitable plan is presented to save them. [Great Falls Tribune website report]

RAILWAY AGE NAMES REGIONAL, SHORT-LINE RAILROADS OF THE YEAR: Railway Age Magazine has named Class II Indiana Rail Road as Regional of the Year, and Class III railroad Lake State Railway as Short Line of the Year. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-13-18]

SIEMENS LANDS DANISH ORDER FOR 26 VECTRON LOCOMOTIVES: Danish State Railways has selected Siemens to supply 26 Vectron dual-voltage locomotives with an option for an additional 18 units, all subject to parliamentary finance committee approval. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-13-18]

OVER 100 FORMER CSX EMPLOYEES SUE CSX: More than 100 CSX employees who were fired or suspended for their use of federally-protected medical leave filed suit against the company March 13 in Baltimore. [Jacksonville Business Journal website report, 3-13-18]

RAIL INDUSTRY MAINTAINS STRONG SAFETY RECORD, FEDS SAY: Data from the Federal Railroad Administration confirm that recent years remain the safest ever for U.S. railroads. Since the year 2000, the train accident rate is down 44 pct, equipment-caused accident rate is down 38 pct, track-caused accident rate is down 55 pct, human factor-caused accident rate is down 45 pct, and derailment rate is down 42 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-13-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-one percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending March 11, 2018. The remaining 59 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 29 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 3-12-18]

FORT SMITH, ARKANSAS, TO BENEFIT WITH RAIL TRAIL EXTENSION: By the year 2024, a three-mile extension of the Old Railroad Trail (a.k.a. May Branch Trail) will be the first city trail in Fort Smith, Arkansas, to carve a parth through the middle of town. [U.S. News & World Report, 3-11-18]

FEDS REPORT RAIL TRESPASSING FATALITIES IN 2017.: The Federal Railroad Administration reports that 888 people died from railroad incidents last year, 575 of whom were considered trespassers. The majority of those killed while trespassing were between 20 and 39 years of age. [NBC News website report, 3-11-18]

FINLAND, NORWAY TO EXPLORE BUILDING ARCTIC RAIL LINK: Finland and Norway have agreed to explore building an Arctic rail link connecting Finland with the Barents Sea coast. The $3.6-billion project would run from Rovaniemi to the deep-water port of Kirkenes, near the Russian border. [Deutsche Welle website report, 3-10-18]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS PERSON IN N.J.: Amtrak's Palmetto train en route to Georgia struck and killed a person on the tracks near Secaucus Junction, N.J., early March 9, disrupting service between New York and Newark and causing some NJ Transit trains to be detoured to Hoboken. [North Jersey website report, 3-9-18]

BRIGHTLINE'S RIDERSHIP EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS: Brightline is seeing ridership at a rate three times greater than it expected since it launched service in Florida earlier this year. Current service runs between Fort Luaderdale and West Palm Beach. Service to Miami is expected to begin by the end of April, with later expansion to Orlando. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-9-18]

VERMONT SERVICE LIKELY TO CONTINUE WITHOUT PTC, AMTRAK NOW SAYS: Amtrak currently has no plans to suspend any service in Vermont, despite not having positive train-control installed. Earlier, the company said it would probably not operate on routes that have not installed the technology by the year-ending deadline. Vermont service, however, is exempt from the PTC requirement due to its lower ridership and frequency, and Amtrak is looking into what to do with this and similarly exempt routes. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-9-18]

AMTRAK'S CARDINAL TO BE CUT BACK TO D.C.: Beginning March 29, Amtrak is reducing the route of the westbound Cardinal by originating at Washington DC instead of New York, and beginning April 1 the eastbound train will terminate at Washington instead of New York. It is not a permanent reduction, Amtrak said, but part of efforts to address state-of-good repair backlogs in the Northeast corridor and reduce congestion in New York during track work at Penn Station. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-9-18]

INDIANA SENATE NIXES BILL TO ALLOW DEVELOPMENT OF LIGHT-RAIL IN INDIANAPOLIS: Lawmakers in the Indiana Senate have put a stop to a bill that could have cleared the way for development of a new light-rail project in Indianapolis. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-9-18]

BALTIMORE'S METRO SYSTEM REOPENS FOLLOWING EMERGENCY REPAIRS: After replacing rails on Baltimore's metro subway system, the Maryland Transit Administration reopened the line March 9. The system was shut down Febr. 11 due to the discovery of unexpected wear on 11 sections of track. The reopening was implemented three days ahead of schedule. [Roads & Bridges website report, 3-9-18]

WINTER STORM ONCE AGAIN DISRUPTS N.E. RAIL SERVICE: Passenger rail operators were returning some lines to service in the Northeast March 8 after a second straight winter storm brought heavy snow. Snow in some places fell at the rate of three inches per hour and disrupted commuter and intercity services from New Jersey to Massachusetts. In New York, some commuters let out of work early were forced to spend the night at Grand Central Terminal after Metro-North canceled service on the Harlem, New Haven and Hudson lines due to fallen trees and power problems. N.J. Transit had reopened service on just one of eight lines by early March 8. The Raritan Valley line was operating only between Raritan and Newark. Amtrak deployed a modified schedule March 7 and canceled dozens of trains ahead of the storm from Washington to Boston. [Railway Age website report, 3-8-18]

MBTA COMMUTER TRAIN DERAILS; NO INJURIES: A Massachusetts Bay commuter train derailed early March 8 on the Lowell line in Wilmington, Massachusetts, after the train struck a fallen tree which the train dragged until it wedged into a switch. There were no injuries. More than 100 passengers aboard the train were safely evacuated. [CBS Boston website report, 3-8-18]

FED'S DECISION ALLOWS NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPRESS PROJECT TO SEEK FUNDING: A decision by the Federal Railroad Administration signifies that the Northern Lights Express project, to link Minneapolis with Duluth, will not significantly impact the environment, and it may move forward in efforts to seek funding for its final design and construction. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-8-18]

MAJOR UPGRADE PLANNED TO SYDNEY'S ICONIC CENTRAL STATION: The New South Wales government has announced that work on upgrading Sydney's iconic Central Station and landmark Central Walk will begin immediately following the award of a contract for the project. More than 270,000 people use the facility daily, with that number expected to increase to 450,000 in the next two decades. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-8-18]

KNOXVILLE LOCOMOTIVE WORKS PICKS ROLLS-ROYCE FOR SE-SERIES LOCOMOTIVES: Knoxville Locomotive Works has chosen Rolls-Royce to provide MTU-series 4000 and 2000 engines for its SE-series four- and six-axle locomotive designs. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-7-18]

CN TO INVEST TO CLEAR WESTERN CANADA GRAIN BACKLOG: Canadian National says it will invest more than $250-million (C) this year to improve its infrastructure to east grain supply issues in western Canada. [Reuters website report, 3-7-18]

BMWE REACHES TENTATIVE AGREEMENT WITH RAILROADS: The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees has reached a tentative agreement, subject to ratification by members, with the National Carriers' Conference Committee. More tha 70 pct of the almost 145,000 unionized freight rail employees have now ratified agreements with the more than 30 freight railroads. [Railway Age website report, 3-7-18]

XLOAD SENSORS BEGIN PILOT TRIALS ON HAZMAT TANK CARS: The Association of American Railroads has certified TransRail Innovation Group's XLOAD sensor to begin pilot trials on tank cars shipping hazardous commodities such as crude oil and refined fuels. The sensor is used to measure track commodities inside of moving cars, and help shippers safely increase their volume. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-7-18]

CP SAYS SERVICE IMPROVING AFTER EXTREME WINTER CONDITIONS: Canadian Pacific continues to deliver overall for the grain supply chain with year-to-date shipments through week 31, up 3 pct, or approximately 400,000 metric tons. While extreme weather took its toll on the entire supply chain through much of February, the railroad's network is now starting to recover, according to the company. [CP Rail, 3-7-18]

WINDS CAUSED FREIGHT CARS TO TIP OVER INTO SUSQUEHANNA RIVER, CSX SAYS: CSX is attributing extreme wind gusts to the derailment of a freight train near Perryville, Md., last week, resulting in four cars falling into the Susquehanna River. Normal rail service has resumed, but crews are still working to remove two of the cars from the river. [ABC News website report, 3-6-18]

THREE INJURED AS TRAIN STRIKES ACID TRUCK IN PA.: A CSX train operating on Norfolk Southern tracks near Fredericktown, Pa., broadsided a tank truck hauling a corrosive solution of hydrochloric acid as the rig's driver crossed the tracks early March 6. The driver's truck was life-flighted to a Pittsburgh hospital, and two crewmembers from the train were taken to a local hospital for evaluation. [Observer-Reporter website report, 3-6-18]

KCS-SERVED LOGISTICS PARK TO BE DEVELOPED IN ILLINOIS: Kansas City Southern will serve a new multimillion-dollar logistics park that will be developed in Jerseyville, Illinois, east of the existing rail line. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-6-18]

BNSF SET TO ADD TRACK CAPACITY ON GALLUP SUBDIVISION IN N.M.: BNSF is preparing to start a two-year project to construct 10 miles of third mainline on its Gallup Subdivision between Belen and Dalles, N.M., to enhance capacity along the Southern Transcon route. [Railway Age website report, 3-6-18]

UNION PACIFIC BEGINS CONSTRUCTION ON BRAZOS YARD IN TEXAS: Union Pacific last month began construction on the Brazos rail yard, a $550-million project in Robertson County, Texas. Scheduled for completion in 2020, the project represents the largest capital investment in a single Union Pacific facility. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-6-18]

TWO LOCOMOTIVES MOVED THROUGH JAXPORT EN ROUTE TO WEST AFRICA: Master riggers at the Jacksonville Port Authority moved two 363,000-pound locomotives through the heavy life and special cargo berth at the Blount Island Marine Terminal on March 5. CSX delivered the 68-foot units from Illinois, and they are en route to Guinea, West Africa. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-6-18]

'POO-POO CHOO-CHOO' TO BE MOVED INTO BIRMINGHAM RAIL YARD AFTER ODOR COMPLAINTS: Several dozen train cars loaded with what appears to be sewage sludge from wastewater treatment plants in New York and New Jersey will be pulled into a yard yard and off the tracks in North Birmingham, Alabama, according to officials. A 'death smell' emanated from the train cars resulting in complaints from the neighborhood. [, 3-6-18]

CP TO DISCONTINUE ITS TORONTO-MONTREAL 'EXPRESSWAY' SERVICE: Canadian Pacific's 'Expressway' (x-Iron Highway) service will close effective June 1, the company announced. The objective of the concept was to serve standard trailers and containers on chassis that are not reinforced for lift-on and lift-off operations, and to extend the economies of intermodal traffic to the short-haul market. At its peak, the service operated with four daily trains each way between Detroit and Montreal. The portion between Detroit and Toronto was later dropped, and frequency between Toronto and Montreal was reduced to one train a day. [Railway Age website report, 3-5-18]

CEO OF CN STEPS DOWN: Canadian National has announced the abrupt departure of Luc Jobin, chief executive officer, less than two years after he took over the position. Jean-Jacques Ruest, the company's executive vice-president and chief marketing officer, is is filling the position temporarily until a permanent leader is named. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-5-18]

COURT UPHOLDS $1.25-M WHISTLEBLOWER VERDICT AGAINST BNSF: A panel of judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a $1.25-million verdict awarded in 2015 to a railroad whistleblower who claimed he was retaliated against and fired for reporting safety violations to federal regulators. [U.S. News & World Report, 3-5-18]

STRONG WINDS DISRUPT AMTRAK SERVICE IN N.E.: Amtrak suspended service along its Northeast corridor after strong winds caused extensive issues March 2. Service was later restored with modified schedules, and full scheduled service was restored March 5.

