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TWO BNSF TRAINS DERAIL IN KANSAS: Two BNSF trains derailed near Walton, Kansas, late Aug. 17 during a heavy thunderstorm with high winds. About 90 cars of one train and 50 cars of the other derailed. No injuries were reported. [Wichita Eagle, 8-18-19]

LAS VEGAS EXPRESS SLATED TO BEGIN SERVICE NEXT SUMMER: Las Vegas Expess, the company behind the former X-Train between Southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada, has announced that the service expects to be running as an Amtrak train by July 2020. Service is planned Friday through Sunday, and will be the first passenger rail service in Las Vegas since 1997. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 8-16-19]

AMTRAK'S MAPLE LEAF TO BE IMPACTED BY WHIRLPOOL RAPIDS BRIDGE WORK: A planned closure and reconstruction of the rail deck on the Whirlpool Rapids bridge over the Niagara River will force Amtrak's Maple Leaf to originate and terminate in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Sept. 9 through Nov. 1. Substitute bus service will be offered between that point and Toronto, but other stations listed in the timetable in Ontario will not be served. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 8-16-19]

SOUND TRANSIT COMPLETES EAST LINK LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION GUIDEWAY: Sound Transit contractor crews have begun removing temporary steel columns and beams that were used during construction of the elevated East Link light-rail extension guideway in Bellevue, Washington. The project marks the next step in preparing for safety testing and pre-operation checks by 2020, with operation scheduled by 2023. The East Link will extend 14 miles from downtown Seattle. [Progressive Railroading, 8-15-19]

OUT OF SERVICE METRA TRAIN DERAILS IN SOUTH LOOP YARD: AMetra train partially derailed in a train yard Aug.15 in Chicago's South Loop. A single car slipped off the rails, but remained upright. There were no passengers aboard, as the train was still in the yard, and no employees were injured. [Chicago Sun-Times, 8-15-19]

UNION OPPOSES FINGER SCANNING OF METRO-NORTH WORKERS: The Association of Commuter Rail Employees has complained over Metro-North's effort to scan the finers of employees when they check in and out. The effort was unveiled several months ago to catch overtime cheats. The union says a 2010 Labor Department opinion bans finger scanning, unless the employee voluntarily agrees. [Rockland/West Chester Journal News, 8-15-19]

CN EMPLOYEE DIES WHEN PINNED BENEATH DERAILING RAIL CAR: Police say a Canadian National employee died after a rail car derailed, pinning him beneath it as it flipped on its side, early Aug. 15 in Vaughan, Ontario. [Canadian Press, 8-15-19]

AUSTRALIAN BUSINESS OF GENESEE & WYOMING TO BE ACQUIRED: Existing shareholders Macquarie Infrastructure & Real Assets, and PGGM have agreed to assume full ownership of the Genesee & Wyoming Australia business. The transaction is subject to G&W's acquisition by Brookfield Infrastructure and GIC, expected to close by early next year. [Railway Gazette, 8-15-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN NAMES TWO TO NEW EXECUTIVE POSITIONS: Norfolk Southern has named Michael Farrell senior vice-president operations and mechanical, and Vanessa Sutherland senior vice-president government relations and chief legal officer. [Norfolk Southern, 8-14-19]

DULUTH RECOMMENDS SCENIC RAILROAD BE PRESERVED: The Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad would be preserved in its entirety under a recommendation by the city as part of a 'trail-with-rail' solution along a seven-mile extension of the Western Waterfront Trail using a right-of-way owned by the city. [Duluth News Tribune, 8-14-19]

RAIL ACQUISITION NEGOTIATIONS MOVE FORWARD IN SPRING GROVE, PA.: York County, Pa., Rail Train Authority and Genesee & Wyoming are moving closer to a final sales agreement for 8.5 miles of dormant rail line east and west of Spring Grove, Pa., to be a part of the Hanover Trolley Trail. The railroad is expected to remove the rails within six months of the sale, while structures such as bridges will be rehabilitated to offer views of the nearby Oil Creek. [York County Rail Trail Authority, 8-14-19]

GENESEE & WYOMING OPENS BULK TRANSFER TERMINAL IN GEORGIA: Genesee & Wyoming has opened a Choice Terminal bulk transfer facility at its Georgia Southwestern Railroad subsidiary in Bainbridge, Ga. It is located on 15 acres with two tracks accommodating 19 total rail cars and open-truck access. [Progressive Railroading, 8-14-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Aug. 10, 2019, U.S. rail freight traffic was 533,190 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 4.3 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 8-14-19]

HOUSTON METRO ADVANCES LIGHT-RAIL EXPANSION PLAN: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority of Harris County, Texas, has approved a plan to include 16 additional miles of light-rail. It will be placed as a referundum of the Nov. 5 ballot for $3.5-billion bonding authority to finance the plan. [Progressive Railroading, 8-14-19]

NEW YORK'S MTA APPROVES REORGANIZATION PLAN: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York has approved a reorganization plan for its entire system, including measures aimed at improving subway service. The state legislature had mandated the plan, and the agency had not been reorganized in 51 years. [Progressive Railroading, 8-13-19]

GREENBRIER TO EXPAND RAILCAR MANUFACTURING FACILITY IN ARKANSAS: Greenbrier Cos. will invest $16-million to expand its railcar manufacturing facility in Marmaduke, Arkansas. Greenbrier acquired the facility when it bought American Railcar Industries in July. [Progressive Railroading, 8-13-19]

ILLINOIS PASSES LAW REQUIRING TWO-PERSON RAIL CREWS: Illinois' governor has sign a two-person crew bill into law, becoming the third state to pass such a railroad bill in 2019. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 8-13-19]

NEW FUNDS ADVANCE SEATTLE STREETCAR PROJECT: Seattle's Center City Connector streetcar project is oving forward with a newly-approved $9-million loan from the city. The funds will be used for design work and to help deterine a new baseline for additional costs. Completion date for the project is now 2025. [Curbed Seattle, 8-13-19]

CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL FINISHING DESIGNS ON ALIGNMENT INTO S.F.: Two major details need to be sorted out as the California High-Speed rail project completes its designs on the route to connect San Francisco via Caltrain's Peninsula corridor: the location of a maintenance yard on either the east or west side of the mainline in Brisbane, and if there is a need for additional passing tracks between San Mateo and Redwood City. [Streetsblog San Francisco, 8-13-19]

BELGIAN RAIL WORKERS PLAN STRIKE AUG. 17: A union representing railway workers in Belgium has submitted a strike notice for Saturday, Aug. 17. Workers are expected to strike nationwide. [Garda World, 8-13-19]

HISTORIC RIO GRANDE SIGN REMOVED IN SALT LAKE CITY: A landmark that welcomed rail travelers to Salt Lake City for decades was removed Aug. 12. Crews used a massive crane to bring the Rio Grande depot's neon sign and its scaffolding down. The sign had suffered from maintenance issues for years and its scaffolding was dilapidated. [Salt Lake Tribune, 8-12-19]

BNSF TRAIN HITS BOULDERS IN OREGON, DERAILS: An 80-car train struck two large boulders that fell onto BNSF tracks early Aug. 12 in a remote area about 20 miles north of Madras, Oregon, causing five locomotives and a rail car to derail, spilling diesel fuel. [KTVZ, 8-12-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Twenty-nine percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending August 11, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 36 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 8-12-19]

CAR STRIKES AMTRAK TRAIN IN FLORIDA: Police in Jacksonville, Florida, say a woman escaped injury when her car crashed into Amtrak's southbound Silver Star between its two locomotives early Aug. 11 at a crossing about two miles north of the train station in Jacksonville. No injuries were reported aboard the train. [Florida Times-Union, 8-11-19]

CSX TO SERVE SOUTH ALABAMA MEGA SITE: CSX and Alabama Power are contributing $5-million toward improvements to the South Alabama Mega Site for industrial development. The funds will help pay for a new rail spur off the rail line that runs along the site's sourthern border. [Progressive Railroading, 8-9-19]

CSX, CN TO BEGIN NEW INTERMODAL SERVICE FROM ONTARIO TO PORTS IN PA., N.Y., N.J.: On Oct. 7, CSX and CN will launch a new intermodal service linking CN's greater Montreal and southern Ontario areas with CSX-served ports in Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey. [Railway Age, 8-9-19]

CSX BRIDGE SPANNING SUSQUEHANNA RIVER IN MD. CATCHES FIRE: No injuries were reported and railway operations resumed after a fire on the CSX bridge spanning the Susquehanna River between Harford and Cecil counties was extinguished late Aug. 9. [Baltimore Sun, 8-9-19]

EXPANDED LIGHT-RAIL PLATFORM OPENS AT CHASE CENTER IN S.F.: San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has marked the opening of an expanded platform at the Chase Center light-rail station, which can now accommodate 700 riders and enable four trains of two cars each to load simultaneously. [Progressive Railroading, 8-8-19]

CANADIAN PACIFIC ANNOUNCES PERSONNEL CHANGES: Canadian Pacific has reported that Mark Redd will begin his new role as executive vice-president of operations on Sept. 1, succeeding Robert Johnson who is retiring; Tracy Miller will become senior vice-president of Eastern Region operations, succeeding Tony Marquis who is retiring; beginning Sept. 1, Chad Rolstad, vice-president of human resources, will add the position of chief culture officer; and James Clements will become senior vice-president of strategic planning and technology transformation. [Progressive Railroading, 8-8-19]

CSX TRAIN DERAILS IN INDIANA: According to CSX, 15 rail cars containing coke derailed in the Rosedale area of Parke County, Indiana, late Aug. 8. Ten cars were on their side, and the other five were upright. Police say a 41-year old railroader fell down a 40-foot ravine near the derailment. [WTHI, 8-8-19]

ADDED FUNDING CLEARS WAY FOR CALIFORNIA RAIL EXTENSION: A contract is about to be awarded to design and build a Gold Line passenger rail foothill extension to Pomona, California, advanced with a vote by the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments to provide $126-million to help build the $1.5-billion line. [San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 8-8-19]

AMSTERDAM-BRUSSELS TRAINSETS ORDERED: Netherlands national operator NS has awarded Alstom a contract to supply a further 18 intercity New Generation 200 KMH electric multiple-units, which will provide it with a pool of 20 units equipped for use on Amsterdam-Brussels services, as well as domestic routes. [Railway Gazette, 8-8-19]

TIMES SQUARE SUBWAY SHUTTLE TO BE UPGRADED: Beginning Aug. 16, crews will replace the Times Square shuttle terminal with a larger and more accessible station, reconfigure platforms at Grand Central Terminal, and upgrade electrical infrastructure, signals and improve track operations to allow longer trains to use the 42nd street shuttle service. [Progressive Railroading, 8-7-19]

AMTRAK SEEKS FOOD VENUE AT CHICAGO UNION STATION: Amtrak is seeking operators to add an upscale food hall to Chicago Union Station, specifically into space along the Clinton street side that has been off limits to the public since a fire in 1980. [Chicago Sun-Times, 8-7-19]

JULY 2019 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads originated 2,578,433 carloads and intermodal units in July 2019, a decrease of 5.5 pct compared with the same month last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 8-7-19]

GENESEE & WYOMING REPORTS 2-Q DROP IN OPERATING INCOME: Shortline operator Genesee & Wyoming reported an 8.7 pct decline in operating income in the second-quarter 2019 amid year-over-year declines in freight revenue from its Australian and European operations. [Freight Waves, 8-7-19]

PLANS FOR OKLAHOMA CITY-TULSA AMTRAK SERVICE HIT SNAG: Hopes for Amtrak service linking Oklahoma City and Tulsa has suffered a major setback. Stillwater Central Railroad failed to meet a deadline for establishing a six-month pilot program for the daily service between Del City and Sapulpa, the Oklahoma Dept. of Transportation said. [Oklahoman, 8-6-19]

SEPTA'S TROLLEY TUNNEL TO CLOSE 10 DAYS FOR MAINTENANCE: SEPTA will close its five-mile trolley tunnel from 13th to 40th streets in Philadelphia for 10 days beginning Aug. 9 to perform repairs and preventive maintenance. [Progressive Railroading, 8-6-19]

BART TO UPGRADE LIGHT-RAIL POWER SYSTEM IN DOWNTOWN S.F.: Bay Area Rapid Transit crews will begin Aug. 25 work to upgrade the electrical traction power system in downtown San Francisco. Cables that power trains will be replaced by those with modern shielding. Meanwhile, on Aug. 17, crews will begin repairing the track between Orinda and Walnut Creek. Work will be performed on most weekends through October. [Progressive Railroading, 8-6-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Twenty-five percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending August 4, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 37 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 8-5-19]

LIRR TRAIN HITS, KILLS PERSON ON PORT WASHINGTON BRANCH: Full service was restored on Long Island Rail Road's Port Washington branch about three and one-half hours after a train struck and killed a person on the tracks between Little Neck and Great Neck stations early Aug. 5. No passengers were injured. [Newsday, 8-5-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN FURLOUGHS 20 AT RAIL YARD IN WILLIAMSON, W.VA.: Norfolk Southern has furloughed 20 of its employees at the rail yard in Williamson, West Virginia. The company had laid off 10 workers at that yard as recently as 2012, and 200 positions in total within the state, citing a weakness in the coal market. [Huntington Herald-Dispatch, 8-5-19]

TRAIN DERAILS INTO WASHOUT IN S.D.: Two crew members had to be rescued early Aug. 2 after a Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern Railroad freight train derailed after hitting a washout caused by flash flooding in New Underwood, South Dakota. Three locomotives and about 15 cars derailed, with the lead locomotive ending up on its side and partially submerged in water. [CBS Minnesota, 8-4-19]

CP TRAIN DERAILS IN ALBERTA: A number of rail cars of a CP train derailed late Aug. 2 near Irvine, Alberta, causing an evacuation order for a four-mile radius around the area over a risk of chemical esposure, which was later lifted. The nearby Trans-Canada Highway was also closed for several hours. No injuries were reported. [CTV News Calgary, 8-3-19]

BRX PURCHASES PIONEER RAILCORP: Related Fund Management, Brookhaven Rail Partners and Stephens Capital Partners have acquired Pioneer Railcorp, wich owns short line railroads and several other rail-related businesses. [Railway Age, 8-2-19]

VIRGIN TRAINS SEEKS TO ISSUE $3.6-B IN TAX-EXEMPT BONDS FOR TRAIN LINE TO LAS VEGAS: Virgin Trains USA is asking California and Nevada for permission to issue up to $3.6-billion in tax-exempt bonds in support of its plan to link Southern California to Las Vegas. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 8-2-19]

SHORE LINE EAST COMMUTER TRAINS RETURNING TO FULL SERVICE: Connecticut's Shore Line East commuter trains will return to full service August 5 following a year-long infrastructure improvement program which had required schedule adjustments and some bus substitutions. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 8-2-19]

NEW RIVER GORGE TRAIN TO OPERATE AGAIN THIS FALL: The New River Gorge train is set to operate this fall under new management. Trains will reportedly run October 25-27. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 8-2-19]

CP NIXES INCREASE IN HIAWATHA SERVICE WITHOUT ADDITIONAL IMPROVEMENTS: Canadian Pacific, host carrier of Amtrak's Hiawatha service between Chicago and Milwaukee, says it will not support additional service without additional infrastructure improvements in Illinois. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 8-2-19]

AMTRAK'S CITY OF NEW ORLEANS RESUMES RUN OVER ENTIRE ROUTE: Amtrak's City of New Orleans has resumed service over its entire route between Chicago and New Orleans after flooding in the lower Mississippi River subsided enough for the Bonnet Carre Spillway to be closed. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 8-2-19]

ALSTOM TO SUPPLY 13 TRAINS FOR CDG EXPRESS IN FRANCE: Alstom will supply 13 trains to the Hello Paris consortium in charge of operating the CDG Express in France. The trains will be built based on the Caradia Polyvalent range, but will be unique to CDG in terms of interior fitting and on-board information. [Progressive Railroading, 8-2-19]

CZECH RAIL LINE TO BE UPGRADED FOR 99 MPH: Work has begun to electrify and modernize the 18-mile Olomouc-Unicov rail line in Czech Republic to allow 99 MPH operation. [Railway Gazette, 8-2-19]

JULY 2019 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Eighteen (18) percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in July 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 58 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 8-1-19]

SPANISH RAIL STRIKE DISRUPTS TRAVELERS: Spanish national rail operator Renfe has canceled hundreds of trains on one of the busiest travel days of the year due to a strike over staffing levels. The company said more than 700 trains would not operate July 31. Walkouts have been slated in two periods of four hours each; others are planned for Aug. 14 and 31, and Sept. 1. [Washington Post, 7-31-19]

SOUND TRANSIT IDENTIFIES PREFERRED ALTERNATIVES FOR TACOMA DOME LINE: Sound Transit has identified four perferred and other alternatives to study as part of a draft environmental impact statement of the Tacoma, Washington, Dome Link project to extend light-rail nearly 10 miles between Federal Way and Tacoma. The project calls for construction of four elevated light-rail stations along the route. The agency plans to begin service in 2030. [Progressive Railroading, 7-30-19]

CN MOVES RECORD GRAIN VOLUME: Canadian National moved more Canadian grain during the 2018-19 crop year than ever before. It set multiple records despite restrictions on canola exports to China, and despite extreme weather conditions during the peak demand period. CN moved more than 27 million metric tons of grain, compared with the previous record of 26 million metric tons set two years earlier. [Progressive Railroading, 7-29-19]

ONE KILLED AS AMTRAK TRAIN HITS TRUCK NEAR CHICAGO: Amtrak train 393 en route to Carbondale, Illinois, was involved in a grade crossing accident late July 28 in University Park, a south suburban area of Chicago. The five-car train derailed, but remained upright, after striking a box truck, killing the driver. Two of the 297 passengers on board had minor injuries. [Railway Track & Structures, 7-29-19]

CSX FREIGHT TRAINS DISRUPT VRE, MARC SERVICE: Delays along CSX lines have worsened D.C. area rail commutes and have led to an overall decrease in ridership, Virginia Railway Express and Maryland Area Regional Commuter agencies say. On time performance has dropped significantly this summer compared to last year due to due to a number of factors, but officials say an increase in CSX freight trains is the main cause for delays and congestion. [WTOP, 7-29-19]

AMTRAK TO BEGIN NON-STOP ACELA EXPRESS TRAINS EACH WAY BETWEEN N.Y. AND WASHINGTON: Beginning Sept. 23, there will be a new weekday non-stop Acela Express round-trip between New York and Washington. The morning southbound train will make the run in two hours and 37 minutes, and the afternoon northbound train will make the run in two hours and 35 minutes. Amtrak is finalizing details on new amenities to be offered on the trains. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-26-19]

OMNITRAX AFFILIATE TO ACQUIRE WINCHESTER & WESTERN: An OmniTrax affiliate has agreed to acquire the Winchester & Western Railroad from Covia Holdings Corp. in a $105-million transaction. Winchester & Western operates about 100 miles of track in Maryland, New Jersey, West Virginia and Virginia. [Progressive Railroading, 7-26-19]

N.J., N.Y. SIGN LEGISLATION TO CREATE GATEWAY DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION: The governors of New Jersey and New York have signed into law legislation to create the bi-state Gateway Development Commission, a statuatory entity that will facilitate construction of the Hudson River tunnel project. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-26-19]

RECONFIGURATION OF LIGHT-RAIL LINE TO HOUSTON'S HOBBY AIRPORT TO CUT $400-M FROM COST: A reconfiguration of a light-rail expansion to Hobby Airport gives Houston's MTA an extra $400-million for other bus and rail projects. The plan will extend both the Green and Purple lines into a single route. With a new price tag of $1-billion, it is a decrease of $400-million from the original cost. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-26-19]

N.Y. PENN STATION IMPROVEMENTS ON SCHEDULE TO FINISH BY LABOR DAY: Amtrak says the current program is on schedule to finish improvements to New York's Penn Station by Labor Day. It is focused on the renewal of the switches in JO Interlocking, which provides access to tracks 14, 15 and 16. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-26-19]

AMTRAK, METRA NEGOTIATIONS OVER CHICAGO UNION STATION LEASE REACH AN IMPASSE: In what amounts to a lawsuit, Amtrak has asked the U.S. Surface Transportation Board to impose new lease terms on Metra's use of Amtrak's Chicago Union Station. The current contract expires July 29, and the parties have reached an 'impasse.' [Rail Passengers Assn.hotline, 7-26-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAILS IN N.C.: A Norfolk Southern train with nine rail cars carrying ethanol derailed late July 25 in Greensboro, N.C. There were no injuries, and none of the cars were leaking. [Fox 8 News, 7-26-19]

BOSTON SECTION OF LAKE SHORE LIMITED BACK TO DAILY OPERATION: Amtrak's Boston section of the Lake Shore Limited is back to daily operation following extensive trackwork. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-26-19]

AMTRAK'S STOP IN CRESTON, IOWA, MOVING TO HISTORIC STATION: Beginning August 1, Amtrak's service in Creston, Iowa, will move to the newly-restored, historic station at 116 west Adams street. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-26-19]

RUSSIAN RAILWAYS BEGINS KOREA-EUROPE FREIGHT SERVICE: Russian Railways and Russian transport group Fesco have launched a freight service operating from Korea to Europe via the Trans-Siberian Landbridge. Total transport time is about 21 days, twice as fast as shipping via the Suez Canal. The new service follows the launch of a run from Yokohama, Japan, to Wroclaw, Poland, which takes 11 days. [International Railway Journal, 7-26-19]

UNION PACIFIC HIKES DIVIDEND 10 PCT: The board of Union Pacific has voted to increase its quarterly dividend on the company's common shares by 10 pct, to 97 cents per share. [Union Pacific, 7-25-19]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN DERAILS 70 CARS IN MISSOURI: Seventy cars of a Union Pacific train derailed July 25 near Mercer, Missouri, about 125 miles northeast of Kansas City, near the Iowa border. There were no injuries, and not hazardous materials were involved. [U.S. News & World Report, 7-25-19]

RAILROADS FACE FREIGHT SLOWDOWN: Railroads are warning investors that freight shipments will continue to fall this year as the White House's trade fights hamper exports and cheap natural gas causes coal deliveries to decline. Moreover, bad weather and flooding have hurt crop production, which also impacts shipping volumes. [Albany Times Union, 7-25-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 2-Q RESULTS: Norfolk Southern reports second-quarter net income was $722-million, up 2 pct year-over-year. Diluted earnings per share were $2,70, up 8 pct year-over-year, and a second-quarter record. [Norfolk Southern, 7-24-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending July 20, 2019, U.S. rail freight traffic was 526,010 carloads and intermodal units, down 4.9 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 7-24-19]

FEDS GRANT $125-M TOWARD BALTIMORE'S HOWARD STREET TUNNEL PROJECT: Maryland will receive a $125-million grant from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation that will enable the long-planned Howard Street tunnel project to start shortly in Baltimore. The more than $450-million project, in partnership with CSX, calls for increased clearance for double-stack intermodal rail cars in the tunnel and under 22 bridges between Baltimore and Philadelphia. [Progressive Railroading, 7-23-19]

NEW ESTIMATE INFLATES PRICE FOR L.A. RAIL LINE: It could cost between $9.4-billion and $13.8-billion to build a rail line across the Santa Monica Mountains to connect the San Fernando Valley and the west side of Los Angeles, according to the L.A. County MTA. The agency is exploring four routes - three subway and one monorail - for the project, which currently only has $5.7-billion earmarked. [L.A. Times, 7-23-19]

CSX AT FAULT IN AMTRAK WRECK IN S.C., NTSB SAYS: The National Transportation Sfety Board said the failure to fully implement a train safety system delayed seven times in the past decade contributed to a wreck in South Carolina in Febr. 2018 that killed two Amtrak crew members and injured almost 100 passengers. The agency said the railroad did not have a proper safety plan for the signals being suspended, and its workers failed to follow steps to assure to flip the track back to the main line before the Amtrak train passed. [ABC Columbia, 7-23-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Sixteen (16) percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending July 21, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived two hours and six minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 7-22-19]

BICYCLIST DIES AFTER FALLING ONTO ELECTRIC TRAIN THIRD-RAIL: A bicyclist has died after falling onto an electrically-charged rapid train third-rail in Chicago. The man was riding on the platform at a Chicago Transit Blue Line station late July 19. [U.S. News & World Report, 7-20-19]

KCS REPORTS 2-Q RESULTS: Kansas City Southern reported second-quarter revenue of $714-million, a 5 pct increase on flat volumes compared with the same quarter last year. Adjusted diluted earnings per share was $1.64, up 6 pct from a year ago. [Progressive Railroading, 7-19-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN KEEPING 'IRON CURTAIN' BRIDGE IN CLEVELAND IN RAISED POSITION: After much complaining that the lift bridge over the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland created huge delays and potential safety issues in the down position, Norfolk Southern had decided its NS1 span, known as the 'Iron Curtain,' will now remain in the raised position, dropping only to serve rail traffic. [Railway Track & Structures, 7-19-19]

COMMUTER RAIL REPORT CALLS FOR $175-M IN IMPROVEMENTS TO L.A.-BURBANK-GLENDALE CORRIDOR: A Los Angeles Metro commuter rail report is recommending $175-million in improvements to the LA-Burbank-Glendale corridor with a goal of running a train every 30 minutes. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-19-19]

CANCELLATIONS, DELAYS STILL PLAGUE N.Y. TRANSIT RAIL COMMUTERS: A year after officials vowed to fix the problem, N.J. Transit says 373 trains were canceled in June, a 52 pct increase from the same month last year. A shortage of engineers has contributed to cancellations in recent weeks. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-19-19]

AMTRAK TAKES DELIVERY OF TWO NEW VIEWLINER BAGGAGE-DORM CARS: Two additional Viewliner-II baggage-dormitory cars were delivered to Amtrak earlier this week. A total of 10 of the cars are included in the order with CAF in Elmira Heights, N.Y. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-19-19]

AMTRAK TESTS VIEWLINER TRAIN ON S.W. CHIEF ROUTE: Amtrak has operated a test train on the Southwest Chief route with a consist including six Viewliner-II cars pulled by two new Charger locomotives. Amtrak is considering converting a western train with single-level equipment once the new Viewliner sleepers are delivered. Currently, all western long-distance trains run with Superliners. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-19-19]

SUNRAIL SEEKS FUNDING TOWARD EXTENSION TO DELAND, FLORIDA: Orlando's Sunrail is advancing efforts for a 12-mile extension to DeLand, Florida, and is hoping to learn this summer whether it will qualify for federal funding. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-19-19]

PLANS ADVANCE FOR INCREASE IN HIAWATHA SERVICE: Plans are advancing to expand Amtrak's Chicago-Milwaukee service from seven to ten round-trips in the next five years - one round-trip within three years, and two more in the two years following that. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-19-19]

METRA ORDERS AUTOMATED PANTOGRAPH INSPECTION SYSTEM: Duos Technologies has received a purchase order from Chicago's Metra to provide an automated pantograph inspection system designed to capture high-resolution digital video of pantographs on top of rail cars. The imagery inspects for visual damage in the form of cracks, chips and bends. [Progressive Railroading, 7-19-19]

MADRID TO EXTEND METRO LINE 11: The regional government of Madrid has announced plans for a 3.9-mile extension of Metro Line 11 from its current terminus at Plaza Eliotica to a connection with Line 6 at Conde de Casal. [International Railway Journal, 7-19-19]

UNION PACIFIC IDLES HUMP AT PROVISO YARD: Union Pacific has confirmed that it has shut down the hump at Proviso Yard in Chicago, and curtailed operations at several other yards across its system as the company reduces the number of times cars are handled en route. [Trains Magazine, 7-18-19]

COURT REJECTS COPPER MINE CLEANUP CLAIM AGAINST UNION PACIFIC: Copper minor Asarco cannot recover part of its estimated $485-million in cleanup costs at a superfund site in Idaho from Union Pacific because Asarco released its claims against the company in a previous settlement, a federal appeals court has ruled. [Reuters, 7-18-19]

SHORT LINE SAFETY INSTITUTE LAUNCHES LEADERSHIP PROGRAM: The Short Line Safety Institute has launched a leadership program focused on developing new and experienced railway managers' soft skills including communication, mentoring and coaching. The program is available free of charge, and can be made available to individual operators or groups of railways. [Railway Gazette, 7-18-19]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 2-Q RESULTS: Union Pacific reported 2019 second-quarter net income of $1.6-billion or $2.22 per diluted share. This compares to $1.5-billion or $1.98 per diluted share in the same quarter last year. Operating revenue of $5.6-billion was down 1 pct, quarterly freight revenue declined 2 pct, and operating ratio improved 3.4 points to 59.6 pct. [Union Pacific, 7-18-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending July 13, 2019, U.S. rail freight traffic was 527,908 carloads and intermodal units, down 5.6 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 7-17-19]

