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ACELA TRAIN DERAILS AT N.Y. PENN STATION: Amtrak's Acela Express train 2151 derailed at slow speed while departing New York Penn Station early March 24, and made contact with an incoming N.J. Transit train. All 248 passengers exited the train onto the platform, with no serious injuries reported. Service into and out of Penn Station was delayed by the incident, and trains from upstate New York were terminated at Croton-Harmon. The accident is under investigation. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline, 3-24-17]

R.J. CORMAN WITHDRAWS FROM CUMBERLAND RIVER PORT PROJECT: R.J. Corman Railroad Group is discontinuing efforts to establish an intermodal port on the Cumberland River in Clarksville, Tennessee. Based on rising construction costs, the project is no longer a viable economic benefit, the company said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-24-17]

L.A. METRO TO BUY UP TO 282 NEW SUBWAY CARS: The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation authority has signed a $647-million contract with China Railway Rolling Stock Corp. to build up to 282 new rail cars for the Red and Purple subway lines. The contract includes a base order of 64 cars, with options to buy up to 218 additional units. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-24-17]

N.C. PLANS TO ELIMINATE SEVEN CSX GRADE CROSSINGS: North Carolina has announced plans to eliminate seven grade crossings on a CSX rail line in Wake Forest and Raleigh. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-24-17]

CN PLANS TO BUY BACK SHARES: Canadian National has announced plans to repurchase up to 1.8 million of its common shares of stock as part of a repurchase program. [Railway Age website report, 3-24-17]

DRIVER KILLED AS CAR IS STRUCK BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN FLORIDA: A northbound Amtrak train with 126 passengers on board struck a car at a railroad crossing in Oakland Park, Florida, March 24, killing the driver of the car. There were no injuries to passengers. [WSVN website report, 3-24-17]

BOMBARDIER ROLLS OUT FIRST TRAXX LOCOMOTIVE FOR ISRAEL: The first of 62 Traxx AC electric locomotives for Israel Railways has been completed at Bombardier's plant in Kassel, Germany, and it is now ready for testing on the plant's internal test track. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-24-17]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads moved 495,281 carloads and intermodal units for the week ending March 18, 2017, a 2.4 pct increase compared with the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-23-17]

UNION PACIFIC TO CONSOLIDATE THREE SERVICE UNITS: Union Pacific will consolidate management at the Pocatello, Idaho, service units with the Portland, Oregon, and Utah service units effective April 1. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-23-17]

AMTRAK TO INCREASE N.Y.-BOSTON ACELA WEEKEND SERVICE: Beginning April 8, Amtrak is increasing its Acela Express service between Boston and New York. Amtrak said it will be adding more departures on Saturday mornings and Sunday evenings, and will add another round-trip on Sundays. [WPRI website report, 3-23-17]

BILOXI TO CLOSE SIX R.R. CROSSINGS FOLLOWING DEADLY COLLISION WITH BUS: The city council in Biloxi, Mississippi, has approved a plan to close six railroad crossings in the city. On March 7, a bus loaded with passengers en route to a casino was struck by a CSX freight train after the bus bottomed out on one of the crossings, killing four and injuring dozens. The city had already been planning to close some of its 29 crossings before the accident. [U.S. News & Worl Report, 3-22-17]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON PORTAGEVILLE BRIDGE ARCH IN N.Y. STATE: Construction has begun on the main arch span of the replacement Portageville bridge spanning the Genesee River in Portageville, N.Y. Also known as the 'High Bridge,' it is considered vital to Norfolk Southern's Southern Tier route between Binghamton and Buffalo. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-22-17]

CLASS I R.R. EMPLOYMENT DROPS IN FEBR. FROM PREVIOUS YEAR: Class I railroads employed 148,843 workers in the U.S. as of mid-February 2017, down 3.48 pct compared with the year-ago figure, according to the Surface Transportation board. Compared with mid-January 2017, however, employment was up by 0.28 pct. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-22-17]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TOUTS 2016 ACHIEVEMENTS: Norfolk Southern posted its 2016 annual report highlighting: achievement of an all-time best operating ratio of 68.9 pct; reducing expenses of operations to generate savings of $250-million; increasing income from railway operations and net income by 7 pct each; producing year-over-year earnings per share growth of 10 pct; and rationalizing 1,000 miles of secondary rail lines. [Norfolk Southern, 3-22-17]

CALGARY TO ORDER SIX MORE LRV'S FOR CTRAIN NETWORK: Calgary, Alberta, will acquire six additional S200 light-rail vehicles for the city's CTrain network from Siemens. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-22-17]

CN TO SHUT DOWN ESCANABA ORE DOCKS: CN will shut down its Escanaba iron-ore docks at the end of April, bringing to a close 165 years of ore-shipping from Michigan's Upper Peninsula port. Ore shipments had slowed since Cliff Natural Resources closed its Empire Mine in Aug. 2016. Escanaba has been a transportation and trade center since 1852, and is the only iron-ore port on Lake Michigan. [Railway Age website report, 3-21-17]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Twenty-eight percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending March 19, 2017. The remaining 72 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 53 minutes behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 3-21-17]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS PTC PROGRESS: Positive train-control has now been installed on more than a quarter of Union Pacific's subdivisions, the company says. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-20-17]

VRE SCALES BACK MANASSAS LINE EXTENSION PLANS: Virginia Railway Express has chosen not to extend is Manassas line to Gainesville or Haymarket, but instead it will expand its storage yard at Broad Run to allow additional capacity. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-20-17]

METRA BEGINS REHAB OF NIPPON SHARYO CARS: Metra has launched an in-house project to rehabilitate 302 Nippon Sharyo rail cars that were delivered to the agency from 2002 to 2008. Thirty-five of the cars will be rehabilitated each year until 2020. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-20-17]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN'S SAFETY TRAIN SET TO BEGIN 2017 TOUR: Norfolk Southern's safety train kicks off March 21 in Hagerstown, Md., with three days of training for first-responders. The train consists of a specially-painted locomotive in honor of emergency responders, two boxcars converted into classrooms, four styles of tank cars, and two flatcars designed to transport intermodal containers. Training sessions are planned in 14 states in this year's tour. [Norfolk Southern, 3-20-17]

THREE NEW TRAINS ORDERED FOR JAPANESE COMMUTER LINE: Japan's Tokyu Corp. has ordered three 10-car commuter electric multiple-unit trains for the 19.6-mile Tokyu Den-en-toshi line linking Shibuya station in Tokyo with the city's southwestern suburbs and Chuo-Rinkan. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-20-17]

UNION PACIFIC RECALLS SOME FURLOUGHED EMPLOYEES IN NEBRASKA: Union Pacific announced furloughs for mechanical employees in North Platte and South Morrill, Nebraska, in April 2016. On March 17 of this year, the company says many of those employees are now back on the job. [North Platte Telegraph website report, 3-19-17]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES CAR IN N.C., DRIVER KILLED: Police say a man died after an Amtrak train hit a stopped car on a crossing early March 19 in Greesboro, N.C. Police say the driver stopped his car on the tracks as the crossing gates came down. [WFMY website report, 3-19-17]

CALUMET, MICHIGAN, TRAIN DEPOT TO BE RESTORED: The old (c-1908) train depot on the border between Calumet and Calumet Township, Michigan, has a new owner. The township bought the building and its parking lot for $40,000 for 'historical preservation.' The plan for the building is to restore it as closely as possible to its original condition. One possible use could be as a trail head for the state's Dept. of Natural Resources recreation trail, which is right next to the building. [Mining Gazette website report, 3-18-17]

WASHOUT DERAILS MONTANA RAIL LINK TRAIN: Up to 60 empty coal cars and a locomotive derailed due to a washout early March 17 on Montana Rail Link's main line along Lake Pend Oreille in Ponderay, Idaho. No injuries were reported. [Bonner County Daily Bee website report, 3-18-17]

AMTRAK'S TEXAS EAGLE GAINS IN RIDERSHIP: Amtrak's Texas Eagle ridership increased 23.2 pct to 110,970 passengers from Oct. 2016- Jan. 2017, up from 90,099 a year ago. Amtrak had projected a 9.4 pct increase. Revenues neared $7.95-million, up 14 pct from a year ago. [Longview News-Journal website report, 3-18-17]