METRO-NORTH TO REHAB ITS WHITE PLAINS STATION: Later this month Metro-North will begin a $94-million project to rehab its station in White Plains, N.Y. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-5-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-two percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending March 4, 2018. The remaining 68 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 49 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 3-5-18]

CSX TRAIN DERAILS ON SUSQUEHANNA RIVER BRIDGE IN MD.: A CSX derailment involving six cars, four of which toppled over into the Susquehanna River late March 2 on a bridge spanning the river near Perryville, Md. There were no injuries. High winds may have contributed to the accident, but the incident is under investigation. [CBS Baltimore website report, 3-3-18]

VIA RAIL SERVICE DISRUPTED BY CN FREIGHT TRAIN DERAILMENT IN ONTARIO: Via Rail passenger service was disrupted early March 3 after a CN freight train derailed just east of Kingston, Ontario. The delay came about when two cars at the rear of the freight train derailed, one of the cars on its side. [Toronto City News website report, 3-3-18]

LIRR TRAIN STRIKES VEHICLE ON TRACKS, KILLING ONE: A Long Island Rail Road train struck a vehicle on the tracks March 3 near Suffolk, N.Y., killing one person. [Newsday website report, 3-3-18]

AMTRAK 'WORKING WITH' NJT, METRO-NORTH ON PTC IMPLEMENTATION: Amtrak says it is working with NJ Transit and Metro-North on positive train-control implementation. Otherwise, Amtrak would ban the use of its tracks, potentially halting service for thousands of passengers who rely on commuter transportation. Amtrak's CEO said in a hearing that it would not be prudent to force more commuters onto highways in already congested urban regions. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-2-18]

AMTRAK EXPLORING EUROPEAN TECHNOLOGY AS PTC ALTERNATIVE: Amtrak's CEO Richard Anderson says his company has a research & development project underway to determine whether a European technology that does not require trackside investment would supply information on speed restriction and signal location in lieu of positive train-control, which might benefit carriers exempt from the PTC mandate, such as the route of the Vermonter. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-2-18]

DALLAS TO EXTEND LIGHT-RAIL PLATFORMS TO ACCOMMODATE THREE-CAR TRAINS: Dallas Area Rapid Transit has selected a firm to oversee platform extensions at 28 light-rail stations. The $124-million project calls for modifying platforms along the Red and Blue lines from the present two-car length to three cars. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-2-18]

U.S. DOT SAYS FEDERAL LOANS DO NOT COUNT TOWARD STATES' SHARE TOWARD HUDSON TUNNELS: U.S. Transportation secretary Elaine Chao told a U.S. Senate committee that federal loand should not count toward states' financial contributions to replace Hudson River rail tunnels between New Jersey and New York. Known as the Gateway program, the project would replace aging tunnels under the Hudson River used by Amtrak and N.J. Transit, along with replacing the North Portal bridge. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-2-18]

AMTRAK, BLET REACH TENTATIVE CONTRACT: Amtrak and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen have reached a tentative contract agreement governing rates of pay, benefits and work rules for about 1400 locomotive engineers, subject to a vote by the union membership. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-2-18]

MARC AWARDS AMTRAK FIVE-YEAR OPERATING AGREEMENT FOR PENN LINE: The Maryland Transit Administration has awarded Amtrak a five-year contract to continue operating MARC Penn Line service between D.C. and Perryville, Md. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-2-18]

TRIMET NAMES DOUG KELSEY GENERAL MANAGER: The TriMet board of directors has named Doug Kelsey, its chief operating officer, as the agency's next general manager. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-2-18]

STADLER TO SUPPLY 12 VEHICLES FOR BOLIVIAN LIGHT-RAIL LINE: Stadler Rail has been selected to supply 12 vehicles for the initial phase of a 25-mile light-rail network in Bolivia's fourth largest city, Cochabamba. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-2-18]

ALABAMA LAWMAKERS CONSIDER BILL TO SUPPORT PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS: Lawmakers in Alabama are pushing new legislation that would allow the state to support public transportation projects. Currently, Alabama is one of only five states in the country that does not allow for state funds to support public transit. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-2-18]

RAPID TRANSIT PROPOSAL TO CONNECT N.J., MANHATTAN TO BE STUDIED: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is interested in developing a new rapid transit line between New Jersey and Manhattan, and plans to hire a consultant to study its feasibility. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-2-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic in the week ending Febr. 24, 2018, increased 2.8 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads dropped 1.3 pct, and intermodal volume increased 6.7 pct. [Association of American Railroads]

FEBRUARY 2018 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-seven percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in February 2018. The remaining 63 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 27 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 3-1-18]

NTSB ISSUES PRELIMINARY FINDING IN AMTRAK ACCIDENT IN S.C.: The Febr. 4 Amtrak collision in Cayce, S.C., caused $25-million in damage, according to the National Transportation Safety Board's preliminary report. The southbound Amtrak train diverted through a hand-throw switch and collided with a parked CSX train on a siding. Signals had been suspended as CSX was installing components for positive train-control, and a track warrant system using absolute blocks had been implemented. Amtrak's engineer and conductor were killed. The CSX conductor saw the Amtrak train approaching and ran to the back of the locomotive where he was thrown off, sustaining minor injuries. The CSX engineer had already exited the locomotive and was not injured. In response to the incident, the NTSB asked the Federal Railroad Administration to issue an emergency order providing instructions to follow when signal suspensions are in effect and a switch as been reported relined for a main track. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-1-18]

CSX AIMS FOR 60 PCT OPERATING RATIO BY 2020: CSX will aim for a 60 percent operating ratio by 2020 and revenue growth at a compound annyual rate of 4 percent by 2019-2020, the company says. Officials added that CSX produced six consecutive months of performance improvement, hitting record levels for dwell and velocity in 2018. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-1-18]

CANADIAN BUDGET FUNDS VIA RAIL FLEET RENEWAL: State suppoort for Via Rail's fleet renewal program was confirmed Febr. 27 with the publication of the Canadian government's 2018 budget, which allocates funds for the procurement of new trains for the Windsor-Quebec City corridor. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-1-18]

TRAINS COLLIDE IN EGYPT, AT LEAST 15 KILLED: A head-on crash between two trains killed at least 15 people and injured dozens near Cairo, Egypt, Febr. 28. The country's health ministry said the number of casualties was likely to increase. [Aljazeera website report, 2-28-18]

N.Y. STATE TO GRANT FUNDING TOWARD RAIL SIDING ALONG NORFOLK SOUTHERN: A rail siding project along a Norfolk Southern line in Central Bridge, N.Y., has qualified for a $200,000 state grant. The siding will allow Hoober Feeds to receive ingredients by rail and expand its operations. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-28-18]

ONE KILLED, ONE INJURED BY TRAIN ON R.R. BRIDGE IN KANSAS: Authorities say a train struck and killled a person on a railroad bridge near Topeka, Kansas, Febr. 27, and another who jumped from the bridge was injured. [U.S. News & World Report, 2-28-18]

INDIANAPOLIS LAWMAKERS CONSIDER ALLOWING LIGHT-RAIL: Indiana lawmakers are considering a bill that would roll back a state law that prevents certain counties from developing or operating a light-rail project. This would allow Indianapolis to explore pursuing light-rail as a mass transit option. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-28-18]

CONTRACT AWARDED FOR ANALYSIS, DESIGN FOR BUFFALO'S LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION TO AMHERST: The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority has awarded a contract for environmental review and engineering design on the first phase of the seven-mile extension of the Buffalo light-rail network to Amherst. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-28-18]

RONALD BATORY SWORN IN AS FRA ADMINISTRATOR: Ronald L. Batory officially became the 14th U.S. Federal Railroad administrator on Febr. 28. [Railway Age website report, 2-28-18]

CALIFORNIA BULLET TRAIN TO TAKE LONGER TO BUILD, COST MORE: The California bullet train will take longer to build and cost more than previously estimated under a soon-to-be-released business plan, but plans to begin the project by linking the Bay Area to the Central Valley remain intact, according to the rail authority's new chief executive, Brian Kelly. [L.A. Times website report, 2-28-18]

RIBBON CUT FOR CHARLOTTE'S BLUE LINE EXTENSION: The Charlotte Area Transit System has cut the ribbon for its soon-to-open 9.3-mile Blue line light-rail extension from the central city to the University of North Carolina, Charlotte campus. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-28-18]

MANY COMMUTER RAILROADS LACK TIME TO IMPLEMENT PTC BY DEADLINE: A government report has found as many as two-thirds of commuter railroads required to install positive train-control by the end of this year have not allocated enough time to accomplish implementation, or qualify for an extension. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-28-18]

METROLINX TO INTRODUCE GROCERY PICKUP SERVICE FOR COMMUTERS: Metrolinx this spring will roll out a 'click-and-collect' grocery shopping service at selected GO Transit commuter rail stations. It will enable riders to shop online and pickup groceries when they arrive at their suburban stops. Initially five stops are included, but the service will later expand to more stations. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-28-18]

CSX SCRAPS PLAN FOR CAROLINA CONNECTOR RAIL HUB: The CSX train-to-trucks terminal, known as the 'Carolina Connector,' originally scheduled to be completed on a site in Rocky Mount, N.C., has been scrubbed by the railroad. Local officials believe that CSX may have other uses for the site, but not as had been planned. [Rocky Mount Telegram website report, 2-27-18]

GROUND BROKEN ON L.A. PURPLE LINE EXTENSION: The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has broken ground on the second phase of the Purple line extension. The project involves adding 2.6 miles of subway service to downtown Beverly Hills and L.A.'s Century City neighborhood. The entire extension project is in three phases. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-27-18]

FREIGHTCAR AMERICA TO ACQUIRE NAVISTAR RAILCAR OPERATIONS IN ALABAMA: FreightCar America has agreed to acquire Navistar's railcar operations in Cherokee, Alabama. [Railway Age website report, 2-27-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-four percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending February 25, 2018. The remaining 56 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 41 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-26-18]