CSX REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: CSX's second-quarter revenue fell 1 pct to $3.06-billion compared with the same quarter last year. The company posted net earnings of $870-million or $1.08 per share. Operating income grew 2 pct to $1.31-billion, and its operating ratio improved to 57.4 pct from 58.6 pct. [Progressive Railroading, 7-17-19]

LIRR TO PLACE PRE-ASSEMBLED BRIDGE IN NEW CASSEL, N.Y.: Between July 20 and 21, crews working on the Long Island Rail Road expansion project will move a new pre-assembled bridge into place at Urban avenue in New Cassel, N.Y. [Progressive Railroading, 7-17-19]

CN TO REBUILD STEEN RIVER BRIDGE IN ALBERTA: CN will rebuild the rail bridge over the Steen River in Alberta. The bridge is a commercial link for many communities near Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories. [Progressive Railroading, 7-17-19]

VA. STRESSES NEED FOR ENHANCED PASSENGER RAIL: Virginia's secretary of transportation has presented a report on the state's Interstate-95 corridor improvement plan, explaining that 70 pct of the delays on I-95 north of Fredericksburg are due to too many cars on the road. Enhanced passenger rail has a huge role to play improving mobility, the report said. [Virginian's for High-Speed Rail, 7-17-19]

CHINESE TRAIN DEVELOPER TESTS OPERATION IN HEAT OF QATAR: China's major train-maker, CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive, is running a high-temperature test in Qatar on a vehicle developed for the Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit System. The trackless vehicle - a cross between a train, tram and bus - is tested on a 43.5-mile stretch of road in tempoeratures of 140 degrees F and a tire operating temperature of up to 194 degrees F. [XinhuaNet, 7-17-19]

AMTRAK TO BEGIN CUSTOMER-SERVICE CHANGES TO AUTO TRAIN IN JANUARY: Amtrak will launch customer service changes to its Auto Train starting in Jan. 2020. They will include an expansion of sleeping-car accommodation availability, and added dining options with its 'Cross-Country Cafe.' Coach passengers will no longer have complimentary dinner service, but will receive a complimentary breakfast in the morning. Food trucks will be available onsite at the Lorton and Sanford end points. [Progressive Railroading, 7-16-19]

SEPTA TO INTRODUCE 'RIDER-FRIENDLY' TRANSIT TOOLS: SEPTA is expanding its use of new maps and communication tools to make it easier for riders to use transit. The agency is adding frequency-based transit maps that will be installed at stations with route colors to correspond to frequency of service. They will incorporate the Market-Frankford line, Broad Street line, six trolley lines and 19 frequent bus routes. [Progressive Railroading, 7-16-19]

UNITED RAIL ACQUIRES KEY HOLIDAYS, KEY TOURS: United Rail, a short-line consolidator, has acquired the assets of California-based Key Holidays and Key Tours International. Key Holidays is designated as a ticketing and regional tour operator for Amtrak tours in the western United States. Key charter trains are a combination of Amtrak cars and private rail cars with optional hotel package. [Progressive Railroading, 7-16-19]

CP REPORTS RECORD 2-Q RESULTS: Canadian Pacific reported a record-setting second-quarter, during which revenue climbed 13 pct comapred with the same quarter last year to $1.98-billion (C). Adjusted income was $602-million or $4.30 per share, and operating ration was 58.4 pct. [Progressive Railroading, 7-16-19]

CREWS CONTINUE TO CLEAN UP FROM NORFOLK SOUTHERN DERAILMENT IN GREAT DISMAL SWAMP: Cleanup crews in Virginia's Great Dismal Swamp continue making slow progress following the Norfolk Southern train derailment June 25 when 36 cars carrying 3,500 tons of coal fell into the swamp. The company says it will be another week or two for the cleanup to be complete, weather permitting. [Virginian-Pilot, 7-16-19]

HYUNDAI ROTEM DEVELOPS HEAT-RESISTANT TRACTION MOTOR: Korean manufacturer Hyundai Rotem has developed a class 220 insulated heat-resistant electric traction motor, which it says performs normal insulation functions in environments of up to 428 degrees F. The company says the class 220 ensures high reliability in tropical climates and during summer heat waves. [International Railway Journal, 7-16-19]

POWER OUTAGE SNARLS N.Y. SUBWAY TRAINS: Part of the New York City subway system in Manhattan was cloaked in darkness as part of a massive power outage late July 13. Trains stopped and lights went out just before 7PM, and power began to be restored around 10PM. [Railway Track & Structures, 7-15-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN RETURNING TO NORMAL IN NEW ORLEANS FOLLOWING STORM: Norfolk Southern says it is returning to normal operations in the New Orleans area following hurricane Barry. Traffic headed to or through the city will be delayed 24 to 48 hours, the railroad said. [Railway Track & Structures, 7-15-19]

MBTA BEGINS TRACK, SIGNAL WORK ON GREEN LINE: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has begun track and signal work on the Green line between Newton Highlands and Kenmore. Work is expected to be finished by Dec. 20. [Progressive Railroading, 7-15-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifteen (15) percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending July 14, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived two hours and three minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 7-15-19]

CUBA'S CHINESE-MADE TRAIN STARTS ITS FIRST RUN: Cuba's first new train cars to run in over four decades pulled out of Havana July 13 to begin their 516-mile, 15-hour journey to Guantanamo on the eastern end of the island. Cuba received a shipment of 80 shiny blue Chinese-made rail cars as part of the government's rail modernization project, with a total of 250 pieces of equipment due to arrive by the end of the year. In the meantime, tracks need to be upgraded before the trains may be allowed to operate at full speeds. [Deutsche Welle, 7-13-19]

AMTRAK TO EXPAND 'CONTEMPORARY' DINING SERVICE: Beginning October 1, Amtrak will expand its contemporary dining service (which it had previously introduced to the Capitol and Lake Shore limiteds) to the other long-distance trains currently having dining cars east of the Mississippi River. Western long-distance trains are not affected by the change. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-12-19]

PERSON STRUCK BY METRA TRAIN: Service was halted early July 12 on Metra's BNSF line after inbound train 1250 hit a pedestrian near the Berwyn, Illinois, station. Train service was halted for at least one hour until one of the tracks was reopened. [Chicago Sun-Times, 7-12-19]

REDLANDS PASSENGER RAIL PROJECT CONSTRUCTION BEGINS: The San Bernardino County Transportation Authority has begun construction on the $355-million Redlands Passenger Rail Project for a nine-mile regional route to operate between San Bernardino and Redlands, California. [Progressive Railroading, 7-12-19]

WALK BRIDGE PROJECT IN CONNECTICUT MAY PROCEED, COURT RULES: A U.S. District Court judge has rejected arguments by opponents of a the planned project to replace the 122-year-old movable railroad bridge in Norwalk, Connecticut, clearing the way for the project to move ahead. The opponents had argued that there are less expensive alternatives for replacing of repairing the span. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-12-19]

VIRGIN TRAINS TO IDENTIFY NEW STATIONS FOR MIAMI-W. PALM BEACH ROUTE: Virgin Trains USA reportedly plans to announce up to three new stations to be added to the existing Miami to West Palm Beach route before the end of the year. Hollywood and Boca Raton are likely to be included. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-12-19]

W.VA. MAY LOSE TWO OF THREE MARC TRAINS SERVING MARTINSBURG: Negotiations between West Virginia and Maryland over MARC trains serving Martinsburg, Duffields and Harpers Ferry are reportedly now focusing on which trains will be eliminated. Currently three weekday round-trips are offered, but with a shortfall in funding by West Virginia it is likely that service will be reduced to just one round-trip, possibly beginning this fall. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-12-19]

SINKHOLE SHUTS DOWN LIGHT-RAIL OPERATIONS IN BALTIMORE: It has been a week of water-related havoc in Baltimore, which has disrupted its light-rail service. Two water mains broke, and a train derailed in the Howard street tunnel. A light-rail platform collapsed as a result of the sinkhole, and flowable fill was being pumped below ground in an attempt to stabilize the area. It could take weeks before light-rail will be up and running through the city. [Railway Track & Structures, 7-12-19]

EUROPEAN UNION TO FUND LATVIAN RAIL ELECTRIFICATION PROJECT: The European Union cohesion fund will invest $359-million to electrify 191 miles of Latvia's main east-west railway network and replace diesel locomotives. [International Railway Journal, 7-12-19]

SAN MARTIN LINE VIADUCT OPENS IN BUENOS AIRES: Passenger trains have begun operating along a new three-track elevated section of the San Martin line in Buenos Aires as part of a $500-million project to upgrade and electrify the line. The three-mile elevated section has eliminated 11 grade crossings. [International Railway Journal, 7-12-19]

DEADLY TRAIN WRECK IN PAKISTAN: A passenger train rammed into a freight train at a railway station in southern Pakistan July 11, killing at least 20 people and injuring about 74 others, some critically. The freight train was stationary when the speeding passenger train struck it at Walhur station in Punjab province. [Spectrum Bay News, 7-11-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending July 6, 2019, U.S. rail freight traffic was 448,459 carloads and intermodal units, down 7.5 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 7-10-19]

WABTEC TO PROVIDE PTC FOR IOWA NORTHERN: Wabec has been selected to provide fully integrated positive train-control, digital imaging and data transfer and analytics capabilities for Iowa Northern Railway. [Railway Age, 7-10-19]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN DERAILS IN NEVADA: Dozens of brand-new autos and pickup trucks that were en route to destination by Union Pacific train were destroyed July 10 after 33 rail cars derailed near Caliente, Nevada. The train also had cars with hazardous materials, but they were not impacted by the incident. [Fox 13 Salt Lake City, 7-10-19]

RAIL WORKER STRUCK, KILLED BY TRAIN IN PHILADELPHIA: A54-year-old commuter railroad worker in Philadelphia was struck and killed by a train while working on the tracks late July 8 at SEPTA's Erie station on the Broad Street line. Another worker was taken to a hospital with minor injuries, investigators said. [Virginian-Pilot, 7-9-19]

LIRR STATION TO BE BUILT AT ELMONT, N.Y.: A Long Island Rail Road station will be built to serve the Elmont community as part of a project to redevelop Belmont Park, N.Y., into an arena and entertainment complex. It will be located between the Queens Village and Bellerose stations. [Progressive Railroading, 7-9-19]

KENNETH LAWSON DIES, RAIL RESEARCH, PLANNING OFFICIAL: Kenneth L. Lawson, 90, who had a distinguished career in railway engineering, planning, research and development, died last month. His career spanned work with the Federal Railroad Administration as senior engineer of rail systems research and development; was instrumental in establishing the transportation test center at Pueblo, Colorado; oversaw development and testing of the original Metroliner trains; initiated track and dynamics research for high-speed rail; and provided technical support for the creation of Amtrak. [Railway Age, 7-9-19]

NEW TRAINS TO BE ORDERED FOR ESTONIA: Estonia's passenger rail operator Elron will be ordering four bi-mode multiple-units and two electric multiple-units to supplement its fleet of Stadler Flirt trains in response to increasing demand. [International Railway Journal, 7-9-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: The Bull Sheet has calculated that 18 percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending July 7, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 39 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 7-8-19]

PASSENGER RAIL RETURNS TO FREIGHT-ONLY LINE IN GERMANY: Passenger rail service was reintroduced July 6 on the 17-mile Bad Bentheim-Neuenhaus route in Germany following an upgrade to a freight-only line that had no passenger trains since 1974. [Railway Gazette, 7-8-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAILS AT HORSESHOE CURVE: There were no injuries in a derailment of 11 cars late July 5 at Horseshoe Curve in Pennsylvania. Norfolk Southern crews continued clearing the tracks July 6. All cars were empty, and eight were on their sides. [Altoona Mirror, 7-7-19]

KCS PRESIDENT, CEO GETTING RAILROAD INNOVATOR AWARD: Progressive Railroading and RailTrends have named Kansas City Southern president and CEO Patrick Ottensmeyer the 2019 recipient of the Railroad Innovator Award. [RailTrends, 7-8-19]

U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC DECLINES IN JUNE: U.S. railroads remained in a rut last month. June was the fifth straight month that carloads and intermodal traffic declined on a year-over-year basis, according to the Association of American Railroads. Carload traffic dropped 5.3 pct, and intermodal traffic was down 7.2 pct, compared with June 2018 figures. [Progressive Railroading, 7-5-19]

CREWS REMOVING LAST DERAILED TRAIN CAR IN PORT HURON TUNNEL: CN rail crews are reportedly removing the last train car derailed June 28 in the international tunel between Port Huron, Michigan, and Canada. About 40 cars derailed in the tunnel, spurring the spill of more than 13,000 gallons of surfuric acid. [Times Herald, 7-5-19]

BNSF SUED OVER MEDICAL DOCUMENTATION: A group of unions is suing BNSF alleging its practices for requiring medical documentation violate the American With Disabilities Act. The suit alleges the practices require a new diagnosis for a number of health issues and to require employees to provide new medical information in violation of regulations. [Cook County Record, 7-5-19]

HEARTLAND INTERMODAL GATEWAY IN W.VA. MAY HAVE TO CLOSE: Once touted as a key economic development tool in West Virginia, the $32-million Heartland Intermodal Gateway. the only intermodal facility in the state, is likely to shut down this fall. Norfolk Southern, which donated much of the property for the facility, says it will stop service to it in October unless the railroad is able to reach a 15,000-container annual threshold. Only 68 containers were handled in May. The state is losing about $500,000 a year operating the facility. [Transport Topics, 7-3-19]

TRI-VALLEY RELEASES STUDY FOR VALLEY LINK: The board of Tri-Valley-San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority has released a feasibility study for Valley Link, which would connect San Joaquin communities with Bay Area Rapid Transit and Altamont Corridor Express. The report examines options for alignment of the 41-mile corridor, placement for seven train stations, and system integration. The project is expected to cost $1.8-billion and take up to seven years to complete. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-3-19]

AMTRAK ADDS THRUWAY BUS BETWEEN MILWAUKEE AND GREEN BAY: Amtrak has initiated new thruway bus service between Milwaukee and Green Bay. It will also include intermediate stops in De Pere, Appleton, Oshkosh and Fond du Lac along the Int-41 corridor with two daily round-trips, and connect with Hiawatha service. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-3-19]

RECOMMENDED ALIGNMENTS FOR NORTHERN CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED SECTIONS PUBLISHED: California High-Speed Rail Authority has published its recommended alignments for two sections of its planned line in northern California. The alignment of the 51-mile San Francisco-San Jose section is as previously defined, with trains to share tracks with commuter service. The 83-mile San Jose-Merced section is recommended to share existing Union Pacific corridor to Gilroy with two passenger tracks designed for maximum speed of 109 MPH, and a third track for freights. [Railway Gazette, 7-3-19]

STEEL TIES OFFER COST, OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCIES: Railroads have a variety of crosstie options - wood, concrete, composite, and steel. Wood ties have disposal costs, a tightening supply, concerns about durability, and environmental impact of creosote. Concrete and composite ties can be quite expensive. Steel ties address many of the concerns operators focus on, including lower installation and lifecycle costs, reduced environmental impact, and longer in-service life. [Progressive Railroading, 7-3-19]

SOUTH SHORE DOUBLE-TRACK PROJECT MOVES FORWARD: The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District has completed the development phase of the capital investment grant program for its double-track project along the South Shore line from Gray to Michigan City, Indiana. It includes 17 miles of new track, four new bridges, station and parking improvements at five stations, street-running removal, and the closure of 21 grade crossings in Michigan City. [Progressive Railroading, 7-3-19]

RAFAEL SANTANA NAMED PRESIDENT, CEO OF WABTEC: Wabtec has announced that Rafael Santana will take over as president and chief executive officer, replacing Ray Belter, who is retiring. [Progressive Railroading, 7-3-19]

GREENBRIER COS REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: The Greenbrier Cos. reported net earnings of $15.2-million or 46 cents per diluted share, and revenue of $856.2-million in its third fiscal quarter. Greenbrier received orders for about 6,500 new rail cars, valued at $730-million in the quarter. [Progressive Railroading, 7-3-19]

EAGLE RAILCAR SERVICES EXPANDING WITH ACQUISITION: Eagle Railcar Services has entered into a purchase agreement to acquire the assets and personnel of the Rescar Cos. plant services division. The acquisition adds five full-service railcar repair and maintenance facilities to Eagle's current network. [Progressive Railroading, 7-3-19]

JIMMY MAY NAMED DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS OF BIRMINGHAM RAIL & LOCOMOTIVE: Birmingham Rail & Locomotive has named Jimmy May director of operations for its locomotive division. He joined the company from CSX, where he had worked as a mechanical manager. [Progressive Railroading, 7-3-19]

MBTA BREAKS GROUND ON SOUTH COAST RAIL LINE: The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has broken ground on Phase 1 of its South Coast Rail Line. This phase will connect Taunton, Fall River, New Bedford and the surrounding areas to Boston, with service planned to begin in 2023. [Railway Track & Structures, 7-2-19]

JUNE 2019 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Twenty-one percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in June 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 47 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 7-1-19]

GENESEE & WYOMING TO BE ACQUIRED: Genesee & Wyoming has agreed to be acquired by Brookfield Infrastructure Partners, subject to approval by at least two-thirds of its stockholders, and become a privately-held company by early 2020. The transaction is valued at about $8.4-billion, including outstanding debt. [Progressive Railroading, 7-1-19]

BNSF TRAIN DERAILS INTO MISSISSIPPI RIVER: A mudslide caused a BNSF freight train to derail and fall into the Mississippi River in Glen Haven, Wisconsin, July 1. There were no injuries. [WMTV, 7-1-19]

RUSH-HOUR RAIL SERVICE ON AMTRAK'S NORTHEAST CORRIDOR IN N.J. DISRUPTED BY FIRE: A fire on board an Amtrak maintenance-of-way train forced the suspension of service on the Northeast Corridor during the height of the evening commute July 1. Trains were halted for about two hours between Trenton and Jersey avenue, and the backup was described as 'massive.' [ABC7 NY, 7-1-19]

COAL STILL BEING MOVED FROM GREAT DISMAL SWAMP FOLLOWING NORFOLK SOUTHERN DERAILMENT: Cleanup crews working in the Great Dismal Swamp removed about 15 truck loads of coal over the weekend following the July 25 derailment near Norfolk, said the swamp's refuge manager. The coal will be removed before the 36 damaged railroad cars are hauled out, a process that could take up to three weeks. Meanwhile, soil and water samples are being tested for contamination. [Virginian-Pilot, 7-1-19]

MIDDLE-SCHOOL STUDENT HAS PLAN FOR MAGNETS AS ENERGY-EFFICIENCY TOOL FOR TRAINS: One of ten middle-school students reaching the finals of the 3M Young Scientist Challenge, Caroline Crouchley, introduced an idea involving using magnets to make trains more energy-efficient. [Fast Company online, 7-1-19]

HOOSIER STATE TO MAKE FINAL RUN JUNE 30: Colonial Crafts, a private rail car that once was part of Pennsylvania Railroad's Broadway Limited between New York and Chicago, is slated to run on Amtrak's Hoosier State train between Indianapolis and Chicago on Sunday, June 30. The Hoosier State will stop running after that day because Indiana cut $3-million funding for the train. [Lafayette Journal & Courier, 6-28-19]

TRAIN DERAILS IN PORT HURON TUNNEL, LEAKING ACID: Crews on both sides of the St. Clair River are working with CN Rail in Port Huron, Michigan, to clean up a sulfuric acid spill in the train tunnel that runs under 10th street to Canada after a derailment of around 40 cars and a locomotive early June 28. According to the railroad, 13,700 gallons of the acid leaked. [Port Huron Times Herald, 6-28-19]

ALASKA R.R. PENS AGREEMENT ON RAIL CONNECTION TO LOWER 48 STATES: Alaska Railroad and Alaska to Alberta Railway Development Corp. have signed a master agreement to cooperate to build a 1,500-mile connection between the Alaska Railroad and Canadian railroads that serve the Lower 48. [Must Read Alaska, 6-27-19]

AMTRAK SEEKS TO RAISE SEPTA'S ANNUAL RENT FOR LAND TO $1.5-M: SEPTA has paid Amtrak one dollar a year for the past 32 years to use land along the tracks. Now Amtrak wants to raise the rent to $1.5-million, and is suing to get the money. The land involved is used by SEPTA for stations and parking, not for use of the tracks themselves, which is covered under a separate agreement. [Philadelphia Inquirer, 6-26-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending June 22, 2019, U.S. rail freight traffic was 525,116 carloads and intermodal units, down 5.8 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 6-26-19]

FRA TO BEGIN APP-BASED INSPECTION SYSTEM TO REPLACE HANDWRITTEN NOTES: The Federal Railroad Administration has partnered with DMI to launch an app-based inspection system designed to replace handwritten notes and outdated palm devices to gather defect data. Called the portable inspection reporting tool, the system will use voice-recognition software. [Progressive Railroading, 6-25-19]

VIRGIN TRANS BREAKS GROUND ON ORLANDO PASSENGER RAIL LINE: Virgin Trains USA has broken ground on an extension of its privately-funded passenger rail line from West Palm Beach to Orlando. The company, formerly Brightline, is developing 170 miles of new track into the completed intermodal facility at Orlando International Airport. [Progressive Railroading, 6-25-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN COAL TRAIN DERAILS NEAR NORFOLK, AMTRAK DISRUPTED: Amtrak service to and from Norfolk was canceled after a Norfolk Southern coal train derailed near the Portlock area of Chesapeake, Va., near Norfolk, early June 25. No injuries were reported. [Virginian-Pilot, 6-25-19]

KEOLIS LAUNCHES LIGHT-RAIL OPERATION IN WATERLOO, ONTARIO: Keolis has launched its first North American light-rail operation on a nearly 10-mile light-rail line in the Waterloo region of Ontario. [Progressive Railroading, 6-25-19]

AMTRAK DOWNEASTER TURNING AWAY PASSENGERS: Several of Amtrak's Downeaster trains run full in what is expected to be a record year, but adding cars to those trains does not make economic sense. The Downeaster has about 16 cars, which must be divided between three train sets. Two of the trains run twice a day, and the other goes just once. Staff can switch a car here or there, but they cannot switch too many cars, as they will be out of position for succeeding runs. The Downeaster is considering adding another run, but staff knows that people want to ride at prime times, and the trains are not available. [News Center Maine, 6-24-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Eighteen (18) percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending June 23, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 45 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 6-23-19]

FEDS GRANT $300-M TO BART: The Federal Transit Administration will allocate $300-million to improve capacity on the Bay Area Rapid Transit's heavy-rail system between Oakland and San Francisco. [Progressive Railroading, 6-21-19]

AMTRAK, CALIFORNIA CANCEL HIGH-SPEED TRAIN MANUFACTURING AGREEMENT: Amtrak and the California High-Speed Rail Authority have canceled a joint agreement seeking companies to build high-speed trains. The parties said their needs are too different, and manfacturers are not yet ready to build trains that can run on both Amtrak's line and the hgih-speed corridors planned for the state's system. [San Mateo Daily Journal, 6-21-19]

ELECTRICAL POWER PROBLEM STRANDS NEC TRAINS: Amtrak and NJ Transit passengers experienced significant service delays early June 19 due to an overhead power issue between Trenton and Philadelphia. All trains traveling between New York and North Philadelphia were stopped. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 6-21-19]

EUROPEAN RAIL OPERATORS SEEK END TO TAX-FREE STATUS OF AVIATION FUEL: European rail operators have called on the European Union's finance inisters to end the tax-free exemption of aviation fuel, which they say contributes to a price imbalance between transport modes, resulting in an 'uneven playing field.' [International Railway Journal, 6-21-19]

SOUND TRANSIT RECEIVES FIRST LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLE OF LATEST ORDER: Sound Transit has received the first light-rail vehicle of the agency's $642.5-million order for 152 vehicles from Siemens. One to three vehicles per month will be delivered through 2024. [Progressive Railroading, 6-20-19]

VA. APPROVES $774-M FOR PASSENGER RAIL: The Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board has approved $774-million in funding to sustain and improve the state's passenger rail network. Rail service will increase by 16 pct, reliability and travel times will improve, and Amtrak stations will be upgraded under the funding. [Virginians for High Speed Rail, 6-20-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending June 15, 2019, U.S. rail freight originations was 527,989 carloads and intermodal units, down 5.4 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 6-19-19]

FEDS GRANT $2.8-M TOWARD SOUTH SHORE TRACK UPGRADE: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has awarded a $2.8-million railroad safety grant to the Chicago South Shore & South Bend Railroad to upgrade 7.5 miles of track between Michigan City ad LaPorte, Indiana. The project will replace the existing 90-pound rail with 115-pound rail. [WFYL, 6-18-19]

ADDITION OF TWO SIEMENS CHARGER LOCOMOTIVES AUTHORIZED FOR COASTER SERVICE: The board of North County Transit District of San Diego has authorized the purchase of two additional Siemens SC-44 Charger diesel locomotives, pending receipt of funding. The procurement is part of a plan to increase Coaster frequency to 30-minute headways during peak times. [Progressive Railroading, 6-18-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Twenty-six percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending June 16, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 38 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 6-17-19]

BOMBARDIER TO OPEN RAILCAR ASSEMBLY SITE IN CALIFORNIA: Bombardier Transportation will be opening a railcar assembly site in Pittsburg, California, to free up space at the company's site in New York State. The first equipment off the assembly line in California will be for Bay Area Rapid Transit's 775-car order. As of May 1, BART has received 84 railcars, with 48 currently in service. [Progressive Railroading, 6-17-19]

RAIL LINE IN N.Z. REOPENED FOLLOWING STORM DAMAGE REHAB: KiwiRail in New Zealand has completed rehabilitation of its 71-mile Napier-Wairoa line, which had been out of service since Dec. 2012 due to storm damage. [Railway Gazette, 6-17-19]

FULL STEAM AHEAD FOR UNION PACIFIC'S BIG BOY MIDWEST TOUR: The newly-restored Union Pacific Big Boy 4014 is returning to the rails for its own 'Great Race Across the Midwest.' The locomotive will leave Cheyenne July 8, making brief stops in communities along its route through Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Twenty-five Big Boys were built for Union Pacific to handle the steep terrain between Cheyenne and Ogden. Eight are still in existence, but only 4014 is currently operating. [Railway Track & Structures, 6-14-19]

FRA AWARDS $32.9-M TOWARD RESTORATION OF PASSENGER RAIL BETWEEN NEW ORLEANS & MOBILE: The Southern Rail Commission has been awarded up to $32.9 from the Federal Railroad Administration to restore intercity passenger rail service along the Gulf Coast between New Orleans and Mobile. [International Railway Journal, 6-14-19]

AMTRAK TO ACQUIRE 52 MILES OF CSX TRACK IN FLORIDA: The Federal Railroad Administration has awarded Amtrak up to $3.85-million for rehabilitation of 52 miles of CSX's A-Line between Palatka and DeLand, Florida, in use by Auto Train, Silver Meteor and Silver Star. CSX will transfer the renovated track's ownership to Amtrak, the first significant acquisition by Amtrak in recent times of a line used solely for long-distance trains, not part of a state-supported corridor. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 6-14-19]

MARTA APPROVES $2.7-BILLION IN EXPANSION PROJECTS: The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority has approved the timeline for $2.7-billion in expansion projects. Included are 14 miles of bus rapid transit, 22 miles of arterial rapid transit, and 29 new miles of light-rail. [Progressive Railroading, 6-14-19]

PALMETTO RAILWAYS TO SERVE NEW PLASTICS TRANSLOAD FACILITY IN S.C.: Frontier Logistics has broken ground on a new warehouse facility that will support the handling of plastics and resin exports from the Port of Charleston, S.C. The facility will be built on 26 acres of a former Navy base in North Charleston, and will be served by Palmetto Railways with connections to Norfolk Southern and CSX. [Progressive Railroading, 6-14-19]

MBTA SUFFERS MAJOR DERAILMENT: The Massachusetts Bay Transait Authority was thrown into chaos this week as a major derailment on the Red Line caused shutdowns, massive delays and signal outages. The derailment happened just outside the JFK/UMass stop early June 10, taking out a number of critical system sheds next to the tracks leading into the station. There were no injuries. This followed a Green Line trolley derailment two days earlier, and was the fifth such incident so far this year. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 6-14-19]