GROUND BROKEN ON NEW RAIL-CAR MANUFACTURING FACILITY IN CHICAGO: Chinese rail-car builder CRRC Sifang America broke ground March 16 on a new $100-million rail-car manufacturing facility in southeast Chicago. The first of its kind to be built in the city in 35 years, the plant will assemble new 7000-series cars for the Chicago Transit authority. Overall, CRRC is set to build more than 840 cars over 10 years at a cost of $1.3-billion. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline, 3-17-17]

LIRR TRACK VEHICLES COLLIDE, DISRUPT SERVICE: A slow-speed collision between two Long Island Rail Road work vehicles March 17 near Mineola, N.Y., caused delays of up to 45 minutes along three branches, with some systemwide cancelations. The mid-day mishap occurred the same day that the railroad added extra trains to handle crowds attending Manhattan's St. Patrick's day parade. One worker had minor injuries in the accident. [Newsday website report, 3-17-17]

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION SUPPORTERS BLAST TRUMP'S BUDGET: Transit and passenger-rail advocates have expressed disappointment at the President's FY-2018 budget proposal calling for elimination of funding for some Amtrak and transit-rail projects and services. The acting top official of the American Public Transportation association said he was 'surprised and disappointed' that budget proposals follow the President's stated commitment to introduce a $1-trillion plan to improve the nation's infrastructure. Meanwhile, the National Association of Railroad Passengers and New York Governor Cuomo lamented the budget's impact on Amtrak and rural and local communities that rely on inercity passenger-rail service. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-17-17]

BNSF PLANS $2.3-MILLION FACILITY IN DILWORTH, MINNESOTA: Work will soon begin on a new office and operations building in Dilworth, Minnesota, for BNSF. The 2.3-million building will replace the company's smaller building just to the east of the new one. Construction is scheduled to be completed in the fall. [Inforum website report, 3-17-17]

PRESIDENT PROPOSES ELIMINATION OF AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN SUBSIDIES: President Trump, in his proposed budget, would eliminate subsidies for Amtrak long-distance train routes, which would likely mean the end of those routes since they are generally not profitable. [Los Angeles Daily News website report, 3-16-17]

TRUMP BUDGET PROPOSES 13 PCT CUT TO TRANSPORTATION DEPT.: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation faces a $2.4-billion cut under President Trump's proposed federal budget blueprint. The department's funding would be cut by 13 pct, to $16.2-billion, according to the proposal released early March 16. The budget reduces or eliminates programs that are either 'inefficient, duplicative of other federal efforts, or that involve activites that are better delivered by states, localities or the private sector.' [The Hill website report, 3-16-17]

OPERATION LIFESAVER NAMES NEW BOARD CHAIR: Robert C. VanderClute, president of the consulting firm FirstRail International, has been elected chair of Operation Lifesaver. He replaces William Barriger, who has resigned. [Operation Lifesaver, 3-16-17]

OKLAHOMA CITY STREETCAR PROJECT TAKING SHAPE: Crews are busy working on an almost 5-mile stretch of a downtown Oklahoma City streetcar line. The $50-million project is expected to ake 18 months to complete, with the system set to begin operation at the end of 2018. [The Oklahoman website report, 3-16-17]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads moved 510,638 carloads and intermodal units in the week ending March 11, 2017, an increase of 4.4 percent compared with the corresponding week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-15-17]

MUDSLIDE DERAILS UNION PACIFIC GRAIN TRAIN IN IDAHO: A dozen cars of a Union Pacific grain train derailed because of a mud slide March 15 in a remote area of Boundary County, Idaho. Four of the cars slid down a hill toward a river; the other cars remained on their sides along the right-of-way. There was no report of injuries. [KREM website report, 3-15-17]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN DERAILS IN ILLINOIS: Eleven cars of a 96-car Union Pacific train derailed early March 15 near Lake Forest, Illinois, according to the railroad and police. No injuries were reported. [Daily North Shore website report, 3-15-17]

LAS VEGAS SEEKS TO BUILD LIGHT-RAIL FROM STRIP TO AIRPORT: Officials have presented a legislative plan at the state capital laying the groundwork to build a multi-billion-dollar light-rail system to link the Las Vegas Strip with McCarran International Airport. [Associated Press website report, 3-15-17]

SIEMENS LANDS SWEDISH ORDER FOR 15 VECTRON LOCOMOTIVES: Swedish transport company Hector Rail has ordered 15 Vectron four-axle 6.4MW diesel locomotives from Siemens for delivery beginning in early 2018. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-15-17]

HANGZHOU-WENZHOU HIGH-SPEED RAIL CONSTRUCTION BEGINS: Construction of the 205-mile high-speed rail line between China's eastern cities of Hangzhou and Wenzhou began March 9. Passengers can utilize the new line to transfer to Beijing and southern China's Guangdong province. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-14-17]

SIX GP40-2H LOCOMOTIVES TO BE OVERHAULED FOR CONNECTICUT SERVICE: Connecticut has awarded NRE a five-year contract to overhaul six EMD GP40-2H locomotives that a are part of the state's fleet and operated on the Shore Line East service. [Railway Age website report, 3-14-17]

WABTEC BUYS AERO TRANSPORTATION PRODUCTS: Wabtec has purchased Aero Transportation Products, a manufacturer of engineered freight car hatch covers and outlet gates, predominately for customers in the U.S. The firm has annual sales of about $40-million. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-14-17]

CSX'S VIRGINIA AVENUE TUNNEL PROJECT IN D.C. REACHES HALFWAY POINT: CSX's effort to eliminate a major rail chokepoint in Washingto DC has just passed the halfway point. That milestone moves the Virgiia Avenue tunnel reconstruction project closer to an anticipated mid-2018 completion. Two higher single-track tunnels will replace a single, deteriorating tunnel originally built in 1872. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-14-17]

N.C. OFFERS TRANSIT PASSES TO AMTRAK PIEDMONT, CAROLINIAN PASSENGERS: North Carolina has partnered with 11 local transit systems along the Raleigh to Charlotte Amtrak corridor to provide free transit passes for train riders. Beginning March 18, 'NC by Train' transit passes will be available to passengers on Piedmont and Carolinian trains in certain cities. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-14-17]

LIRR TRAIN STRIKES MINIVAN THAT DROVE AROUND GATES: A Long Island Rail Road train on the West Hempstead branch struck a minivan and shoved it 200 feet after the vehicle drove around the gates at a Malverne, N.Y., grade crossing early March 13, officials said. The driver was transported to a hospital, but none of the passengers on board the train were injured. [Newsday website report, 3-13-17]

BRIGHTLINE TO BEGIN SERVICE IN JULY: Brightline, the new private passenger rail service in southern Florida, will begin introductory express service between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale in late July, followed by service to Miami in late August, the company said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-13-17]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Just 23 percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending March 12, 2017. The remaining 77 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 53 minutes behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 3-13-17]

B.C. TO STUDY VANCOUVER ISLAND COMMUTER RAIL: British Columbia will study options for establishing commuter rail services on Vancouver Island. The proposal involves possible operations on a 9.3-mile section of the Southern Railway of Vancouver Island between Victoria West and Westhills in Langford, which has been endorsed by four communities along the route. Via Rail passenger services were withdrawn from the Victoria to Coutenay former Canadian Pacific line in 2011 due to poor condition of the track. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-10-17]

JACKSONVILLE PORT TERMINAL R.R. BEGINS OPERATIONS: Watco subsidiary Jacksonville Port Terminal Railroad has agreed with the Jacksonville Port Authority to lease and operate 10 miles of rail line. Startup was March 8. The railroad interchanges with Norfolk Southern and CSX. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-10-17]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN DERAILS IN IOWA, CATCHES FIRE: A Union Pacific train derailed 27 cars early March 10 near Graettinger, Iowa, causing an ethanol-fueled fire. No injuries were reported, but several homes in the area were evacuated. [U.S. News & World Report, 3-10-17]

LOCOMOTIVE CATCHES FIRE AT CSX CUMBERLAND SHOP: A locomotive caught fire at the CSX maintenance shop in Cumberland, Md., March 9. The company said the fire was confined to a locomotive, which was being serviced, and no other equipment or the building were damaged. [U.S. News & World Report, 3-10-17]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES HORSE AND BUGGY IN PA.: An Amtrak train struck and runaway horse and buggy stuck on a crossing in Paradise, Pa., late March 10. The buggy had no occupants. There were no injuries to anyone on the train, but the horse was killed. [Lancaster Online, 3-10-17]

DRIVER OF BUS STRUCK BY TRAIN IN BILOXI LIKELY DID NOT FOLLOW PLANNED ROUTE: The Texas tour bus hit by a CSX train in a deadly crash March 7 was not supposed to have taken the road where it got struck at a rail crossing, federal officals say. The driver may have followed a GPS set for commercial vehicle use rather than directions from the bus company. [Dallas Morning News website report, 3-9-17]

SNOWBANK STRANDS EMPIRE BUILDER 13 HOURS IN N.D.: Amtrak's eastbound Empire Builder carrying 111 passengers got stuck in a 25-foot-high by 200-foot-long snowbank near Rugby, N.D., March 8. The train was finally freed 13 hours later, following three failed attempts to dislodge it. The incident also caused an extensive delay to the westbound Empire Builder, which was held about 35 miles to the east for the track to be cleared. [CBS News website report, 3-9-17]

EIGHT HUNDRED CSX EMPLOYEES LOSE THEIR JOBS: CSX has finished the layoffs it announced more than two weeks ago - 800 over all, including 500 in Jacksonville, Florida. The company's original estimate was that about 1,000 positions would be eliminated.