BNSF TO ADD 4.4 MILES OF SECOND TRACK IN IDAHO, WASHINGTON: In response to increasing train traffic, BNSF is planning to build a second track from Hauser, Idaho, to Spokane Valley, Washington. The project for the 4.4-mile addition, currently in the design phase, will also involve construction of a new railroad bridge spanning the Spokane River. [Spokesman-Review website report, 2-26-18]

TEENAGER STRUCK, KILLED BY NORTHSTAR TRAIN: A teenager died after being hit by a Northstar Commuter train near Elk River, Minnesota, late Febr. 25. The teen was walking with another person on the right-of-way, but the other person was unhurt. [U.S. News & World Report, 2-26-18]

GLASS-ROOFED TRAIN TO RUN IN KASHMIR: A glass-roofed train with large windows for sightseeing to admire the beauty of Kashmir Valley is set to be introduced by Indian Railways between Baramulla and Banihal. Limited seating for 40 passengers along with catering and other amenities will be available. The train is designed for sightseeing, officials say. [Tourism News Live website report, 2-25-18]

W.VA. PONDERS FARE INCREASE TO MAINTAIN MARC SERVICE FROM MARTINSBURG: West Virginia officials are considering a $4 fare increase to help maintain MARC service from Martinsburg, Duffields and Harpers Ferry into Maryland and D.C. The state of Maryland, which operates the service, says it needs $3.2-million, or the trains would stop running as early as this summer. West Virginia has already identified $500,000 in funding, and the fare increase could generate another $600,000 per year, leaving a funding gap of about $2.1-million. Amtrak service along that line (but not Duffields) would not be affected, but that service is not particularly scheduled toward commuter times. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-23-18]

NEW PACIFIC SURFLINER SERVICE TO BEGIN APRIL 2: A long-awaited commuter rail service involving a 'precisely-timed' Amtrak Pacific Surfliner will begin April 2 between Ventura and Santa Barbara counties in California. The demand has been high for the service for years. The train will have stops in Camarillo, Oxnard, Ventura, Carpinteria, Santa Barbara and Goleta. [KEYT website report, 2-23-18]

RAIL BRIDGE SPANNING WISCONSIN RIVER GETS EXTENDED LIFE SPAN: One of the oldest railroad bridges in Wisconsin, a more-than-century-old, 2200-foot timber structure spanning the Wisconsin River at Green Spring, has undergone a major improvement project. Sixty-two spans were replaced. The bridge, known as B-256, is owned by the Wisconsin River Rail Transit Commission and operated by Wisconsin & Southern as part of the Prairie subdivision. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-23-18]

LIRR TO REPLACE TIES, CROSSINGS ON MONTAUK BRANCH: Long Island Rail Road will be working from the end of Febr. through mid-May to replace crossties and grade crossings on the Montauk branch between Patchogue and Speonk, N.Y., as part of the system's annual track program. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-23-18]

CALTRANS, SAN JOAQUIN LINES WILL INSTALL PTC BY DEADLINE, OFFICIALS SAY: Caltrans and San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority plans to fully-implement positive train-control before the end-of-the-year deadline to avoid concerns of service suspension. Amtrak has previously said it will suspend service over non-PTC line segments after the December 31 deadline. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-23-18]

RAIL LINES EXEMPT FROM PTC MIGHT LOSE AMTRAK SERVICE NONETHELESS: Amtrak's president Richard Anderson has said that for those instances where positive train-control is not required by statute, such as the Ethan Allen Express and Vermonter, "we have a question about whether we're going to operate at all, and I doubt we will." [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-23-18]

FRONT RUNNER SERVICE TO SUSPEND SERVICE TO PLEASANT VIEW, UTAH, IN AUGUST: FrontRunner commuter rail service to Pleasant View, Utah, which extends north of Salt Lake City, will end indefinitely in August. This stretch of service has the lowest ridership in the Utah Transit Authority system, and officials have said that implementing positive train-control is too expensive. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-23-18]

TRANSSHIPMENT CENTER TO BE DEVELOPED IN QUEBEC: The Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions has awarded funds for a transshipment center in Mekinac, Quebec, to be developed on 8.5 acres of land adjacent to a Canadian National rail line. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-23-18]

GE TO SUPPLY 30 EVOLUTION SERIES LOCOMOTIVES TO UKRAINE: GE Transportation has signed a $1-billion framework agreement with Ukranian Railways for supply of 30 TE33A Evolution series freight locomotives, additional locomotive kits over 10 years, rehabilitation of locomotives in the railway's legacy fleet, and long-term maintenance. [Railway Age website report, 2-23-18]

SILVER STAR TO DETOUR IN CAROLINAS FEBR. 26-27: Due to track work, Amtrak's Silver Star will detour Febr. 26 and 27 in both directions between Hamlet and Savannah, missing station stops at Camden, Columbia and Denmark. No alternate transportation will be offered to missed stops, and delays of up to two hours can be expected through the detour route. [Amtrak]

METRA TO BUY UP TO 21 USED F59PHI LOCOMOTIVES: Metra's board has approved the purchase of up to 21 previously-owned F59PHI locomotives for $1.3-million apiece. Built by EMD in 1998, the units will enable the railroad to quickly supplement its fleet and continue a longer-term procurement for additional locomotives. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-22-18]

CATHERINE RINALDI NAMED PRESIDENT OF METRO-NORTH: Catherine Rinaldi has been appointed president of Metro-North. She has been the railroad's acting president since July 2017, and had previously been its executive vice-president. She succeeds former president Joseph Guilietti, who retired. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-22-18]

N.Y. STATE TO AWARD $26.5-M FOR RAIL, PORT PROJECTS: New York state has $26.5-million in funds available for rail and port projects as part of the Passenger and Freight Rail Assistance program. The state last year awarded $25-million to 19 applicants to enhance safety, alleviate congestion, increase capacity, facilitate economic development and increase competitiveness. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-22-18]

FIRE DISRUPTS NEC RAIL TRAFFIC IN PHILADELPHIA: A warehouse fire near train tracks in Philadelphia in late morning Febr. 22 disrupted Amtrak and local train service. Trains were moving again around noon, but speeds were reduced due to the smoke, and some SEPTA lines were rerouted. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune website report, 2-22-18]

GARBAGE TRUCK RAN CROSSING GATES IN AMTRAK COLLISION IN VA., NTSB SAYS: The garbage truck was on the tracks despite lowered gates whten it was struck by an Amtrak train carrying lawmakers last month in Crozet, Va., the National Transportation Safety Board said Febr. 21. Data from the on-board camera showed the gates were down, and witnesses to the crash reported that the truck had entered the crossing after the gates were lowered. A passenger on the truck was killed, and two others on the truck were injured. [U.S. News & World Report, 2-21-18]

MBTA TRAIN CAR DERAILS, NO INJURIES: The last car of a six-car Massachusetts Bay commuter train derailed while the train was heading north toward Andrew Station early Febr. 21. The car rerailed prior to entering the station, and riders were able to exit the train safely. About 300 feet of third-rail was damaged, officials said, and extensive delays to service resulted. [WBUR website report, 2-21-18]

CLASS I RAIL EMPLOYMENT DROPS IN JANUARY: As of mid-January 2018, class I railroads in the U.S. employed 144,329 workers, down 0.75 pct since mid-December, and down 2.76 pct compared with the year-ago level. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-21-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN CHAIRMAN SELLS $1.5-M IN COMPANY STOCK: Norfolk Southern's chairman James Squires sold 10,000 shares of his company's stock in a transaction dated Febr. 1 for a total value of over $1.5-million. [The Lincolnian website report, 2-21-18]

MAN STRUCK, KILLED BY TRAIN IN FAIRFIELD, CONNECTICUT: A man was struck and killed by a southbound train at the Fairfield, Connecticut, metro station early Febr. 21. Trains on the New Haven line were subject to delays, Metro-North said. [WFSB website report, 2-21-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported 539,963 carloads and intermodal units were moved by U.S. railroads in the week ending Febr. 17, 2018, an increase of 3.1 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carload volume dropped 0.6 pct, while intermodal volume gained 6.8 pct. [Railway Age website report, 2-21-18]

FEDS CERTIFY EMISSIONS-REDUCTION SYSTEM FOR N.C. PASSENGER LOCOMOTIVE: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has certified an emissions-reduction system for one of the North Carolina Dept. of Transportation's passenger locomotives. Known as a blended after-treatment system, the technology uses catalytic reduction to chemically remove diesel engine emission pollutants from the exhaust before it is released into the air. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-21-18]

BOMBARDIER TO BEGIN ASSEMBLY OF AVENTRA EMU'S: Bombardier is preparing to start assembly at its Derby, Britain, plant of the 111 Aventra electric multiple-units which it is supplying to Abellio Greater Anglia. The fleet will comprise 665 vehicles formed into 22 trains of 10 cars and 89 trains of five cars, slated to enter commuter service in 2019 from London. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-21-18]

MODIFIED LERMAK LOCOMOTIVE ON TEST IN RUSSIA: Trials are underway in Russia with a three-section 3ES5K Yermak 25kV 50Hz locomotive rated a 9.2 MW, fitted with VIP4000D traction converters. The aimis to lower the cost of the locomotive and to reduce energy consumption. [Railway Gazette website report, 2-21-18]

BAKU SUBURBAN RAILWAY PLANNED: Funding is to be provided for the development of a circular suburban rail service in Azerbaijan on the Abseron Peninsula [Railway Gazette website report, 2-21-18]

CP INTRODUCES NEW SERVICE FOR SHIPPING PERISHABLE PRODUCTS: Canadian Pacific has launched CP TempPro for shipping perishable products. CP has a growing fleet for perishable protective services requiring strict temperature settings. CP will invest in over 400 new 53-foot reefers this year to support the growing temperature-control market. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-20-18]

ALSTOM TO SUPPLY 20 MORE TRAINS FOR PARIS METRO: Alstom has ordered an additional 20 MP14 rubber-tired five-car metro trains for operation on Paris' Line 11. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-20-18]

A LOOK AT THE TEXAS BULLET TRAIN PROJECT: Texas High-Speed Rail involves no grade crossings, and the train will not share tracks with other trains. At least 50 pct of the 240-mile track will be elevated. Construction could begin in 2019, with a timeline of up to five years. The project is financed through the pre-construction phase, but there are still hurdles to leap before it can move forward. Comments from the last round of public meetings will be incorporated into a final report, which the Federal Railroad Administration still has to approve. [ABC13 website report, 2-20-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-eight percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending Febr. 18, 2018. The remaining 62 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 26 minutes behind schedule. The worst-performing train during the week was the Crescent, all of its 14 runs arriving into its destintion late, with an average arrival of three hours and 21 minutes behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-19-18]

DENVER SEEKS TO DISCONTINUE HUMAN FLAGGERS AT TRAIN CROSSINGS: Denver officials say they should be allowed to discontinue the use of human flaggers at road crossings along a commuter train line. Experts argued at a recent hearing that they do little to improve safety. [Route Fifty website report, 2-18-18]