WHITE HOUSE DROPS PROPOSAL REQUIRING TWO CREW MEMBERS ON LOCOMOTIVES: The White House has pulled a stalled Obama-era proposal that would have mandated two crew members in most locomotives, and has banned states from requiring railroads to do so. At least nine states have laws that mandate crew size, but the Federal Railroad Administration will not allow individual states to regulate staffing of train crews. [Washington Post, 6-13-19]

TEXAS RANKS NO. 1 IN R.R. CROSSING ACCIDENTS: Texas tops the list for the number of railroad crossing accidents with a total of 1,223 such accidents from 2014 to 2018, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. [KSAT, 6-13-19]

WARSAW ORDERS 123 LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES: Warsaw Tramways has signed a $490-million contract with Hyundai Rotem for 123 low-floor light-rail vehicles, with an option for 90 additional vehicles. [International Railway Journal, 6-13-19]

BABY BORN ON TRAIN GIVEN FREE RAIL TRAVEL FOR 25 YEARS: A baby girl who was born on an Irish train has been given 25 years of free rail travel. The unscheduled arrival happened June 11 with the help of a doctor and two nurses who happened to be on the train, and Irish Rail has said it will provide free transport to the girl up to the age of 25. [BBC News, 6-13-19]

EMPIRE BUILDER MARKS 90TH ANNIVERSARY: June 10 marked the 90th anniversary of the Empire Builder route across the northern U.S. from Chicago to Seattle and Portland. The service was inaugurated by the Great Northern Railway and was named for James Hill, known as the 'empire builder.' Amtrak assumed the train in 1971, and it was rerouted to include Milwaukee as one of its stops. [Progressive Railroading, 6-12-19]

COOS BAY RAIL LINE REHABS 37 TIMBER BRIDGES: The Coos Bay Rail Line in Oregon has completed a $2.3-mile rehabilitation project on 37 of its timber bridges. The 134-mile line is owned and operated by the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay with 10 shippers. [Progressive Railroading, 6-12-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending June 8, 2019, U.S. rail freight traffic was 513,099 carloads and intermodal units, down 8.5 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 6-12-19]

AMTRAK TO RESUME ONE ROUND-TRIP TRAIN BETWEEN ST. LOUIS AND KANSAS CITY: Amtrak has announced it is restoring one of the two daily Missouri River Runner round-trips between St. Louis and Kansas City, beginning June 13. [Missourian, 6-12-19]

SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS, UNION STATION REOPENED: Amtrak and CTrail trains returned to Union Station in Springfield, Massachusetts, June 10 after previously using a temporary stop as part of a station upgrade project. [Progressive Railroading, 6-11-19]

SUMMERTIME EXTENSION OF DOWNEASTER FALLS THROUGH AGAIN: For the second summer in a row, plans to extend Amtrak's Downeaster north of Brunswick, Maine, through Rockland for a limited seasonal schedule have fallen through. [Bangor Daily News, 6-11-19]

NTSB CONFIRMS RAIL WORKER STRUCK, KILLED BY REMOTE-CONTROL LOCOMOTIVE IN APRIL: A remote-control locomotive struck and killed a CSX employee working in the Wauhatchie Rail yard in Chattanooga, Tennessee, back on April 13, the National Transportation Safety Board has confirmed. The employee had worked for CSX for 24 years. [Railway Track & Structures, 6-11-19]

MEGASTATION ENVISIONED FOR CHICAGO'S SOUTH LOOP: A bill approved by the Illinois Legislature includes a provision to enable the state to cooperate with a private developer to build a new Amtrak/Metra/Chicago Transit 'megastation' in Chicago's South Loop as part of a vision called 'One Central.' [International Railway Journal, 6-10-19]

WISCONSIN COMMITTEE APPROVES FUNDS FOR INCREASING HIAWATHA SERVICE: The Wisconsin Legislature Budget Committee has approved a $35-million proposed expansion of Amtak service between Milwaukee and Chicago by adding three more roundtrips a day. However, the committee did not approve an additional $10-million to complete final design and construction of a second daily train between Milwaukee and St. Paul. [Progressive Railroading, 6-10-19]

LIRR TO BEGIN PENN STATION CONSTRUCTION PROJECT: Long Island Rail Road officials say construction of a new Penn Station entrance at 33rd sreet and Seventh avenue in New York will begin June 17. Included will be widened corridors, heightened ceilings, improved lighting and safety. [Progressive Railroading, 6-10-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Twenty-four percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending June 9, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived two hours and 10 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 6-10-19]

STADLER SEES SUCCESS ON SIX AXLES: Stadler says that its family of six-axle diesel, electric and bi-mode Eurodual locomotives are 30 to 40 pct better in terms of track forces than most of the four-axle locomotives in use around Europe today. The company continues to extend the capability of the Eurodual as it seeks to establish what it terms a 'universal loco.' [Railway Gazette, 6-10-19]

ILLINOIS APPROVES FUNDING FOR AMTRAK SERVICE: The Illinois Legislature has approved an increase in investment for Amtrak service. Included are $500-million to launch two services from Chicago to the Quad Cities and Rockford, and eventually Dubuque; $100-million for upgrades to CN-owned track between Chicago and Carbondale; and $400-million with funding for the 75th street project to reduce congestion of Amtrak and Metra lines on Chicago's South Side. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 6-7-19]

SOUND TRANSIT TO BEGIN CONSTRUCTION OF HILLTOP TACOMA LINK EXTENSION: Sound Transit on June 20 will begin construction on the 2.4-mile Hilltop Tacoma Link Extension that will operate along Commerce street and Stadium way to Tacoma's Hilltop district, and will continue through September 4. [Progressive Railroading, 6-7-19]

CP OPENS AUTOMOTIVE COMPOUND IN VANCOUVER: Canadian Pacific this week marked the opening of its new Vancouver, B.C., Automotive Compound to handle vehicles made in North America for imported through the Port of Vancouver for distribution in B.C., parts of Alberta,and northern Washington state. The 19-acre facility is adjacent to CP's Vancouver Intermodal Terminal. [Progressive Railroading, 6-7-19]

SEOUL ORDERS 336 METRO CARS: Seoul Metro has awarded Woojin Industrial Systems a contract worth about $314.7-million to supply 336 metro cars. The new trains use a permanent magnet synchronous motor which saves up to 30 pct in energy consumption compared with induction motors. [International Railway Journal, 6-7-19]

SCHOOL BUS DRIVER INDICTED IN STUDENT'S DEATH IN CROSSING ACCIDENT: A 78-year-old school bus driver has been indicted for manslaughter in the death of a middle-school student when his bus was struck by a Union Pacific train Jan. 25 in Texas. A second student on the bus was severely injured. [ABC News, 6-6-19]

TWO APPOINTED TO AMTRAK MANAGEMENT POSTS: Amtrak has named Tracie Winbigler executive vice-president and chief financial officer, effective June 24, and Stephen Gardner has been named chief operating and commercial officer. [Progressive Railroading, 6-6-19]

MAY 2019 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail carload and intermodal originations were 2,607,355 in May 2019, down 4.1 pct compared with May 2018. [Association of American Railroads, 6-5-19]

AMTRAK UPGRADING SLOWEST BALTIMORE-WASHINGTON TRACK TO HIGHER SPEED: Amtrak is now upgrading its lowest-speed track between Baltimore and Washington to 125 MPH capability to further accommodate Acela train service. The 31-mile stretch of track is one of three main tracks, but the affected track does not currently meet the 125 MPH standard that the other two tracks already have. The improvement will avoid congestion and reduce delays, and the project is expected to be complete by 2021. [WTOP, 6-4-19]

UNION PACIFIC WORKS TO CLEAN UP FROM FLOOD DAMAGE: Union Pacific has been working around the clock in its attempt to restore service for customers, and has already invested about $70-million in the cleanup effort. The company's track in Nebraska has been hit the hardest. [Railway Track & Structures, 6-4-19]

VIA RAIL REPORTS 1-Q RIDERSHIP, REVENUE GAINS: VIA Rail Canada has reported first-quarter rail ridership increased 5.1 pct to 1,145,000 riders, and passenger revenue rose 8.4 pct to $77.6-million (C), compared with the same quarter last year. The results represent VIA Rail's 13the consecutive quarter of ridership increase, and 20th straight quarter of revenue growth. [Progressive Railroading, 6-4-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN PREPARES TO ROLL OUT PRECISION RAILROADING PLAN: Norfolk Southern is preparing to roll out TOP21, the railroad's new 'precision railroading' operating plan, to increase operating efficiencies. TOP21 is a key initiative of the company's new three-year strategic plan in all aspects of business operations. The first phase will focus on the general merchandise market. [Norfolk Southern, 6-4-19]

CSX SELLS FLORIDA PANHANDLE LINE: RailUSA has announced its acquisition of the CSX 430-mile Florida Panhandle line and related real estate. The line, now named Florida Gulf & Atlantic, operates from Baldwin to Pensacola, passing through Tallahassee, with a connecting to Attapulgus, Georgia. [RailUSA, 6-3-19]

SUPREME COURT DECLINES AAR REQUEST ON AMTRAK PERFORMANCE STANDARDS: The U.S. Supreme Court has declined a request from the Association of American Railroads to review a lower-court ruling regarding the authority of Amtrak and the Federal Railroad Administration to establish on-time performance metrics and standards for Amtrak operation on host freight railroads. [Trains Magazine, 6-3-19]

MAY 2019 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Twenty-seven percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in May, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 33 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 6-1-19]

CN BLOCKS AMTRAK DUE TO SPILLWAY CONCERN: Canadian National is requiring passengers on Amtrak's City of New Orleans to disembark at Jackson, Mississippi, and use chartered buses from that point to Hazelhurst, Brookhaven, McComb, Hammond and New Orleans. CN has cited the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway, despite the fact that CN is running freight trains across the bridge daily. Moreover, CN has also denied requests to allow the train to run as far as McComb or Hammond, where there is room to turn the train around and reduce the time passengers must spend on a bus. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 5-31-19]

COLORADO TO STUDY COMMUTER RAIL BETWEEN PUEBLO AND FORT COLLINS: Colorado is accepting applications to study the possibility of bringing a commuter rail line to the 173-mile Front Range between Pueblo and Fort Collins. More than 1.7 million people are expected to move into the region by 2045. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 5-31-19]

I-20 CORRIDOR COUNCIL SUPPORTS RAIL SERVICE CONNECTING TEXAS WITH MISSISSIPPI: The I-20 Corridor Council, a group founded in 2004 to re-establish passenger rail along the I-20 corridor, met May 30 to announce joint plans with Amtrak to connect Marshall, Texas, and Meridian, Mississippi, via existing rail. The proposed route would bring a daily round-trip which would also connect a number of schools along the corridor, such as Gambling State and Marshall University. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 5-31-19]

AMTRAK SUSPENDING SERVICE BETWEEN ST. LOUIS AND FORT WORTH: Amtrak says flooding is forcing it to suspend service between St. Louis and Fort Worth until June 7. Amtrak said flooding has diverted freight train traffic onto tracks used by its Texas Eagle passenger train service. [The State, 5-31-19]

L.A. METRO COMPLETES SOUTHERN BLUE LINE UPGRADES: Los Angeles Metro has announced that the southern section of the Blue Line between Compton and downtown Long Beach will reopen on June 1 following the completion of upgrades on tracks, new switches, power lines and train control. [Progressive Railroading, 5-30-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending May 25, 2019, U.S. rail freight traffic was 527,966 carloads and intermodal units, down 6.7 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 5-29-19]

FRANK LONEGRO, CFO OF CSX, LEAVES COMPANY: CSX has announced the departure of Frank Lonegro, executive vice-president and chief financial officer. Kevin Boone has been named interim CFO while the company seeks a permanent replacement. [Railway Track & Sructures, 5-28-19]

AMTRAK ANNOUNCES 'CUSTOMER NOW' PROGRAM: Amtrak has unveiled plans for a $72.5-million program, 'Customer Now,' which aims to improve the customer experience at stations across the network. Projects range from new door systems, lavatories and platforms at certain stations, which are in addition to general repairs and improvement work. A more complex project was the skylight and improvements to the Great Hall in Chicago. [Railway Age, 5-28-19]

SOUND TRANSIT IDENTIFIES PREFERRED ROUTE, DESIGN ALTERNATIVES FOR LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSIONS: Sound Transit's board has identified preferred design alternatives for the 11.8-mile West Seattle and Ballard Link light-rail extensions to study in a draft environmental impact statement. The route alternatives include design of 14 stations based upon 18 months of public engagements within the community. [Progressive Railroading, 5-28-19]

CSX TO BOOST TRAIN SPEEDS THROUGH PARTS OF ALABAMA, GEORGIA: CSX will increase its maximum speeds from 25 MPH to 40 MPH on tracks between Waycross, Georgia, and Montgomery, Alabama. The route, which includes Troy, Ozark and Dothan, covers about 260 miles. The company also plans to increase the average length of trains, varying upon volumes. [AL.com, 5-28-19]

CHINA'S NEW 373 MPH MAGLEV WILL BE THE WORLD'S FASTEST: State-owned rail company China Railway Stock Corp. has unveiled the body prototype of its new magnetic-levitation train, which it claims will reach a top speed of 373 MPH, the world's fastest. Launch date is promised for 2021. [Robb Report, 5-28-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Twenty-two percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending May 26, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 33 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 5-27-19]

FRA WITHDRAWS PROPOSED TRAIN-CREW STAFFING RULE: The Federal Railroad Administration has withdrawn its 2016 proposed rule calling for federal regulation of train-crew staffing. The FRA said that such regulation is not necessary for safe rail operations 'at this time.' [Progressive Railroading, 5-24-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN CUTS 50 JOBS AT JUNIATA SHOP IN PA.: Norfolk Southern laid off about 50 workers at its Juniata Locomotive Shop in Altoona May 22. Furloughed workers will be offered positions elsewhere in the railroad's system. [Altoona Mirror, 5-23-19]

INVESTMENT FIRMS AMONG BIDDERS FOR GENESEE & WYOMING: Affiliates of Brookfield Asset Management, Blackstone Group, Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners and EQT Partners are vying to acquire railroad operator Genesee & Wyoming, according to people familiar with the matter. The investment firms are among suitors that have progressed into the next round of bidding for the company, which is seeking at least $110 per share, or about $6.2-billion. [Bloomberg, 5-23-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending May 18, 2019, U.S. rail freight traffic was 536,358 carloads and intermodal units, down 1.8 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 5-22-19]

TRINITY TO BUILD RAIL CAR MAINTENANCE FACILITY IN IOWA: Trinity Rail Mainenance Services, a subsidiary of Trinity Industries, has selected a 2,230-acre site in Shell Rock, Iowa, to build a new rail-car maintenance services facility by the end of 2020. Located along the Iowa Northern Railway, it has optimal access to the Class I network and strategic access to the upper Midwest. [Progressive Railroading, 5-22-19]

DENVER'S S.E. LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION COMPLETED: Construction is complete on a 2.3-mile extension of Denver's E, F and R light-rail lines, known as the Southeast Rail extension, adding new stations at Sky Ridge, Lone Tree City Center and Ridgegate Parkway. [Progressive Railroading, 5-22-19]

NTSB ISSUES REPORT ON 2017 AMTRAK CASCADES WRECK: Failure to provide effective mitigation of a hazardous curve and inadequate training of a locomotive engineer led to the deadly derailment of Amtrak Cascades train 501 near Dupont, Washington, on Dec. 18, 2017, according to a report by the National Transportation Safety Board. Three passengers were killed and 65 others were injured on the train's inaugural run on the Point Defiance Bypass between Seattle and Portland. The train derailed on an overpass as the train entered a 30-MPH curve at about 78 MPH. [Progressive Railroading, 5-22-19]

FOUR TALGO TRAINSETS TO BE REMOVED FROM CASCADES SERVICE: The state of Washington will soon remove the type of older Talgo Series VI train from Amtrak Cascades service. It is this older type, four in service since 1999, that crashed in 2017 killing three people. The National Transportation Safety Board found the adjoined train cars broke apart and wheel units flew around like missiles, and the board recommended they be discontinued as soon as possible. [KIRO-7, 5-22-19]

METRA TO INCREASE WEEKDAY SERVICE ON BNSF LINE: Beginning June 3, Chicago's Metra will add two trains to its BNSF line weekday schedule to relieve crowding on some trains. The BNSF line is the agency's busiest, and the additional service is not expected to eliminate all crowding, but no additional equipment is currently available. [Progressive Railroading, 5-22-19]

CN TO ESTABLISH GRAIN-BY-CONTAINER HUB IN SASKATCHEWAN: CN Rail says Regina, Saskatchewan, will soon become a second hub for the expanded movement of grain by container instead of hopper cars. [CKRM, 5-21-19]

ROB REILLY NAMED EXECUTIVE V.P., CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER OF CN: CN has announced that Rob Reilly will become executive vice-president and chief operating officer effective July 1, replacing Mike Cory who will retire. [Progressive Railroading, 5-21-19]

VIRGIN TRAINS ANNOUNCES CONTRACTORS FOR EXPANSION: Virgin Trains USA (formerly Brightline) has chosen contractors for construction of phase 2 of its expansion between Orlando and South Florida. [Railway Age, 5-21-19]

DIVERTED FREIGHT TRAFFIC SUSPENDS AMTRAK TRAINS ON TWO ROUTES: Services on the Amtrak River Runner between Kansas City and St. Louis, and a portion of the Southwest Chief between Kansas City and Hutchinson have been suspended due to diverted freight traffic. Chartered buses are being used instead. [KSHB. 5-21-19]

CAPEFLYER BEGINS SEASONAL WEEKEND SERVICE MAY 24: The Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority will begin its seasonal weekend CapeFlyer rail service between Boston and Cape Cod May 24, ending Sept. 2. [Progressive Railroading, 5-21-19]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN DERAILS IN TEXAS: A northbound Union Pacific train derailed four locomotives and approximately 13 cars May 19 in a rain-stricken area between Palestine and Elkhart, Texas. There were no injuries. [Palestine Herald, 5-20-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Twenty-seven percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending May 19, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 29 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 5-20-19]

N.E. CORRIDOR SERVICE DISRUPTED BY PERSON BEING STRUCK NEAR ODENTON, MD.: MARC Penn Line service between Baltimore and Washington was suspended and Amtrak service was disrupted early May 16 after a person was struck on the tracks near Odenton, Md. [Fox 5 DC, 5-16-19]

BIRMINGHAM RAIL & LOCOMOTIVE CO. TO EXPAND WITH SUPPLIER ACQUISITION: Rail and track material provider Birmingham Rail & Locomotive Co. has acquired Austintown Rail Supply, a supplier of switching materials and other railroad track products. [Railway Age, 5-16-19]

FAIRFIELD, CALIFORNIA, TRAIN STATION TO BE RENAMED IN HONOR OF STATE ASSEMBLYMAN: The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority's Fairfield-Vacaville Station in California will be renamed the Fairfield-Vacaville Hannigan Station in honor of the late Tom Hannigan, a former state assemblyman who helped establish the intercity rail service. [Progressive Railroading, 5-16-19]

TWO-PERSON CREWS REQUIRED ON FREIGHT TRAINS IN NEVADA: Nevada's governor has signed legislation requiring a minimum crew of two people on Class I and II freight trains operating in the state. [Progressive Railroading, 5-16-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending May 11, 2019, U.S. rail freight traffic was 529,263 carloads and intermodal units, down 3.7 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 5-15-19]

CONTRACTOR SELECTED FOR CONSTRUCTION OF UINTA BASIN RAILWAY: Utah's Seven County Infrastructure Coalition board has voted to select Drexel Hamilton Infrastructure Partners for a public-private partnership to finance and build the proposed Uinta Basin Railway. [Railway Track & Structures, 5-15-19]

CONTRACT SIGNED FOR REBUILD OF 121 METROLINK CARS: The Southern California Regional Rail Authority has awarded a contract to a Talgo-SYSTRA joint venture to rebuild 121 Bombardier rail cars used by Metrolink. The base order is for 50 cars, which will be increased by 71 cars if funding becomes available. Overhaul will be performed in Milwaukee. [Progressive Railroading, 5-15-19]

THAILAND TO BUILD HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE BETWEEN THREE AIRPORTS: The government of Thailand has selected a group of 13 companies for a public-private partnership to develop a $6.8-billion, 137 MPH railway between three of the country's most important airports. [International Railway Journal, 5-15-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Twenty-seven percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending May 12, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 27 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 5-13-19]

NJT TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS MAN ON MONTCLAIR-BOONTON LINE: A man was struck and killed by a New Jersey Transit train early May 13 on the Montclair-Boonton line. Thirty customers were aboard the train at the time, and they continued their delayed journey by bus. [North Jersey Record, 5-13-19]

NJT RESUMES ATLANTIC CITY RAIL LINE SERVICE: Service on the Atlantic City rail line resumed today, two weeks earlier than expected. NJ Transit said the Princeton branch Dinky service would also resume today. [6ABC, 5-12-2019]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAILS IN MISSISSIPPI: A Norfolk Southern freight train en route from Birmingham to New Orleans derailed early May 11 near Lumberton, Mississippi. Flood waters may have contributed to the derailment. Twenty-eight cars derailed, according to the railroad, and there were no hazardous materials involved and no injuries were reported. [U.S. News & World Report, 5-11-19]

GOLDEN SPIKE ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATED ON SITE: Thousands of people gathered May 10 at the remote spot in the Utah desert where the final spikes of the Transcontinental Railroad were hammered 150 years ago, united a nation long separated by vast expanses of desert, mountains and forests, and fresh off the Civil War. Completion of the rail line shortened cross-country travel from as long as six months in wagons and stage coaches to about 10 days by train. [U.S. News & World Report, 5-10-19]

LIRR RAIL WORKERS RUFUSING OVERTIME AFTER MTA CRACKDOWN: It is reported that hundreds of unionized workers on the Long Island Rail Road are refusing to work overtime shifts today and throughout the weekend in response to an MTA crackdown on overtime and the posting of MTA police officers at worksites to monitor attendance. [ABN New York, 5-10-19]

FRA PROPOSES UPDATED LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEER QUALIFICATION REGS: The Federal Railroad Administrtion is proposing rulemaking to update the regulation governing locomotive engineer qualification and certification to make the rule consistent with the corresponding regulation for conductors. The conductor certification process was established in 2012 whle the engineer certification regulation was last amended in 2000. [Progressive Railroading, 5-9-19]

LORAM ACQUIRES RAIL BUSINESS OF FINNISH COMPANY: Loram Maintenance of Way has acquired the rail division business of Roadscanners Oy, a Finland-based company. The purchases includes Rail Doctor softward and related intellectual property rights. [Progressive Railroading, 5-8-19]

W.VA. TO BUILD RAIL TRAIL ALONG ELK RIVER AND BUFFALO CREEK: The state of West Virginia plans to build a major rail trail along the Elk River and Buffalo Creek. A letter of intent has been signed to purchase land needed to complete the project, which aims to utilize 72 miles of existing rail line in Clay and Kanawha counties to either repurpose the tracks for recreational purposes (rail excursions or rail-biking) or convert them into trails. The planned network has the potential to become the second-longest rail trail east of the Mississippi River. [W.Va. Governor's office, 5-8-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending May 4, 2019, U.S. rail freight traffic was 535,089 carloads and intermodal units, down 2.0 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were up 1.0 pct, and intermodal volume was down 4.9 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 5-8-19]

DOHA OPENS FIRST METRO LINE: Public services began operating on the first phase of the metro network in the Qatari capital Doha May 8 with the soft opening on the Red line South. [International Railway Journal, 5-8-19]

CSX TO SELL 47.5 MILES OF PITTSBURGH AREA RAIL LINES TO ALLEGHENY VALLEY R.R.: Allegheny Valley Railroad has filed a notice of exemption with the Surface Transportation Board to acquire 47.5 miles of rail line from CSX in the Pittsburgh area, which Allegheny Valley has leased and operated since 2003. The acquisition involves ports of the W&P subdivision, the Tylerdale connecting track, the P&W subdivision, and Glenwood Yard. [Progressive Railroading, 5-7-19]

CP HIKES QUARTERLY STOCK DIVIDEND 27.5 PCT: Canadian Pacific has boosted its quarterly dividend by 27.5 pct, an increase from 65 cents to 83 cents per share. [Canadian Press, 5-7-19]

FIRE AT NORFOLK SOUTHERN YARD IN CHATTANOOGA SHUTS DOWN THREE MAINLINE TRACKS: A fire late May 6 at the Norfolk Southern rail yard in Chattanooga required four companies to put out. A large stack of railroad ties were burning next to the main line, and three tracks had to be shut down for firefighter safety. [WRCB, 5-7-19]

UNION PACIFIC PLANS $20-M PROJECT FOR N.M. BLOCK-SWAP YARD: Union Pacific is investing $20-million to build an additional block-swap yard at its Santa Teresa intermodal terminal in New Mexico. The additional yard will allow the railroad to add container blocks to passing trains faster and more efficiently. [Progressive Railroading, 5-6-19]

CP SETS GRAIN TRAFFIC RECORD IN APRIL: Canadian Pacific move a record amount of Canadian grain and grain products in April with 2.6 million metric tons, the company said. [Progressive Railroading, 5-6-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-six percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending May 5, 2019, with no grace allowance for minimal lateness. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 29 minutes behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 5-6-19]

UNION PACIFIC BIG BOY 4014 COMES BACK TO LIFE: The long journey to bring Big Boy 4014 back to life has reach fruition. It arrived in Cheyenne five years ago with the goal to rehab it in time for the sesquicentennial of the completion of the transcontinental railroad. The team at the Union Pacific shop has worked since 2014 to rehab both 4014 and Living Legend 844, the last steam locomotive built for the company. While 844 has been working in special service, the Big Boy had been sitting idle in California since 1962. [Wyoming Tribune Eagle, 5-4-19]

WASHINGTON STATE TO STUDY EAST-WEST DAYTIME RAIL SERVICE OVER CASCADES: The Washington State transportation budget includes a proviso to commit a quarter of a million dollars to fund a formal study to establish daytime rail service from the Puget Sound region towards Ellensburg, Yakima and Spokane. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 5-3-19]

UNION PACIFIC TO IDLE GLOBAL-3 RAMP, CLOSE CANAL STREET DEPOT IN ILLINOIS: Union Pacific plans to idle its Global-3 intermodal ramp in Rochelle, Illinois, in early July, and close its Canal Street container depot in Chicago shortly thereafter. Plans also call for moving international volume out of Global-2 ramp in Northlake and, in turn, process domestic intermodal shipments. The Yard Center in Dolton will handle auto parts and north-south shipments. [Progressive Railroading, 5-3-19]

AMTRAK ON TRACK FOR BEST PERFORMING YEAR IN ITS HISTORY: Amtrak's fiscal-year ridership is up 1.3 pct year-over-year through March, and its operating earnings are heading toward breakeven by FY-2021. Those figures put Amtrak on track for the best performing year in its 48 years of operation, officials said. [Progressive Railroading, 5-2-19]

APRIL 2019 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-seven percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in April 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 24 minutes late. MORE.. {Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 5-1-19]

AMTRAK TO CONTINUE INFRASTRUCTURE RENEWAL THIS SUMMER AT N.Y. PENN: Amtrak is set to continue its infrastructure renewal program this summer at New York Penn Station. State of good repair work is slated at JO interlocking, which directs Amtrak, Long Island and NJ Transit trains heading east and west from the East River tunnels. There will be some disruptions to service from June 28 until September 2..