BILOXI BUS CRASH FOCUSES ON HUMPED CROSSING, PREVIOUS INCIDENTS: Even before the collision between a CSX freight train and a chartered bus March 7 killing four people and injuring many others, trains had slammed into vehicles 16 times since 1976 at that crossing. Last March, another bus got stuck there, but passengers were successfully evacuated. As recently as January, a train slammed into a soft drink delivery truck stuck on the same crossing. The crossing has a hump in it, and vehicles have been known to bottom-out in their attempt to cross. A 'low ground clearance' sign is posted due to the crossing's awkward design. [My Statesman website report, 3-8-17]

AMTRAK PLEDGES SUPPORT TO REVIVING GULF COAST SERVICE, CEO SAYS: Amtrak president and CEO Wick Moorman has pledged support for restoring service from New Orleans to Orlando, along the Gulf Coast. In a March 3 letter to the Southern Rail Commission, Moorman emphasized the railroad's commitment to the project, along with interest and support for other projects underway in the region. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-8-17]

DAVE HOWARD NAMED CEO OF BRIGHTLINE: Brightline officials announced the hiring of Dave Howard as CEO. Howard is a veteran of sports and entertainment industries. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-8-17]

SIEMENS ROLLS OUT FIRST CASCADES CHARGER LOCOMOTIVE: The first of eight SC-44 Siemens Charger diesel locomotives ordered by the state of Washington has been rolled out at the manufacturer's Sacramento plant. The locomotive are to be used with Talgo coaches on Amtrak Cascade trains between Eugene, Oregon, and Vancouver, B.C. [Railway Gazette website report, 3-8-17]

STUDY EXAMINES EXTENDING MARC LINE INTO DELAWARE: The 20-mile stretch between Perryville, Maryland, and Newark, Delaware, is the only spot between Washington and New York in Amtrak's Northeast corridor that lacks a commtuer rail service. This might change. Regional planners are conducting a feasibility study of the demand for an extension of MARC commuter rail from its current northern terminus at Perryville to Newark. The results will be made public in June, at the latest. [Newark Post website report, 3-8-17]

CSX FREIGHT TRAIN DERAILS IN HIGH WINDS IN N.Y. STATE: A CSX freight train derailed 12 cars in Batavia, N.Y., March 8, due to high wind gusts. There were no injuries. [KPIC website report, 3-8-17]

TIMOTHY TIERNEY NAMED PRESIDENT OF CONRAIL: Conrail's board of direcors has named Timothy Tierney president and chief operating officer effective April 1. He is a 39-year veteran of Conrail, most recently as vice-president and chief engineer. He succeeds Ronald Batory, who is retiring. [Norfolk Southern, 3-8-17]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending March 4, 2017, combined carload and intermodal U.S. rail traffic was up 1.8 percent compared with the same week last year. Calculated separately, carload traffic was up 6.3 percent, while intermodal traffic dropped 2.3 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-8-17]

CSX TRAIN STRIKES CHARTERED BUS IN MISSISSIPPI, KILLING AT LEAST FOUR: A CSX freight train smashed into a chartered bus in Biloxi, Mississippi, March 7, dragging the bus 300 feet down the tracks and leaving at least four people dead, authorities said. The bus, from Austin, Texas, was loaded with 43 passengers en route to a casino. The bus reportedly bottomed out on the crossing and was unable to move off the track. Authorities say 35 people were taken to hospitals, some airlifted in critical condition. [ABC7 Chicago website report, 3-7-17]

HUNTER HARRISON NAMED CEO OF CSX: CSX has a new CEO and a deal with the hedge fund Mantle Ridge pushing for changes at the railroad. Hunter Harrison, 72, the executive who led Canadian Pacific's turnaround, will become the CEO at CSX immediately, replacing Michael Ward, who will remain as a consultant. Harrison says he plans to implement the tightly-scheduled operating model he used at CP, and at Canadian National before that, to reduce costs and boost profits. CSX said it plans to ask shareholders to vote on aspects of Harrison's compensation package that would include reimbursing him for $84-million in compensation he forfeited at CP. Harrison says he will resign if the compensation is not approved. He will also get options on 9,000,000 CSX shares. Harrison came out of retirement in 2012 to lead CP after Pershing Square Capital took a large stake in the railroad and forced management changes. New CSX board members include Hunter Harrison, Paul Hilal, Dennis Reilley, Linda Reifler and John Zillmer. [Florida Times Union website report, 3-7-17]

CSX FREIGHT TRAIN DERAILS IN N.Y. STATE, LEAKS ACID: A CSX freight train slammed into an forklift that was crossing the tracks in Newburgh, N.Y., March 7, and derailed. Two crew members had minor injuries, but the forklift operator escaped prior to impact. Firefighters and hazmat teams responded to a minor leak of sulfuric acid from one of the cars, and a locomotive leaked diesel fuel. Columbia Basin Herald website report, 3-7-17]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-one percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending March 5, 2017. The remainig 69 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 16 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 3-6-17]

AZERBAIJAN INAUGURATES RAIL LINK TO IRAN: Azerbaijan inaugurated a new cross-border link to the Iranian city of Astara March 5 when the first test train crossed the new dual-gauge bridge spanning the Astarachay River, wich divides the two countries. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-6-17]

IOWA CHURCH SUES R.R. OVER RAIL LINE BUILT ON CHURCH PROPERTY: A church in Mason City, Iowa, has sued the Iowa Traction Railway, accusing it of installing a rail line on church property afer negotiations by the railroad to acquire the right-of-way were unsuccessful. The railway denies the church's claim, stating that it had gained ownership of the land through 'adverse possession,' and that the church had missed a deadline to file the lawsuit. [ABC News website report, 3-4-17]

RAILROAD DAY ON CAPITOL HILL BREAKS ATTENDANCE RECORD: A record number of railroaders, suppliers and customers met with congressional leaders March 2 for the annual Railroad Day on Capitol Hill to discuss legislative strategies that would help grow the rail business. Congressional offices hosted meetings for 456 visitors. A key point of discussion for shortline railroaders was the Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy Act, which was reintroduced in both houses of the 115th Congress, calling for making permanent the 45G tax credit, which expired the end of last year. [Progressive Railroading website report]

AMTRAK'S NORTHBOUND CITY OF NEW ORLEANS GETS TEMPORARY SCHEDULE CHANGE: Amtrak's northbound train 58, City of New Orleans, will be departing four hours later from it origin through its arrival at Carbondale, Illinois, beginning March 6 through the end of the month. From Carbondale, train 58 will be combined with train 390 and follow that schedule into Chicago. The normal schedule of train 58 from Carbondale will be protected with a substitute train 1158 into Chicago from March 7 to April 1. [Amtrak]

CALIFORNIA ISSUES REQUIRED REPORT ON BULLET TRAIN PROJECT: From July 2006 through June 2016, the California High-Speed Rail authority invested $2.3-billion in planning and constructing the state's planned high-speed rail system, according to their required biennial project report. More than 900 construction workers in the Central Valley have been employed, with many more hires expected The report cautioned that the project faces myriad challenges for successful completion. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-3-17]

CN HONORED FOR ABORIGINAL RELATIONS: The Alberta Chamber of Commerce has recognized Canadian National for excellence in aboriginal relations. The company operates with, or adjacent to, nearly 200 different reserve lands of more than 110 First Nationals and some Metis territories in eight provinces. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-3-17]