AMTRAK TO SUSPEND SERVICE IF PTC DEADLINE NOT MET: Amtrak says it will suspend services on routes operated over host carriers that have not advanced positive train-control installation enough to apply for potential extensions through 2020. Moreover, it might suspend service on routes that do not have PTC fully installed and implemented by the end of 2018, even if an extension is granted. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-16-18]

BOMBARDIER TRANSPORTATION DELIVERED 'SUPERIOR FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE' IN 2017: Bombardier closed out 2017 with 'superior financial performance,' the company said. Transportation revenues grew 13 pct year-on-year to $8.5-billion, and order backlog was up 14 pct at the end of the year. [Railway Gazette website report, 2-16-18]

'UNEXPECTED RAIL WEAR' WAS CAUSE FOR BALTIMORE METRO SHUTDOWN: Officials say the closure of the Baltimore metro system was due to unexpected wear on 11 sections of elevated track. The rail wear was found during an inspection where the gauge face angle exceeded internal standards. The line is expected to remain closed through March 11, although a partial reopening is possible. An additional line closure is slated for August. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-16-18]

STANTEC SELECTED AS LEAD ENGINEEER ON LIRR EXPANSION PROJECT: Stantec has been selected as lead engineer on a $1.9-billion design-build expansion project for the Long Island Railroad, which involves adding a third track along a 9.8-mile segment between Floral Park and Hicksville, N.Y. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-16-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAILS, CATCHES FIRE IN N.Y. STATE, TWO INJURED: Two crew members were injured when a NorfolkSouthern freight train carrying automobiles derailed and caught fire Febr. 15 in a rural area in the town of Attica, N.Y., officials reported. The injuries were not life-threatening. [Buffalo News website report, 2-15-18]

NJT APPROVES ALIGNMENT FOR HUDSON-BERGEN LIGHT-RAIL EXPANSION: New Jersey Transit has approved a proposed alignment for a 10-mile, double-track Hudson-Bergen light-rail expansion from North Bergen to the Englewood Hospital. It would largely use CSX's northern branch running track. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-15-18]

RAIL CAR SHORTAGE LEAVES OIL, WHEAT STRANDED ON CANADIAN PRAIRIES: A shortage of rail cars in Canada is leaving oil and grain shipments stranded on the Prairies, sending crude prices plummeting and leaving farmers in a cash crunch. Harsh winter conditions have contributed to the shortage. [Reuters website report, 2-15-18]

HYPERLOOP COMPANY GETS APPROVAL FOR CROSS-STATE FEASIBILITY STUDY: Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has received approvals from Ohio and Illinois to conduct a feasibility study on a possible route between Cleveland and Chicago. [TechCrunch website report, 2-15-18]

THELMA DRAKE TO BE NOMINATED TO HEAD FEDERAL TRANSIT ADMINISTRATION: The White House reported that President Trump intends to nominate former Virginia Congresswoman Thelma Drake to be Federal Transit Administrator. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-15-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight carload and intermodal traffic for the week ending Febr. 10, 2018, rose 1.6 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-15-18]

FIRST LRV DELIVERED FOR OKLAHOMA CITY STREETCAR: The first of seven light-rail vehicles for the Oklahoma City Streetcar project arrived in the city Febr. 13. Supplied by Brookville Equipment Corp., the seven bi-directional vehicles, each to accommodate 104 passengers, are equipped with batteries for catenary-free operation. The network is due to open in December. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-14-18]

BOMBARDIER ROLLS OUT FIRST TRAXX DC3 LOCOMOTIVE: The first Bombardier Traxx DC3 electric locomotive has been delivered to a test center near Florence, Italy, where static and dynamic testing will be carried out. Launch customer for the DC3 is Mercitalia Rail, which has ordered 40 of the locomotives. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-14-18]

DAVID COLLENETTE TO HEAD ONTARIO HIGH-SPEED RAIL BOARD: The province of Quebec has named former Canadian transport minister David Collenette as chair of the Ontario Rail Planning Advisory Board. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-14-18]

BNSF PLANS PROJECTS ON KOOTENAI RIVER SUBDIVISION: BNSF is planning multiple projects this year on the Kootenai River subdivision between Sandpoint, Idaho, and Whitefish, Montana. Various sidings will be signalized to enable centralized traffic control, and improvements will be made to the seven-mile-long Flathead Tunnel in northwest Montana. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-14-18]

CSX MORALE AT 'NEW LOW,' SOME EMPLOYEES SAY: The rate of accidents involving CSX trains have been rising as its work force has been dramatically slashed, with some workers saying morale at the Jacksonville-based railroad is at a new low. [Jacksonville Business Journal website report, 2-14-18]

TRIMET TO REPLACE ITS OLDEST LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES: The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon will begin the process to replace all 26 of its oldest light-rail vehicles this spring. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-14-18]

SHALE SUPPORT HOLDINGS OPENS NEW RAIL TERMINAL IN LOUSIANA: Shale Support Holdings has opend a new rail terminal in Gibson, Louisiana. The terminal features 100-car capacity, on-site storage for containerized sand boxes and room for future storage capabilities. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-14-18]

WHITE HOUSE BUDGET PLAN CUTS AMTRAK'S FUNDING: The White House budget, released Febr. 12, proposes that states begin to share the operating subsidy costs of Amtrak's long-distance routes. It suggests cutting the federal subsidy from $1.4-billion to $738-million. Many states, however, ar not likely to come up with such funding to support long-distance trains. [CBS News website report, 2-13-18]

SENATE CONFIRMS RON BATORY AS FRA ADMINISTRATOR: The U.S. Senate has confirmed former Conrail president Ron Batory as the administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration. [Reuters website report, 2-13-18]

CSX TRAIN INJURES PEDESTRIAN IN FLORIDA: Authorities say a man was seriously injured when he was hit by a CSX train while he was trying to cross tracks south of Orlando, Florida, early Febr. 12. The man was taken to a hospital in critical condition. [U.S. News & World Report, 2-13-18]

BALTIMORE METRO SHUTS DOWN FOR ONE MONTH: Baltimore's only metro line was abruptly shut down for maintenance issues Febr. 9, and it is now expected to remain closed for about a month. At issue was rail inspections uncovering concerns needing immediate attention. The metro line extends from Owings Mills to Johns Hopkins Hospital, about half of it above ground and the rest below ground. Buses are now providing substitute service for metro riders. Baltimore also has a light-rail system between Hunt Valley and BWI Airport, with stub lines serving Baltimore's Penn Station and Glen Burnie, but that system is not affected by the metro closure.

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-one percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending Febr. 11, 2018. The remaining 69 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 31 minutes behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-12-18]

CSX HIKES DIVIDEND 10 PERCENT: The board of CSX has authorized a 10 percent increase in its quarterly dividend, and to increase its current share repurchase program to $5-billion. [CSX, 2-12-18]

FATAL TRAIN COLLISION IN AUSTRIA: A fatal train crash Febr. 12 brought transport to a standstill in Austria. One woman was killed and 22 were injured after two passenger trains collided in the southeastern state of Styria. Several cars were derailed in the impact. [EuroNews website report, 2-12-18]

FRA'S ACTING ADMINISTRATOR RESIGNS: Heath Hall, acting administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration since June 2017, has resigned effective immediately, the U.S. Dept. of Transportation reported Febr. 10. [Politico website report, 2-10-18]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS WOMAN IN VA.: Authorities say an Amtrak train struck and killed a woman near the Williamsburg Premium Outlets in Virginia on Friday, Febr. 9. A witness told police that the woman was wearing headphones as she attempted to cross the tracks. She was struck by train 67 en route to Hampton Roads. This incident came after a man was hit by a CSX train the previous evening near the Williamsburg-York county line. That person died a short time later. [13 News Now website report, 2-9-18]

CSX TRAIN STRIKES TRACTOR-TRAILER IN POINT OF ROCKS, MD.: A CSX freight train crashed into a tractor-trailer early Febr. 9 in Point of Rocks, Md. The driver of the truck suffered minor injuries, but there were no injuries to the crew members of the train. [Washington Post website report, 2-9-18]

MARC COMMUTER SERVICE INTO W.VA. MAY BE IN JEOPARDY: MARC commuter train service to Harpers Ferry, Duffields and Martinsburg could disappear this summer if W.Va. does not pay Maryland up to $3.8-million per year to continue the service. A 2012 agreement between the two states expired this past October, but it was agreed to continue the service on a month-to-month basis. But if a new deal is not met, Maryland could end MARC service to W.Va. as early as July. In addition, host carrier CSX has indicated that it might not welcome commuter trains back onto the line should that service cease. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-9-18]

PEDESTRIAN STRUCK BY BRIGHTLINE TRAIN IN SOUTH FLORIDA: A Brightline train hit a pedestrian in South Florida Febr. 8. The victim was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. [E&E News website report, 2-9-18]

EUROSTAR TO BEGIN LONDON-AMSTERDAM RAIL SERVICE IN APRIL: Eurostar will launch its first direct London-Amsterdam passenger rail service April 4, offering two trains per day, but initially only in one direction. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-9-18]

ALSTOM TO SUPPLY 30 ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVES TO MOROCCO: Morocco's national railway ONCF has ordered 30 Prima M4 electric locomotives to be supplied by Alstom as part of a planned acquisition program to include locomotives, multiple-units and cars. [Railway Gazette website report, 2-9-18]

JANUARY 2018 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic in January 2018 logged a 0.1 pct increase in carloads and intermodal units compared with the same month in 2016. Calculated separately, carloads dropped 3.4 pct, and intermodal rose 3.5 pct. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-8-18]

UNION PACIFIC HIKES QUARTERLY DIVIDEND 10 PERCENT: The board of Union Pacific has voted to increase the quarterly dividend on the company's stock by 10 percent to 73 cents per share. [Union Pacific, 2-8-18]

AMTRAK CEO TO TESTIFY BEFORE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IN WAKE OF RECENT ACCIDENTS: Amtrak's chief executive officer Richard Anderson is slated to testify Febr. 15 before a U.S. House of Representatives panel in the wake of a number of recent accidents involving the railroad. [Reuters website report, 2-8-18]

VIA RAIL TRAIN COLLIDES WITH VEHICLE IN ONTARIO, ONE KILLED: One person died after a Via Rail passenger train collided with a delivery vehicle Febr. 8 at an unguarded crossing near Breslau, Ontario, east of Kitchener. The train, with 54 passengers on board, was en route from Toronto to London, Ontario. There were no injuries to passengers or employees on the train. [CP24 website report, 2-8-18]

CHARGES REINSTATED AGAINST AMTRAK ENGINEER IN 2015 PHILADELPHIA WRECK: A judge in Philadelphia has reinstated criminal charges against the engineer in the fatal 2015 derailment of Amtrak train 188 that killed eight passenger and injured more than 100. In September 2017 a different judge had thrown out the charges, ruling the derailment as 'accidental,' not criminal, but that decision was appealed. [Railway Age website report, 2-7-18]