MOODY'S LOWERS OUTLOOK FOR NORTH AMERICAN RAILROADS: Citing slowing freight volumes, Moody's Investors Service has revised its North American railroad industry outlook to 'stable,' down from 'positive.' Moody's says expectations are for a more pronounced slowdown in freight volumes over the next 12 to 18 months, led by a steepening decline in coal shipments and slowing intermodal growth. [Progressive Railroading, 5-1-19]

KCS REVISES TWO SERVICE METRICS: Kansas City Southern had revised the definitions of two service metrics for operating performance. 'Cars Online' has been renamed 'Operational Cars Online,' representing the number of rail cars on the railroad's network that are not at a customer's location. 'Train Speed' has been renamed 'Gross Velicity,' measuring the average velocity of a train between origin and destination, calculated as the sum of the miles traveled divided by the sum of total transit hours. The railroad said the revised metrics will give stakeholders a more accurate understanding of operational performance. [Progressive Railroading, 5-1-19]

MONTHLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads originated 2,097,690 carloads and intermodal units in April 2019, down 2.4 pct from April 2018. [Association of American Railroads, 5-1-19]

CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL COSTS RISE $1.8-B: Californians will have to shell out an additional $1.8-billion to complete the 119-mile stretch of tracks for the state's first bullet train through the Central Valley, bringing the cost to $12.4-billion, according to a report by the state's High-Speed Rail Authority. [Mercury News, 5-1-19]

EVENTS PLANNED TO MARK LOS ANGELES UNION STATION'S 80TH ANNIVERSARY: Los Angeles County Metro plans to hold events May 3 and 4 to mark the 80th annivesary to Los Angeles Union Station. It opened May 3, 1939, is the largest train terminal in the western United States.. Events include cultural displays, concerts, guided tours, arts and crafts, model trains, memorabilia, live music and activities. [Progressive Railroading, 4-30-19]

GENESEE & WYOMING REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: Genesee & Wyoming reported first-quarter 2019 adjusted earnings per share of 78 cents, an 11.4 pct increase over the same period last year, in spite of severe winter weather and flooding in North America. Operating revenue fell 2.9 pct to $558.1-million, and operating income decreased 8.3 pct to $79.7-million. [Progressive Railroading, 4-30-19]

HOOSIER STATE TRAIN TO STOP RUNNING AFTER JUNE 30: The Hoosier State Amtrak passenger train that runs between Chicago and Indianapolis four days a week will end after June 30 due to a lack of state funding, an Indiana official has confirmed. [Chicago Tribune, 4-30-19]

WORLD'S OLDEST COVERED R.R. BRIDGE TO GET FACELIFT: New Hampshire will stain and make minor repairs to the Contoocook covered railroad bridge beginning April 30. The bridge, which spans the Contoocook River, was built in 1889 for the Concord and Claremont Railroad, and is the oldest surviving covered railroad bridge in the world. It served rail traffic until 1960, and was listed to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. [New Hampshire Dept. of Natural & Cultural Resources, 4-29-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-six percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending April 28, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and eight minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 4-29-19]

THREE DIE AS JEEP IS STRUCK BY TRAIN IN ALABAMA: Three people are dead after an early morning April 28 collision involving a train and a Jeep Wrangler in Mobile, Alabama. It appears the vehicle went off an exit ramp and onto the railroad tracks and was struck by the train. A fourth person was able to escape prior to impact but was injured. [WKRG, 4-28-19]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS MAN IN CALIFORNIA: A man died when was struck by a southbound Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train the afternoon of April 27 in Ventura, California. [Ventura County Star, 4-27-19]

BNSF TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS MAN IN FARGO, N.D.: Police say a man was struck and killed by an eastbound BNSF train late April 25 near downtown Fargo, N.D. [U.S. News & World Report, 4-26-19]

D.C. METRO TO CONSTRUCT OFFICE BUILDINGS IN MARYLAND, VIRGINIA: The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority plans to build office buildings in New Carrollton, Md., and Alexandria, Va., in an effort to reduce the number of its buildings from 10 to four. The agency estimates a savings of $130-million over the next 20 years. [Progressive Railroading, 4-26-19]

SETTLEMENT REACHED OVER BID-RIGGING AND INFLATED INVOICES FOR AMTRAK ACCESSIBILITY PROJECTS: The U.S. Attorney's office of the Eastern District of Pa., has reached a $466,500 settlement with a Michigan-based electric company and two construction firms after an Amtrak office of inspector general investigation uncovered alleged bid-rigging and inflated invoices for projects to increase assessibilty at train stations in Hammond, Louisiana; Beaumont and Alpine, Texas; and Little Rock, Arkansas. [Progressive Railroading, 4-26-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN-SERVED TRANSFER STATION OPENED IN GAINESVILLE, N.Y.: Norfolk Southern and the Wyoming County Industrial Development Agency have marked the opening of the Wyoming Transfer multimodal facility in Gainesville, N.Y. [Progressive Railroading, 4-26-19]

ROCKY MOUNTAINEER EXPANDING DOME CAR FLEET: The first four of 10 custom-designed double-deck dome cars ordered by Rocky Mountaineer from Stadler are expected to enter service shortly, to operate from Vancouver to Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff during the tourist season. Each coach has 72 heated composite-leather reclining seats that can be rotated. The lower level has a galley with ovens and stovetops, electric grills and an eco-friendly dishwasher. Three more cars are slated to arrive later this year, and the final three in 2020. [Railway Gazette, 4-26-19]

VERMONT AWARDS $2-M FOR SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS TO AMTRAK ROUTE: The Vermont Agency of Transportation has awarded $2.08-million from the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure & Safety Improvements grant program for safety repairs along the New England Central Railroad, route of Amtrak's Vermonter. Included will be rock-fall detections systems, track and signal repairs. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 4-26-19]

WINTER PARK EXPRESS HAS BEST SEASON EVER: The Winter Park Express from Denver into the Colorado Rockies enjoyed its best season yet. Almost 20,000 skiers rode the train in 32 round-trips. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 4-26-19]

PANAMA'S METRO LINE 2 INAUGURATED: Panama City's second metro line was inaugurated April 25. Construction on the 13-mile line running northeast from San Miguelito with 16 stations began in Oct. 2015. [International Railway Journal, 4-26-19]

JOBS AT AMTRAK'S BEECH GROVE FACILITY THREATENED BY LOSS OF HOOSIER STATE TRAIN: Hundreds of jobs at Amtrak's Beech Grove repair facility in Indiana could be threatened by the planned elimination at the end of June of Amtrak's state-sponsored Hoosier State train between Chicago and Indianapolis. The train, which runs four days a week (on days the three-day-a-week Cardinal does not run), is routinely used to shuttle cars to and from the facility for maintenance and repair. More than 500 people work at Beech Grove. The state has declined to budget the operation of the train citing reducing ridership. [WISH-TV, 4-25-19]

GEORGIA CENTRAL TO SERVE PLASTICS DISTRIBUTION FACILITY IN POOLER, GEORGIA: Genesee & Wyoming's subsidiary Georgia Central Railway will serve a major plastics distribution facility under construction in Pooler, Ga., expected to exceed 5,000 carloads annually. Georgia Central operates a 211-mile-line between Macon and Savannah, interchanging with CSX, Norfolk Southern, and Heart of Georgia Railroad. [Progressive Railroading, 4-25-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN POISED TO START NEXT STAGE OF NEW OPERATING PLAN: Norfolk Southern expects to have the next stage of its new operating plan in place by the end of July. In this stage, the railroad plans to run heavier, faster trains along certain routes. It follows an initial stage called 'clean sheeting,' in which marketing, customers and yard employees worked at the local level to determine where capacity could be freed up at the yards. The railroad also plans to close more classification yards and lower headcount as a result of faster velocities and reduced need to recrew trains. [Freight Waves, 4-25-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN CITED FOR BLOCKING CROSSING UP TO THREE HOURS IN OHIO: Norfolk Southern has been cited eight times this year for blocking a busy crossing in Moraine, Ohio, with railcars, sometimes up to three hours and at least once detouring an ambulance en route to a hospital. [Dayton Daily News, 4-25-19]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON CSX RAIL HUB IN N.C.: Ground was broken April 24 on the future CSX intermodal rail hub along U.S. 301 across from Wesleyan College in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. CSX has commited at least $40-million and the state up to at least $118-million in the project, actually a scaled-back version of its original plan. [Rocky Mount Telegram, 4-24-19]

WABTEC DELIVERS 1,000TH EVOLUTION SERIES TIER-4 LOCOMOTIVE: Wabtec has celebrated the delivery of the 1,000th Evolution Series Tier-4 locomotive at its former GE Transportation facility in Fort Worth. It was delivered to CN, one of six Class I railroads and two mining companies acquiring this particular model. [Railway Age]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 1-Q RESULTS: Norfolk Southern reported first-quarter 2019 net income was $677-million, up 23 pct year-over-year, a result of a 16 pct increase in income from railway operations and an increase in other income. Duluted EPS were $2.51, up 30 pct year-over-year and a first-quarter record. Railway operating expenses were $1.9-billion, a decrease of $8-million from the same quarter last year, as fuel price declines and lower compensation and benefits were offset by increased purchased services and rents. [Norfolk Southern, 4-24-19]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN CARRYING ETHANOL BURNS IN FORT WORTH: Homes were evacuated early April 24 in several Fort Worth neighborhoods when cars of a Union Pacific train derailed. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 4-24-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending April 20, 2019, U.S. rail freight traffic was 526,141 carloads and intermodal units, down 2.4 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 4-24-19]

CP REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: Canadian Pacific reported first-quarter 2019 revenue of $1.77-billion (C), up by 6 pct compared with the same quarter last year. Earnings rose about 3 pct during what the company described as one of the most challenging winters for the railroad in decades. Net income rose 25 pct to $434-million, and its operating ratio was 69.3 pct. [Progressive Railroading, 4-24-19]

HYBRID ELECTRIC TRAIN INTRODUCED IN THE PHILIPPINES: A hybrid electric train was introduced to the public April 24 on the Philippine National Railways from Alabang to Binan. The new trainset uses diesel and batteries for its power system with regenerative braking that stores up energy to the battery bank. [Newsbites Philippines, 4-24-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN NAMES TWO TO V.P. POSITIONS: Norfolk Southern's board has elected Thomas Schnautz vice-president of advanced train control - a newly-created position - and Edward Boyle Jr. vice-president engineering to replace the retiring Phil Merilli. [Norfolk Southern, 4-23-19]

AMTRAK NAMES DENNIS NEWMAN TO HEAD PLANNING & STRATEGY: Amtrak has appointed Dennis Newman as executive vice-president of planning & strategy. He will be responsibile for corporate planning and strategy, schedule and consist planning, Amtrak services and host railroad groups, and participation in the Gateway Program. [Railway Age, 4-23-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-seven percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final scheduled destination on time or earlier in the week ending April 21, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 16 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 4-22-19]

FOUR CARS OF CSX TRAIN DERAIL IN BALTIMORE: Four cars of a CSX train derailed late April 21 in the Mount Winans area of South Baltimore, and one of the cars leaked diesel fuel. There were no injuries and no evacuations were necessary. MARC Camden line trains were able to pass the scene the following morning. [WBAL, 4-22-19]

UNION PACIFIC TEMPORARILY HALTS CONSTRUCTION ON BRAZOS RAIL YARD IN TEXAS: Union Pacific is 'pausing' construction of its new $550-million Brazos rail yard in Texas, saying it will shift the money instead to making improvements to its 760-mile line from El Paso to Los Angeles. [Dallas News, 4-22-19]

VIRGIN TRAINS GETS $1.75-B IN PRIVATE ACTIVITY BONDS: Virgin Trains USA (x-Brightline) has closed on $1.75-billion in private activity bonds underwritten by Morgan Stanley and purchased by 67 different investors to help fund the company's expansion from West Palm Beach to Orlando. [Railway Age, 4-21-19]

MAN KILLED BY LIGHT-RAIL TRAIN IN MINNEAPOLIS: A man was killed by a light-rail train early April 20 in Minneapolis. He was on the platform as the green line train was about to depart the Stadium Village station, and he fell between train cars. [KSPT, 4-20-19]

THREE INJURED AS MBTA TRAIN STRIKES PICKUP TRUCK: Officials in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, say a pickup truck with three people inside was hit by an MBTA commuter train early April 20 after the driver apparently went around a lowered crossing gate. All three occupants were injured with one having to be extracted from the vehicle. The incident caused train delays on the Middleborough line to Bridgewater with passengers having to be bused. [WBUR, 4-20-19]

VIRGINIA ISSUES DRAFT SIX-YEAR TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT PLAN: Virginia has released a draft six-year transportation improvement plan, and it includes nearly $762-million in projects to sustain and improve its passenger rail network, including $96-million to sustain the state's six Amtrak regional trains, $19-million to improve train stations, and $641-million toward expansion of the Long Bridge spanning the Potomac River into D.C., higher speed rail along the RF&P corridor, and additional trains to Norfolk, Lynchburg and New River Valley. [Virginians for High Speed Rail, 4-19-19]

SAN DIEGO UNVEILS NEW-GENERATION LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES: The first 'next-generation' Siemens S700 light-rail vehicles for San Diego Metropolitan Transit System were unveiled April 17. The vehicles are ADA-compliant, feature a redesigned middle section to improve passenger flow and provide door-to-door accessibility for passengers in wheelchairs. They were built in Sacramento, and bring the total number of Siemens light-rail vehicles supplied to 244. [International Railway Journal, 4-19-19]

OHIO-MICHIGAN 'T' RAIL LINE BEING STUDIED: A study being championed by members of the Toledo city council would connect Detroit, Toledo and Ann Arbor through a 110-MPH, 86-mile passenger train line dubbed the 'T' due to its layout. A lower-cost 80-MPH version is also being studied. [Rail Passengers Assn., 4-19-19]

STATION LOUNGES OFFERED AT 10 AMTRAK STATIONS: Station lounges, such as Club Acela and Metropolitan Lounge, are currently offered in the following stations: Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York Penn, Boston South, Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland, St. Paul, St. Louis and New Orleans. Services vary by location, but sleeping-car passegers have access to all of them. [Rail Passengers Assn., 4-19-19]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS FIRST-QUARTER RESULTS: Union Pacific reported first-quarter 2019 net income of $1.4-billion or $1.93 per diluted share, compared to $1.3-billion or $1.68 per diluted share in the same quarter 2018. Operating ratio of 63.6 pct improved 1.0 point. [Union Pacific, 4-18-19]

ATLANTIC CITY RAIL SERVICE TO RESUME MAY 12: New Jersey Transit will resume service on its Atlantic City line May 12. The agency closed the line last September to install positive train-control, but reopening was delayed by other factors. The Princeton 'Dinky Line' will also reopen May 12. [6ABC Action News, 4-18-19]

GREENBRIER TO ACQUIRE MANUFACTURING BUSINESS OF AMERICAN RAILCAR INDUSTRIES: The Greenbrier Cos. has agreed to acquire the manufacturing business of American Railcar Industries from ITE Management for $400-million. Greenbrier will acquire two manufacturing facilities in Arkansas, and five other operations that provide railcar component and parts supply. [Progressive Railroading, 4-18-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending April 13, 2019, U.S. rail freight traffic was 528,167 carloads and intermodal units, down 1.2 pct compared with the same week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were up 1.0 pct and intermodal volume dropped 3.2 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 4-17-19]

KCS REPORTS 1-Q RESULTS: Kansas City Southern reported record first-quarter revnues of $675-million, an increase of 6 pct from the same quarter last year. Adjusted diluted earnings per share were 18 pct higher than a year ago. Adjusted operating ratio was 64.2 pct. [Kansas City Southern, 4-17-19]

METRA TO BUILD TWO NEW STATIONS: Construction on two new Metra stations is expected to start within the next year after state funding was approved. About $15-million will go toward a station in Edgewater on the Union Pacific North line, and another $20-million will go toward a station in Gresham on the Rock Island line. [Chicago Sun-Times, 4-17-19]

DOT ISSUES ASSESSMENT OF BALTIMORE-D.C. TUNNEL: Elon Musk wants to build a 35-mile loop that would transport passengers at up to 150 MPH between Baltimore and Washington in as little as 15 minutes. The Dept. of Transportation has issued a draft environmental assessment for the loop, addressing surface-level noise and vibration effects. [Reuters, 4-17-19]

AMTRAK TO EXPAND ACELA EXPRESS ON SATURDAYS STARTING MAY 4: An additional Acela Express round-trip between Boston and Washington on Saturday will begin May 4. Train 2252 will depart Washington mid-morning and train 2255 will depart Boston in the early afternoon, filling gaps in the current schedule. [Progressive Railroading, 4-16-19]

LIRR PLAGUED BY PROBLEMS INSTALLING PTC: Problems are still plaguing Long Island Rail Road's effort to install positive train-control. At an April 15 meeting, a contractor said a mistake was discovered in how the system was being installed on train cars, which is now delaying the project even more. After several delays, the railroad was given another extension, this time to 2020, to finish implementing PTC. [News 12 Long Island]

MAN STRUCK, KILLED BY UNION PACIFIC TRAIN IN OKLAHOMA: Police say a man was killed when he ran into the path of a Union Pacific train April 15 just north of McAlester, Oklahoma. [U.S. News & World Report, 4-16-19]

BIG PLANS IN STORE FOR GOLDEN SPIKE SESQUICENTENNIAL: The Spike 150 Foundation has been organizing for two years to prepare for the 150th anniversary of the joining of the transcontinental railroad with over 150 events. The big event is May 10 at Promontory Point, which is sold out, but the town of Echo will be visited two days earlier by Big Boy 4014, the largest locomotive ever made. Events are also being staged in Ogden. [KPCW, 4-16-19]

CSX REPORTS 1-Q RESULTS: CSX reported first-quarter 2019 net earnings of $834-million versus $695-million in the same period last year, an EPS increase of 31 pct. Operating ratio of 59.5 pct set a company first-quarter record, an improvement from 63.7 pct in the same quarter 2018. [CSX, 4-16-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-eight percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending April 14, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 43 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 4-15-19]

PTC IS NOW FULLY OPERATIONAL ON VRE: Positive train-control is now fully operational on all Virginia Railway Expess trains. Each of the agency's 32 inbound and outbound trains on the Fredericksburg and Manassas lines ran under PTC operation for the first time April 11. [Progressive Railroading, 4-12-19]

DART RENAMING THREE TRAIN STATIONS: Dallas Area Rapid Transit will be renaming Union Station in Dallas as EBJ Union Station, in honor of U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson; Fort Worth's downtown Intermodal Transportation Center as Fort Worth Central Station; and Texas & Pacific Station as Fort Worth T&P Station. [Progressive Railroading, 4-12-19]

AMTRAK RETROFITS CAR ON BOSTON SECTION OF LAKE SHORE LTD TO ACCOMMODATE BICYCLES: In an attempt at continuing to provide bike service on the Lake Shore Limited to and from Boston, Amtrak has modified the Amfleet business class-cafe car by removing two of the six cafe section tables and replacing them with four bike racks. Amtrak has previously eliminated the Boston section's baggage car where bikes had been accommodated. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 4-12-19]

AMTRAK'S CITY OF NEW ORLEANS NOW RUNNING FULL ROUTE: Amtrak's City of New Orleans, the route of which at the southern end had been cut off due to flooding for a numer of weeks, is now once again operating end to end.

UNION PACIFIC TO HOST 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF TRANSCONTINENTAL R.R. MAY 9 IN OGDEN, UTAH: Union Pacific will host a celebration May 9 in Ogden, Utah, to mark the 150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad. The ceremony, including the presence of steam locomotives 844 and 4014, will be the day prior to Utah's celebration of the Golden Spike at Promontory Summit. [Progressive Railroading, 4-11-19]

SOUND TRANSIT TO ADVANCE TO ENGINEERING PHASE OF LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: Sound Transit has received approval from the Federal Transit Administration to advance its eight-mile light-rail extension project between Sea Tac and Federal Way to the engineering phase. [Progressive Railroading, 4-11-19]

RAILROAD TRESPASSING DEATHS INCREASE 12 PCT IN 2018: Citing preliminary statistics, U.S. railroad trespassing deaths grew 12 pct in 2018 compared with 2017. Trespassing injuries declined 6.3 pct. Meanwhile, crossing collisions rose 4.3 pct, according to Operation Lifesaver. [Railway Age, 4-11-19]

DOUBLE-TRACKING OF SALT LAKE CITY'S S-LINE STREETCAR ROUTE COMPLETED: Utah Transit Authority has marked the completion of construction on a new section of double-tracking on the S-Line streetcar route, which connects the Fairmont station in Salt Lake City to the Central Pointe TRAX station in South Salt Lake City. [Progressive Railroading, 4-10-19]

PORT OF HOUSTON'S RAIL TERMINAL TO BE REFURBISHED: Texas Deepwater Deer Park Terminal has entered into a lease agreement with Shell Oil Products to retrofit and refurbish the Deer Park Rail Terminal in order to load refined products on the Houston Ship Channel at the Port of Houston. When completed later this quarter, the terminal will have room for loading up to 48 rail cars per day. [Progressive Railroading, 4-10-19]

AMTRAK STOPS TAKING RESERVATIONS FOR HOOSIER STATE TRAIN BEYOND JULY 1: Amtrak has stopped taking reservations beyond July 1 for its four-day-a-week Indianapolis-Chicago Hoosier State train, which will likely be discontinued due to cut in funding by the state of Indiana. [Houston Chronicle, 4-10-19]

MBTA TRAIN DERAILS OUTSIDE SOUTH STATION, NO INJURIES: A Massachusetts Bay Fairmount line train derailed at low speed late April 9, with cars remaining upright, just outside Boston's South Station. No injuries were reported. Normal train service was suspended on the line the following day, April 10. [Boston Herald, 4-10-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending April 6, 2019, U.S. rail freight traffic was 510,192 carloads and intermodal units, down 2.8 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 4-10-19]

METRANS ORDERS 10 VECTRON MS LOCOMOTIVES: German rail freight operator Metrans has ordered 10 Vectron MS locomotives from Siemens Mobility Czech Republic, to be used on cross-border freight service in central and eastern Europe. [International Railway Journal, 4-10-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAFFIC CONTINUES FLOODING INTERRUPTIONS IN HANNIBAL, MISSOURI: Norfolk Southern is continuing to address service interruptions due to flooding conditions in Hannibal, Missouri. Traffic from Decatur, Illinois, to Kansas City, Missouri, is being diverted via St. Louis. The traffic is being diverted to minimize the impact, but cutomers with shipments normally moving over the route should expect delays of 12 to 14 hours, officials said. [Progressive Railroading, 4-9-19]

IRONHORSE RESOURCES ACQUIRES TWO SHORT LINES: Ironhorse Resources has acquired two Tennessee-based Class III rail carriers: Sequatchie Valley Railroad, an 11.5-mile short line connecting with CSX at Bridgeport, Alabama; and Walking Horse & Eastern Railroad, an eight-mile short line connecting with CSX at Wartrace, Tennessee. [Railway Age, 4-9-19]

SILICON VALLEY LIGHT-RAIL LINE TO CLOSE: Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority plans to close a 2.2-mile light-rail line in Silicon Valley, California, as part of a recast of the public transport network in response to the agency's growing operating deficit. The line opened in 1981 but ridership fell somewhat short of projections, and was since threatened twice with closure. [International Railway Journal, 4-9-19]

SPERRY RAIL SERVICE MOVES HEADQUARTERS TO SHELTON, CONNECTICUT: Track inspection firm Sperry, for many years based in Danbury, Connecticut, has completed the relocation of its headquarters to Shelton, Connecticut. [News Times, 4-9-19]

GEORGE H.W. BUSH LIBRARY SEEKS UNION PACIFIC LOCOMOTIVE 4141 FOR PERMANENT DISPLAY: The George and Barbara Bush Foundation is requesting Union Pacific locomotive 4141, which powered the funeral train for the final leg of George H.S. Bush's funeral procession, as a permanent display at the Presidential Library in College Station, Texas. Similarly, the foundation is requesting an Air Force One plane set to be retired in 2025. [KWRX, 4-9-19]

PETITION FILED TO AMEND RAIL PERFORMANCE REPORTING RULES: The Surface Transportation Board has opened a rule-making proceeding in response to a petition from the American Chemistry Council to amend the board's railroad performance reporting rules. The council asked the board to modify its rules to include chemical and plastics traffic as a distinct reporting category, along with other changes. [Progressive Railroading, 4-8-19]

METRA SEEKS TO BUILD FLYOVER AT BUSY INTERLOCKING: At the site of one of Chicago Metra's biggest bottlenecks at Western and Grand avenues, more than 350 trains pass daily. Amtrak and freight trains are included. Overseeing the traffic is an interlocking tower with an appartus built in the 1930's, and was considered state-of-the-art at the time. Now, parts are unavailable for repairs and have to be made by scratch, and the amount of traffic has vastly increased resulting in massive delays when a failure occurs. Metra now seeks to construct a flyover to eliminate the problem as one of its top priorities. [Chicago Tribune, 4-8-19]

WRESTLEMANIA FANS STRANDED AS NJT TRAIN CREWS REACH HOURS-OF-SERVICE: N.J. Transit blames the promotors of WrestleMania for delaying the ending of their April 7 performance at MetLife Stadium, which resulted in trains slotted to bring fans home could not operate because crews had reached their limits of hours of service. The event had been scheduled to end at 10:30 P.M., but it was extended by two hours. Six trains had been assigned for the move, but only three of them were able to do so, resulting in some riders being stranded for hours. [Politico, 4-8-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-seven percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending April 7, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 32 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 4-8-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REJECTS PLANNED SITE FOR NEW AMTRAK STATION IN TUSCALOOSA: The city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, had $1.8-million earmarked for a new station for Amtrak's Crescent, but the city's mayor says host carrier Norfolk Southern rejected the site because of hard-to-fix concerns about 'sight distance.' [Advance Local, 4-7-19]

CSX CLOSES LOCOMOTIVE SHOP IN RUSSELL, KENTUCKY: CSX announced April 5 to employees at its Russell, Kentucky, facility that the company will close the locomotive shop and eliminate 113 positions. Impacted employees were send home after the announcement, and furloughed union employees will be covered by the terms of their agreements and will receive at least 60 days of regular pay and benefits. The decision to close the shop was made after a thorough review of operations, the company said. [Huntington Herald-Dispatch, 4-6-19]

PROSPECTIVE BUYER SEEKS TO OWN NICKEL PLATE R.R. IN INDIANA: U.S. Rail Holdings has appealed to the Surface Transportation Board for the rights to operate and purchase the Nickel Plate Railroad. In its filings, the company seeks an injuction to prevent rails from being removed in order to convert the line into a rail trail, as were the plans of the city of Fishers, Indiana. However, U.S. Rail Holdings says it has no objection, and even supports having a trail alongside the reactivated rail line. [Hamilton County Times, 4-5-19]

VIRGIN TRAINS USA UNVEILS REBRANDING IN MIAMI: The branding transition from Brightline to Virgin Trains USA took a major step April 4 with the unveiling of Virgin MiamiCentral, the new rail station in downtown Miami. [Progressive Railroading, 4-5-19]

AMTRAK'S CITY OF NEW ORLEANS CONTINUES TO BE IMPACTED BY FLOODING: Due to flooding, Amtrak's City of New Orleans continues to be annulled south of Jackson, Mississippi. Bus service is provided between Jackson and New Orleans, including intermediate stations. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 4-5-19]

AMTRAK'S PALMETTO IMPACTED BY TRACK WORK: Due to track work, Amtrak's Palmetto will not operate south of Washington April 8-11, 15-18, 22-25, and April 29 to May 2. The train will only operate its schedule north of Washington to and from New York. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 4-5-19]

PA. GRANTS $1-M TO IMPROVE RAIL ACCESS IN DANVILLE: Pennsylvania's department of community and economic development has approved a $1-million grant to Montour County toward rehabilitating a site at a former Metso Minerals property in Danville, Pa., to improve rail access and minimize damage from flash floods. [Railway Track & Structures, 4-5-19]

GERMANY SEES STRONG PASSENGER RAIL GROWTH: Long-distance rail passenger numbers grew by 4.4 pct last year in Germany, according to a study released by the German Federal Satistical office. Over the past 15 years, the growth of rail was 39.5 pct, followed by light-rail/metro, up 22.4%. Meanwhile, bus usage grew just 0.5 pct, although bus still remains the biggest mode of public transport. [International Railway Journal, 4-5-19]

AMTRAK NEEDS BETTER DATA TO MANAGE REAL ESTATE, INSPECTOR GENERAL SAYS: Amtrak could save at least $23-million in unnecessary costs and realize as much as $6.8-million in additional revenue if it does a more effective job at managing its real estate, according to a report by Amtrak's Office of Inspector General. Several opportunities to strengthen effectiveness were identified, including use of better data and analytical tools in making decisions about properties. [Progressive Railroading, 4-4-19]

L.A. METRO COMPLETES RAIL MAINTENANCE FACILITY: Los Angeles Metro officials have marked the completion of a $172-million, 115,000-square-foot rail maintenance facility in the Southwestern Yard that will serve the future Crenshaw/LAX light-rail line near Los Angeles International Airport. [Progressive Railroading, 4-4-19]

STATUS OF ADIRONDACK SCENIC R.R. IS STILL UNSETTLED: Last year, the Adirondack Rail Preservation Society, which operated tourist trains between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid, N.Y., as the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, said it wanted to start a rail bike business from Saranac Lake. However, the state Dept. of Transportation now says the society will only operate on the southern end of the line, from its base in Utica north to the Old Forge area. A unit management plan will be released this summer recommending that the tracks be replaced by a trail over the 34-mile portion between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake. The state also plans to upgrade the tracks for 45 miles north of Big Moose, allowing trains to run from there to Tupper Lake. Even if such a plan is approved quickly, no construction could take place this summer. [Adirondack Daily Enterprise, 4-4-19]