'RAIL SAFETY WEEK' ESTABLISHED: Operation Lifesaver has announced that it will work with the U.S. Dept. of Transortation and other organizations to observe the first national Rail Safety Week, September 24-30, 2017. About every three hours in the U.S., a person or vehicle is hit by a train, the organization said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-3-17]

D.C. STREETCAR CELEBRATES ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY: Over the course of the year, the D.C. streetcar running along the H Street corridor has met or exceeded expectations. Ridership performance is now at 236 pct of the pre-opening estimate, and service has been expanded from six days a week to seven. Currently, rides are free, and will likely remain so for at least four years as the system expands. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline, 3-3-17]

NORTH-SOUTH RAIL TUNNEL PROPOSAL IN BOSTON GAINS MOMENTUM: The idea of a three-mile 'north-south' rail tunnel to link North and South stations in Boston is gaining momentum. Massachusetts has begun soliciting bids for the tunnel, which would create a fully-connected rail route through the city. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline, 3-3-17]

ADVOCATES SEEK PASSENGER RAIL SERVICE IN N.Y. SOUTHERN TIER: Rail advocates in New York State's southern tier have formed a group to explore the feasibility of returning passenger service to the region, which includes Binghamton, Elmira and Corning. Such service would likely be an extension of long-sought service through New Jersey and Pennsylvania to Scranton. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline, 3-3-17]

ZURICH ORDERS 70 LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES: Zurich Public Transport has signed a cotract with Bombardier for the delivery of 70 seven-section Flexity low-floor light-rail vehicles, with an option for 70 more. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-3-17]

U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC ROSE 4.2 PCT IN FEBRUARY: U.S. railroads moved 2,112,479 carloads and intermodal units in February 2017, a 4.2 percent increase from totals in February 2016, the Association of American Railroads said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-2-17]

CHARLOTTE LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION OPENING DELAYED: The Charlotte Area Transit system has pushed the opening date of the LYNX blue line light-rail extension to March 31 of next year. Initially, the extension had been slated to open in August of this year. The project remains under budget, however, officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-2-17]

WABTEC LANDS $97-M CONTRACT WITH TEX RAIL: Wabtec has signed a $97-million contract to provide signaling and communication services for Tex Rail, a new 27-mile comuter-rail line being developed in Fort Worth. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-2-17]

ANGELS FLIGHT TO RETURN TO SERVICE: The famed Amgel's Flight funicular system in Los Angeles, noted for its 298-foot incline on Bunker Hill, is now slated to be returned to service by Labor Day. The antique system has been out of service since 2013 after a series of mishaps, including a crash that killed a rider. [ABC News website report, 3-2-17]

CSX TRAIN DERAILS IN MARYLAND: An eastbound CSX freight train derailed eight cars early March 2 near Ijamsville, Maryland, in Frederick County. No hazardous materials were involved, and there were no injuries. [WJLA website report, 3-2-17]

MBTA PLANS $7.9-M UPGRADE TO PCC TROLLEY FLEET: The Massachusetts Bay Transportation authority will spend $7.9-million over the next two years to overhaul its existing PCC streetcars on the 2.6-mile Mattapan-Ashmont line. The project is aimed at maintaining the historical significance of the 1940's-era cars while keeping them viable for the next decade, the agency said. Because of its age, the fleet requires constant repair and replacement of parts no longer available on the market, and machinists must manufacture the parts at their Everett, Massachusetts, shops. Some parts have been obtained from museums, which adds to the overall cost of repairs. The fleet consists of 10 PCC cars, but only seven are in revenue service. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-1-17]

MONTHLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the month of February 2017. The remaining 60 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 24 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 3-1-17]

THREE TEENS ARRESTED IN VANDALISM OF HISTORIC RAIL CARS: Three teenagers, ages 18, 15 and 13, have been arrested for vandalism of historic railcars at a train display in McComb, Mississippi. The three suspects allegedly vandalized the railroad cars late Febr. 25, breaking windows, furniture and other valuables in the cars, some of which date back to the 1800's. [U.S. News & World Report, 3-1-17]

CHINA ORDERS 18 BOMBARDIER HIGH-SPEED TRAINS: China Railway Corp. has awarded a $284-million contract for the supply of 18 eight-car CRH1 A-A new generation high-speed trains to Bombardier's Chinese joint venture. The trains will have an operational speed of 155 MPH. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-1-17]

CHINA TO BUILD 30,000 KM OF RAILWAY BEFORE 2020: The total mileage of China's domestic railway system is expected to grow by 30,000 kilometers (18,641 miles) before 2020, according the the country's transport ministry. One-third of the increased mileage will consist of high-speed rail. [China Economic Net, 3-1-17]

FREIGHTCAR AMERICA REPORTS 4-Q RESULTS: FreightCar America reported fourth-quarter net income of $74.000, compared with $11.7-million during the same period in 2015. Revenue in the quarter was $135.5-million, versus $203.3-million in the previous year's fourth-quarter. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-1-17]

GREAT LAKES BASIN ASKS FOR R.R. ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW EXTENSION: Great Lakes Basin Trasportation is asking the Surface Transportation Board to wait until at least April 30 to resume an environmental review of the freight trailroad the company haopes to build as a bypass around Chicago. [NWI website report, 3-1-17]

RAIL FUNDS GRANT TO MINNESOTA MAY NOT BE DIVERTED, FEDS SAY: A legistlative resolution calling for the diversion of nearly $1-billion in federal funds from a Minnesota light-rail line to road and bridge projects is currently barred by law, according to the Federal Transit administration. Some state legislators had introduced a measure asking to funnel the funds to a block grant that can be used for 'other tansportation projects.' [Star-Tribune website report, 3-1-17]

STATION UPGRADE PROJECT BEGINS AT PAOLI, PA., STATION: Plans for major accessibility and safety upgrades at the Paoli, Pa., Amtrak and SEPTA station had been stuck in their tracks for more than two decades, but on Febr. 28 there was a groundbreaking ceremony marking that work is now finally underway. [Philadelphia Daily News website report, 2-28-17]

BNSF PROFITS FELL IN 2016: Declining shipments of oil and coal made for a tough year at BNSF in 2016, pushing down both revenue and profits. The railroad reported that revenue declined near 10 pct to $19.3-billion, and net income declined 13 pct to $4.3-billion. [Fort Worth Star Telegram website report, 2-28-17]

AMTRAK TRAIN EVACUATED IN MICHIGAN DUE TO FIRE: Amtrak passengers heading east from Jackson, Michigan, late Febr. 28 were briefly delayed after a small fire started underneath a train car, forcing an evacuation. The fire was caused by a mechanical failure in batteries powering the electrical system in one of the cars. The train then continued to its destination, sans power to the affected car. There were no injuries reported. [Michigan Live report, 2-28-17]

AMTRAK TO ASSUME HOOSIER STATE SERVICE: Beginning March 1, Amtrak takes over full operation of the four-day-a-week Hoosier State train between Indianapolis and Chicago. Three cars will be used for the service: two 68-seat coaches and a combined business class-cafe car. The dome car, in use by the train's former service provider, will be on loan to the line for March. [Lafayette Journal & Courier website report, 2-28-17]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-seven percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending Febr. 26, 2017. The remaining 63 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 41 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-27-17]

DENVER R LINE LIGHT-RAIL OPENS: Denver inaugurated its long-awaited 10.5-mile light-rail R line Febr. 24, extending the route into the center of Aurora. The line will serve the airport, Denver Tech Center and the city center. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-27-17]

POWER OUTAGE HALTS RAIL SERVICE IN TORONTO-HAMILTON AREA OF ONTARIO: A power outage at the CN Rail traffic control certer affecting VIA, Go Transit, and CN rail freight in the Toronto and Hamilton area of Ontario halted trains early Febr. 24. [680News website report, 2-24-17]

COMPUTER FAILURE SNARLS RAIL TRAFFIC AT UNION STATION CHICAGO: 'Computer signaling problems' at Chicago's Union Station early Febr. 24 snarled trains during morning rush-hour. Switches were handled manually, resulting in significant delays and a backup of traffic. [NBC Chicago website report, 2-24-17]

CONNECTICUT OK'S $50-M FOR CTRAIL HARTFORD RAIL LINE: Connecticut will provide $50-million in additional funding for the planned New Haven-Hartford-Springfield commuter-rail project, which is known as the CTrail Hartford line. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-24-17]