LAGRANGE LOCOMOTIVE MANUFACTURING FACILITY MAY BE CLOSED, PROGRESS RAIL SAYS: Progress Rail is contemplating closing its engine manufacturing facility in LaGrange, Illinois. The company is considering transitioning manufacturing and assembly to other U.S. facilities, including Wiston-Salem, N.C., and certain component manufacturing to outside suppliers. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-7-18]

NEW RAIL BRIDGE SPANNING SAN DIEGO RIVER OPENED TO SERVICE: The San Diego Association of Governments has opened the first track on its new 900-foot rail bridge over the San Diego River. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-7-18]

'FATIGUE' CAUSED BUMPING BLOCK ACCIDENTS IN N.Y. AREA, FEDS SAY: The National Transportation Safety Board has determined that two commuter train accidents in the New York area were caused by engineer fatigue. Both accidents involved commuter trains crashing into end-of-track bumping blocks, one at Hoboken in 2016, killing one and injuring 110, and the other at Brooklyn in 2017, injuring 108. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-7-18]

CARS OF ACELA TRAIN BREAK APART AT HIGH SPEED: A northbound Acela train broke apart at high speed early Febr. 6 on its way through Maryland. The cause of the separation appears to have been the failure of a connecting pin bolt. There were 52 passengers aboard the train, and there were no reported injuries. [Railway Age website report, 2-6-18]

TWO KILLED AS CSX TRAIN STRIKES TRUCK IN INDIANA: Authorities say a woman and a seven-year-old boy died after the truck they were riding in was struck by a CSX freight train early Febr. 6 in Gary, Indiana. [U.S. News & World Report, 2-6-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-two percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending Febr. 4, 2018. The remaining 58 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 10 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-5-18]

EUROSTAR PLANS THIRD LONDON-AMSTERDAM SERVICE: Netherlands Railways says it is in talks with Eurostar over the introduction of a third London-Amsterdam service in 2019, potentially offering a significant improvement in journey times. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-5-18]

LORAM TO ACQUIRE GREX: Loram Maintenance of Way and Georgetown Rail Equipment Co. (GREX) have completed a merger agreement where Loram will acquire all outstanding shares of privately-held GREX. The GREX brand will remain. [Railway Age website report, 2-5-18]

AMTRAK TRAIN CRASHES INTO CSX FREIGHT TRAIN IN S.C., TWO KILLED: Amtrak's Silver Star collided into a standing CSX freight train early Febr. 4 in South Carolina killing two Amtrak crew members and injuring 116 people, authorities said. A misaligned switch may have been the cause, which is under investigation. [CNN website report, 2-4-18]

RUSSIAN RAILWAYS ORDERS 22 ELECRIC MULTIPLE-UNIT TRAINS: Russian Railways has ordered 22 class EP30 four-car electric multiple units from Demikovsky Engineering for service in Volograd and Rostov. [Railway Gazette website report, 2-3-18]

AMTRAK MOVES TO NEW DEPOT IN BIRMINGHAM: Amtrak has moved into the new Birmingham Intermodal Facility, served by the Crescent. Work will continue this year to complete renovations to the passage and tunnels connecting the new facility with the boarding platform. Megabus also uses the facility, and Greyhound plans to begin service Febr. 21. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-2-18]

AMTRAK TO BEGIN SPECIFIC SEAT ASSIGNMENTS ON CERTAIN ACELA TRAINS: On a trial basis, Amtrak is providing first-class passengers with specific seat assignments on two New York to Boston Acela trains. The seat assignments will be assigned upon making reservations, but they may be changed after the reservation has been completed. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-2-18]

NJT UNLIKELY TO MEET YEAR-END PTC IMPLEMENTATION: New Jersey Transit is not likely to meet the year-end mandate to install positive train-control, the agency says. Budget concerns appear to be the issue. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-2-18]

LIRR TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS PERSON ON TRACKS: Long Island Rail Road service was disrupted late Febr. 2 after a Babylon-bound train struck a person on the tracks at the Seaford station. Service was later restored, but with residual delays and some cancelations. [Long Island News 12 website report, 2-2-18]

MIKE O'MALLEY ASSUMES AS PRESIDENT OF RAILWAY SUPPLY INSTITUTE: Mike O'Malley has begun his tenure as president of the Railway Supply Institute, succeeding Tom Simpson, who has retired. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-2-18]

AUSTRIA'S ZILLERTAL RAILWAY OPTS FOR HYDROGEN TRAINS: The board of Austria's Zillertal Railway has opted for hydrogen trains as an alternative to electrification of its 20-mile narrow-gauge line from Jenbach to the Tyrolean ski resort of Mayrhofen. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-2-18]

NTSB RULES OUT 'FOUL PLAY' IN AMTRAK TRAIN COLLISION WITH TRUCK IN VA.: The National Transportation Safety Board has ruled out foul play in the case of the Amtrak train carrying congressional members that crashed into a trash truck Jan. 31 in Crozet, Va. [UPI website report, 2-1-18]

JANUARY 2018 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-five percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destinatin on time or earlier in January 2018. The remaining 65 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 41 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-1-18]

CARLOAD EXPRESS NAMES NEW TOP EXECUTIVES: Carload Express has announced steps in its corporate success plan, which includes naming Russell Peterson as chairman, Mark Rosney as president, and Jim Streett as chief executive officer. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-1-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads moved 543,515 carloads and intermodal units in the week ending Jan. 27, 2018, a 4 pct increase compared with the volume in the corresponding week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-1-18]

AMTRAK CONGRESSIONAL SPECIAL STRIKES TRUCK IN VA., KILLING ONE: An Amtrak special train carrying Republican members of Congress en route to a legislative retreat struck a trash truck in Crozet, Va., west of Charlottesville, on Jan. 31. A passenger in the truck was killed. Six people were transported to a hospital, one in critical condition. Sources say the members of Congress and their families who were on board the train were all right, with the exception of a few minor injuries. The train had been heading to White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. [Various news reports, 1-31-18]

BNSF PLANS $3.3-B IN CAPITAL INVESTMENTS IN 2018: BNSF plans to spend $3.3-billion on capital investments in 2018, the same as the previous year, for maintenance and expansion projects. [Railway Age website report, 1-31-18]

KEVIN CORBETT NOMINATED TO SERVE AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF NJ TRANSIT: New Jersey's governor has nominated Kevin Corbett to serve as executive director of New Jersey Transit. If approved by the board, he will succeed Steven Santoro, who plans to retire. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-31-18]

GROUP TO ANALYZE PROPOSED MISSOURI HYPERLOOP: The Missouri Hyperloop Coalition says Black and Veatch and Virgin Hyperloop One will donae time and staff for a feasibility study regarding the state's propoosed hyperloop system, which could transport travelers from St. Louis to Kansas City in less than half an hour. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch website report, 1-31-18]

GRAPE, ALMOND GROWERS IN CALIFORNIA SUE BNSF OVER HERBICIDE USE: A group of grape and almond farmers in Oakley, California, is suing BNSF, alleging that the railroad used herbicides along its tracks to eradicate vegetation that ended up damaging their crops.[The Press website report, 1-31-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFRMANCE: Forty-four percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final terminal on time or earlier in the week ending January 28, 2018. The remaining 56 percent, on average, arrived one hour and three minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-29-18]

SOUTH SHORE R.R. LEASING FIVE MILES OF CN TRACK IN INDIANA: Chicago South Shore & South Bend Railroad is leasing five miles of track from CN in Gary, Indiana. The arrangement is designed to improve interchange, shipping options and a higher frequence of service. [Anacostia Rail Holdings, 1-29-18]

TEXAS STATE R.R. ADDS VINTAGE FP9 DIESEL TO ITS ROSTER: During the coming spring, Texas State Railroad will place into service a restored FP9streamlined passenger locomotive, TSR 125. The locomotive first saw service in 1957 by Canadian National, but it is identical to units used by several railroads in Texas. It will be painted in the Katy scheme. [WDRB website report, 1-29-18]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS MAN IN EFFINGHAM, ILLINOIS: Officials say a 53-year-old assistant high school principal was struck and killed by an Amtrak train just after midnight Jan. 28 in Effingham, Illinois. Preliminary information indicates the lights and gates at the crossing were functioning properly. [97.9 XFM website report, 1-28-18]

NJT'S EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TO RESIGN IN APRIL: After 15 months as executive director, Seven Santoro will resign from the agency in April. He first joined NJT in 2000 as director of the Hudson-Bergen light-rail project. [Rail Passengers Assn.]

NJT LIGHT-RAIL TRAIN STIKES, KILLS PERSON IN BAYONNE: One person is dead after being struck by a New Jersey Transit light-rail train in Bayonne late Jan. 26, according to authorities. [Jersey Journal website report, 1-27-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO CONSOLIDATE ITS EIGHT DISPATCHING CENTERS: Norfolk Southern plans to close its eight dispatching centers throughout the system to one location in Atlanta. About 450 positions are affected. [Roanoke Times website report, 1-26-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN PLANS $1.8-BILLION IN CAPITAL SPENDING THIS YEAR: Norfolk Southern will implement a capital program of over $1.8-billion in 2018, continuing what the company describes as a 'balanced deployment of capital.' The program is about $100-million above what Norfolk Southern spent in 2017. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-26-18]

SEPTA MOVES FORWARD WITH KING OF PRUSSIA RAIL PROJECT: SEPTA's board has approved an alternative in the draft environmental impact statement for the King of Prussia Rail project, which will connect one of the largest out-of-town shoipping malls in the U.S. to Philadelphia's urban rail network. The 4.5-mile line will branch off the Norrisville high-speed line north of Hughes Park and follow an elevated alignment with five stations - two of which will serve the mall. The project is estimated to cost up to $1.2-billion. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-26-18]

CINDY SANBORN HIRED BY UNION PACIFIC: Cindy Sanborn, the first woman to hold a senior operating executive role at a Class I railroad, an who was unceremoniously axed by the late E. Hunter Harrison in a management purge at CSX, has joined Union Pacific as regional vice-president transportation, Western Region, effective Febr. 16. [Railway Age website report, 1-26-18]

MONTANA RAIL LINK WORKFORCE EXPANDING: Montana Rail Link will hire 90 new track laborers and switchmen in what is shaking out to be a milestone maintenance year for the railroad. [The Missoulian website report, 1-26-18]

COMMUTER TRAIN DERAILS IN ITALY, AT LEAST THREE KILLED: A commuter train derailed as it was nearing Milan, Italy, early Jan. 25, killing at least three people, seriously injuring 13, and about 100 others with minor injuries. [Telegraph Media website report, 1-25-18]