ALSTOM TO SUPPLY 212 METROPOLIS CARS TO MONTREAL: Alstom will supply 212 Metropolis cars for the automatic light-metro system to connect downtown Montreal with the south and north shore, West Island and Trudeau International Airport. [Progressive Railroading, 4-4-19]

SWEDEN BACKS INTERNATIONAL NIGHT TRAIN SERVICES: The Swedish government will allocate $5.4-million towards the development of night train services to destinations in other European countries as it seeks to reduce the climate impact of international travel. The funding will be used to study potential routes and make preparations for the selection of operators. [International Railway Journal, 4-4-19]

BOMBARDIER TO MODIFY QUEENSLAND SUBURBAN TRAINS: Bombardier has been awarded a contract by the Australian state of Queensland to modify the New Generation Rollingstock commuter electric multiple-units being introduced on the Southeast Queensland rail network. [International Railway Journal, 4-4-19]

D.C. AREA PURPLE LINE GETS $120-M FEDERAL FUNDING: Funding in the amount of $120-million has been granted through the Federal Transit Administration toward construction of the 16-mile Purple light-rail line between Bethesda and New Carrollton. The grant is part of a $900-million funding agreement. [Progressive Railroading, 4-3-19]

CHEMICAL SPILLED FROM RAIL LOADING FACILITY HOLDING TANK IN N.D.: Crews are working to clean up a chemical spill at a rail loading terminal in Fryburg, N.D. The spill is estimated at 200 to 600 gallons of ethyl mercaptan. [Bismarck Tribune, 4-3-19]

U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT FOR MARCH: U.S. railroads originated 957,144 carloads in March 2019, down 8.9 pct from March 2018, and 1,065,790 intermodal units, down 1.5 pct. Combined originations were down 5.2 pct. Petroleum and petroleum products increased 21.1 pct, while coal was down 19.1 pct and grain was down 12.6 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 4-3-19]

NEW ORLEANS PUBLIC BELT R.R. GETS EPA GRANT TOWARD RETROFITTING ELECTRIC SWITCHER: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad and the Port of New Orleans a national clean diesel funding grant that will cover 40 pct of the cost of retrofitting one diesel-electric switcher with a Tier-4 compliant prime mover. [Railway Age, 4-3-19]

CALEDONIAN SLEEPER CAR INTERIORS UNVEILED FOR LONDON-SCOTLAND OVERNIGHT SERVICE: London to Scotland overnight train operator Caledonian Sleeper has unveiled the interiors of its new cars, which are being built by CAF in northern Spain. Bookings may be made for travel on the new fleet beginning June 2, and include five different accommodations: comfort seats, classic rooms, club rooms, Caledonian doubles and accessible rooms. [Railway Gazette, 4-3-19]

PERMIT SOUGHT TO EXTEND ALASKA R.R. INTO ALBERTA: Alaska's governor has submitted a request for a presidential permit to extend an Alaska Railroad line 1,700 miles to tar-sands fields in Alberta, including 200 miles within Alaska. The Alaska Railway Development Corp. says it plans to fund the $17-billion project without using state money. Supports of the initiative say the extension would reduce travel time by at least two days for freight trains headed to the Far East to use shorter sea routes. [U.S. News & World Report, 4-2-19]

AMTRAK CREW EJECTS 13-YEAR OLD FROM TRAIN FOR BEING TOO YOUNG TO TRAVEL ALONE: A Battle Creek police official is critical of Amtrak for kicking a 13-year-old girl off the train because she was too young to travel alone. She was en route from Lapeer, Michigan, to visit an uncle in Chicago, and had been on the train two and one-half hours when the incident occurred. The girl's mother had to drive from Lapeer to Battle Creek to return her home. Amtrak says the policy is enforced to prevent runaways or girls who are being trafficked from using trains. [WKZO, 4-2-19]

UNION PACIFIC STORING SURPLUS LOCOMOTIVES IN KLAMATH FALLS, OREGON: There looks to be more than 30 idled locomotives covering about two miles of line in Klamath Falls, Oregon. According to the railroad, it is part of the company's strategic Unified Plan 2020, and over 1,200 locomotives and about 30,000 freight cars have been shifted from the network since Aug. 1, 2018. The exact number of locomotives stored in Klamath Falls was not immediately known. [Herald and News, 4-2-19]

ROGER HARRIS NAMED CHIEF MARKETING AND COMMERCIAL OFFICER OF AMTRAK: Amtrak has appointed Roger Harris executive vice-president and chief marketing and commercial officer. He will succeed Tim Griffin, who will retire April 12. [Progressive Railroading, 4-2-19]

WEST COAST RAILWAY ASSN. GETTING GRANT TO ACQUIRE, RENOVATE HISTORIC WORKSHOP IN B.C.: The West Coast Railway Association will receive $985,000 from the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund to acquire and renovate a former British Columbia Railway workshop to support a heritage railway's preservation in Squamish, B.C. The grant will help the association maintain, protect and preserve its collection of historic locomotives and rail cars. [Progressive Railroading, 4-2-19]

AMTRAK WASTED $23-M IN UNNEEDED OFFICE SPACE, INSPECTOR GENERAL SAYS: Amtrak wasted at least $23-million by acquiring unneeded office space in Boston, New York, Washington and several other cities, according to a report by the railroad's inspector general. [Washington Post, 4-2-19]

NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCED TO MORE EFFICIENTLY CUT RAIL: Rail industry supplier Holland is introducing a sparkless carbide saw with the ability to cut rail without sparks and harmful dust. The process uses carbide-tipped steel blades, rotating at low revolutions, and reduces the risk of fire starting on the job. Holland says such features make the saw ideal for use in bridge and tunnel work as well as high fire-risk areas. [Railway Track & Structures, 4-2-19]

CYNTHIA GARNEAU TO BECOME PRESIDENT, CEO OF VIA RAIL CANADA: Canada's transport ministry has appointed Cynthia Garneau as president and chief executive officer of VIA Rail Canada for a five-year term beginning May 9. [Progressive Railroading, 4-1-19]

CHICAGO TRANSIT COMPLETES BELMONT BLUE GATEWAY MODERNIZATION PROJECT: Chicago Transit Authority has marked the completion of its $17-million Belmont Blue Gateway project, part of a $492-million program to modernize and improve the O'Hare brand of the CTA's Blue Line. The Belmont Blue project represents the first major renovation to the facility since it opened nearly five decades ago. [Progressive Railroading, 4-1-19]

AMTRAK'S 'STATE OF GOOD REPAIR' BACKLOG EXCEEDS $33-B: Amtrak says its state of good repair backlog has passed $33.3-billion, with $28.1-billion of that on the Northeast corridor. Amtrak Engineering has set a target of 10 years to eliminate the backlog. [Railway Track & Structures, 4-1-19]

BLET REACHES TENTATIVE LABOR AGREEMENT WITH LOUISVILLE & INDIANA R.R.: The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen has reached a tentative agreement with the Louisville & Indiana Railroad covering rates of pay, benefits and work rules for about 20 members. The railroad operates 106 miles of line between Indianapolis and Louisville. [Progressive Railroading, 4-1-19]

AMTRAK SEEKS TO RESTORE DETROIT-TORONTO SERVICE: In its annual report submitted to Congress, Amtrak included a line item labeled, 'Restoration of the Detroit-Toronto Service.' [Curbed Detroit, 4-1-19]

DENVER'S G LINE TO OPEN THIS MONTH: Denver's Regional Transportation District says its 11-mile commuter rail G Line from Union Station to Wheat Ridge is set to begin operation April 26. The agency expects 9,000 passenger trips per day in the line's first year. Meanwhile, a 2.3-mile extension of the E, F and R lines to Lone Tree will open May 19. [U.S. News & World Report, 4-1-19]

MARCH 2019 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-four percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in March 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived two hours and two minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 4-1-19]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN DERAILS IN UTAH: Authorities say it may take several days to clean up a train derailment near Eureka, Utah, that happened March 30. Twenty-three cars came off the rails, and one of the cars was on its side and releasing propane into the air. There were no injuries. [Local News 8 ABC, 3-31-19]

THREE CREW MEMBERS HURT IN UNION PACIFIC TRAIN COLLISION IN TEXAS: Three crew members were injured March 31 when two construction trains collided on an elevated portion of Union Pacific tracks in Round Rock, Texas. [KVUE, 3-31-19]

CHICAGO-ST. LOUIS RAIL SPEEDS TO INCREASE: Rail travel between Chicago and St. Louis is soon expected to pick up speed thanks to nearly $2-billion of improvements to the route, noted the Wall Street Journal recently. The Illinois effort to increase rail speeds was supposed to have been completed in 2017, bu ran into numerous delays, including the preparation of upgrades at over 300 rail crossings. [Peoria Journal Star, 3-30-19]

EUROSTAR TRAINS SUSPENDED DUE TO MAN OBSTRUCTING SERVICE FOR SEVERAL HOURS: British police arrested a man for blocking the railway line March 30 after Eurostar, which runs trains between London, Paris and Brussels, had to suspend trains in and out of Britain for several hours. Local media showed pictures of the man on the roof of the station carrying an English flag. [U.S. News & World Report, 3-30-19]

OVERNIGHT TEST RUNS BEGIN ON NEWLY-ELECTRIFIED RAIL LINE IN DENMARK: The first overnight test runs have been undertaken using 25 kV 50 Hz electrification newly installed on the 28 mile, 99 MPH Koge Nord-Naestved rail line in Denmark. The route is the third to be wired under a program aimed at reducing operating costs and increasing reliability and running speeds. [Railway Gazette, 3-30-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN ISSUES 2018 ANNUAL REPORT: Norfolk Southern's 2018 annual report has been posted, highlighting strong growth and best-ever operating ratio (65.4 pct) and income from railway operations ($4-billion). [Norfolk Southern, 3-29-19]

PA. RAIL AUTHORITY GETS FUNDS FOR LACKAWANA CUTOFF PROJECT: The Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority has been awarded a $400,000 state grant for engineering services needed to continue track and structure construction for the Scranton to New York City Lackawanna Cutoff passenger rail restoration. In the meantime, N.J. Transit is in the construction phase of its part of the project between Port Morris and Andover, N.J. [Progressive Railroading, 3-29-19]

MBTA TO RENAME YAWKEY STATION TO LANSDOWNE STATION: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will rename the Yawkey station on the Framingham-Worster rail line to Lansdowne station, effective April 8. The name was chosen in accordance with the agency's station-naming policy. [Progressive Railroading, 3-29-19]

STADLER LANDS POLISH ORDER FOR 12 FLIRT EMU'S: Poland's Koleje Mazowieckie has signed a contract with Stadler Polska for the supply of 12 five-car Flirt electric multiple-units. The order forms part of a framework contract covering up to 61 five-car and 10 two-car EMU's. [Railway Gazette, 3-29-19]

MORE ALSTOM TRAINS ORDERED FOR GRAND PARIS EXPRESS: Options have been exercised for 23 additional Alstom three-car Metropolis metro trains for Grand Paris Express lines 16 and 17. The trains will enter service in 2024. [International Railway Journal, 3-29-19]

CANADA'S TRANSPORTATION AGENCY ISSUES WARNING OVER MATERIAL LEFT ON TRACK: Canada's transportation safety watchdog is issuing a warning after two VIA passenger trains were seriously damaged by material left on the track. In one instance a train was en route from Halifax to Montreal near Truro, N.S., when its fuel tank was punctured and had lacerations to belly plates and water tanks; and the other instance was near Brighton, Ontario, when a train suffered similar damage. [CBC, 3-28-19]

AMTRAK TRUCK STOLEN IN BOSTON, STRIKES PEDESTRIAN: Police are searching for a driver who stole an Amtrak truck March 22 and proceeded to hit a light pole, a parked car and a pedestrian in Boston's Seaport district. The pedestrian had non-life threatening injuries, and the driver fled the scene. [Boston Herald, 3-28-19]

ROCHESTER AMTRAK STATION DEDICATED TO LATE U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Amtrak has dedicated its train station in Rochester, N.Y., after the late U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter, a longtime Amtrak supporter. The station opened in Oct. 2017. [Progressive Railroading, 3-27-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAILS IN RICHMOND: Police and fire crews responded early March 27 to a second derailment of a Norfolk Southern train in Richmond, Va., this week. Six cars of a 24-car train derailed while en route to a rail yard. All of the cars remained upright, and no products were released. There were no injuries, and no passenger train service was impacted. [Richmond Times-Dispatch, 3-27-19]

METRA TO CLOSE TICKET OFFICE AT FRANKLIN PARK STATION: Chicago's Metra will be closing its ticket office at the Franklin Park station April 15 due to declining on-site ticket sales. The agency says ticket sales have declined at many of its stations as passengers have been switching to mobile purchasing. Passengers will continue to have access to the building. [Railway Track & Structures, 3-27-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending March 23, 2019, U.S. rail freight traffic was 503,017 carloads and intermodal units, down 4.5 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carload volume dropped 10.9 pct, while intermodal volume increased 2.1 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-27-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO UPDATE LAMBERTS POINT HUMP YARD PROCESS CONTROL SYSTEM: Trainyard Tech has landed an order from Norfolk Southern to update its hump yard process control system at Lamberts Point coal-dumping facility in Norfolk. Automatic equipment identifier radio frequency readers to monitor cars during dumping will be added. [Progressive Railroading, 3-27-19]

INDIANA'S WEST LAKE COMMUTER RAIL EXTENSION GETS FAVORABLE FEDERAL RATING: The Federal Transit Administration has given the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District a favorable rating for its proposed West Lake Corridor rail extension plan. The project is a southern branch extension of the South Shore rail line in Lake County. [Progressive Railroading, 3-26-19]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS PERSON IN N.Y. STATE: Two Amtrak trains were stopped early March 26, one in Albany, after a train struck and killed a person on the track in Stockport, N.Y., north of Hudson. There were 125 people on board the train, none of whom were injured. [Daily Gazette, 3-26-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN NAMES THREE TO NEW EXECUTIVE POSITIONS: The board of Norfolk Southern has elected three company officers to new executive positions, effective April 1: John Scheib is executive vice-president and chief strategy officer, Annie Adams is executive vice-president and chief transformation officer, and Vanessa Allen Sutherland is senior vice-president law and chief legal officer. [Norfolk Southern, 3-26-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN BREAKS GROUND ON NEW ATLANTA HEADQUARTERS: Norfolk Southern on March 26 broke ground to begin construction of its new corporate headquarters in Atlanta's Tech Square. Located on a 3.4-acre site, the building will feature about 750,000 square feet of office space using two connecting towers and a lush entry plaza. [Norfolk Southern, 3-26-19]

CALIFORNIA SELLS $600-M IN HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT BONDS: California sold $600-million in bonds March 26 for its high-speed rail project, even as lawmakers and Governor Newsom acknowledge challenges to completing the line between Los Angeles and San Francisco. [NBC Los Angeles, 3-26-19]

FEC TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS MAN IN FLORIDA: A 47-year old man was struck and killed by a Florida East Coast train late March 26 in Fort Pierce, Florida. The man was on a bridge with his fiancee at the time of the incident, and she jumped into the water in time to escape the path of the train. [Treasure Coast Palm, 3-26-19]

KCS EXPECTS GASOLINE TRANSPORT BUSINESS TO GROW THIS YEAR: The Mexican subsidiary of railroad operator Kansas City Southern expects its gasoline transport business to grow at least 15 pct by volume this year, and possibly more. [nasdaq.com, 3-26-19]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN DERAILS IN WISCONSIN: Union Pacific is cleaning up and making repairs following a train derailment late March 25 in Monomonee Falls, near Milwaukee. Thirteen cars were involved, four of them coming to rest in a ravine. There were no injuries or public safety concerns. [Star Tribune, 3-26-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-eight percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending March 24, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 48 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 3-25-19]

RAIL UNIONS ENDORSE TWO-PERSON CREW LEGISLATION: The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers have announced their support of a bill that calls for two-person rail crews. [Progressive Railroading, 3-25-19]

METRO-NORTH TRAIN STRIKES CAR, NO INJURIES: Police are investigating a collision involving a Metro-North train and a car March 25 at a crossing in Pawling, N.Y., on the Harlem line. The occupants escaped from the car prior to impact, and no injuries were reported. [Poughkeepsie Journal, 3-25-19]

NEW MASS-TRANSIT RAIL LINE IN INDONESIA OPENED: The first phase of a mass rapid transit rail line in Indonesia was officially opened on March 24. The 9.7-mile line serves seven elevated and six underground stations with a fleet of six-car trains supplied by Nippon-Sharyo. [International Railway Journal, 3-25-19]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN DERAILS IN TEXAS: No injuries were reported in a 14-car Union Pacific train derailment early March 23 north of Big Sandy, Texas. No leaks of hazardous material were involved, officials said. [Longview News Journal, 3-23-19]

AMTRAK'S CITY OF NEW ORLEANS CONTINUES TO BE IMPACTED BY FLOODING: The route of Amtrak's City of New Orleans south of Jackson is still closed due to flooding. Bus service is offered from that location to New Orleans, including Hazlehurst, Brookhaven, McComb and Hammond. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-22-19]

GENESEE & WYOMING SUBSIDIARIES TO OPERATE 57 MILES OF TRACK IN INDIANA: Genesee & Wyoming subsidiaries Toledo, Peoria & Western Railway and Central Railroad Co. of Indianapolis have signed long-term agreements to lease and operate the Winamac Southern Railway and Kokomo Railroad, respectively, which together own 57 miles of track in Indiana. [Daily Freeman, 3-22-19]

TRIMET INSTALLS WIND TURBINES ON LIGHT-RAIL POLES: The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon will install 12 small wind turbines on top of poles on the Tilikum Crossing bridge to complete one of the final elements of the MAX light-rail Orange line construction. The turbines will generate electricity to be stored in batteries to power lights at night. [Progressive Railroading, 3-22-19]

FOUR-YEAR-OLD BOY STRUCK BY TRAIN IN N.D.: Authorities say a four-year-old boy escaped serious injury after he was struck by a train while standing on a railroad track late March 21 in Eckelson, N.D. He was airlifted and is in stable condition at a Fargo hospital. [U.S. News & World Report, 3-22-19]

AMTRAK TAKES FIGHT AGAINST TRAIN DELAYS ONLINE: Amtrak's new, attention-grabbing strategy for highlighting reasons behind delays caused by host carrier freight trains is grabbing headlines, including a front page story in the Wall Street Journal. Amtrak has also taken to using a Twitter handle (@AmtrakAlerts) to tell riders when trains are delayed, including when they are stuck because of freights. That prompted a lawyer for Norfolk Southern to send a 'demand' to Amtrak to stop tweeting about their trains, or the railroad will be forced to 'consider further action.' [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-22-19]

AMTRAK RELEASES FIVE-YEAR PLAN: Amtrak's new five-year plan lays out a commitment to retain national network capacity and long-distance equipment. It outlines $405-million for Superliner refurbishments, and goes into detail surrounding the estimated $1.55-billion for the replacement of Superliner I cars, tentatively starting in 2022. Also discussed is the full deployment for the 130 new Viewliner cars, including reinstatement of sleeper service on Northeast Regional trains 65, 66 and 67. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-22-19]

N.Y. HUDSON YARDS COMPLEX OPENS TO THE PUBLIC: The brand new $25-billion Hudson Yards complex has opened to the public. It is the largest (by square footage) private development in the U.S., and sits on nearly 27 acres of land in the Chelsea and Hudson Yards neighborhood in Manhattan. Buildings were built over the existing West Side Yard - storage for Long Island Rail Road trains. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-22-19]

MISSOURI RIVER RUNNER SERVICE SET TO RESUME MARCH 25: Amtrak's Missouri River Runner train, suspended due to flooding, is now expected to resume on March 25. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-22-19]

ELIZABETHTOWN STATION CLOSES TEMPORARILY: The Elizabethtown, Pa., train station is closed temporarily. Trains will continue to stop at the station, and passengers will have access to platforms. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-22-19]

CHINA PLANS ZHOUSHAN ISLAND RAIL LINE: Surveying and design work has begun for construction of a 48-mile rail link between Ningbo and the Zhoushan Islands in eastern Zhejiang province. This would include China's first section of undersea line designed for 155 MPH trains. [Railway Gazette, 3-22-19]

FEDS DECLARE EMERGENCY EVENT FOR RAIL OPERATIONS DUE TO MIDWEST FLOODING: The Federal Railroad Administration has declared an 'emergency event' for railroad operations because of extreme flooding throughout the Midwest. Numerous reports estimate the flooding could last all spring. [Progressive Railroading, 3-21-19]

IMPROVEMENTS SLATED FOR 30-MILE RAIL CORRIDOR IN OHIO: A more than $30-million project to improve a 30-mile stretch of Norfolk Southern rail line from Dilles Bottom to Mingo Junction, Ohio, will soon be under contract. Ohio has received a $16.25-million grant through the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, and a $14.5-million grant from Norfolk Southern. Included will be rail line rehab, bank stabilization, yard improvements at Mingo Junction, and grade-crossing improvements along the line. [Herald-Star, 3-21-19]

AMTRAK TO SHAVE 15 MINS OFF HOOSIER STATE SCHEDULE: Beginning in April, Amtrak will cut 15 minutes from the schedule of the Hoosier State train between Indianapolis and Chicago. The same may be in store for the Cardinal, which operates on days the Hoosier State does not, but this is currently being considered. [Journal & Courier, 3-21-19]

PATH NAMES NEW DIRECTOR OF RAIL TRANSIT, GENERAL MGR: Clarelle DeGraffe has been named new director of rail transit and general manager of Port Authority Trans-Hudson, effective March 25. She will succeed Director Mike Marino, who is retiring. [Railway Track & Structures, 3-21-19]

PHOENIX TO DELAY PLANNED LIGHT-RAIL LINE FOR WEST PHOENIX: The Phoenix City Council has voted to delay a planned light-rail line for West Phoneix, to use the money for street repairs instead. The line was slated to open in 2026. [U.S. News & World Report]

SECOND CHICAGO-TWIN CITIES TRAIN ADVOCATED, BUT NOT TO BE 'HIGH-SPEED': Advocated for high-speed rail from Chicago to St. Paul are now adopting a less ambitious goal. They now want to establish a second daily train, traveling at roughly the same speed as the existing Empire Builder train. The Great River Rail Commission says the idea is the 'realistic thing.' They may advocate for high-speed rail in the future, but not now. The train would make the same stops as the present service, but at different times, and perhaps 30 minutes faster. [Twin Cities Pioneer Press, 5-21-19]

HITACHI ELECTRIC TRAINSETS ORDERED FOR LONDON-EDINBURGH SERVICE: FirstGroup has finalized an order for five Hitachi AT300 electric trainsets which it will use to launch a London-Edinburgh open access service in the fall of 2021. A service of five trains a day each way is planned, with three stops and a journey time of about four hours. [Railway Gazette, 3-21-19]

NJT LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEER SHORTAGE COULD SPELL DELAYS THIS SUMMER: Threats of a critical engineer shortage are preventing N.J. Transit to get back on track. The agency is only graduating eight new engineers in May, and not until October will 25 to 30 more will graduate.. The shortage could spell major delays this summer. [PIX 11, 3-20-19]

VEHICLE STRUCK BY TRAIN IN INDIANA, DRIVER KILLED: Authorities say a 20-year-old woman died after the vehicle she was driving was struck by a freight train late March 19 in New Whiteland, Indiana. [U.S. News & World Report, 3-20-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending March 16, 2019, total U.S. rail freight traffic was 501,000 carloads and intermodal units, down 6.8 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-20-19]

METRA SEEKS PROPOSALS FOR UP TO 400 NEW RAILCARS: Chicago's Metra has approved seeking proposals from manufacturers for up to 400 new railcars with arm rests and cupholders, and possibly heated floors, USB ports and tray tables. Planners hope to maximize passenger space with two levels, with the second deck closed off. Metra also intends to buy eight Tier 4 locomotives. [Daily Herald, 3-20-19]

CP NAMES ISABELLE COURVILLE TO HEAD ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Canadian Pacific has selected the first woman to head the board of direcors. Isabelle Courville, 56, has been designated to replace Andrew Reardon at the company's annual meeting in May. [BNN Bloomberg, 3-20-19]

AMTRAK RIVER RUNNER TRAINS CANCELED DUE TO FLOODING: Record-setting flood levels are changing Amtrak's train schedule. The company has canceled all River Runner trains between Kansas City and St. Louis until March 25. [WMIZ, 3-19-19]

MIDWEST FLOODS DISRUPT LIVESTOCK FEED SUPPLIES FOR CALIFORNIA FARMS: Some farms, dairies and feed companies in California's San Joaquin Valley are facing shortages of livestock feed supplies after river flooding in the Midwest closed major railroad shipping corridors in recent days. [Fresno Bee, 3-19-19]

UNION PACIFIC LINE IN WASHINGTON STATE CLOSED DUE TO DERAILMENT: The Union Pacific line that runs through eastern Washington state has been shut down since March 15 by a 23-car derailment near Ritzville that included a hazardous cargo spill and subsequent fire that flared over the weekend. [Seattle Times, 3-19-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-two percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending March 17, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived two hours and 35 minutes late. Severe snowstorms and flooding impacted western tanscontinental trains during the week. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 3-18-19]

UNION PACIFIC TRAINS STRANDED IN NEBRASKA DUE TO FLOODING: Because of eastern Nebraska's continuing unprecedented flooding, Union Pacific rail traffic east of Gibbon has been at a standstill since March 15. Stranded trains have been sitting on the main line east of Grand Island. [Grand Island Independent, 3-18-18]

CSX TRAIN STRIKES CAR IN OHIO: A CSX train hit a car late March 17 in Findlay, Ohio. The driver escaped from the vehicle prior to impact, but was later charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated. [Fox 106.3, 3-18-19]

MAN ARRESTED FOR LUNGING AT AMTRAK CONDUCTOR: A man who forced his way onto an idled Amtrak in Fullerton, California, and lunging at a conductor with a pick axe and chain has been arrested and taken to a hospital for evaluation. [NBC Bay Area, 3-18-19]

WEATHER IMPACTING BNSF OPERATIONS: BNSF is engaged in service recovery in multiple areas across its network in the northern and central Plains following a major winter storm. Blizzard conditions with high wind gusts in six states have caused significant delays since March 14. With temperatures rising, the railroad is now confronting major flooding issues, particularly in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, as multiple subdivisions are out of service due to washouts. [Railway Age, 3-17-19]

AMTRAK MISSOURI TRAINS IMPACTED BY FLOODING, CONGESTION: Amtrak's Missouri River Runner trains between Kansas City and St. Louis have delays of up to five hours because of flooding and congestion. [Kansas City Star, 3-17-19]

RECREATIONAL TRAIL BEING DEVELOPED ON OLD R.R. BED IN INDIANA: Contractors hired by Monroe County, Indiana, have begun clearing trees along the planned 1.7-mile paved Limestone Greenway along the roadbed of a former Illinois Central Railroad corridor. Illinois Central sold the line to Indiana Rail Road in 1986, but it was vacated a couple of years later. [U.S. News & World Report, 3-17-19]

CONSTRUCTION ON CSX INTERMODAL FACILITY IN N.C. TO BEGIN IN APRIL: CSX's planned 330-acre intermodal rail facility in Edgecombe County, N.C., across from N.C. Wesleyan College, is slated for beginning of construction in Apri. It is anticipated to take 18 to 20 months to complete. The N.C. transportation department is going to invest at least $118-million, and CSX will contribute at least $40-million. [Rocky Mount Telegram, 3-16-19]

CSX FREIGHT TRAIN DERAILS IN BALTIMORE: Approximately nine cars of a CSX freight train derailed Friday afternoon, March 15, on a bridge spanning Jones Falls, Falls road, and property of the Baltimore Streetcar Museum, with rail cars plummeting from the bridge. No injuries have been reported, and the extent of damages is being assessed. The section of track, known as the 'Belt Line,' is along the railroad's main freight line through Baltimore. [3-15-19]

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION BUDGET COULD END LONG-DISTANCE RAIL SERVICE: The White House has released a budget proposal that would slash FY-2020 funding for rail and transit programs, cutting $455.6-million from Amtrak and intercity rail programs, eliminating long-distance routes and replacing corridor train service with subsidized bus service. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-15-19]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN DERAILS IN MINNESOTA: No major injuries were reported after a Union Pacific train derailed near Le Sueur, Minnesota, early March 15, but two crew members were taken to a hospital as a precaution. Authorities say a locomotive and 12 cars left the tracks, and diesel fuel spilled from the locomotive sparking a fire. [U.S. News & World Report, 3-15-19]