REQUEST FOR QUALIFICATIONS ISSUED FOR TORONTO UNION STATION PROJECT: A request for qualifications for Toronto's Union Station enhancement project has been issued by Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx. The project involves designing, constructing and financing the project for expansion of GO Transit. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-24-17]

BNSF TRAIN DERAILS AT TEHACHAPI LOOP: An eastbound BNSF freight trains derailedsix cars early Febr. 24 just after its lead locomotive entered tunnel 9 at the Tehachapi Loop. No injuries were reported. The accident is under investigation. [Bakersfield Californian website report, 2-24-17]

ALSTOM LANDS GERMAN ORDER FOR FIVE CORADIA LINT DIESEL MULTIPLE-UNITS: Alstom has received an order from Germany's Bentheim Railways for five Coradia Lint diesel multiple-units as part of a project to restore passengers services on the 17.4-mile Bad Bentheim-Nordhorn-Neuenhaus line in Lower Saxony. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-24-17]

CLASS I R.R. EMPLOYMENT DROPPED IN JANUARY: Class I railroads in the U.S. employed 148,427 workers as of mid-January 2017, down 1.19 pct compared with mid-December 2016, and down 5.22 pct with year-ago figures, the Surface Transportation Board said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-23-17]

RENOVATIONS COMPLETED AT SACRAMENTO TRAIN STATION: A new and improved Sacramento Valley Amtrak station opened its doors Febr. 23. The $34-million project is a 'celebration of Sacramento's past and its future.' The redesign includes commercial space. [Capital Public Radio website report, 2-23-17]

FEDS GRANT $1.2-M TO NEWTON, MISSISSIPPI, RAIL ACCESS PROJECT: The U.S. Dept. of Commerce has awarded a $1.2-million grant to the city of Newton, Mississippi, to help expand rail access with a spur to the Newton Industrial park. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-23-17]

TUNNEL CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON TEL AVIV RED LINE: Tunnel boring on the Red line of the Tel Aviv metro started Febr. 19. Half of the 15-mile line will be underground. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-23-17]

CSX EXTENDS DEADLINE FOR BOARD NOMINATIONS TO MARCH 10: CSX has extended its deadline for board nominations once again, this time to March 10. The previous deadline was February 24. The move suggests the company may be continuing discussions with Paul Hilal's Mantle Ridge hedgefund, and wants more time. CSX has said that it wants shareholders to vote on the compensation and control demands Hilal and former Canadian Pacific CEO Hunter Harrison are making. In the meantime, current CSX CEO Michael Ward has announced plans to retire at the end of May. [Beloit Daily News website report, 2-22-17]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: Rail freight traffic in the U.S. totaled 531,123 carloads and intermodal units in the week ending Febr. 18, 2017, up 6.8 pct from the corresponding week in 2016, according to the Association of American Railroads. [Railway Age website report, 2-22-17]

BNSF PLAYING CATCHUP AFTER PACIFIC NORTHWEST WEATHER DISRUPTIONS: The major BNSF Northern corridor from the Upper Midwest is open and grain is moving to Pacific Northwest export facilities, although there remains a backlog of delayed shipments, BNSF said. [World-Grain website report, 2-22-17]

SOUND TRANSIT LIGHT-RAIL RIDERSHIP ROSE 65.8 PCT IN 2016: Sound Transit's Link light-rail ridership soared by 65.8 pct to more than 19 million total boardings in 2016, the agency reported. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-22-17]

COMMUTER RAIL MAKING PROGRESS IMPLEMENTING PTC: The American Public Transportation association says its members are making 'significant progress' toward implementing positive train-control, and are on schedule to meet the December 2018 deadline. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-22-17]

AMTRAK TO MOVE TO NEW HEADQUARTERS: Amtrak has signed a deal to shift its headquarters from D.C.'s Union Station to the National Guard Memorial Building, about a block away from the station. Amtrak will occupy four floors at the new location, beginning in the fall of 2017. [Washington Business Journal website report, 2-22-17]

FIRST REGIO 2N EMU FOR SUBURBAN PARIS NETWORK PRESENTED: The first of 42 Regio 2N double-deck electric multiple units for Transilien suburban network around Paris was presented Febr. 22. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-22-17]

TOP MANAGEMENT CHANGING AT CSX: Chairman and CEO Michael Ward, along with president Clarence Gooden, have both announced their retirement from CSX effective May 31. In the meantime, Fredrik Eliasson, chief sales and marketing officer, has been appointed CSX president effective February 15. He replaces Gooden who will assume the role of vice-chairman until his retirement. The changes are part of an 'orderly transition' of the company's senior leadership that the board of directors has been considering for more than a year, said CSX. The appointment of Eliasson as president is not intended to 'preempt or otherwise affect' any discussion CSX may continue to have with Hunter Harrison and Mantle Ridge regarding Harrison becoming the CEO at CSX, the company said. Eliasson, 46, has served as executive vice-president and chief sales and marketing officer since September 2015, where he is responsible for overseeing all customer service activities, growing rail-served markets and developing strategic plans for long-term revenue growth. He was previously CSX's chief financial officer from 2012 to 2015, and held several leadership roles across the company's finance and sales and marketing departments since joining CSX in 1995. [CSX, 2-21-17]

FOUR INJURED IN SEPTA COMMUTER TRAIN ACCIDENT: Officials are investigating an accident involving SEPTA trains early Febr. 21 in Upper Darby, Pa. The Market-Frankford line trains were traveling near the 69th street transportation center when the accident occurred. Reportedly, one of the trains rear-ended the other, and then the first train, which derailed, sideswiped a train running in the opposite direction. Four people were injured, one of them critically. [CBS Philadelphia website report, 2-21-17]

WABTEC REPORTS 2017 RESULTS: Wabtec reported sales for the year 2017 were $2.9-billion, with higher sales in the transit group more than offset by lower sales in the freight group. Income from operations was $458-million and net income was $313-million. [Railway Age website report, 2-21-17]

CSX PLANS TO LAY OFF 1,000 MANAGEMENT EMPLOYEES: CSX plans to lay off roughly 1,000 management employees, mostly in Jacksoville, in March. The company announced the move Febr. 21 as the railroad faces pressure from hedge fund Mantle Ridge seeking to install Hunter Harrison as CEO. In the meantime, two of the company's top executives - Michael Ward and Clarence Gooden - have announced their retirement effective at at the end of May, and Fredrik Eliasson has been promoted to president. [ABC News website report, 2-21-17]

CONSTRUCTION IN MANHATTAN OF HUDSON RAIL TUNNEL TO LAST SEVEN YEARS: Construction activities in New York Citywill last seven years as Amtrak builds its train tunnel beneath the Hudson River, an official said Febr. 21. [Reuters website report, 2-21-17]

CP BRINGS BACK BEAVER IN UPDATED CORPORATE LOGO: The beaver is back at Canadian Pacific. The railway's latest logo incarnation, unveiled Febr. 21, restores the symbol of Canadian sovereignty to its corporate shield for the first time in a decade. [Calgary Herald website report, 2-21-17]

BNSF ANNOUNCES 2016 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT RESULTS: BNSF says customers served by the company invested nearly $3.5-billion in 2016. These investments are expected to generate more than 3,000 new jobs in local communities, and this marks the sixth consecutive year that BNSF customers and local economic development organizations have invested more than $1-billion in a calendar year for new or expanded facilities. [BNSF, 2-21-17]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-six percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending February 19, 2017. The remaining 54 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 18 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-20-17]

FEDS DEFER GRANTS FOR CALTRAIN ELECTRIFICATION: Caltrain has warned that the viability of its project to electrify the San Jose-San Francisco line may be in jeopardy after U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao ordered the Federal Transit Administration to deter federal funding for the project. The FTA says the grants were being deferred until the Trump administration develops its budget for FY-2018. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-20-17]

CERTAIN MINNESOTA LAWMAKERS LOOK TO TRANSFER RAIL FUNDING TO ROADS: A $1.9-billion rail-line extension project in Minnesota was recently granted $929-million in federal funding, and some lawmakers in the state want that money used for road and bridge work instead. A resolution has been introduced, and, if approved, the state would ask the U.S. Dept. of Transportation to allow the transfer. [Star Tribune website report, 2-20-17]