UNION PACIFIC BEGINS CONSTRUCTION OF $500-M RAIL YARD IN TEXAS: Union Pacific has begun construction on a major rail yard near Hearne, Texas, a $500-million project that is the largest in the railroad's 155-year history. [Houston Chronicle website report, 1-25-18]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS YEAR-ENDING EARNINGS: For the year 2017, Union Pacific reported net income of $10.7-billion or $13.36 per diluted share, compared to $4.2-billion or $5.07 in the previous year. Excluding adjustments reflecting corporate tax reform, adjusted net income in 2017 was $4.6-billion or $5.79 per diluted share. [Union Pacific, 1-25-18]

LAS VEGAS RAILWAY EXPRESS ACQUIRES UNITED RAIL: Las Vegas Railway Express has acquired United Rail, owner of the Rail Management Services shortline management package. RMS will become the primary business for the company, which will seek short lines to use the system for the business management backbone. The system is slated to be used for future Los Angeles to Las Vegas service, which is slated to start in June. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-25-18]

TRAIN STRIKES TRACTOR-TRAILER IN GEORGIA: Police say a tractor-trailer became stuck on a railroad crossing in Buford, Ga., early Jan. 25, and was struck by a Norfolk Southern freight train. The roadway was closed for about five hours. [CBS 46 website report, 1-25-18]

TRAIN STRIKES CAR IN CALIFORNIA: A driver lost control of his car about mid-day Jan. 25, and his vehicle was struck by a freight train in Modesto, California. The driver escaped from his car prior to impact, and there were no injuries. [Modesto Bee website report, 1-25-18]

AMTRAK ENGINEER IN WASHINGTON STATE DERAILMENT MISJUDGED LOCATION: National Transportation Safety Board investigators have interviewed both the engineer and qualifying conductor about the deadly Dec. 18 accident in DuPont, Washington. The 55-year-old engineer did not see the 30 MPH advance speed sign two miles ahead of the restriction that would have alerted him to reduce for an upcoming curve. He did see the 30 MPH speed sign at the start of the curve, but the train was traveling too fast to avoid derailing. [NTSB, 1-25-18]

EXPANDED RUN FOR DOWNEASTER PLANNED FOR SUMMER: Transportation officials say Downeaster train service, previously limited to Brunswick, is planned to run farther north in Maine this summer, at least during weekends. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-25-18]

CHINA OPENS NEW CHONGQING-GUIYANG RAIL LINE: Journey times between major cities in southwestern China were dramatically reduced on Jan. 25 with the opening of a new direct rail line between Chongqing and Guiyang. The 215-mile line has 12 stations and a design speed of 124 MPH. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-25-18]

RUSSIA-VIETNAM RAIL FREIGHT SERVICE TESTING COMPLETED: RZD Logistics and it Vietnamese partner Ratraco have successfully completed a test intermodal rail freight service between Vorsino Freight Village, southwest of Moscow, and Hanoi. The test run was completed in 20 days, about twice the equivalent journal by sea. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-25-18]

CONSTRUCTION TO BEGIN ON ADELAIDE SUBURBAN RAIL PROJECTS: The state government of South Australia has signed construction contracts for three projects that will expand and enhance the Adelaide Metro suburban rail network. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-25-18]

CSX TO REQUIRE CEO'S TO GET MEDICAL EXAMS: CSX will require future chief executives to submit to an annual physical exam that will be reviewed by the board, the Wall Street Journal reported. The action follows the hiring of Hunter Harrison as president and CEO, even though he declined to get a physical exam or provide access to his medical records. Harrison, 72, who was hired in March 2017, died in December. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-24-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 2018 EARNINGS: Norfolk Southern's net income for 2018 was $5.4-billion and diluted earnings per share were $18.61. These results include effects of the tax reform act, which added $3.5-billion to net income and increased diluted earnings per share by $12 for the year. Looking forward in 2018, the company plans to invest $1.8-billion to maintain the safety of its rail network, enhance service, improve operational efficiency, and support growth. [Norfolk Southern, 1-24-18]

KCS'S MOSSVILLE YARD EXPANSION RECOGNIZED AS 'LARGE PROJECT OF THE YEAR': The National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association has recognized Kansas City Southern's Mossville Yard expansion project in Westlake, La., as its 2017 'large project of the year.' [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-24-18]

STADLER ACQUIRES TRAIN MODERNIZATION FIRM: Stadler has acquired Knorr-Bremse subsidiary Swedtrac, which specializes in train modernization. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-24-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Jan. 20, 2018, was 508,239 carloads and intermodal units, a 2.9 pct decrease compared with the corresponding week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads. [Railway Age website report, 1-24-18]

DRIVER OF SUV DIES IN COLLISION WITH TRAIN IN ARIZONA: The driver of an SUV died in a fiery crash with a train at a crossing in Gilbert, Arizona, early Jan. 24. Witnesses told police that the crossing gates were down and lights were flashing when the vehicle collided into the train. The driver was trapped inside the vehicle, which ignited after the collision. [AZ Family website report, 1-24-18]

NEW GULF COAST CHEMICAL PLANTS WILL BENEFIT RAILROADS: New petrochemical plants on the Texas gulf coast are expected to increase volumes on the region's freight railroads, particularly Union Pacific and BNSF. In about the next 10 years, more than 100 petrochemical plants are expected to be built, the result of low-cost natural gas from North American shale deposits that drillers have only recently been able to produce economically. [Omaha World-Herald website report, 1-24-18]

CZECH RAIL FREIGHT OPERATOR LOOKS TO BUY 55 LOCOMOTIVES: Czech rail freight operator CD Cargo has launched its largest-ever procurement by seeking bids for up to 55 locomotives (50 multi-system electric, and five diesel) for international operations. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-24-18]

NEW PROPOSALS TO IMPROVE CHILEAN INTERCITY RAIL LINKS: Proposals have been introduced for two projects to improve passenger and freight lines between Santiago and nearby cities on the Pacific coast. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-24-18]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS PEDESTRIAN IN GAITHERSBURG, MD.: A pedestrian was struck and killed by Amtrak's eastbound Capitol Limited at Gathersburg, Md., Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 23. Tracks were closed in both directions following the incident, and the train was delayed for more than two hours. [WJLA website report, 1-23-18]

TRUCK, TRAIN COLLISION IN B.C. RESULTS IN FIRE: Homes and businesses near a Canadian Pacific railway yard in Port Coquitlam, B.C., were evacuated for several hours late Jan. 22 after a collision between and truck loaded with ethanol and a train that sparked in a large fire. No injuries were reported, and the railroad says there were no toxic materials on the train. [CBC News website report, 1-23-18]

CN INCREASES DIVIDEND 10 PERCENT: CN's board has approved a 10 percent increase in the 2018 dividend on the company's common stock. [CN, 1-23-18]

JOHN SCHEIB NAMED CHIEF LEGAL OFFICER OF NORFOLK SOUTHERN: Norfolk Southern has named John M. Schieb executive vice-president law and administration, and chief legal officer, effective March 1. He succeeds William Galanko, who is retiring. [Norfolk Southern, 1-23-18]

U.S. CLASS I RAIL WORKFORCE SHRINKS IN 2017: As of mid-December, Class I railroads in the U.S. employed 145,416 workers, down 3.19 pct compared with mid-December 2016, according to the Surface Transportation Board. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-23-18]

TWO MORE UNIONS RATIFY AGREEMENTS WITH MAJOR FREIGHT RAILROADS: Members of the Transportation Communications International Union and the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen have ratified new contract terms with the nation's major freight railroads, covering more than 17,000 employees. [National Railway Labor Conference, 1-23-18]

AMTRAK'S MICHIGAN TRAINS TRAVEL FASTER AFTER RAIL UPGRADES: Trains on Amtrak's Wolverine and Blue Water lines in Michigan have begun traveling faster following recent rail infrastructure improvements. The maximum speed on the Amtrak-owned route between Porter and Kalamazoo is now 110 MPH. On the Michigan-owned portion, the maximum speed is still 79 MPH, but is expected to increase to 110 MPH this year after completion of PTC testing and the rollout of new Siemens Charger locomotives. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-23-18]

VRE TRAIN STOPPED DUE TO THREATS MADE TO PASSENGERS: A Virginia Railway Express train was stopped at the Leeland Road station in Stafford County early Jan. 23 because a passenger was making threats to other travelers before being arrested. [WJLA website report, 1-23-18]

N.Y. CITY SET TO SIGN CONTRACT FOR NEW SUBWAY CARS: New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority is slated to sign a $3.7-billion contract with Kawasaki for 1,612 new subway cars, the New York Times reported late last week. The agency has already committed $1.45-billion for more than 500 cars, and has agreed to purchase the remainder if the company meets the contract's expectations. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-23-18]

MASSACHUSETTS UPDATING ITS STATE RAIL PLAN: The Masachusetts DOT has begun working on a state rail plan to outline a 20-year vision and four-year plan for its rail system. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-23-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN HIKES DIVIDEND 18 PCT: The board of Norfolk Southern has increased its quarterly common stock dividend 18 percent from 61 cents to 72 cents per share. The first-quarter dividend is payable March 10 to shareholders of record Febr. 2. [Norfolk Southern, 1-23-18]

RIO DE JANEIRO BEGINS CONSTRUCTION OF LIGHT-RAIL LINE 3: Rio de Janeiro has begun construction of Line 3 of the Porto Maravilha light-rail network, due to be finished in one year. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-23-18]

CN REPORTS 2018 EARNINGS: CN reported 2017 net income increased by 51 percent to $5.5-billion (C) and earnings per share increased by 55 percent to $7.24. Included in net income was a deferred income tax recovery of $1.76-billion from the lower U.S. federal corporate income tax rate. Adjusted net income increased by 6 percent to $3.8-billion. Revenue increased by 8 percent. [CN, 1-23-18]

MORE TRUCKERS ARE RUNNING OUT OF CAPACITY: According to a study from transportation company Averitt Express, truckers seem to be running out of room. The report, polling 1,600 shippers, found that diminishing truck capacity is the industry's primary hurdle this coming year. Last year, about 20 pct of truckers faced capacity issues, a rate that doubled from the previous year. [Washington Post website report, 1-23-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-nine percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending January 21, 2018. The remaining 61 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 19 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-22-18]

MARYLAND'S PURPLE LINE SLATED TO OPEN IN 2022: Despite some legal challenges, Maryland's 16.2-mile Purple light-rail line is still slated to open in 2022. Officials are reworking the construction schedule due to the court battles, and they expect to have a better grasp of the more than $2-billion project's timeline in a couple of months. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-22-18]

CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER ADDED TO CALIFORNIA'S HIGH-SPEED RAIL AUTHORITY: Joseph Hedges has been named chief operating officer of the California High-Speed Rail Authority. He has more than 35 years of experience in construction, engineering and project management. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-22-18]