KNORR-BREMSE ACQUIRES 21.3 PCT SHARE OF RAIL VISION: Knorr-Bremse Group has acquired a 21.3 pct share of Rail Vision Ltd. The investment is expected to allow the company to expand from automated driving into the railway sector by integating Rail Vision's obstacle detection capabilities into automatic train operation offerings. [Progressive Railroading, 3-15-19]

COAST GUARD RESTRICTS OPENING PORTAL BRIDGE IN N.J.: Under a Coast Guard order, all marine traffic on the Hackensack River requiring Amtrak's Portal bridge in Kearny, N.J., to open has been halted between 5 A.M. and 10 A.M., and between 3 P.M. and 8 P.M., with limited exceptions due to tidal restrictions, and with a minimum two hours' notice. [WABC, 3-15-19]

ALSTOM INSTALLS SMARTLOCK 400 SIGNALING SYSEM IN MAGHAGHA, EGYPT: Alstom has supplied, tested and put into commercial operation its computer-based interlocking signaling system (Smartlock 400) at the main rail station in Maghagha, Egypt. [Progressive Railroading, 3-15-19]

INJURED BALD EAGLE CAUSES D.C. METRO DELAYS: Some commuters in the Washington DC area faced delays late March 13 after an injured bald eagle was found on Metro tracks in Landover, Md. The bird was close to an electrified third rail, and the track was closed while a rescue crew recovered it. Full rail service was restored after nearly two hours. [U.S. News & World Report, 3-14-19]

WARREN COUNTY, N.Y., SUES FORMER RAIL OPERATOR: Warren County, N.Y., has sued Saratoga & North Creek Railway, which formerly ran service on the county-owned line, for unpaid revenue and tax bills. The railroad, a subsidiary of Iowa Pacific Holdings, is alleged to have breached a contract with the county, which seeks over $110,000 that the county claims was incurred in 2017-2018 before the railroad closed its freight and excursion operations. [Adirondack Daily Enterprise, 3-14-19]

BNSF TESTING DOUBLE-LENGTH EMPTY GRAIN TRAIN: BNSF is experimenting with the process of combining two empty unit grain trains into one, and sending the 230-car train over the 235-mile Stampede Pass route. A train of such a length will exceed the capacity of most passing sidings, but the Stampede route is presently operated in an eastward direction only. [Railway Ae, 3-14-19]

DUTCH TO RESTORE PASSENGER RAIL SERVICE TO STADSKANAAL: An agreement has been reached to reinstate regular passenger rail service on the 16-mile Veendam-Stadskanaal line. Excursion trains have operated on the route since 1995, but regular passenger service was withdrawn in 1955. [International Railway Journal, 3-14-19]

BRITISH RAIL ELECTRIFICATION COSTS COULD BE CUT BY UP TO 50 PCT, REPORT SAYS: The cost of delivering main line rail electrification projects in Britain could be reduce by up to 50 pct, according to a report by the Railway Industry Association. At present, only 42 pct of the 9,825-mile network is electrified. [International Railway Journal, 3-14-19]

REQUEST BY KCS FOR MEXICAN BRAKE TESTS DENIED BY FRA: The Federal Railroad Administration has denied a request by Kansas City Southern to outsource brake tests to Mexico, explaining that the request was not in the public interest or consistent with railroad safety. KCS is already exempt from conducting full brake tests at the border (just a 'minimal' test), so long as it as it conducts its 'major' brake test in Laredo, Texas, nine miles beyond the border. [AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Dept., 3-14-19]

SIEMENS COMPLETES ACQUISITION OF RUSSELECTRIC: Siemens has closed its acquisition of power control systems manufacturer Russelectric. [Progressive Railroading, 3-13-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending March 9, 2019, total U.S. rail freight traffic was 508,958 carloads and intermodal units, down 4.7 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-13-19]

HIGH WINDS TOPPLE RAIL CARS IN N.M.: High wind gusts contributed to a train derailment March 13 near Logan, N.M., leaving 26 rail cars in a pile of wreckage at the bottom of a deep ravine. [Miami Herald, 3-13-19]

CP INVESTING IN CRACKED-WHEEL DETECTION SYSTEM: Canadian Pacific Railway is investing in new technology to detect surface and subsurface cracks in rail car wheels. The system will use electromagnetic sensors to detect flaws in steel before they can cause a fracture. [Calgary Herald, 3-13-19]

PRESIDENT'S 2020 BUDGET SLASHES FUNDING FOR AMTRAK'S LONG-DISTANCE TRAINS: President Trump's FY-2020 budget request calls for 'restructuring' Amtrak and slushing its budget to emphasize shorter distance routes. The administration believes that the Amtrak system can result in better service at a lower cost by focusing on trains of fewer than 750 route miles, while providing robust intercity bus service to currently underserved rural areas via a partnership between Amtrak and bus operators. [Progressive Railroading, 3-12-19]

PRESIDENT'S 2020 BUDGET SLASHES FUNDING FOR AMTRAK'S LONG-DISTANCE TRAINS: President Trump's FY-2020 budget request calls for 'restructuring' Amtrak and slushing its budget to emphasize shorter distance routes. The administration believes that the Amtrak system can result in better service at a lower cost by focusing on trains of fewer than 750 route miles, while providing robust intercity bus service to currently underserved rural areas via a partnership between Amtrak and bus operators. [Progressive Railroading, 3-12-19]

TRAIN STRIKES SEMI IN INDIANA: No one was injured when a train and a semi crashed early March 12 in Austin, Indiana. [WAVE3, 3-12-19]

STADLER TO SUPPLY 60 NEW DIESEL LOCOMOTIVES TO FINLAND: Finland's VR Group has ordered 60 new center-cab diesel locomotives from Stadler, primarily for freight operations, which the company says will improve efficiency in freight yards and on non-electrified lines, which make up 45 pct of the Finnish network. [International Railway Journal, 3-12-19]

AMTRAK'S HIAWATHA SERVICE SETS RIDERSHIP RECORD: Amtrak's Chicago-Milwaukee Hiawatha service had an all-time record high of more than 858,000 riders in 2018, a more than 3.5 pct increase compared to 2017. [WDJT, 3-11-19]

PORT OF VIRGINIA OPENS 12 NEW CONTAINER STACKS: Twelve new container stacks have begun operating at the Port of Virginia's Norfolk International Terminals. Four railroads serve the port. [Progressive Railroading, 3-11-19]

FINANCING SECURED FOR FINLAND-ESTONIA RAIL TUNNEL: Finest Bay Area Development has signed a memorandum of understanding with Touchstone Capital Partners in China to secure financing for construction of a 62-mile railway tunnel under the Gulf of Finland between Finland and Estonia. [International Railway Journal, 3-11-19]

NEW GO TRANSIT STATION PLANNED IN TORONTO AREA: Metrolinx and the province of Ontario are partnering with Woodbine Entertainment to build a new GO Transit station in the Toronto area at Woodbine on the Kitchener rail line. [Progressive Railroading, 3-11-19]

JAPAN'S LAST-SURVIVING COAL-CARRYING RAILROAD TO SHUT DOWN: The only remaining coal-carrying railroad in Japan will cease operation at the end of March, ending its 94-year mission. The 2.5-mile line carried 720 tons of coal six times a day. [Jiji Press, 3-11-19]

WOMAN RESCUED FROM LOCKED RAIL CAR: A Southern California homeless woman was rescued March 10 after being locked inside a rail car for several days. Officials say the woman and a man had been living in the car for a week, and the woman gave the man money for food and drugs, and he intentionally locked the door as he left. [U.S. News & World Report, 3-11-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PEFORMANCE: Thirty-three percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending March 10, 2019, according to an analysis by the Bull Sheet. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 55 minutes behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 3-11-19]

CONRAIL ORDERS HUMP YARD PROCESS CONTROL SYSTEM FOR OAK ISLAND: Trainyard Tech has received an order from Conrail to install the Classmaster hump yard process control system at Oak Island Yard in New Jersey. The system will include a rail yard reporting tool called TyT Reporter that will be customizable to simplify troubleshooting, analyze yard trends and review historical performance. [Progressive Railroading, 3-8-19]

JOSEPH BOARDMAN DIES, FORMER AMTRAK HEAD, FRA ADMINISTRATOR: Joseph H. Boardman, former Amtrak president and CEO, and Federal Railroad Administrator, died March 7 while vacationing with his family in Florda. He was 70. The second-longest serving head of Amtrak from 2008 to 2016, he had been in the transportation industry for more than 40 years. He was named Railroader of the Year by Railway Age magazine in 2014. [Railway Age, 3-7-19]

CSX CREATES NEW MARKETING TEAM: CSX as created a new marketing team focused on research and analytics, and has expanded its sales team. Two new vice-presidents are being added, and focus is being increased on port and short-line development. Kevin Boone has been named vice-president of marketing and strategy, and Arthur Adams has been named vice-president of sales and marketing engagement. [Progressive Railroading, 3-7-19]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON BNSF LOGISTIC CENTER IN COLORADO: BNSF says construction is underway on its newest logistics center near Hudson, Colorado, outside of Denver. The 430-acre center will feature 15 sites for customers wanting to ship via individual rail cars, and a unit-train site for customers wanting to ship entire trainloads. [Progressive Railroading, 3-7-19]

MBTA OPENS NEW BLUE HILL AVENUE RAIL STATION: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority on March 6 opened its new Blue Hill Avenue commuter rail station in Boston. The station's opening marks the completion of the agency's $130-million investment into the Fairmount line. [Progressive Railroading, 3-7-19]

INITIAL EMPLOYEES BEGIN TRAINING FOR CHICAGO TRANSIT 7000-SERIES RAIL CAR ASSEMBLY: CRRC Sifang America has hired the initial group of employees to assemble Chicago Transit Authority's newest 7000-series rail cars at the $100-million rail-car manufacturing plant in Chicago. More than 70 employees have been hired to date. The new cars will be the first CTA vehicles produced in Chicago since 1964. [Progressive Railroading, 3-6-19]

SECOND CHICAGO-TWIN CITIES TRAIN TO BOOST ECONOMY, RAIL PASSENGERS ASSN. SAYS: The Rail Passengers Association has released an assessment of an Amtrak feasibility study and found that adding a second Amtrak train between Chicago and St. Paul could bring Minnesota $25-million in annual economic benefits. The overall benefit to the three states served by the train would be $47-million annually, the association said. Currently, the Empire Builder is the only train to serve that route. [Progressive Railroading, 3-6-19]

THIRD AMTRAK TRAIN TO NORFOLK PLANNED FOR 2022: Virginia, in 2022, is planning to extend a third Amtrak regional train to Norfolk. [Virginians for High Speed Rail, 3-6-19]

ALSTOM LANDS CONTRACT TO MODERNIZE MBTA RED, ORANGE LINE SIGNALING: Alstom, in partnership with Barletta Heavy Division, has signed an $80-million contract to upgrade and modernize the signaling systems of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's Red and Orange subway lines. [Progressive Railroading, 3-6-19]

FEBRUARY 2019 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic in Febr. 2019 was 2,094,477 carloads and intermodal units, down 1.8 pct compared with the same month last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-6-19]

TOGO PLANS DEVELOPMENT OF RAIL LINE SPANNING LENGTH OF COUNTRY: The West African nation of Togo has announced plans to evolve itself into a major logistics hub, including the development of a 472-mile heavy-rail line spanning the length of the country. Togo last operated passenger services in the mid-1990's. [International Railway Journal, 3-6-19]

NEW SOUTH WALES TO EXPAND INTERCITY RAIL VEHICLE FLEET: The New South Wales government has awarded the RailConnect consortium a contract to supply a further 42 double-deck electric multiple-unit cars, taking its new intercity fleet to a total of 554 vehicles. The additional vehicles will enable peak services to the South Coast line to be increased from eight to 10 cars. [Railway Gazette, 3-6-19]

MARYLAND APPLIES FOR FEDERAL GRANT TOWARD REBUILD OF HOWARD STREET TUNNEL: Maryland has applied for a $228-million federal infrastructure grant to help fund the rebuilding of the Howard Street rail tunnel in Baltimore. The application follows a year-long negotiation with CSX to eliminate height restrictions for double-stacked intermodal trains to reach the port of Baltimore. CSX is willing to commit $91-million toward the cost of the $466-million project, and the state would fund $147-million. [Progressive Railroading, 3-5-19]

BYPASS TRACK PROJECT COMPLETED IN RICHMOND: Trains traveling between Richmond's Staples Mill and Main Street stations will now run faster thanks to a new track bypassing a two-mile bottleneck. A $132-million project that included improvements to CSX's Acca Yard and upgrades installed around the Richmond region has been completed, while celebrating the debut of expanded Amtrak train service to Norfolk. [Richmond Times-Disptach, 3-5-19]

CAR STRUCK BY TWO TRAINS IN VA.: A collision late March 3 between two trains and a car in Bealton, Va., happened after a Honda Civic got stuck on the tracks. Four people in the car escaped prior to the collision and were not injured. Trains approached on separate tracks from opposite directions, crushing the car between them. One of the trains was Amtrak's Crescent, en route to New Orleans. There were no reported injuries, but there were significant delays to the trains. [Fauquier Times, 3-4-19]

FREIGHT TRAIN DERAILS IN N.D.: Authorities say 33 rail cars carrying mostly cargo left the tracks when a train derailed early March 2 south of Carrington, N.D. Some of the cars may contain ammonia, and a hazardous materials team was called to the area. [U.S. News & World Report, 3-2-19]

DUKE UNIVERSITY WILL NOT SUPPORT LIGHT-RAIL PLAN: GoTriangle officials have received word from Duke University officials that the university will not sign a cooperative agreement needed for a proposed 17.7-mile light-rail system that would connect Chapel Hill and eastern Durham, intended to serve educational, medical and other key activity centers. [Progressive Railroading, 3-2-19]

FEBRUARY 2019 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 Febr. 2019, acccording to the Bull Sheet. The average arrival of those trains that were behind schedule was one hour and 59 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 3-1-19]

AVALANCHE CAUSES SUSPENSION OF AMTRAK SERVICE THROUGH DONNER PASS: Amtrak passenger train service between Reno and Sacramento has been suspended until at least March 1 because of a lingering winter storm that sent an avalanche across Union Pacific tracks in the Siera Nevada, officials said. [News Tribune]

NEW RIVER TRAIN SCRUBBED FOR 2019: The Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society, sponsor of the annual New River excursion trains in West Virginia, said plans to run the trains this fall have been canceled. For 52 years, the New River Train has been run on certain weekends in October between Huntington and Hinton. They ran last year, although Amtrak had significantly increased the price to run them, and the trips lost $180,000 in spite of being sold to capacity. [Herald-Dispatch, 2-28-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Febr. 23, 2019, total U.S. rail freight traffic was 522,630 carloads and intermodal units, a decline of 1.1 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-27-19]

BRIDGE FIRE DISRUPTS AMTRAK SERVICE AT OREGON-WASHINGTON COLUMBIA RIVER CROSSING: There was a fire with heavy smoke early Febr. 26 on the BNSF railroad bridge spanning the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington, disrupting Amtrak traffic throughout much of the day. No injuries were reported. [KOIN, 2-27-19]

LIRR TRAINS COLLIDE AFTER CAR DRIVES AROUND CROSSING GATES: Late Febr. 26 a car went around lowered crossing gates onto Long Island Rail Road tracks in Westbury, N.Y., and was struck by a train going in one direction and then struck by another train heading in the opposite direction. Three people in the car will killed, and at least seven passengers on the trains were injured. Significant damage resulted, and the tracks were closed until the following morning. [Progressive Railroading, 2-27-19]

AMTRAK TO PROVIDE MATCHING FUNDS FOR S.W. CHIEF ROUTE: Amtrak has informed federal, state and local officials along the route of the Southwest Chief that it will provide matching funds to enable a federal grant to be awarded for upgrades to the train's route in Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico. [Rail Passengers Assn., 2-27-19]

GARBAGE TRUCK DRIVER ACQUITTED IN 2018 AMTRAK CROSSING ACCIDENT IN VA.: A jury has found a garbage truck driver not guilty of involuntary manslaugter and DUI in the fatal crash in Virginia involving an Amtrak special train carrying members of Congress to a retreat Jan. 31, 2018. There was no doubt that the driver had driven onto the track, but there was insufficient evidence to convict him of manslaughter or 'callous disregard' for human life. Evidence of DUI had been earlier ruled inadmissible. One of the driver's co-workers was killed and another was injured in the collision. [Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2-27-19]

NJT TRAINS TO ATLANTIC CITY TO RESUME MAY 24: New Jersey Transit says Atlantic City line rail service will resume beginning May 24, just in time for Memorial Day weekend. The line had been out of service for installation of positive train-control, but it remained out of service following that due to 'other problems' and a shortage of engineers. [KYW, 2-27-19]

FRENCH RAIL SYSTEM UNVEILS FUEL-EFFICIENT TRAIN: France's national carrier SNCF has unveiled a 'Grand Vitesse' prototype that will be 20 pct more fuel efficient than existing engines, primarily because of a braking system that channels energy into electricity to power the train. [CityLab, 2-26-19]

AMTRAK TRAIN MAROONED BY SNOW IN OREGON: As record snow kept falling, nearly 200 people remained trapped on Amtrak's Coast Starlight train early Febr. 26 in Oakridge, Oregon. Later the train was moved back to a less-confined location where passengers could depart. [CNN, 2-26-19]

LIRR BABYLON BRANCH SERVICE SUSPENDED BY TRESPASSER INCIDENT: A train struck a trespasser on Long Island Railroad's Babylon branch late Febr. 26 temporarily suspending service between Lynbrook and Babylon. Numerous trains were held at stations until service was allowed to resume more than an hour and a half later. [News 12, 2-26-19]

BNSF REPORTS 2018 EARNINGS: BNSF Railway reported 2018 operating income of $7.8-million, up 7 pct compared with the prior year, and total revenue of $23.9-billion, up 12 pct. [Progressive Railroading, 2-26-19]

NATIONAL GUARD RESCUES NINE PEOPLE ON STRANDED TRAINS IN MINNESOTA: The National Guard rescued nine people off two trains that had become stuck in a snow drift near Ellendale, Minnesota, early Febr. 25. According to Union Pacific, a northbound train stalled in a drift late Febr. 24, and a second train was dispatched to help, but it also got stuck. [Fox 9, 2-25-19]

WABTEC COMPLETES MERGER WITH GE TRANSPORTATION: Wabtec Corp announced Febr. 25 that it has completed its merger with GE Transportation, a former business unit of GE. The combined company expects to have revenues of more than $8-billion this year. [Wabtec, 2-25-19]

EARLY CONSTRUCTION OF PORTAL NORTH BRIDGE REPLACEMENT COMPLETED: N.J. Transit, in partnership with Amtrak, has completed early construction work for the Portal North Bridge replacement program. Included were new fiber optic poles and cables, utility protection, a finger pier to support future construction, transmission lines and a retaining wall to support the new bridge alignment. Portal North Bridge is a century-old moveable bridge, and it will be replaced with a mdoern span that is less prone to failure. [Progressive Railroading, 2-25-19]

GEORGIA INITIATES RAIL CROSSING SIGNAGE IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM: Georgia's Dept. of Transportation has partnered with five railroads to add 'Stop' or 'Yield' signs at nearly 600 crossings that do not have automatic warning devices. [Railway Age, 2-25-19]

MBTA TO RESUME CONSTRUCTION OF GREEN LINE LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will resume construction of its Green line light-rail extension project March 22. [Progressive Railroading, 2-25-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-nine percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending Febr. 24, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived two hours and one minute late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-25-19]

TOKYO METRO LAUNCHES NEW MARUNOUCHI LINE TRAINS: Tokyo Metro's new fleet of 2000-series trains entered commercial service on the Marunouchi line Febr. 23. [International Railway Journal, 2-25-19]

METRA TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS MAN WALKING ON TRACK: A man was hit and killed early Febr. 22 in Chicago's Far South side by a Metra electric-line train, causing extensive delays during the morning rush-hour commute. [Chicago Sun-Times, 2-22-19]

METRA TO ACQUIRE 15 REBUILT SD70MAC LOCOMOTIVES: Chicago's Metra will purchase 15 remanufactured SD70MAC locomotives to replace some of its aging fleet. The units will be upgraded to meet EPA Tier 3 emissions standards. The purchase is critical to Metra as, overall, 70 pct of the agency's current fleet of locomotives is rated in marginal or poor condition. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-22-19]

VIRGIN TRAINS REQUESTING ADDITIONAL $95-M IN TAX-EXEMPT BONDS FOR PLANNED ORLANDO EXPANSION: Officials with Virgin Trains (Brightline) are requesting $950-million in tax-exempt bonds for its planned extension to Orlando. The bonds would be in addition to $1.75-billion bonds approved in Aug. 2018. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-22-19]

WALMART TO EXPEDITE INTERMODAL CONTAINERS FROM RAIL TO STORES: Walmart has launched its own fleet of intermodal containers and is using its own drivers to move the containers from rail hubs to stores. The process eliinates the use of third-party logistics and saves hours, or even days, of transit time. [Progressive Railroading, 2-22-19]

METRA TO INITIATE REVERSE-COMMUTE ON MILWAUKEE DISTRICT NORTH LINE: Chicago's Metra will begin operation of a new reverse-commute service on the Milwaukee District North line on March 4. Lake County businesses had sought the service to allow employees living in Chicago to commute to work. [Progressive Railroading, 2-22-19]

UNION PACIFIC SETTLES SUIT WITH 2016 FLOOD VICTIMS: A federal lawsuit against Union Pacific filed last April by victims of a 2016 flood has been settled. The suit alleged the railroad had aggravated flood damage by failing to properly maintain drainage and culverts. No admission of guilt was made by Union Pacific, and the amount of the settlement was ordered to remain confidential. [Palestine Herald-Press, 2-22-19]

PITTSBURGH OBJECTS TO NORFOLK SOUTHERN PROPOSAL TO BULD HIGHER BRIDGE FOR DOUBLE-STACKS: Pittsburgh has filed a formal objection with the Pa. Public Utility Commission to Norfolk Southern's plans to reconstruct a city street bridge in the North side so double-stack trains can pass beneith. The city contends that running double-stacks through dense neighborhoods would be a public safety hazard. Currently, double-stack trains must use a longer route. [Pittburgh Tribune-Review, 2-21-19]

RAIL CAR REPAIR FACILITY TO BE DEVELOPED IN GRAND FORKS, N.D.: Northern Plains Rail Services will develop a rail-car serving and repair facility in Grand Forks, N.D. To be the Grand Plains Rail Center, it will complement the company's existing repair facility in Erskine, Minnesota, along with its mobile car repair operations in Minnesota, North Dakota, Saskatchewan and Alberta. [Progressive Railroading, 2-20-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Febr. 16, 2019, the Association of American Railroads reports combined U.S. rail freight traffic was 523,915 carloads and intermodal units, down 3 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Railway Age, 2-20-19]

FRA TO CANCEL $929-M IN GRANTS TOWARD CALIFORNIA HSR PROJECT: The U.S. Federal Railroad Administration intends to cancel $929-million in federal grants awarded to the California high-speed rail project, and has begun exploring legal options to seek return of $2.5-billion already granted. [International Railway Journal, 2-20-19]

FRA IDENTIFIES COUNTIES WITH MOST TRESPASSER CASUALTIES: In a program to reduce the incidence of trespasser casualties, the Federal Railroad Administration has identified the top 10 counties where the most such casualties occurred between Nov. 2013 and Oct. 2017. They were Cook County, Illinois; Harris County, Texas; Los Angeles, Contra Costa, Fresno, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties, California; and Broward and Palm Beach counties, Florida. Excluding suicides, 4,242 trespassers were killed or injured on railroad property nationwide during that same period. [Progressive Railroading, 2-20-19]

D.C. METRO PROPOSES BUILDING METRORAIL REPAIR FACILITY IN LANDOVER, MD.: The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is considering the construction of a Metrorail heavy repair and overhaul facility in Landover, Md., and is seeking public comments on the proposal. It would feature repair bays for up to 40 rail cars, vehicle storage for up to 24 cars, a traction power substation, and offices. [Progressive Railroading, 2-20-19]

PROJECT TO MODERNIZE GERMANY'S RAIL NETWORK BEGINS: Deutsche Bahn on Febr. 20 launched a year-long project to modernize Germany's rail network, investing over $12-billion into the network in a bid to tackle persistent delays. Included will be upgrades to about 930 miles of track, 650 train stations and 300 bridges. [Deutsche Welle, 2-20-19]

ABB LANDS INDIAN CONTRACT TO SUPPLY ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVE CONVERTERS: ABB has won a $42-million-plus contract from Diesel Locomotive Works to supply converters for electric locomotives in India. The government plans to fully-electrify Indian Railways by 2022. [Progressive Railroading, 2-20-19]

ARCTIC OCEAN RAIL LINK NOT VIABLE, WORKING GROUP CONCLUDES: The construction of a joint 289-mile Finnish-Norwegian railway between Lapland and the Arctic Ocean to transport minerals, fish and forestry products is not currently viable, a working group has concluded. The line would need 2.4 million tons of freight annually just to cover its maintenance costs, which is not realistic, the group said. [Railway Gazette, 2-20-19]

MOTORIST RUNNING CROSSING GATES KILLED BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN WISCONSIN: A70-year-old motorist died Febr. 18 at a crossing in Brookfield, Wisconsin, after driving around railroad gates and being struck by an Amtrak train. [U.S. News & World Report, 2-19-19]

FRA CONCERNED OVER HIGH COST OF PROPOSED ANN ARBOR AMTRAK STATION: The Federal Railroad Administration has raised concerns about the possible cost of a new Amtrak station in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The city's new capital plan includes $14.7-million for final station design and parking deck, a cost considerably higher than other new intercity passenger and multimodal stations for which Michigan has been awarded funding by FRA. [Railway Track & Structures, 2-19-19]

BNSF FAULTED FOR DELAYED NOTIFICATION OF COAL TRAIN DERAILMENT IN MINNESOTA: The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and area emergency agencies claim BNSF waiting hours to notify them about a 40-car coal train derailment Febr. 16 on the St. Louis River on the Fond du Lac Reservation in Minnesota. A tribal attorney said the railroad's easement through the reservation gives tribal authority over the land requiring operation with due regard to the rights of its citizens. [Duluth News Tribune, 2-19-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-six percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending Febr. 17, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 50 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-18-19]

FIRST OF NEW VIEWLINERS SOON TO BE DELIVERED: Amtrak expects delivery of the first of 25 new CAF Viewliner sleeping cars next week. The sleepers are intended to augment the existing Viewliner fleet of 50. A noticeable difference in the new cars will be the absence of toilets in roommettes. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-15-19]

SPEEDING DENVER LIGHT-RAIL TRAIN WITH PTC DERAILS: Denver's use of positive train-control is in question after a light-rail train derailed in January as it sped through a turn during a snowstorm, injuring a number of passengers. Denver's regional transportation district said that the PTC technology in their light-rail trains will not prevent trains from speeding at risk of a derailment, only that it will prevent running red signals, entering a track blocked by another train, or a safety defect or broken rail. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-15-19]

AAR APPROVES KELSO'S VACUUM RELIEF VALVE FOR TANK CARS: Kelso Technologies' vacuum relief valve has successfully completed a required two-year field service trial, and has obtained Association of American Railroads approval for full commercial use. The valve is designed to prevent a tank car from rupturing during loading or imploding while pumping its load from the tank. [Progressive Railroading, 2-15-19]

PRESIDENT WANTS CALIFORNIA TO RETURN MONEY FOR ABORTED HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT: President Trump demanded in a tweet Febr. 13 that California pay back the federal government $3.5-billion for its aborted high-speed rail project. [Daily Signal, 2-14-19]

TRAIN CRASHES INTO PROPANE TRUCK IN MICHIGAN: The Macomb County, Michigan, sheriff's office has re-opened several crossings in Mount Clements that were closed for nearly two hours after a train crashed into a propane truck early Febr. 14. Officials said the truck had parked too close to the tracks to fill a propane tank. There were no injuries. [Detroit News, 2-14-19]

NJT SETTLES BACK PAYMENTS WITH AMTRAK FOR USE OF NEC: New Jersey Transit has paid $182-million to Amtrak to make good on missed payments for use of the Northeast Corridor. The repayments stemmed from former Governor Christie's decision to halt payments from March 2017, after several derailments, with payments resuming in June 2018 under Governor Murphy. [News & Observer, 2-13-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffc was 519,779 carloads and intermodal units in the week ending Febr. 9, 2019, an increase of 0.1 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-13-19]