MAN KILLED, ANOTHER INJURED AS TRAIN STRIKES CAR IN N.C.: A man was killed and another man was injured early Febr. 19 in Fayetteville, N.C., after a disabled Honda was hit by a freight train. Two other occupants of the vehicle were able to escape prior to the collision and were not hurt. [WFMY News 2 website report, 2-19-17]

CSX TRAIN HITS CAR IN WOODBINE, MD.: Authorities in Carroll County, Md., say a CSX train struck a car whose 21-year-old driver passed cars stopped for the train and ignored crossing lights in Woodbine Febr. 18. The driver of the car was not injured, but he was cited for failure to obey a railroad crossing warning and driving on an expired license. [Fox5DC website report, 2-18-17]

PASSENGER TRAIN DERAILS IN BELGIUM, ONE KILLED, 27 HURT: One person died and 27 were injured, three seriously, when a train carrying 85 passengers derailed shortly after leaving Louvain, Belgium, Febr. 18. The accident is under investigation. [Inquirer website report, 2-18-17]

SWITCH PROBLEMS IMPACT MBTA SERVICE: Several MBTA commuter rail trains on the Providence-Stoughton line were canceled or delayed early Febr. 17, with some trains making additional stops to accommodate passengers. According to MBTA, the problems traced back to an Amtrak switch issue and train traffic near Canton Junction. [WCVB website report, 2-17-17]

ANNIVERSARY OF FATAL WRECK OF RED ARROW IN PA. MOUNTAINS: Behind schedule early Febr. 18, 1947, on a foggy morning, Pennsylvania Railroad's Red Arrow sped east on a slope of the Allegeny Front at about 65 MPH in a 30 MPH zone, when it derailed from the tracks and crashed down an embankment and into an area called 'Gum Tree Hollow.' That was 70 years ago. Two dozen passengers were killed, and more than 100 were injured. Excessive speed was to blame. [Altoona Mirror website report, 2-17-17]

CHINA TO ORDER 586 ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVES, 40,000 FREIGHT CARS: China Railway Investment Corp. has issued requests for proposals for contracts to supply 586 electric locomotives and 40,000 freight cars. China's freight volume in 2016 totaled 2.65 billion tons, down 2.3 pct from 2015. [Railway Age website report, 2-17-17]

UNION PACIFIC SPECIAL TO OPERATE FOR NEBRASKA'S 150TH ANNIVERSARY: Seven communities have been selected as stops along the route of 'Nebraska150 Express' August 4-6, 2017. A Union Pacific streamliner locomotive will traverse the state during the tour. After leaving Omaha, the locomotive will travel to Columbus, North Platte, Ogallala, Sidney, Gering, Kearney and Grand Island. Each community plans to host a rally or festival to welcome the train's passengers. A' select group' of Nebraska's native celebrities and notable figures have been extended invitations to attend the tour. [Union Pacific, 2-17-17]

HIGH WATER BLOCKS BNSF'S LAKESIDE SUB IN WASHINGTON STATE: High water blocked BNSF's Lakeside Subdivision in the Hatton Coulee between Hatton and Connell, Washington, Febr. 16. Amtrak 27, the Portland section of the Empire Builder, stopped east of the affected area at Cunningham, and BNSF locomotives then pulled the train back to Spokane. [Railway Age website report, 2-16-17]

HEDGE FUND URGES CSX TO CONTINUE NEGOTIATING: Paul Hilal's Mantle Ridge hedge fund, owner of 4.9 pct of CSX stock, which is trying to force major changes at the railroad, is urging CSX to continue negotiating a deal inspead of waiting for a shareholder vote the spring. Hilal says he believes his investors are close to an agreement for Hunter Harrison to take over as CEO of CSX. [Beloit Daily News website report, 2-16-17]

BOMBARDIER SUPPLYING 14 LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES FOR WATERLOO, ONTARIO: Bombardier is supplying 14 Flexity Freedom light-rail vehicles worth $92.4-million (C) for Waterloo, Ontario, with an option for 14 additional vehicles. The first vehicle for the initial phase of the city's Ion network is being readied for delivery. The initial stage of the project involves building a 16-station line to Fairview Park Mall in Kitchener. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-16-17]

STB ADOPTS TENTATIVE MEASURE-OF-AVERAGE CHANGE IN RAIL INDUSTRY PRODUCTIVITY: The U.S. Surface Transportation board has adopted a tentative measure-of-average change in railroad industry productivity for the 2011-2015 period. The board tentatively adopted 1,020 (2 pct per year) as the long-run measure of productivity, up 0.6 pct from the average of the 2010-2014 period. Each year, the agency calculates the change, if any, in the railroad industry productivity by comparing year-to-year the average cost of producing a unit of railroad output. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-16-17]

MASSACHUSETTS SEARCHING FOR NEW CEO FOR MBTA: The Massachusetts DOT has begun a search for a permanent CEO and general manager for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation authority. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-16-17]

'NEW ERA' OF AMTRAK INVESTMENT REQUIRED, AMTRAK CEO SAYS TO SENATE: The president and CEO of Amtrak, Wick Moorman, told Senators in a subcommittee hearing that a 'new era' of infrastructure investment is needed to ensure a healthy future for long-distance passenger rail travel. The benefits to the traveling public and the national economy are worth significant investment, he said. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-16-17]

CP TOUTS PREVENTATIVE USE OF IN-CAB CAMERAS FOR SAFETY: Canadian Pacific has launched an awareness campaign highlighting the safety benefits of the use of inward-facing cameras in the cabs of locomotives. The company, meanwhile, is urging legislation that would mandate locomotive video and voice recorder technology. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-16-17]

PARENT COMPANY OF FEC HAS BEEN SOLD: SoftBank Group Corp. has acquired Fortress Investment Group, parent of Florida East Coast Railway and TRAC Intermodal for $3.3-billion in cash. Florida East Coast was acquired by Fortress and taken private in 2007. [Railway Age website report, 2-16-17]

PORT AUTHORITY OF N.Y. & N.J. APPROVES $32.2-B CAPITAL PLAN: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has approved a $32.2-billion capital improvement plan which includes construction of a new $3.5-billion bus terminal in Manhattan and $2.7-billion to fund the early phase of the Gateway rail project. [Various news reports, 2-16-17]

CSX CALLS SPECIAL MEETING OF SHAREHOLDERS: CSX has called a special meeting of shareholders for March 16, 2017, to seek guidance on 'certain extraordinary requests' of Mantle Ridge and Hunter Harrison. Mantle Ridge owns 4.9 pct of CSX stock, and Harrison is seeking the CEO position of CSX. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-15-17]

CTA AWARDS $42.9-M CONTRACT TO UPGRADE THREE SUBSTATIONS: The Chicago Transit authority has awarded a $42.9-million contract for the upgrade of three substations that provide power to all eight of the agency's rail lines. Crews will upgrade and modernize the traction power equipment to improve service and reliability. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-15-17]

NEW AMTRAK CHARGER LOCOMOTIVES BEING TESTED ON CASCADES ROUTE: National certification testing of one of Amtrak's new Siemens SC-44 Charger locomotives is being conducted this month by the state of Washington. If all goes well, eight 4,400-horsepower units are scheduled to enter regular service later this year. The unit being tested is actually one from Illinois, which that state and Washington piggy-backed in an order along with California, Michigan and Missouri. [Railway Age website report, 2-15-17]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported combined U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Febr. 11, 2017, increased 2.6 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Railway Age website report, 2-15-17]

AMTRAK TRAIN KILLS MAN LAYING ON TRACKS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: A man laying on the tracks was killed Febr. 14 by an Amtrak train in Oceanside, California. [NBC San Diego website report, 2-15-17]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN OPENS LOCOMOTIVE SHOP IN CHICAGO: Norfolk Southern on Febr. 14 opened a new locomotive maintenance and repair facility in Chicago to enhance operational efficiency for trains moving through the nation's largest rail hub. The company's $9.5-million investment expands Norfolk Southern's repair capabilities in the region. [Norfolk Southern, 2-14-17]

VIRGINIA INTERNATIONAL GATEWAY PROJECT BEGINS: A $320-million expansion project has begun at the Virginia International Gateway, which will nearly double the terminal's annual cargo handling capability at the Port of Virginia. CSX and Norfolk Southern provide on-dock rail service at the terminal. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-14-17]