THREE ACQUITTED OF CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE IN 2013 DEADLY TRAIN DERAILMENT: A Canadian jury has found three former railway workers not guilty of criminal negligence in a 2013 Montreal, Maine & Atlantic train derailment that killed 47 people in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. The train, carrying volatile crude oil, came loose in the middle of the night, barreled towards the town center, derailed and exploded. It was one of the nation's worst train disasters. The train engineer, dispatcher and operations manager had all been charged in the incident. [Deutsche Welle website report, 1-19-18]

KCS REPORTS 2017 EARNINGS: Kansas City Southern repored 2017 net income was $964-million or $9.16 per diluted share, compared with $480-million or $4.43 per diluted share last year. Revenue was $2.6-billion, up 11 pct from 2016, on 5 pct carload growth. [Kansas City Southern, 1-19-18]

CARLOAD EXPRESS BUYS DELAWARE INDUSTRIAL PLANT: Carload Express, a short-line holding company which recently assumed control of Norfolk Southern's lines in Delaware, has purchased a BASF polymer plant in Seaford to develop a transload terminal. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-19-18]

TEXAS CENTRAL UNVEILS DETAILS OF BULLET TRAIN STATION: Developers of the Texas bullet-train project have unveiled details of a proposed rail station in Grimes County. It will be the only midpoint stop on the Houston-Dallas high speed rail line, and will be built on 60 acres in the Roans Prairie area, along Highway 30, west of Highway 90. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-19-18]

TORONTO AIRPORT RAIL LINE CONTENDS WITH EARLY CHALLENGES: The transit agency for Ontario says ridership tripled on its rail line from downtown Toronto to its airport after fares were cut by more than half. The rail line opened in 2015 and operated at a roughly 50 pct loss between April 2016 and March 2017. [CityLab website report, 1-19-18]

AMTRAK TO RETIRE PACIFIC PARLOUR CARS: The five Pacific Parlour cars that have been the hallmark of first-class travel on Amtrak's Coast Starlight train between Los Angeles and Seattle are set to be retired early next month. The final northbound run is slated for Febr. 2, and the final southbound run is slated for Febr. 4, according to Amtrak. The cars were the exclusive domain of sleeping-car passengers, and were a popular feature through the years. However, they were expensive to operate, were getting old - having been used in pre-Amtrak Santa Fe's El Capitain service - and their continued maintenance and shortage of spare parts had become an issue. Amtrak is reviewing what amenities offered in the Pacific Parlour cars may be made available in the future.

BICYCLIST KILLED BY BRIGHTLINE TRAIN: A 51-year-old bicyclist, who tried to beat a Brightline train to a crossing and biking around the lower gate, was killed by the train late Jan. 17 in Boynton Beach, Florida. ABC News website report, 1-18-18]

CP RAIL REPORTS 2017 RESULTS: Canadian Pacific reported 2017 revenues of $6.55-billion, an increase of 5 pct compared with 2016. Adjusted diluted earnings per share rose 11 pct to $11.39. Operating ratio was 58.2 pct from 58.6 pct. [CP Rail, 1-18-18]

CSX PLANS 2,000 MORE LAYOFFS IN 2018: CSX laid off more than 4,000 employees since fourth-quarter 2016, according to the company. Meanwhile, Chief Financial Officer Frank Lonegro said the plan is to cut approximately 2,000 more employees this year.[Supply Chain Drive website report, 1-18-18]

CSX REDUCES 2018 CAPITAL PLAN 22 PERCENT FROM PREVIOUS YEAR: CSX plans a 2018 capital program of $1.6-billion, a 22 pct decrease from the $2-billion capital program in 2017, and a drastic decrease from the $2.7-billion capital program in 2016. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-18-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN PUSHING FOR 'MORE STABLE' RAIL SERVICE THIS YEAR: Norfolk Southern is working toward a 'more stable, resilient' network for 2018, following service issues in recent months, the railroad said. [Reuters website report, 1-18-18]

FREIGHT CAR CRUSHES HOUSE IN MEXICO, KILLING FIVE: A freight car derailed early Jan. 18 in the northern suburbs of Mexico City, killing five people in a house near the tracks. [ABC News website report, 1-18-18]

FIRE AT TRINITY INDUSTRIES RAIL PLANT IN TEXAS: Crews responded to a fire at Trinity Industries' rail plant in Longview, Texas, late Jan. 17. Fire officials said the fire was in the paint shop, but had no further information. [Longview News-Journal website report, 1-17-18]

CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL AUTHORITY NAMES NEW CEO: Brian Kelly has been named chief executive officer of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, effective Febr. 1. The position was vacated by Jeff Morales, who left the job in early summer. Kelly has served as secretary of the California State Transportion Agency since it was created in 2013. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-17-18]

PLAN RELEASED TO OVERHAUL SEPTA TROLLEYS: The SEPTA trolley system serves nearly 100,000 people on weekdays, but the 36-year-old cars are nearing the end of their useful life. To maintain service, SEPTA plans to pursue an estimated $1-billion to replace the vehicles and overhaul the entire trolley system. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-17-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Jan. 13, 2018, of 511,937 carloads and intermodal units represented a 0.5 pct gain compared with the corresponding week last year, the Association of American Railroads reported. [Railway Age website report, 1-17-18]

CSX STILL HASN'T WON BACK SOME SHIPPERS: CSX still has work to do to win back shippers following last year's service disruptions. James Foot, the company's new CEO, who replaced the late Hunter Harrison, said he has been visiting customers, and CSX is starting to win back some of that business, but still has to prove to some shippers that its railroad is more reliable. [Fox Business website report, 1-17-18]

EFFORTS MOVING AHEAD TO IMPROVE ELYRIA, OHIO, AMTRAK STOP: Lorain County, Ohio, is preparing to break ground on a platform to serve the county's transportation center at the former New York Central train depot in Elyria. Once completed, the facility will replace the current Amtrak waiting area and shelter on the site of a structure which had been fire-damaged in 2013. The project, which will include an enclosed bridge, elevators and staircases, is expected to cost at least $8-million, and is expected to improve the rail traveling experience at this location considerably. Chronicle-Telegram website report, 1-17-18]

BROKEN RAIL LIKELY CAUSE OF D.C. METRO DERAILMENT: The derailment of a Red line D.C. metro train Jan. 15 was likely caused by a broken rail, officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-16-18]

CSX ANNOUNCES 4-Q, FULL YEAR EARNINGS: CSX announced fourth-quarter 2017 net earnings of $4.1-billion or $4.62 per share, compared with $458-million or 49 cts per share in the same period last year. Fourth-quarter net earnings included a $3.6-billion net tax reform benefit and a $10-million net restructuring charge. Excluding these two items, net per share earnings were 64 cts per share. Fourth-quarter revenue decreased 6 pct to $174-million. CSX had full-year earnings per share of $5.99, operating income of $3.7-billion, and an operating ratio of 67.9 pct. [CSX, 1-16-18]

AMTRAK REACHES TENTATIVE AGREEMENT WITH UNION: SMART Transportation Division has reached a tentative labor agreement for each bargaining group with Amtrak on behalf of the union's members employed by the railroad. The proposed agreement will be submitted to the membership for ratification vote. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-16-18]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES CAR IN CALIFORNIA, MOTORIST KILLED: A motorist died in a collision with an eastbound Amtrak Capitol Corridor train in Solono County, California, late Jan. 16. The motorist was the only occupant in the vehicle, and there were no injuries on the train. [Sacramento Bee website report, 1-16-18]

TWO STRUCK, KILLED BY TRAINS IN SEPARATE INCIDENTS IN WASHINGTON STATE: A northbound BNSF train in Seattle struck and killed a 60-year-old man who buckled down on the tracks early Jan. 16. A second fatality occurred at about the same time when a freight train leaving Everett struck a person who was thrown by the impact into a nearby body of water. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-16-18]

CALIFORNIA BULLET TRAIN JUST GOT $2.8-B MORE EXPENSIVE: The estimated cost for the first phase of California's bullet train has climbed by 35 pct to $10.6-billion. The $2.8-billion increase for the 119-mile segment in the Central Valley puts the entire cost of the project at roughly $67-billion, compared with $40-billion when voters approved bond financing in 2008. [Southern California Public Radio, 1-16-18]

AMTRAK WORKER KILLED IN CHICAGO: A 42-year-old Amtrak worker was killed Jan. 16 at a mechanical facility in Chicago's South Loop, the railroad has confirmed. [ABC Chicago website report, 1-16-18]

BNSF L.A. RAIL PROJECT HALTED AMID ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS: A court has brought work to a halt on a planned rail project near the Port of Los Angeles after ruling that the port and its BNSF partner submitted an insufficient environmental impact report. [American Shipper website report, 1-16-18]

MD. ATTORNEY GENERAL QUESTIONS HYPERLOOP PERMIT: The Maryland Attorney General's office has expressed doubts as to whether the state can use a utility permit to authorize the construction of underground tunnels for the Elon Musk-backed hyperloop transportation system. At issue is that the system may not meet the definition of a 'utility.' [Baltimore Sun website report, 1-16-18]

SINGAPORE, MALAYSIA TO LINK RAPID TRANSIT RAIL: Rail operators in Singapore and Malaysia have partnered to operate a nearly 2.5-mile cross-border rail rapid transit system to carry up to 10,000 passengers per hour in each direction, when the link is ready by the end of 2024. [Singapore Straits Times website report, 1-16-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-six percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending January 14, 2018. The remaining 64 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 20 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-15-18]

AMTRAK, NJT SERVICE DISRUPTED BY FIRE NEAR TRACKS: A fire in a vacant building near the tracks in Newark, N.J., disrupted Amtrak and NJ Transit service beginning shortly after 10 A.M. Jan. 13. Service later resumed, with delays of up to an hour. [ABC7 News website report, 1-13-18]

AMTRAK SERVICE RESUMES FOLLOWING CALIFORNIA MUDSLIDE CLEARANCE: Amtrak trains have resumed service between Ventura and Santa Barbara counties in California, following deadly mudslides that shut down tracks. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-12-18]

FLORIDA EAST COAST NAMES NATE ASPLUND PRESIDENT, CEO: Florida East Coast Railway has named Nate Asplund president and chief executive. Previously he was president and CEO of Red River Valley & Western. [Railway Age website report, 1-12-18]

N.C. PIEDMONT IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM COMPLETED: After seven years of work, North Carolina has completed its Piedmont Improvement Program to improve rail service between Charlotte and Raleigh. The projects included constructing 13 new bridges over or under highways; laying 27 miles of double-track between Greensboro and Charlotte; closing nearly 40 street-level crossings; adding locomotives and cars for the Piedmont passenger service; and improvements to four train stations. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-12-18]

ATLANTA TO REPLACE ENTIRE RAILCAR FLEET: MARTA, Atlanta's transit operator, plans to replace its entire railcar fleet, the single biggest item on its to-do list this year. The new cars are expected to cost about $1-billion. [Railway Age website report, 1-12-18]