FORMER AMTRAK CONDUCTOR CLAIMS BIAS AGAINST COMPANY: Amtrak must face some of the bias claims brought by a former conductor who alledged that she was subjected to misconduct for about 18 years, a federal district court judge has ruled. Included in the claims were sexual harassment, race discrimination, a hostile work environment, and retaliation. She was terminated in 2017. [hrdive, 2-13-19]

BNSF BUDGETS $3.57-B IN CAPITAL INVESTMENT THIS YEAR: BNSF has announced itscapital investment plan of $3.57-billion toward maintenance and expansion of its network in 2019. [Trains Newswire, 2-13-19]

VIRGIN TRAINS CANCELS PUBLIC STOCK OFFERING: Virgin Trains (formerly Brightline) has decided to remain private and will not issue stock in an initial public offering. [Orlando Weekly, 2-13-19]

CSX COLLECTED OVER $365-M IN FEES LAST YEAR: CSX collected $365.7-million in demurrage and accessorial fees in 2018, about $30-million more than Norfolk Southern. [Jacksonville Business Journal, 2-13-19]

CANADA TO SPEND $1.85-M FOR TANK-CAR COMMODITY SENSORS: TansRail Innovation Group will receive $1.85-million (C) from the Canadian government to develop an electronic sensor to measure the volume of a commodity inside a railroad tank car. The device will help eliminate exposure to hazardous vapors and reduce the risk of spills while cars are filled. [Progressive Railroading, 2-13-19]

SAUDI HSR SERVICE INCREASES: Operations were stepped up on Aaudi Arabia's Haramain high-speed rail line Febr. 13 with the launch of Wednesday services on the 281-mile route between Mecca and Medina. Formerly, since Oct. 2018, trains operated Thursday-Sunday. [International Railway Journal, 2-13-19]

CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR CALLS FOR SCALED-BACK HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT: California Governor Gavin Newsom has called for a scaled-back focus on a section of high-speed rail linking Merced and Bakersfield, adding that there is simply not a path to build a full-scale high-speed rail line to connect northern and southern parts of the state without more funding. He does not want to waste the billions already spent on the project, and he does not want to return $3.5-billion the state has already received in federal funding. [Sacramento Bee, 2-12-19]

WABTEC'S EXECUTIVE V.P. RESIGNS: Wabtec executive vice-president and chief operating officer Stephane Rambaud-Measson has resigned, the company said. He was president and CEO of Faiveley Transport when it was acquired by Wabtec in 2016. [Railway Age, 2-12-19]

METRA TO CLOSE TICKET OFFICE AT WINNETKA STATION: Chicago's Metra plans to close the ticket office at its Winnetka station on the Union Pacific North line Febr. 22 due to declining on-site sales. [Progressive Railroading, 2-12-19]

CHUCK BAKER NAMED PRESIDENT OF ASLRRA: Chuck Baker assumed the position of president of the American Short Line & Regional Railroad Association Febr. 4. He succeed Linda Bauer Darr, who resigned. [Progressive Railroading, 2-12-19]

FLORENCE, ITALY, OPENS AIRPORT LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: Florence, Italy, opened a 3.1-mile extension of its light-rail network Febr. 11 from Unita to Peretola Airport The new line extends the city's light-rail network to 10.4 miles with 37 stops.. [International Railway Journal, 2-12-19]

UNION PACIFIC CUTS WORKFORCE BY 250: Union Pacific says it cut its workforce by about 250 people. The company also said it had furloughed about 450 mechanical department employees as more than 1,000 locomotives have been recently idled. [Omaha World-Herald, 2-12-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-two (42) percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains surveyed by the Bull Sheet arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending Febr. 10, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 54 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept, 2-11-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN DETAILS STRETEGIC PLAN: Norfolk Southern on Febr. 11 shared highlights of its financial targets. It plans full year operating ratio improvement by 2021 of 60 pct; revenue growth at a compound annual rate of 5 pct through 2021; capital expenditures between 16 and 18 pct of revenues through 2021; and dividend payout ratio of 33 pct and continuance of share repurchases. [Norfolk Southern, 2-11-19]

GOLETA, CALIFORNIA, SEEKS NEW TRAIN DEPOT: The city of Goleta, California, is searching for a design for a new, expanded train depot just south of the existing Amtrak platform. The facility would house waiting rooms, cafe, community meeting room and restrooms. The current platform serves about 61,000 riders a year. [Santa Barbara Independent, 2-10-19]

TALKS CONTINUE ON NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPRESS PROPOSAL: Minnesota has concluded that there is no significant environmental impact for the propsoed Northern Lights Express rail system linking Twin Cities with Duluth. North Shore Scenic Railroads hosted a representative from Amtrak and city officials in a recent meeting, and Amtrak says Duluth could make use of federal grants meant for rail-starter projects. [Fox 21 News, 2-10-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN EMPLOYEE STRUCK, KILLED BY TRAIN IN BALTIMORE: A Norfolk Southern employee was struck and killed by a train at the railroad's Bay View yard in east Baltimore early Febr. 7, officials said. The incident is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board. [Baltimore Sun, 2-8-19]

B.C. PROVINCE CONTRIBUTING $300,000 TOWARD SEATTLE-VANCOUVER HSR STUDY: The British Columbia government is contributing $300,000 toward a study of potential high-speed rail linking Seattle to Vancouver. [Global News, 2-8-19]

CAR STRUCK BY TRAIN IN IOWA: Davenport, Iowa, police are investigating a crossing incident of early Febr. 8 when the driver apparently attempted to beat the oncoming train, but did not make it. There was also a four-year-old child in the car, but there were no injuries. [Quad City Times, 2-8-19]

SECOND SAN FRANCISCO BAY RAIL CROSSING BEING CONSIDERED: A second San Francisco Bay rail crossing, either a tube or bridge, is under consideration by both Amtrak and Bay Area Rapid Transit. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-8-19]

AMTRAK STUDYING COSTS OF MOVING PRIVATE RAIL CARS: Amtrak is working to catalogue and pinpoint all the realistic costs it incurs to handle private railroad cars by the end of March, paving the way for revised pricing and policies around special movements to be introduced in October. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-8-19]

HIGH WINDS TOPPLE TRAIN CARS IN MISSOURI: Officials say high winds caused a train to derail early Febr. 7 in Dexter, Missouri, damaging a local business and closing a heavily-traveled road. One of the rail cars contained hazardous materials, but it did not leak. No injuries were reported. [Delta Dunklin Democrat, 2-8-19]

UNION PACIFIC TO ELIMINATE 450 MECHANICAL POSITIONS: Union Pacific has notified its mechanical employees that approximately 450 positions are being eliminated system wide in early February as a result of a reduced locomotive fleet. [Pine Bluff Commercial, 2-8-19]

CP TRAIN HAD SPEED CONTROL PROBLEMS HOURS BEFORE FATAL ACCIDENT: The Canadian Pacific freight train involved in a fatal runaway derailment and plunge into a river early Febr. 4 near Field, B.C., was flagged for speed control problems hours before the incident, according to a veteran employee familiar with the situation. The train later dwelled at a crew change location two hours before proceeding once again, with a different crew. [Calgary Herald]

UNION PACIFIC HIKES STOCK DIVIDEND 10 PCT: The board of Union Pacific has voted to increase the quarterly dividend on its common stock by 10 pct to 88 cents per share. This marks the company's fourth dividend increase in the past six quarters. The board also approved an authorization to buy up to 150 million of stock by the end of March 2022. [Union Pacific, 2-7-19]

VIA RAIL RENOVATES ITS OTTAWA STATION: Via Rail Canada on Febr. 6 unveiled completed renovations at its station in Ottawa to meet accessibility standards. The Ottawa terminal is now the most accessible station in the railroad's network. The company plans this summer to further transform the facility by renovating and expanding its business-class lounge to make it fully-accessible. [Progressive Railroading, 2-7-19]

TESTING BEGINS ON SECOND PHASE OF D.C. METRO'S SILVER LINE: The first test trains were launched Febr. 6 on the 11.3-mile second phase of the Washington DC Metro Silver Line to Dulles Airport and points in Loudoun County, Va. [Progressive Railroading, 2-7-19]

KCS NAMES SAMEH FAHMY TO HEAD PRECISION SCHEDULED RAILROADING: Kansas City Southern on Febr. 7 announced the appointment of Sameh Fahmy as executive vice-president precision scheduled railroading. [KCS, 2-7-19]

DUTCH PLAN FOR HIGH-FREQUENCY RAIL OPERATIONS: Trains will connect nine major Dutch cities every 10 minutes by 2040 under plans unveiled Febr. 6 by the country's ministry of infrastructure. [International Railway Journal, 2-7-19]

NEW CEO FOR BOMBARDIER TRANSPORTATION: Bombardier on Febr. 7 announced that Danny Di Perna has been named the new CEO of Bombardier Transportion, replacing Laurent Troger who has resigned. [International Railway Journal, 2-7-19]

CSX TRACKAGE MILES: As of Dec. 2018, CSX had a total of 36,557 track miles in its system, consisting of 26,286 mainline track miles, 9,350 terminal and yard track miles, and 921 passing siding and turnout track miles. [Railway Track & Structures, 2-7-19]

CP TRAIN THAT DERAILED IN B.C. HAD ACCELERATED OUT OF CONTROL: The Canadian Pacific train that derailed near Field, B.C., Febr. 4 killing three crew members had accelerated out of control after its brakes released without warning, investigators said. [Calgary Herald, 2-6-19]

GENESEE & WYOMING REPORTS 4-Q RESULTS: Genesee & Wyoming's consolidated operating revenues increased 0.7 pct to $575.6 million in the fourth-quarter, compared with the same quarter the year before. Adjusted operating income increased 5.6 pct to $109.9-million. Weak performance in the company's Australian and European operations were offset by stronger financials in North American operations. [Railway Age, 2-6-19]

EUROPEAN UNION REJECTS ALSTOM-SIEMENS MERGER: The European Union on Febr. 6 blocked the rail merger deal between Alstom and Siemens. The planned merger between the French and German companies would have created a conglomerate with annual revenues of about $17-billion. Both companys have a large presence in Europe, and there were concerns that the deal could challenge European Union competition rules which the firms were not willing to address, according to the EU commission. [CNBC, 2-6-19]

UNION PACIFIC IMPLEMENTS PTC ON ALL PASSENGER TRAIN ROUTES: Union Pacific announced Febr. 5 that it has implemented positive train-control on all required passenger train routes. The system has also been installed with the necessary equipment along all of its required route miles. [Progressive Railroading, 2-6-19]

JANUARY 2019 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in January 2019 were 2,554,655, an increase of 1.1 pct compared with January of last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-6-19]

PROGRESS RAIL TO SUPPLY 40 BROAD-GAUGE LOCOMOTIVES TO BANGLADESH: Progress Rail has won a contract from Bangladesh Railways to supply 40 EMD GT42ACL broad-gauge locomotives. [Progressive Railroading, 2-6-19]

GE SETS DATE FOR SPINOFF OF TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS HOLDINGS: GE has set a record date of Febr. 14 for the spinoff of Transportation Systems Holdings Inc. which will hold a portion of GE Transportation. Immediately following the spinoff, Transportation Systems Holdings will merge with a Wabtec subsidiary, and continue as the surviving company. The merger is expected to occur Febr. 25, subject to certain closing conditions. [Progressive Railroading, 2-6-19]

TRAIN DISPLAY FLAP-BOARD TO RETURN TO PHILADELPHIA, OFFICIALS SAY: The iconic split-flap Solari train display board, which was retired from service Jan. 26 at Philadelphia's 30th Street Station, will be returning to the station as a permanent fixture, officials say. Amtrak is currently soliciting proposals for an overhaul of the station, includng a new requirement that the developer must utilize the board as part of the master development. [Billy Penn, 2-5-19]

BNSF COAL TRAIN DERAILS IN WYOMING: A coal train on Febr. 4 sent two locomotives partially into the North Platte River in Wyoming with thousands of gallons of diesel fuel potentially spilling into a remote canyon north of the Guernsey Reservoir. An engineer and a conductor suffered non-life threatening injuries, officials said. [Wyoming Star-Tribune, 2-5-19]

UNION PACIFIC CLOSING MECHANICAL SHOP IN BUTLER, WISCONSIN: Union Pacific said its mechanical shop would be eliminated at the rail yard in Butler, Wisconsin, along with reduced operations at the yard. About 450 mechanical positions will be affected. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2-5-19]

R.J. CORMAN LINE IN S.C. GETTING MAJOR UPGRADE: Ground was broken Febr. 4 on a $17.5-million track upgrade project for nine miles of R.J. Corman's former Carolina Southern Railroad in Horry County, S.C. The project includes a complete rebuild of a 220-foot bridge spanning Crab Tree Swamp in Conway, rehabilitating 39 grade crossings, improving eight other bridges, and replacing 60,000 ties. [Progressive Railroading, 2-5-19]

THREE KILLED IN CP TRAIN DERAILMENT IN B.C.: A Canadian Pacific grain train derailed early Febr. 4 near Field, B.C., resulting in the deaths of the train's engineer, conductor, and a trainee. The accident occurred between the upper and lower Spiral tunnels while crossing a bridge, with the train falling nearly 200 feet into Kicking Horse River. [Progressive Railroading, 2-5-19]

HOUSTON ORDERS 14 LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES FROM SIEMENS: A contract has been awarded to Siemens to supply 14 S70 light-rail vehicles for the Houston MetroRail network. [International Railway Journal, 2-5-19]

EXTENSION OF EMPIRE CORRIDOR TRAIN INTO MASSACHUSETTS BEING CONSIDERED: Under current plans, Massachusetts would pay Amtrak to extend one of its Empire corridor trains, now terminating at Albany, to Pittsfield, Massachusetts, for people to access the Berkshires. The train would operate northbound on Fridays and southbound on Sundays. [Albany Times Union]

GERMAN RAIL TO ORDER 23 NEW LONG-DISTANCE TRAINS: German Rail says it is planning to order 23 new long-distance ICE trains for EuroCity international services. [International Railway Journal, 2-5-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-seven percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending Febr. 3, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 50 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-4-19]

FUTURE UNCERTAIN FOR SOUTHWEST CHIEF BEYOND SEPTEMBER 2019: When asked if Amtrak would continue to run its Southwest Chief as it currently operates beyond September 30 of this year, its spokesman Marc Magliari said there are 'too many moving parts' to determine that at this time. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-2-19]

AAR APPEALS RULING OVER AMTRAK TRACK PRIORITY ON HOST CARRIERS: Host railroads where Amtrak operates its trains are once again going to court to fight for the right to delay passengers in favor of their freight traffic. The Association of American Railroads has asked the Supreme Court to hear its appeal to a case passenger interests won last summer in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals over on-time performance standards and enforcement. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-2-19]

AMTRAK REOPENS CHICAGO UNION STATION TO RAIL TRAFFIC FOLLOWING ARCTIC BLAST: After canceling service due to a bitterly cold winter storm for two days, most Amtrak services to and from Chicago have been restored as of Febr. 2. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-2-19]

SOUNDER TRAINS UPDATED TO PTC OPERATION: All Sounder trains between Lakewood and Everett, Washington, are now equipped with positive train-control technology. The agency said that PTC works on more than 99 pct of Sounder trips serving 17,000 passengers weekly. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-2-19]

JANUARY 2019 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-three percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in January 2019, according to a survey by the Bull Sheet. The average arrival of all long-distance trains in the survey period was 44 minutes late. The average arrival of the trains that were behind schedule was one hour and 18 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-1-19]

TRACTOR CLEARING SNOW ON CROSSING STRUCK BY TRAIN, DRIVER KILLED: Police say a Vermont Rail Systems train hit a tractor which was clearing snow from a private driveway and across the tracks late Jan. 30 in Fairlee, Vermont, killing the 88-year-old driver. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-31-19]

AMTRAK CANCELS SERVICE TO & FROM CHICAGO DUE TO BITTER WEATHER: With extreme weather conditions, Amtrak canceled service to and from Union Station Chicago Jan. 30 and 31, both short- and long-distance trains. Overnight trains en route from Jan. 28 and 29 still arrived, but no departures, according to Amtrak. [Amtrak]

SELF-DRIVING SHUTTLE IN USE AT COMMUTER RAIL STATION IN DENVER: A new autonomous shuttle vehicle that transports riders between the 61st and Pena rail station in Denver to two businesses and a park-ride lot was deployed Jan. 29 by the Regional Transportation District. [Progressive Railroading, 1-30-19]

NEW BLOCK-TRAIN SERVICE IN MEXICO: APM Terminals says a new block-train service from its terminal in Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico, is helping avoid congestion and delays to reach destinations along the West Coast of Mexico and U.S. The terminal is served by Kansas City Southern de Mexico, and the service is faster and more secure than it is by truck, officials said. [Progressive Railroading, 1-30-19]

CN MECHANICS RATIFY FOUR-YEAR CONTRACT: The union representing Canadian National mechanics, electricians and apprentices in Canada said workers have ratified a new four-year collective agreement. [Canadian Press, 1-30-19]

VIRGIN TRAINS USA PLANS PUBLIC STOCK OFFERING: Virgin Trains USA (a.k.a. Brightline) says it will be offering more than 28 million shares of common stock priced at between $17 and $19 per share, to be listed on the Nasdaq market. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-30-19]

CSX SETTLES LAWSUIT OVER DEATH OF FILM WORKER ON TRESTLE: CSX has settled a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of a film worker killed in 2014 when a train slammed into a crew shooting a movie on a trestle in Georgia. CSX had appealed a $3.9-million jury award to the family, claiming that it was not responsible for the death as the film workers were trespassing at the time of the incident and had earlier been denied access to the property. The jury decided that the railroad was 35 pct responsible, however, and awarded $3.9-million out of a $11.2-million value for life, pain and suffering, citing the fact that had crews of two trains passing the scene prior to the incident were aware of a large gathering of people at the scene and did not report their presence to their dispatcher. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-30-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Jan. 26, 2019, U.S. rail freight traffic was 522,026 combined carloads and intermodal units, down 4 pct compared with the corresponsing week last year. [Association of American Railroads, 1-30-19]

CSX WORKING TO IMPROVE SAFETY: CSX says it is making changes to improve safety for workers. Six workers were killed on its property in 2018. Included are regional safety committees and an investment of $900-million in tracks. [WOKV 30, 1-30-19]

CUMMINS ANNOUNCES DEAL FOR 75 LOCOMOTIVE ENGINES: Employees at Cummins Seymour, Indiana, Engine Plant will soon find themselves busier on the heels of the company's announcement Jan. 25 of a deal to make 75 locomotive engines for Siemens Mobility's Charger locomotives. The locomotives, equipped with Cummins' QSK95 engine, will be purchased by Amtrak. The QSK95 is the largest diesel engine Cummins makes at its Seymour plant, which employed more than 900 this past year. [Tribune, 1-29-19]

SOME NTSB ACCIDENT DETERMINATIONS MIGHT BE LOST DUE TO SHUTDOWN: The National Transportation Safety Board has resumed normal operations and begun developing plans to address work that could not be done during the federal government's partial shutdown. There were 22 accidents (including two rail accidents with fatalities) in which the agency did not dispatch investigators, and it is possible that 'perishable' evidence may have been lost, which could potentially prevent determination of probable cause, officials said. [Progressive Railroading, 1-29-19]

NEW BNSF CAMERAS FIND RAIL, WHEEL DEFECTS: BNSF is deploying new high-speed onboard cameras capable of recording images, at speeds up to 70 MPH, of rail surface defects and other visible flaws. The railroad also uses sensors along its tracks using thermal, acoustic, visual and force measurements to gather data, along with drones in the inspection process. [Railway Track & Structures, 1-29-19]

SALE OF CSX'S PENSACOLA LINE IS ON HOLD: The sale of CSX's 373 miles of railroad between Pensacola and Jacksonville to Florida Gulf & Atlantic Railroad, a subsidiary of Rail USA, has stalled, officials have confirmed. CSX says it will continue to evaluate options for the rail line. [Pensacola News Journal, 1-29-19]

FUTURE OF BNSF'S HAVELOCK SHOPS IS UNCERTAIN: BNSF says it is working on a restructuring at the shops at Havelock, Nebraska, but it declined to provide any details. Several unions representing more than 400 workers working there voted last year on a new agreement, but the affected unions either declined to comment or did not respond. It is understood, however, that the railroad wants to separate the seniority rosters for workers at the Havelock shops and those in the Hobson Yard diesel shop. [Lincoln Journal Star, 1-29-19]

CN REPORTS 4-Q EARNINGS: Canadian National reported $3.81-billion (C) in fourth-quarter 2018 revenue, an increase of 16 pct compared with the same quarter last year. Operating income of $1.45-billion was an increase of 19 pct. [CN, 1-29-19]

CN BOARD HIKES DIVIDEND 18 PCT: Canadian National's board has approved an 18 pct increase in its common stock dividend. The board also approved the repurchase of up to 22 million shares of stock over a 12-month period. [CN, 1-29-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-eight percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending January 27, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 27 minutes behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-28-19]

DENVER'S SOUTHEAST LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION TO OPEN IN MAY: The Regional Transportation District of Denver has announced that the grand opening its 2.3-mile Southeast light-rail extension will be May 19. It will provide service south from Lincoln station to Ridge Gate station in Lone Tree with three news stations. [Progressive Railroading, 1-28-19]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES TRUCK IN MICHIGAN, ENGINEER INJURED: An eastbound Amtrak train stuck a truck stuck between the gates at a crossing in Three Oaks, Michigan, early Jan. 25, slightly injuring the engineer and damaging the locomotive. There were no injuries to passengers. The driver of the truck escaped from the vehicle prior to impact. [Herald-Palladium, 1-26-19]

TRAIN DISPLAY FLIP-BOARD IN PHILADELPHIA REMOVED: The iconic 30th Street Station Solari flipping board is gone. It displayed one final message Jan. 26: 'Farewell Philadelphia.' The board will be replaced by a modern digitalboard, which Amtrak says is needed to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act. The old board will be donated to the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum. [CBS Philadelphia, 1-26-19]

CRUDE-BY-RAIL SURGES IN N.M.: Traffic is surging in the railroad industry in New Mexico thanks to the oil boom in both the state and west Texas. The number of rail cars traveling through the Carlsbad area has almost tripled during the region as extraction continued to grow in the Permian Basin. [Santa Fe New Mexican, 1-26-19]

N.Y. CITY'S MOYNIHAN TRAIN HALL TO GET ENHANCED METROPOLITAN LOUNGE: Amtrak has released several images of the Metropolitan Lounge to be included in Moynihan Train Hall slated for opening in 2021. It will include more spacious boarding, dedicated waiting area, private resrooms, complimentary Wi-Fi, priority boarding, dedicated customer service agents, expanded food and beverage offerings, and a balcony overlooking the train hall. The Metropolitan Lounge will be the turf of Amtrak's premier passengers, such as those riding first-class. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-25-19]

ATLANTIC CITY RAIL LINE SHUTDOWN TO CONTINUE INTO SPRING: The shutdown of rail service between Philadelphia and Atlantic City is going to last until at least April 1, N.J. Transit says. Causes include an engineer shortage and equipment availability. Also, federal approval is required before the service reopens. Raritan Valley service to and from New York, and shuttle service between Princeton and Princton Junction also remain suspended. [New Jersey Herald, 1-25-19]

N.Y. CITY HALTS DELIVERIES OF NEW SUBWAY CARS PENDING CORRECTION OF DEFECTS: New York City's transit agency has halted deliveries of new Bombardier train cars until ongoing problems are corrected. Several R179 subway cars were pulled from service recently, partly because of air-compressor software defects. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-25-19]

WAYWARD HUDSON RIVER CRUISE SHIP GETS JAMMED UNDER RAILROAD BRIDGE: An unoccupied Hudson River cruise ship broke loose from its moorings in Troy, N.Y., early Jan. 25 amid rising water and ice jams, floated downriver and got stuck under a railroad bridge used by Amtrak trains connecting Albany and Rensselaer. Amtrak said it is still using the bridge, but under reduced speeds. [Post Star, 1-25-19]

TRAIN STRIKES SCHOOL BUS IN TEXAS, ONE KILLED, TWO INJURED: A 13-year-old student was killed, and a nine-year-old student and a bus driver were injured when a school bus was struck by a train at a crossing in Athens, Texas, on Jan. 25. There were no other people on the bus, according to the school district. [Waco Tribune Herald, 1-25-19]

NEW AMTRAK TRAIN TO SERVE NORFOLK BEGINNING IN MARCH: In Virginia, Hampton Roads residents will have another option for Amtrak service when a second train is added on March 4. The area currently has a train with a daily 6:10 A.M. departure from Norfolk, and the second train will add a 9 A.M. departure on weekdays. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-25-19]

SAFETY BOARD ISSUES REPORT OF VIA RAIL TRAIN DERAILMENT IN SASKATCHEWAN IN JULY, 2018: The derailment of Via passenger train 693 on July 5, 2018, in a remote area of east-central Saskatchewan could have been averted if local authorities and the railroad had communicated about flood waters, Canada's transportation safety board wrote in a report. A nearby highway had washed out, causing excess water to flood the railway, resulting in two locomotives and a baggage car to derail. Two rail crew members had minor injuries. [Railway Track & Structures, 1-25-19]

CHANDLER, ARIZONA, PONDERS CONNECTION TO VALLEY METRO LIGHT-RAIL SYSTEM: Residents and city officials of Chandler, Arizona, are looking at the possibility of connecting their city to Valley Metro's light-rail system. The idea was first proposed in 2015, but never developed. If the city decides to move forward, it would need voters to approve a transportation tax to support the project. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-25-19]

TRACK WORK TO IMPACT PALMETTO SERVICE: Palmetto trains 89 and 90 will be annulled between Washington and Savannah Febr. 4 through 7 due to track work. No alternate transportation will be provided. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-25-19]

BRIGHTLINE PLANS STATION DEDICATED TO ORLANDO THEME PARKS: Florida's Brightline (soon to be rebranded Virgin Trains USA) plans to develop a station somewhere around theme parks in Orlando which would enhance the railroad's partnership with the Tampa airport. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-25-19]

GE, WABTEC MODIFIED MERGER TERMS: Wabtec and GE Transportation have modified the terms of their merger agreement, now expected to close by the end of Febr. GE will complete the spin-off of a portion of GE Transportation to GE shareholders, and immediately thereafter merge GE Transportation into a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wabtec. Upon closing, Wabtec shareholders will own 50.8 pct of Wabtec on a fully-diluted basis, compared to 49.9 pct under the previous terms. [Railway Gazette, 1-25-19]

HEDGE FUND MANTLE RIDGE SELLS $305-M OF CSX STOCK: Mantle Ridge, a hedge fund that is a large shareholder of CSX, sold $305-million of its company stock this week. [Barrons, 1-25-19]

CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL COULD HAVE HOUSING BENEFITS: One offshoot to the California high-speed rail project, in construction from Los Angeles to San Francisco for 2029 completion, is that low-income workers might have better access to affordable housing beyond a city's suburbs. A study by the University of California at Los Angeles compared a similar housing result with high-speed rail in Japan. [CityLab, 1-25-19]

CUBA TO ACQUIRE 23 DIESEL LOCOMOTIVES: A contract for the supply of 23 Type LDE-2500 locomotives to Cuba from Bryansk Machine Building Works has been signed. The units will be adapted to cope with the humid conditions of the country, and delivery is planned in 45 months. [Railway Gazette, 1-25-19]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 4-Q EARNINGS: Union Pacific reported record 2018 fourth-quarter net income of $1.6-billion or $2.12 per diluted share, 29 and 39 pct increases, respectively, compared to adjusted results for the same quarter last year. [Union Pacific, 1-24-19]

PTC IN OPERATION OVER 83.2 PCT OF CLASS I RAIL ROUTE MILES NATIONWIDE: At the end of 2018, the nation's Class I freight railroads were operating positive train-control over 83.2 pct of required route miles. With this progress, the Class I railroads met the 2018 statutory requirements and are well on their way to meeting the final end-of-year 2020 deadline for full implementation and validation. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-24-19]

TENNESSEE GRANTS $2-M TOWARD EAST TENNESSEE RWY SPUR: Tennessee Dept. of Transportation has awarded a $2-million grant to fund construction of a new seven-mile rail spur for the East Tennessee Railway, a subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming, near Johnson City, to expand rail access and economic opportunities and divert freight from road to rail. [Progressive Railroading, 1-24-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 4-Q RESULTS: Norfolk Southern reported fourth-quarter 2018 net income was $702-million and diluted earnings per share were $2.57, and income of $2.67-billion and diluted EPS were $9.51 for the full year. Railway operating revenues for the fourth-quarter of $2.9-billion were an increase of 9 pct. [Norfolk Southern, 1-24-19]