CSX SEEKS SHAREHOLDER VOTE ON ACTIVIST INVESTOR'S DEMANDS: CSX turned the tables on activist investor Paul Hilal who threatened a fight for control of the railroad's board, revealing the investor's demands and calling for shareholders to vote on the matter. CSX said it made an offer to hire railroad veteran Hunter Harrison as CEO and allow Hilal to nominate five directors. But the company said talks fell apart over reimbursements and employment terms. [Marketwatch website report, 2-14-17]

OROVILLE DAM EMERGENCY DELAYING UNION PACIFIC TRAINS: The Oroville Dam emergency in California is causing delays of from 24 to 48 hours for Union Pacific freight moving between Oregon, Washington and Southern California. Recent rains have caused Oroville Lake's pool level to rise to an all time high, resulting in two spillways to become unstable due to overflow, with evacuations ordered from the area below the dam. [Railway Age website report, 2-14-17]

WINTER PARK EXPRESS SKI TRAIN A SUCCESS, AMTRAK SAYS: The new Winter Park Express weekend Amtrak train between Denver and the high-country ski resort has seen more than 15,000 passengers since it started on Jan. 7. Saturday trains frequently sell out, Amtrak said. [Denver Business Journal website report, 2-14-17]

WASHINGTON STATE TO STUDY HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINKING PACIFIC N.W. WITH CANADA: While linking Vancouver, B.C., with Seattle and Portland is not a new idea, the project is back on the metaphorical rails after Washington governor Jay Inslee set aside $1-million in his 2017-19 state budget to study the feasibility of the project. [CBC News website report, 2-14-17]

METER-GAUGE LOCOMOTIVES ARRIVE IN ARGENTINA: The first two of 30 new meter-gauge diesel locomotives built by Chinese rolling-stock manufacturer CRRC Ziyang arrived in Argentina Febr. 8. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-14-17]

DEADLY TOUR BUS ACCIDENT IN TAIPEI: At least 32 people were killed when a tour bus crashed near Taipei late Febr. 13. There were 44 people on the bus, which had flipped onto its side toward a hillside after it hit a road barrier when negotiatig a highway interchange curve. [Reuters website report, 2-14-17]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-nine percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending February 12, 2017. The remaining 61 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 28 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-13-17]

FUNDS FOR CHINA-RUSSIA RAIL BRIDGE COVERED: A joint venture formed by Chinese and Russian companies, supported by China Investment Corp., has offered $110-million for the construction of a cross-border rail bridge between the two countries. Construction began in 2014, but was put on hold because of a funding gap that is now addressed. With a total investment of $379-million, the bridge will conect Tongjiang with Nizhneleninskoye. [Railway Pro website report, 2-13-17]

ALASKA R.R. CUTS EMPLOYEES, COSTS TO ADDRESS OPERATIONAL LOSSES: Alaska Railroad has eliminated 49 positions and carried out other cost-cutting measures as part of a major corporate restructing due to a downtown in freight business. The railroad has recorded a 44 pct drop in freight tonnage since 2008, and its 2017 budget shows a loss of $4.9-million. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-13-17]

CTA TO BUILD RAIL STATION NEAR CHICAGO'S UNITED CENTER: The Chicago Transit authority plans to add a new Green Line rail station near the city's United Center sports arena. The station would fill a 1.5-mile gap between existing stops, officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-13-17]

AMTRAK SERVICE DISRUPTIONS IN CALIFORNIA: Amtrak's California Zephyr is disrupted between Reno and Colfax through Febr. 16 due to mudslides, and the Coast Starlight is disrupted between Sacramento and Redding due to flooding. [Amtrak, 2-13-17]

FEDS WITHHOLD D.C. METRO FUNDS PENDING SAFETY PROGRAM CERTIFICATION: The Federal Transit administration will withhold five pct of federal funds to D.C., Maryland and Virginia until a new Washington Metropolitan Transit authority state safety oversight program is in place and certified. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-13-17]

WORK BEGINS ON ROANOKE AMTRAK PLATFORM: Crews started building a boarding platform for Amtrak in downtown Roanoke, Va., on Febr. 13, in preparation for the startup of daily train service to Lynchburg and points beyond. [Roanoke Times website report, 2-13-17]

TRAIN HITS SCHOOL BUS IN ONTARIO; OCCUPANTS ESCAPE IN TIME: Police say two adults and one student scrambled off a school bus just before a train crashed into it early Febr. 13 near Belleville, Ontario. The bus had stopped, as required, at the tracks, but the front wheels became stuck after it moved forward. Then, the driver, a school bus monitor and one student got off the bus before the collision. There were no injuries. [Global News website report, 2-13-17]

BANGKOK ORANGE LINE METRO CONTRACTS AWARDED: Thailand has signed $2.3-billion in contracts for construction of the metro Orange line in Bangkok. The 14-mile line will serve 10 underground and seven elevated stations. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-13-17]

RAILS TO BENEFIT AS CRUDE OIL PIPELINES REACH CAPACITY: A looming pipeline shortage could force more barrels of Canadian oil into rail cars over the next few years, as oilsands companies look for alternative shipping options amid a gradual rise in production. The earliest date of completion for any new pipeline project is around the end of 2019 - if there are no delays. With production expected to rise over the next five years, oil firms are tapping crude-by-rail once again. [Financial Post website report, 2-13-17]

FIRM TO DEVELOP MASTER PLANS FOR CSX-SERVED CAROLINA CONNECTOR: Dewberry, a professional services firm, has been selected by North Carolina to develop a transportation and freight master plan for the new Carolina Connector intermodal train hub in Rocky Mount, a major center for CSX in the southeast. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-13-17]

CINCINNATI UNION TERMINAL UNDERGOES $212-M RESTORATION: The Turner Construction Company started its $212.7-million restoration and renovation of Cincinnati's historic (1933) Union Terminal in July 2016. The project, which is receiving $175-million from a 0.25 pct sales tax increase over five years, is expected to be completed in Oct. 2018. The terminal houses museums, exhibit spaces, an archival library and a research center. Amtrak has been using the station since 1991. [Construction Equipment Guide website report, 2-13-17]

FEDS CONSIDERING ALTERING HIGH-SPEED RAIL PLAN THROUGH CONNECTICUT: The Federal Railroad administration has agreed to 'consider' additional input from those concerned about a high-speed rail route in Connecticut. At issue is a segment that would run through Old Lyme and other historic coastal towns, which many in the area oppose. [Connecticut Mirror website report, 2-13-17]

MAN RIDING ON TOP OF TRAIN CALLS 911 TO AVOID FREEZING: Cold morning temperatures on Febr. 9 forced a 22-year-old man to cut his free ride atop a CSX train when passing through Ohio, officials said. The train was eventually stopped in Ashtabula where the man was transported to a medical center. The man had reportedly boarded the train in Buffalo, at least two hours earlier. [Star Beacon website report, 2-11-17]

AMTRAK SERVICE DISRUPTED IN PACIFIC N.W. DUE TO MUDSLIDES: Amtrak services are temporarily disrupted between Portland, Oregon, and Everett, Washington, due to landslides. Host carrier BNSF has placed a 48-hour moratorium, suspending all rail traffic in the area until Febr. 11. The moratorium affects Cascades, Coast Starlight and Empire Builder trains. [Amtrak, 2-10-17]

CSX EXTENDS BOARD NOMINATIONS DEADLINE: CSX's board is extending the deadline for board nominations to Febr. 24, giving an activist hedge fund more time to try and install Hunter Harrison as CEO. [Railway Age website report, 2-10-17]

GROUND BROKEN FOR OKLAHOMA CITY STREETCAR PROJECT: Oklahoma City leaders have broken ground on the MAPS-3 streetcar project. The $131-million line will conect Bricktown with Oklahoma City's central business district, as well as the Chesapeake Energy Center, the Midtown area, and a future downtown park and convention center. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-10-17]

FREIGHT TRAIN DERAILS NEAR SACRAMENTO: A freight train derailed more than a dozen cars Febr. 10 in Elk Grove, California, near Sacramento, with cars falling into the swollen Consumnes River. There were no injuries. [ABC News website report]

AVALANCHE CLOSES MONTANA RAIL LINE AGAIN: Rail traffic through the Rockies on BNSF became blocked once again by another avalanche, just a day after Marias Pass was reopened following an avalanche on Febr. 6. The latest avalanche occurred early Febr. 9 near Essex, Montana. Through service on Amtrak's Empire Builder remains suspended. [Railway Age website report, 2-9-17]

CN PLANS $2.5-B CAPITAL PROGRAM IN 2017: Canadian National is planning a $2.5-billion (C) capital program in 2017, down by $25-million from 2016. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-9-17]