SEPTA TRAIN COLLIDES WITH PASSENGER VEHICLE: A crash involving a train and a passenger vehicle caused delays on SEPTA's Lansdale-Doylestown line early Jan. 12. There were no serious injuries. [6ABC website report, 1-12-18]

WOMAN DIES AFTER TRAIN HITS CAR IN FLORIDA: Authorities say a woman died late Jan. 11 after driving into the path of a train on Florida East Coast tracks in Delray Beach, Florida. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-12-18]

OVER 400 PASSENGERS TRAPPED ON JAPANESE TRAIN BY HEAVY SNOW: About 430 people were stuck on a train overnight north of Tokyo because of heavy snow that blanketed much of the country's Japan Sea coast. The four-car train had electricity, heat and toilets, and it was stranded for about 15 hours. [ABC News website report, 1-12-18]

MAN GIVEN JAIL TIME FOR CUTTING R.R. SIGNAL WIRES: A judge has sentenced a former CN employee to five months in jail for cutting railroad signal wires in the Battle Creek, Michigan, area. Prosecutors say Jeffrey Alan Taylor cut 10 wires on three different days while visiting family, causing crossing lights and gates to activate, and trains to be delayed. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-11-18]

BRIGHTLINE TO BEGIN REVENUE SERVICE JAN. 13: Brightline will begin introductory service Jan. 13 between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Their 'Try Our Train' fares are $10 for basic service and $15 for select service. Initial service will be 10 daily weekday round trips, and nine on weekends, with trains running between the two points in 35 minutes. [Railway Age website report, 1-11-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads said U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Jan. 6 totaled 415,862 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 4.6 pct from the corresponding week last year. [Railway Age website report, 1-11-18]

AMSTERDAM NORTH-SOUTH METRO LINE CONSTRUCTION COMPLETED: Amsterdam announced Jan. 11 that construction has been completed on the North-South metro line, 15 years after work began on the project and more than a decade after it was due to open. Testing will begin in the coming week on the seven-station line, with revenue service due to begin July 22. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-11-18]

TEL AVIV-JERUSALEM A1 LINK SET FOR MARCH 30 OPENING: Israel announced Jan. 9 that the 35-mile A1 rail link between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem will begin operating March 30, the eve of Passover. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-11-18]

AMTRAK NAMES KEN HYLANDER EXECUTIVE V.P., CHIEF SAFETY OFFICER: Amtrak has hired Ken Hylander as executive vice-president and chief safety officer. A former aviation industry executive, he most recently served as chair of the Flight Safety Foundation and previously was chief safety officer at Delta Airlines. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-10-18]

CHARLOTTE'S BLUE LINE LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION TO OPEN IN MARCH: The Charlotte Area Transit System plans to open its Blue line light-rail extension on March 16. Service testing begins Jan. 21. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-10-18]

ALASKA TO STUDY COMMUTER RAIL: Alaska's governor has issued an executive order establishing a task force to study possible commuter rail service between Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-10-18]

N.Y. SUBWAYS EXPERIENCE WIDESPREAD DELAYS: Signal problems, rail conditions, electrical repairs and other issues caused widespread New York City subway delays Jan. 8 that continued the following morning. [AM New York website report, 1-10-18]

CALIFORNIA MUDSLIDES DISRUPT RAIL SERVICE: Union Pacific tracks in Santa Barbara County, California, have been blocked by washouts. Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner and Coast Starlight services and bus connections between Santa Barbara and Oxnard have been suspended. [Action News Now website report, 1-9-18]

STOLEN POLICE VEHICLE CRASHES INTO HOBOKEN RAIL TERMINAL DOORS: A person jumped into a police SUV early Jan. 8 and drove it into the doors of the waiting room at the Hoboken, N.J., rail terminal. No injuries were reported, and the suspect was arrested. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-8-18]

BNSF OFFERS NEW RAIL SERVICE AT PORT OF PORTLAND: BNSF is offering a new five-day-a-week service at Portland's terminal 6 enabling shippers to move products on a rail shuttle to the Puget Sound ports where they can be loaded onto ocean carriers. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-8-18]

EDMOND HARRIS NAMED TO CSX MANAGEMENT TEAM: CSX has named Edmond L. Harris executive vice-president of operations, effective immediately. Harris has more than 40 years' experience in the railroad industry. [CSX, 1-8-18]

NORTH CAROLINA R.R. TO BUILD RAIL SPUR, TRACKS AT CSX SELECT SITE: The North Carolina Railroad will design and construct a rail spur and storage tracks at the future Triangle Tyre plant in Kingsboro, N.C., which is locating at a CSX Select Site. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-8-18]

FEDS AUTHORIZE K.C. STREETCAR TO BEGIN EXTENSION PROJECT'S DEVELOPMENT: The Federal Transit Administration has authorized the Kansas City Area Transportion Authority to move its Main Street streetcar extension into the project development phase. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-8-18]

RED RIVER VALLEY & WESTERN APPOINTS NEW EXECUTIVE TEAM: The board of Red River Valley & Western Railroad has named Victor Meyers president and Mark Wegner chief executive officer. The company serves customers in North Dakota and Minnesota. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-8-18]

BOMBARDIER LANDS $444-M FRENCH ORDER: Bombardier Transportation has received a repeat order for 32 double-deck trainsets from French national railway company SNCF Mobilities, part of a contract signed in 2010 to provide up to 860 double-deck trains to French regions. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-8-18]

GREENBRIER COS. REPORT 1-Q EARNINGS: The Greenbrier Cos. report first-quarter FY-2018 net income of $26.3-million or 83 cents per diluted share, compared with $25-million or 79 cents per diluted share for the same period one year ago. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-8-18]

CHINA OPENS THREE NEW HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINES: China added nearly 435 miles to its high-speed rail network at the end of December with the opening of three new lines: Jinan-Shijazhuang, Beijing-Guangzhou and Beijing-Shanghai. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-8-18]

NTSB ISSUES PRELIMINARY REPORT ON WASHINGTON STATE AMTRAK DERAILMENT: The Amtrak derailment near DuPont, Washington, last month caused $40.4-million in damage, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. The authorized track speed north of the accident site is 79 mph and decreases to 30 mph prior to a curve. A 30 mph speed sign was posted 2 miles before the curve on the engineer's side of the track. Another 30 mph sign was on the wayside at the start of the curve on the engineer's side of the locomotive. The train did not slow prior to the accident and its final speed was recorded at 78 mph at the time of the derailment. About 6 seconds before the accident, the engineer in the locomotive cab commented on an over-speed condition. Also in the cab was a qualifying conductor. The crew was not observed using personal electronic devices in the cab, according to inward-facing video and audio from the train's recorders. Investigators have not yet been able to interview the engineer or conductor due to their injuries. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-5-18]

CSX UPDATES STB ON RESTRUCTURING PLAN: CSX has completed the first phase of its new operating plan, which has produced performance metrics that show a 'remarkable rate of positive change,' its president and CEO James Foote said in a Jan. 3 letter to the Surface Transportation Board. The board had asked for an update on the company's progress in five areas: car order fulfillment, local service performance, car trip plan performance, communication with customers and service in the Chicago area. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-5-18]

AMTRAK'S CRESCENT TO BE IMPACTED BY TRACKWORK: Trackwork will affect Amtrak Crescent Trains 19 and 20, Monday through Thursday, between January 8 and February 8. As a result, Amtrak will provide bus service from Atlanta to Anniston, Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Meridian, Laurel, Hattiesburg and New Orleans. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-5-18]

READING & NORTHERN SETS RIDERSHIP RECORD: Reading & Northern Railroad set a new record with its passenger services in 2017. Almost 120,000 people rode on Reading & Northern and Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway passenger services, a 15 pct increase from 2016's record-breaking year when Reading & Northern broke the 100,000- passenger mark for the second time running. In October, Reading & Northern shifted the starting location for its Fall Foliage specials from Port Clinton to Reading Outer Station. [Railway Age website report, 1-5-18]

U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC FOR 2017: Total U.S. rail freight carload traffic for 2017 increased 2.9 pct compared with the previous year, according to the Association of American Railroads. Intermodal traffic was up 3.9 pct. Combined traffic - carloads plus intermodal - increased 3.4 pct. [Railway Age website report, 1-4-18]

AMTRAK TRAIN DERAILS IN GEORGIA: Three cars - a baggage car and two sleepers - of Amtrak's northbound Silver Meteor, with about 300 passengers on board, derailed late Jan. 3 while backing into the station in Savannah, Ga. No injuries were reported. [Atlanta Journal Constitution website report, 1-4-18]

MAN CHARGED WITH TERRORISM IN AMTRAK ATTACK: The FBI says an armed 26-year-old Missouri man who breached a secured area to stop an Amtrak train in southwest Nebraska in October has links to a white supremacist group and expressed an interest in 'killing black people,' according to court documents. Taylor Michael Wilson, of St. Charles, Missouri, is charged with terrorism attacks and other violence against railroad carriers and mass transportation systems. [Lincoln Journal Star website report, 1-4-18]

AMTRAK TO BEGIN N.Y. PENN STATION RENEWAL PROJECTS: Amtrak will begin its next round of renewal projects at New York's Penn Station on Jan. 5. The bulk of the infrastructure renewal work will occur on weekends, with the entire project slated to end May 28, the company says. The latest round of repairs will occur in the area of track 15, which requires concrete demolition and replacement, but crews will also perform localized concrete demolition and rail renewal for track 18, and renew and replace three turnouts within the C Interlocking. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-4-17]

BEIJING OPENS FIRST MAGLEV, LRT & AUTOMATIC METRO LINES: Beijing Metro opened its first maglev and light rail lines along with its first fully automated driverless metro line on Dec. 30. The 5.6-Mile elevated maglev line serves the western part of Beijing and runs from Jin'anqiao to Shichang. The line will eventually be extended east from Jin'anqiao to connect with metro Line 1 at Pingguoyuan. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-4-18]

TRAIN SLAMS INTO TRUCK IN SOUTH AFRICA, 18 KILLED: A passenger train slammed into a truck in rural South Africa on Jan. 5, killing at least 18 people and injuring about 260 others, authorities said. Officials said the truck driver allegedly tried to cross the tracks just ahead of the oncoming train, part of which burst into flames after the collision. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-4-18]

BRIGHTLINE SET TO BEGIN FT. LAUDERDALE-W. PALM BEACH SERVICE: Brightline, Florida's new private passenger operator, has announced that it will launch an introductory service between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach during the week of January 8. [Railway Age website report, 1-2-18]

AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE IN 2017: Thirty (30) percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in 2017, according to a survey by the Bull Sheet. The average arrival of all trains surveyed was one hour behind schedule. The average arrival of the 70 percent of trains that were behind schedule was one hour and 27 minutes late. The train with the best on time percentage was the Empire Builder, at 53 percent, and the train with the worst on time percentage was the Crescent, at 11 percent. The survey was conducted without grace allowance, mandating that a train must arrive into its final destination by its scheduled time to be considered on time. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-1-18]

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