N.Y. GOVERNOR THREATENS TO TAKE LEGAL ACTION AGAINST CSX OVER FLOODING ISSUE: New York's governor said he would possibly pursue legal action against CSX which he says is responsible for some of the repeated flooding in Whitesboro, N.Y. because the railroad's bridge spanning Sauquoit Creek is so low that in the winter ice floating down the river gets jammed underneath. The governor said he will discuss the matter with CSX before commiting to litigation. [Observer-Dispatch, 1-24-19]

LAYOFFS AT UNION PACIFIC BAILEY YARD IN NEBRASKA: Union Pacific announced more layoffs in Bailey Yard in North Platte, Nebraska. The number of layoffs were not disclosed, but they were the result of the company's Unified Plan 2020. [North Platte Telegraph, 1-24-19]

UNION PACIFIC'S CAPITAL SPENDING THIS YEAR IS SAME AS LAST YEAR: Union Pacific has committed to $3.2-billion in capital spending in 2019, the same amount it invested in 2018. [Railway Track & Structures, 1-24-19]

CSX SAYS EMPLOYMENT REDUCTIONS WILL CONTINUE: CSX's job cuts last year exceeded expectations, but company officials say they see plenty of room to cut further. Employment at the end of the year was 22,475, and the company expects the count to reduce to 21,000 by the end of 2020. This reduction should be met through expected attrition, officials said. [Jacksonville Dailly Record, 1-24-19]

PHILADELPHIA 30TH STREET STATION'S FLIP BOARD BEING REMOVED: Time has run out for the iconic split-flap Solari arrivals and departures board at Amtrak's 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. It is the last active board of its kind on Amtrak's system, and it is slated to be removed over the coming weekend. It will be donated to the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum, and it will be replaced by a digital display that is ADA-compliant. [Billy Penn, 1-24-19]

SEPTA AWARDS ENGINEERING CONTRACT FOR HIGH-SPEED LINE EXTENSION TO KING OF PRUSSIA: HNTB won a $7.2-million contract with Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority to advance engineering for the King of Prussia rail extension of the Norristown High-Speed line. [Progressive Railroading]

CP REPORTS 4-Q EARNINGS: Canadian Pacific announced fourth-quarter revenues of $2-billion (C), an operating ratio of 56.5 pct, and record operating income of $874-million. [CP, 1-23-19]

L.A. METRO BLUE LINE TO GET MODERNIZATION: The Los Angeles Metro Blue Line will undergo a comprehensive $350-million modernization beginning Jan. 26. The line, which opened in 1990, has been undergoing safety and operational improvements since 2014. The project will include improvements to signaling, tracks and catenary, four new crossovers, and station improvements. [Railway Age, 1-23-19]

GLENVIEW, ILLINOIS, OPPOSES INCREASED AMTRAK HIAWATHA SERVICE: The Glenview, Illinois, board of trustees has approved the allocation of $105,000 from its 2019 budget as part of a $500,000 expenditure to oppose an increase in Amtrak Hiawatha service from the current seven round-trips a day to ten. At issue is the proposal to build a 10,000-foot holding track for freight trains on the east side of two existing tracks, or an 11,000-foot holding track on the west side, along with a holding wall. [Railway Track & Structures, 1-23-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN NAMES MICHAEL COX V.P. TAXATION: Norfolk Southern has appointed Michael Cox vice-president taxation, effective March 1, replacing Robert Kesler, who is retiring. [Norfolk Southern, 1-23-19]

CP RAIL TRAIN DERAILS IN ONTARIO: A Canadian Pacific train derailed in Ajax, Ontario, on Jan. 23. There were no injuries, but the area of the derailment was expected to remain closed for two days. [CityNews, 1-23-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN INCREASES DIVIDEND: Norfolk Southern's board has approved an eight pct increase in its quarterly common stock dividend from 80 to 86 pct per share. [Norfolk Southern, 1-23-19]

JURY AWARDS MAN $13.1-M IN SUIT AGAINST BNSF: A jury has awarded a man driving an 18-wheeler approximately $13.1-million in a suit against BNSF. The jury determined that BNSF had neglected to cut trees along its right-of-way, obstructing the driver's view of an oncoming train in 2012 at a crossing in Verendrye, N.D. [Grand Forks Herald, 1-23-19]

WHEAT SALES TO CHINA WOULD BENEFIT RAILS: The Chinese government is considerig buying up to 7,000,000 tons of U.S. wheat, Bloomberg reported Jan. 22. China has not purchased American wheat to replenish state reserves in many years, and a deal of this size would have significant benefit to commodity prices and transportation activity in the U.S. [Freight Waves, 1-23-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Jan. 19, 2019, total U.S. rail freight traffic was 543,111 carloads and intermodal units, up 6.9 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads increased 7.4 pct, and intermodal increased 6.5 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-23-19]

AMTRAK NIXES REBUILDING CARS OVER 37 YEARS OLD: Amtrak has decided not to rebuild any of the cars in its fleet that are 37 years old or older. They have too many miles and are suffering metal fatigue, the company says. [Rail Passengers Assn., 1-23-19]

NTSB SUSPENDS ACCIDENT PROBES DUE TO GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: There are 83 accidents around the nation where a federal investigation is being delayed due to the partial government shutdown. Because most of its staff is furloughed, the National Transportation Safety Board is not beginning new investigations, and it's not updating cases that were already underway. [News 4 Jacksonville, 1-22-19]

SOME METRO-NORTH TRAINS ARE PLANNED TO USE N.Y. PENN STATION: Some Metro-North trains currently serving the New Haven line could arrive at Penn Station instead of Grand Central under an agreement announced Jan. 22. Four new Metro-North stations would be built in the East Bronx, while Amtrak will explore extending its own service to Long Island. [Albany Times Union, 1-22-19]

FEDERAL SHUTDOWN PREVENTING ATLANTIC CITY RAIL LINE FROM REOPENING: New Jersey's governor has pledged that service on the Atlantic City rail line will resume, but neither he nor N.J. Transit can say when that will be because of the ongoing federal shutdown. That line, Princeton Shuttle and direct Raritan Valley line service has been shut down for four months while positive train-control installation was completed. [NJ.com, 1-22-19]

MORGAN STANLEY PRESIDENT ELECTED TO NORFOLK SOUTHERN BOARD: Thomas Kelleher, president of Morgan Stanley, has been elected a director of Norfolk Southern. [Norfolk Southern, 1-22-19]

BLET MEMBERS RATIFY BARGAINING CONTRACTS WITH W&LE: Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen have ratified new seven-year collective bargaining agreements for engineers and trainmen with Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway. [Progressive Railroading, 1-22-19]

CHILE'S SANTIAGO METRO LINE 3 OPENS: The Chilean capital Santiago on Jan. 22 celebrated the opening of the 13.5-mile line 3, its sixth metro line. The line, connecting the city center with Los Libertadores, has 18 stations. [International Railway Journal, 1-22-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-five percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending January 20, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 16 minutes behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept, 1-21-19]

AMTRAK REDUCES SOME SCHEDULES DUE TO IMPENDING WINTER STORM: Amtrak says it will cancel at least 15 trains in the Northeast and Midwest this weekend (Jan. 19-20) because of an impending major winter storm, and reduce operations on other trains. Cardinal, Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited are among those trains canceled both dates. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-18-19]

AMTRAK ENHANCES MENUS ON LAKE SHORE, CAPITOL LIMITEDS: New, enhanced dining-car menus are now offered on Amtrak's Lake Shore and Capitol limiteds. Included are a new, hot breakfast item, and three hot lunch and dinner options. Amtrak had significantly reduced dining options for the two trains back in June 2018, which met with a number of negative reviews from patrons expecting better. In the meantime, delivery of high-capacity convention ovens for affected trains are pending, and these should further enhance the process once the busy travel season arrives this coming summer. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-18-19]

KCS REPORTS 4-Q EARNINGS: Knasas City Southern reported fourth-quarter 2018 revenues of $694-million, an increase of 5 pct from the same quarter a year earlier, while carload volumes remained flat compared to the prior year. Record fourth-quarter adjusted diluted EPS of $1.56 were 13 pct higher than a year ago. [Kansas City Southern, 1-18-19]

BNSF EMPLOYEE AWARDED $3.5-M FOR INJURIES IN RAIL YARD: A jury in Lancaster County, Nebraska, returned a verdict in favor of a BNSF employee for injuries he suffered in a Lincoln rail yard nearly five years ago when a rail car rolled over his foot. The employee, who is still working for the railroad, was awarded more than $7.1-million, but it was reduced by 51 percent, the percentage for which the jury deemed the employee responsible. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-18-19]

PTC CONVERSION CAUSES NJT MAINTENANCE BACKLOG: New Jersey Transit has several passenger rail cars sitting idle since the agency focused on completing positive train-control implementation rather than routine scheduled maintenance. Through the start of the new year, NJT has been forced to cancel some trains, but staff is now working around the clock to reduce the backlog. [Rail Passengers Assn hotline., 1-18-19]

LAWSUIT FILED OVER STREAMS, WETLANDS DISRUPTION FOR MD. PURPLE LINE PROJECT: A third lawsuit has been filed to halt the Purple line light-rail project in Maryland, claiming that construction in streams and wetlands associated with the route is illegal under the Clean Water Act. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-18-19]

OLD SAYBROOK STATION CLOSED: The Old Saybrook, Connecticut, rail station is closed until further notice due to structural concerns. The platform is still accessible and a service representative will be available for assistance most of the day, but there will be no ticketing for trains. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-18-19]

AMTRAK PLANNING TO REPLACE AMFLEET-I CARS: Amtrak has issued a request for proposals for a new fleet of single-level passenger cars to replace its aging fleet of 470 Amfleet-I and former Metroliner cars. These cars are 40 and 50 years old, respectively. The new vehicles will be used on the Northeast corridor and adjacent state corridor routes. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-18-19]

ALSTOM'S ORDERS MORE THAN DOUBLE IN MOST RECENT QUARTER: In the third-quarter of its 2018 fiscal-year, Alstom booked orders totaling $4.2-billion, compared with $1.9-billion in the same period the previous fiscal-year. Sales increased 10 pct. to $2.3-billion. [Progressive Railroading, 1-18-19]

BNSF IDENTIFIES TWO NEW 'CERTIFIED SITES': BNSF has identified 'certified sites' at Logistics Park, Galesburg, Illinois, and Clovis Industrial Park in New Mexico. There are now 18 such sites on the system as part of the railroad's program aimed at addressing increasing demand for customer site location by developing various types of facilities. [Progressive Railroading, 1-18-19]

MARTA CLEANS UP FOLLOWING DERAILMENT AT ATLANTA AIRPORT: A crane has removed two derailed commuter train cars at Atlanta's airport, but repairs continued on a damaged track as of Jan. 18. An out-of-service train had derailed late Jan. 15, but it was not until Jan. 17 that the crane arrived to remove the cars. There were no passengers on the train, and no injuries were reported. [N.J. Herald, 1-18-19]

CONNECTICUT'S SHORE LINE EAST SERVICE RESTORED: Six weekday trains are being restored to the Shore Line East schedule to replace bus service that has been operating since April 2018. Owned and operated by Amtrak, the Shore Line East runs between New Haven and New London. [Progressive Railroading, 1-17-19]

AMTRAK AGREES TO LIMIT TICKET SALES ON NEW HAVEN-HARTFORD LINE: To address persistent overcrowding on afternoon trains on the Hartford line, Connecticut has worked with Amtrak to limit advance ticket sales through the railroad's reservation system, making room for up to 72 CTrail Hartford Line ticketed riders. The state and Amtrak will continue to monitor ridership levels and consider additional reservation changes as needed. [Progressive Railroading, 1-17-19]

CP PLANS ROGERS PASS TUNNEL OVERHAUL: Canadian Pacific is planning extensive work in its famed Mount Macdonald Tunnel through Rogers Pass in British Columbia, at 9.1 miles the longest railway tunnel in North America. The project could take between five and 10 years to reach completion. [Railway Track & Structures, 1-17-19]

GERMAN RAIL PASSENGERS CAN EXPECT SERVICE IMPROVEMENT THIS YEAR: A report presented to Germany's transport ministry by Deutsche Bahn sets forth a plan to address declining rail performance. It focuses upon rolling-stock availability, additional staffing and enhanced workshop capacity, with a goal of improving on-time performance to 76.5 pct this year. The report also stresses the need for more reliable customer information systems in depots and trains, refurbished lounges, new dining-car menus and increased funding. [Railway Gazette, 1-17-19]

GREECE PLANS TO CONVERT ATHENS-AREA TRAINS FROM DIESEL TO ELECTRIC: Greek state-owned rolling stock company Gaiaose has issued a tender notice for a contract to conduct a feasibility study into the conversion of 17 Stadler GTW class 560 diesel multiple-units to electric traction. The two-car trains were built in 2003 and 2004, and are used in suburban service in the Athens area. [International Railway Journal, 1-17-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: Combined U.S. rail freight carloads and intermodal units was 555,127 in the week ending January 12, 2019, an increase of 8.4 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were up 10.3 pct, and intermodal units were up 6.8 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-16-19]

ACQUISITION OF 8.5 MILES OF DORMANT RAIL LINE FOR TRAIL USE IN PA. MOVES FORWARD: A purchase agreement is being prepared that will outline the terms of sale for 8.5 miles of dormant Genesee & Wyoming rail line in York County, Pa. The county's Rail Trail Authority has begun meetings with affected municipalities to provide updates on the acquisition process for an extension of the Hanover Trolley Trail. [York County Rail Trail Authority, 1-16-19]

CSX REPORTS 4-Q EARNINGS: CSX announced fourth-quarter 2018 net earnings were $843-million or $1.01 per share, compared with $4.14-billion or $4.62 per share in the same quarter last year (which included a tax-reform benefit and a restructuring charge). The company's operating ratio set a fourth-quarter record of 60.3 percent. CSX also announced its board has authorized $5-billion in share repurchases following the early completion of its existing $5-billion authorization. [CSX, 1-16-19]

LOCAL OFFICIALS 'BLINDSIDED' BY INDIANA GOVERNOR'S DECISION TO CUT AMTRAK FUNDING: Blindsided by Governor Holcomb's call to put the brakes on Amtrak's four-day-a-week Hoosier State train, local officials in Indiana are bracing for the end of daily passenger train service between Indianapolis and Chicago. The budget does not include a $3-million year allocation for the route, which makes intermediate stops in Crawfordsville, Lafayette, Rensselaer and Dyer. (The route will still be covered three times a week by Amtrak's Cardinal.) [Journal Review, 1-16-19]

DESIGN WORK ON MBTA GREEN LINE EXTENSION PROGRESSES: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's $2.3-billion Green line extension is roughly 60 pct designed and remains on schedule. About 320 people are working on the 4.7-mile light-rail project, but that number will rise over the coming year as construction ramps up. [Somerville Patch, 1-16-19]

TEN PROGRESS RAIL LOCOMOTIVES DELIVERED TO TUNISIA: Tunisian National Railways has taken delivery of an initial batch of 10 Progress Rail GT42AC diesel locomotives for use to haul phosphate trains. [Internaional Railway Journal, 1-16-19]

HITACHI TO SUPPLY 50 EMU'S TO TAIWAN RAILWAY: Taiwan Railway Administration and its procurement agent have signed a $1.6-billion contract with Hitachi for 50 electric multiple-unit 12-car intercity trains for delivery beginning 2021. [International Railway Journal, 1-15-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending January 13, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and three minutes behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept, 1-14-19]

AMTRAK NORTHEAST CORRIDOR PLAN UPDATES: By 2021, passengers in New York City will board trains from Moynihan Station in a new sunlit atrium concourse across the street from Penn Station as Amtrak moves into a larger space with a new customer lounge. Amtrak is buying 28 Acela trainsets, eight more than it currently operates. It is also planning to buy a new fleet of trains for its Northeast Regional service in the middle of the next decade. Amtrak says it is considering offering some non-stop trains between New York and Washington that could cut 15 minutes off the current travel time. [N.Y. Times, 1-11-19]

AMTRAK'S HOOSIER STATE MAY LOSE FUNDING: Amtrak's Hoosier State, the four-day-a-week train between Indianapolis and Chicago, may lose its $3-million annual appropriation from Indiana under its governor's proposed state budget. Without the funding, the train will likely be discontinued. The train currently runs on the days Amtrak's Cardinal three-day-a-week train skips. [NUVO, 1-11-19]

METRO-NORTH HARLEM, HUDSON LINES IMPACTED BY TRACK ISSUES: Metro-North's Harlem and Hudson line trains were impacted early Jan. 11 due to broken rails in Pleasantville and Tarrytown, and a 'track condition' in Hastings-on-Hudson. The incidents caused single-track operation with delays of up to 40 or 50 minutes. [Rorkland/West Chester Journal, 1-11-19]

MARYLAND & DELAWARE R.R. NAMES NEW PRESIDENT: The Maryland & Delaware Railroad, which operates 120 miles of track, has promoted Cathrin Banks to president. Most recently she served the short line as vice-president and general counsel. [Progressive Railroading, 1-11-19]

AMTRAK NAMES THREE TO LEADERSHIP POSITIONS: Roger Harris has been named Amtrak's vice-president of long distance service, Robert Jordon has been named assistant vice-president of stations, and Bruno Maestri has been named vice-president of government affairs and corporate communications. Harris and Jordan begin their new roles this month; Maestri will begin in March. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-11-19]

AMTRAK'S CALIFORNIA CALL CENTER SET TO CLOSE JAN. 18: Ninety-seven employees from Amtrak's Riverside, California, call center have accepted an offer to move and work in Philadelphia when the Riverside center closes Jan. 18. Those not opting to move will be given a separation allowance. About 500 employees overall are affected. Meanwhile, some call-in duties will be handled by an outsourced call center in Florida where the employees will be working for lower pay. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-11-19]

CHECKED BAGGAGE ENDS ON BOSTON SECTION OF LAKE SHORE LIMITED: Checked baggage service on the Boston section of Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited ended Jan. 7. Additional on-board storage space is being made available to sleeping-car passengers, but not as 'checked baggage.' [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-11-19]

NEW FLIP-BOARD MIGHT BE MADE AVAILABLE FOR PHILADELPHIA: Amtrak intends to remove its historic split-flap train-status board at Philadelphia, but an engineering design firm says it can supply a similar apparatus that will integrate with Amtrak's system and be ADA-compliant. Amtrak is considering the offer. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-11-19]

BOMBARDIER TO SUPPLY 113 COMMUTER CARS TO NJT: Bombardier has landed a $669-million contract to supply 113 Multilevel III commuter rail cars to New Jersey Transit, with an option for up to an additional 886 cars. [Progressive Railroading, 1-10-19]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN DERAILS IN TEXAS: A Union Pacific freight train derailment involving a locomotive and 13 cars early Jan. 9 in Aubrey, Texas, sent freight cars smashing into a resident's back yard. There were no injuries, damage to the resident's property was minimal, but the rail line between Fort Worth and McAleser, Oklahoma, was closed into the following day. [My San Antonio, 1-9-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN APPEALS TAX RULING IN HARRISBURG: Norfolk Southern has appealed a property tax levy by Dauphin County, Pa., for property the railroad improved at Rutherford Yard near Harrisburg. State law exempts public utilities from paying local property taxes, although railroads are taxed a fraction of that amount. The county ruled that an 'intermodal yard,' which Rutherford became, should not be exempt from the full tax, but instead pay the tax without regard to the railroad being a utility. In the meantime, Norfolk Southern has paid the higher tax under protest, and a date for a court hearing is pending. [Penn Live, 1-9-19]

FORMER CALIFORNIA ZEPHYR OBSERVATION CAR IN ARIZONA TO BE RELOCATED NEARBY: City officials in Maricopa, Arizona, are slated to move observation car Silver Horizon, formerly of the California Zephyr, a short distance from the Amtrak station to a site next to the district school headquarters. The move is part of an overpass construction for a highway spanning Union Pacific train tracks. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-9-19]

CSX-SERVED TRANSLOAD FACILITY OPENS IN S.C.: The South Carolina Ports Authority announced that C&M Hog Farm has opened a transload facility at Inland Port Dillon, which is served by CSX. The facility will handle agricultural products bound for overseas markets. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-9-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Jan. 5, total U.S. rail freight traffic was 436,103 combined carloads and intermodal units, up 4.8 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-9-19]

COURT ORDERS UNION PACIFIC TO PAY $2.3-M IN ENVIRONMENTAL SETTLEMENT: A Placer County, California, judge has ordered Union Pacific to pay more than $2.3-million in a settlement for mishandling hazardous wastes in a four-county area over an eight-year period. [Herald News, 1-9-19]

AMTRAK'S SUNSET LIMITED TO BE IMPACTED BY TRACK WORK: One weekly round-trip of Amtrak's Sunset Limited will be annulled between January 17 and March 9 due to Union Pacific track work. During the period, there will be no westbound departure from New Orleans on Mondays, and no eastbound departure from Los Angeles on Sundays. Remaining trains will be scheduled to arrive Los Angeles three hours later, and depart Los Angeles at 7:26 P.M. instead of 10 P.M., breaking a connection with the inbound Coast Starlight. [Rail Passengers Assn., 1-9-19]

AUSTRIAN RAIL WORKERS STOP THEIR TRAIN TO RESCUE MOUNTAIN GOAT BURIED IN SNOW: Austrian train workers shut down their track-clearing operations to rescue a chamois, a type of mountain goat, after seeing it get buried in a deluge of snow they had been clearing. Workers leapt from their train and shoveled to reach the animal in a snowdrift at the side of the track in a national park. The effort was a success, and the goat loped away into a forest. [Herald-Whig, 1-9-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAILS IN GEORGIA: A Norfolk Southern train derailed late Jan. 7 near Bartow, Georgia. Thirty-seven cars derailed, two of which breached hydrogen perixide and hydrochloric acid, respectively, but there was no indication of a chlorine leak. The train crew was taken to a hospital for evaluation. [Augusta Chronicle, 1-8-19]

TEXRAIL COMMUTER LINE OPENS JAN. 9: Trinity Metro has announced that TexRail commuter rail service will begin Thursday, Jan. 9. The agency received word from the Federal Railroad Administration that the entire 27-mile route from downtown to the airport has been aproved for passenger service. [Progressive Railroading, 1-8-19]

NEW EXPRESS INTERMODAL TERMINAL OPENS IN N.J.: The GCT Bayonne ExpressRail Port Jersey opened for business Jan. 7. The intermodal facility's opening marks a milestone in the five-year strategic goal of Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to expand rail capacity for cargo destied for outside the region. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-8-19]

CHICAGO TRANSIT OPENS NEW TERMINAL AT RED LINE STATION: Chicago has officially opened the city's new north terminal at the 95th-Dan Ryan station. The project signifies completion of a $280-million project for a state-of-the-art transit facility. The north terminal is the second of two rail and bus facilities replacing the original 50-year-old terminal. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-8-19]

UNION PACIFIC COAL TRAIN DERAILS IN NEBRASKA: Twenty-three cars of a 144-car Union Pacific coal train derailed early Jan. 8 between Valley and Fremont, Nebraska, blocking highway 275. No injuries were reported. [6 News WOWT, 1-8-19]

JINAN, CHINA, OPENS FIRST METRO LINE: China's first urban rail opening of the new year took place Jan. 1 when Jinan, the capital of Shandong province, launched trial passenger operation on its first metro line. [International Railway Journal, 1-8-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-six percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending January 6, 2019. The remaining 54 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 11 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-7-19]

BRIGHTLINE GIVEN EXTENSION TO ISSUE TAX-EXEMPT BONDS: Brightline has been granted an additional six months by a federal court to issue $1.15-billion in tax-exempt bonds the company needs for planned service from South Florida to Orlando. The judge also dismissed a lawsuit by Indian River County, Florida, which had wanted to block the bonds. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-4-19]

X TRAIN ENVISIONS SERVICE STARTUP BY MID-2019: X Rail Entertainment could begin passenger rail service between Southern California and Las Vegas by mid-2019, according to its parent company. The proposed service would initially make the trip in four and one-half hours using Union Pacific and BNSF tracks, eastbound on Friday and westbound on Sunday. One hour could be reduced from the schedule once improvements are completed along the line for higher speeds. As a later, final stage of the project, a 500-room 'X Hotel' would be built above the proposed Las Vegas train station. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-4-19]

AMTRAK'S CRESCENT TO BE IMPACTED BY TRACKWORK: Trackwork will affect Crescent trains 19 and 20 between New Orleans and Atlanta Monday through Thursday from January 7 through February 14. Bus service will be substituted. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-4-19]

HONGNAO RWY OPENS IN CHINA: The 270-mile Hongnao Railway in the Xinjiang region of China was formally opened to traffic Jan. 1. The line, one of the longest in China to be developed using private investment, is primarily intended to serve coal mines. [Railway Gazette, 1-4-19]

ITHACA CENTRAL R.R. IS NEW SHORTLINE IN PA., N.Y.: Watco Companies has launched Ithaca Central Railroad operating on 48.8 miles of leased track between Sayre, Pa., and Ludlowville, N.Y., from Norfolk Southern. Watco expects the line to handle about 12,000 carloads annually. [Progressive Railroading, 1-3-19]

WASHINGTON METRO TO PERMIT BICYCLES AT ANY HOUR: Washington Metro on Jan. 7 will end a longstanding restriction of bicycles on trains during rush hours. Under the new policy, standard-size bikes will be allowed on any car, at all times, 'provided space is available.' [Progressive Railroading, 1-3-19]

PEDESTRIAN STRUCK, KILLED BY METROLINK TRAIN: A pedestrian was struck and killed by a Metrolink train early Jan. 3 in Northridge, California. [KTLA-5, 1-3-19]

DECEMBER 2018 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads in December 2018 originated 2,118,094 carloads and intermodal units, up 4 pct from December 2017. Calculated separately, carloads increased 2.9 pct, while intermodal increased 5 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-3-19]

N.Y. CITY'S L TRAIN TO CONTINE OPERATING DURING REPAIRS: It had previously been reported that New York City's L train, the system's busiest, would shut down for at least 15 months for repairs. This has now changed. Under a new plan, work will take place only on nights and weekends with trains running on limited service through one of the two tubes between Manhattan and Brooklyn. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-3-19]

FEDS EXAMING SHIPPER FEES BY RAILROADS UNDER PRECISION SCHEDULED RAILROADING: The U.S. Surface Transportation Board is looking into fees Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific have begun charging shippers relating to transitions to precision scheduled railroading for delays to the system such as slow unloading or late pickups. [Supply Chain Dive, 1-3-19]

SIX DEAD IN DANISH TRAIN ACCIDENT: Six passengers on a Danish State Railways Aarhus-Copenhagen intercity train were killed in the early morning of Jan. 2 when the train was hit by an object from an adjacent train while crossing the Great Belt fixed link between Funen and Zealand.High winds have been cited as the cause of the incident. Another 16 passengers were reported as injured. [International Railway Journal, 1-2-19]

FOUR U.S. RAILROADS FULLY MEET PTC IMPLEMENTATION DEADLINE: North County Transit District, Metrolink, Port Authority Trans-Hudson and Portland & Western Railroad were the four railroads that had fully implemented positive train-control as of the end of 2018. Thirty-seven railroads requested alternative schedules - seven Class I carriers, 25 intercity passenger and commuter railroads, and five shortline or terminal railroads - and 12 railroads obtained conditional PTC system certification permitting them to operate PTC in revenue service. [Progressive Railroading, 1-2-19]

CHICAGO TRAINSIT COMPLETES UPGRADES AT FOUR STATIONS: Four Green Line Chicago Transit Authority stations - 51st street, Halsted, Cottage Grove and Kedzie - have had upgrade work completed. The $12-million project was funded by bonds issued in 2017. [Progressive Railroading, 1-2-19]

BRIGHTLINE TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS PEDESTRIAN: Authorities say a Brightline train struck and killed a pedestrian late Jan. 1 in Fort Lauderdale. This is the 11th fatality since Brightline began operations in mid-2017. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-2-19]

BNSF ASKS COURT TO REJECT CLAIM THAT OBESITY IS A DISABILITY: BNSF, wich has been sued several times for allegedly discriminating against obese workers and applicants, has filed a brief with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court, claiming that Congress never intended to cover obesity with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and new science does not show that obesity itself is a disease unless it results from some underlying medical condition. [Reuters, 1-2-19]

AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE IN 2018: Thirty-one percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on-time or earlier in 2018. The remaining 69 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 36 minutes behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-1-19]

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