FLOODING FROM BREACHED DAM IMPACTS RAIL TRAFFIC IN NEVADA, UTAH: The Twentyone Mile earthern dam in Elko County, Nevada, breached Febr. 8, causing a cascade of water to flood the town of Montello, compromising travel by road and rail. Flooding impacted railroad operations into the next day, delaying both freight and commuter trains, including some bound for Salt Lake City, which had to be rerouted. [Deseret News website report, 2-9-17]

PLANS SHARED BY CSX FOR INTERMODAL TERMINAL IN INDIANA: Plans for the development of what CSX is calling a state-of-the-art intermodal freight terminal in Crete, Indiana, were shared with residents at an open house for Crete and surrounding communities on Febr. 9. The company said the terminal will be one of the most advanced in the world. The facility could be up and running in 2020, according to CSX. [N.W. Indiana Times website report, 2-9-17]

CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR SEEKS FUNDS FOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL: California Governor Jerry Brown is seeking more than $100-billion in federal transportation infrastructure funding with a big portion for building and improving the state's high-speed rail system. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-9-17]

BROKEN AXLE LED TO 2013 CRUDE-OIL TRAIN DERAILMENT IN N.D.: The National Transportation Safety board has determined that a broken axle set off actions resulting in a BNSF derailment involving two trains in which 476,000 gallons of crude oil spilled and ignited near Casselton, N.D., on Dec. 30, 2013. There were no fatalities or serious injuries, but nearly 1,500 people were evacuated from homes. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-8-17]

CHICAGO TRANSIT BEGINS $23-M RENOVATION OF ILLINOIS MEDICAL DISTRICT STATION: The Chicago Transit authority has begun work on its $23-million renovation of the Illinois Medical District Blue line station. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-8-17]

CONTRACTOR CHOSEN FOR TEX RAIL STATION AT DALLAS-FORT WORTH AIRPORT: A contractor has been chosen to build a new $28.5-million TEX Rail station adjacent to Terminal B at Dallas-Fort Worth International airport. The station will serve as the terminus for the planned 27-mile commuter-rail project. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-8-17]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Febr. 4, 2017, was 541,474 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 7.3 pct compared with the corresponding week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads. [Railway Age website report, 2-8-17]

NEW ORLEANS PUBLIC BELT R.R. FOR SALE: A private operator is being sought for the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, which operates more than 100 miles of track connecting with six major railroads. [Railway Age website report, 2-8-17]

RAIL-TRAIL BEING CONSIDERED FOR SIKESTON, MISSOURI: Consultants have presented their vision for taking a former Union Pacific rail corridor in Sikeston, Missouri, into a trail. The corridor would run straight through town, passing parks, residential areas and businesses. The Sikeston Depot Museum would serve as the centerpiece of the trail. Seventy-five percent of the cost would be covered by a grant. [Southeast Missourian website report, 2-8-17]

GENESEE & WYOMING REPORTS 4-Q RESULTS: Genesee & Wyoming reported fourth-quarter 2016 operating reveue rose 0.3 pct compared with the same quarter last year, to $516.5-million. Adjusted earnings per share rose 1 pct to 99 cents, compared with 98 cents in the previous year's fourth-quarter. [Genesee & Wyoming, 2-8-17]

RUSSIAN RAILWAYS TO FINANCE NORTH-SOUTH TRANSPORT CORRIDOR: Russian Railways will allocate $32.1-million towards an ongoing project to reconstruct the Trubnaya-Verkhniy Baskunchak-Aksaraiskaya line in southern Russia. The line is part of the north-south international transport corridor and provides connections to and from Siberia, the Urals, Caspian Sea ports, Kazakhstan, the Caucasian republics and northwest and central Russia. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-8-17]

TRIAL OPERATION BEGINS ON NEW TAIPEI-TAOYUAN METRO LINE: Trial operation has begun on the new express metro link between Taipei and Taoyuan International airport, ahead of the start of limited service Febr. 16. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-8-17]

D.C. METRO BEGINS PHASING OUT 4000-SERIES CARS: The second-oldest rail cars in D.C. Metro's fleet, the 4000-series, are set for retirement beginning next week. This comes as the agency continues the retirement of its oldest cars, the 1000-series. A Metro spokesperson said there are only 100 of the 4000-series cars operating, which represents the smallest port of the fleet, and are the least reliable. [WTOP website report, 2-7-17]

HYUNDAI ROTEM TO SUPPLY 256 METRO CARS TO CAIRO METRO: Egypt has selected Hyundai Rotem to supply 256 metro cars for the third-phase extension of Cairo Metro in a contract worth $377.5-million. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-7-17]

GENESEE & WYOMING TO ACQUIRE HEART OF GEORGIA R.R.: Genesee & Wyoming has agreed to acquire the shares of the parent company of Heart of Georgia Railroad, which operates 219 miles of track leased from the Georgia Dept. of Transportation. It connects with G&W's Georgia Southwestern Railroad at Americus and G&W's Georgia Central Railway at Vidalia. [Genesee & Wyoming, 2-7-17]

TEXAS BULLET TRAIN DEVELOPER DROPS LAWSUITS AGAINST LANDOWNERS: Texas Central Partners, developer of a 240-mile high-speed rail line intended to run between Houston and Dallas, has withdrawn more than a dozen lawsuits against landowners seeking court orders allowing the company access to private property to survey land for the project. Instead, the developer said they are going to try and have an 'open dialogue' with the landowners. [Texas Tribune website report, 2-7-17]

RENOVATION OF BRIDGEPORT, CONNECTICUT, TRAIN STATION COMPLETE: A $10-million upgrade and renovation project of the train station at Bridgeport, Connecticut, is now complete, the state announced Febr. 7. Serving 10,000 customers daily, the station is a hub for bus, ferry and rail connections to New Haven lines and Amtrak service to Boston, New York and Washington. [Bridgeport Daily Voice website report, 2-7-17]

SEVERE WEATHER INTERRUPTS EMPIRE BUILDER: Due to hazards created by severe weather, Amtrak on Febr. 6 suspended its Empire Builder between Minot and Spokane. The trains were stopped mid-route after an avalanche closed the BNSF line through the Montana Rockies near Marias Pass. Eastbound, the train stopped at Essex; westbound, the train reportedly stopped at Browning. [Railway Age website report, 2-6-17]

CSX BOARD TO CONSIDER POSSIBLE TAKEOVER: The board of CSX Corp. will consider a company takeover on Febr. 10. CSX, North America's third-largest railroad, is valued at $43-billion. Former Canadian Pacific CEO Hunter Harrison and his affiliated hedge fund, Mantle Ridge, are targeting CSX. Harrison approached CSX twice in recent years with an offer to merge with CP, but was rebuffed. It's now reported that Harrison wants to name at least three new board meetings at the Febr. 10 meeting, and effectively take control of the company and become the CEO, replacing current CEO Michael Ward. The board could vote to extend the deadline to name new board members, or it could accept or reject the takeover plan on the spot. [WJCT website report, 2-6-17]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-two percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending Febr. 5, 2017. The remaining 58 percent, on average, arrived one hour and four minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-6-17]

HOUSTON-DALLAS BULLET TRAIN STARTUP DATE REVISED: Texas Central executives now plan to break ground and begin construction on its bullet-train project in 2018, and have the line be fully-operational in 2024. [Houston Press website report, 2-6-17]

R.I. PLANS NEW COMMUTER-RAIL STATION IN PAWTUCKET: Rhode Island is accepting proposals from firms to design and build a new commuter-rail station in Pawtucket. The station would open in late 2019. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-6-17]

GE TO FURLOUGH 250 AT FORT WORTH LOCOMOTIVE PLANT: Citing a slump in freight rail shipping, GE Manufacturing Solutions has begun laying off about one-third of its workforce at its locomotive plant in Fort Worth. In all, about 250 hourly and salaried employees will lose their jobs in a reduction to be completed in early April. Then, in June, the remaining employees will start working a 32-hour week, the company said. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram website report, 2-6-17]

CN TO REOPEN TUMBLER RIDGE RAIL LINE IN B.C.: CN says its rail lines servicing Tumbler Ridge coal mines in British Columbia will restart later this year. The line had been decommissioned after Tumbler Ridge operations shut down in 2014 and 2015. [CBC website report, 2-6-17]

CP TRAIN DERAILS IN IOWA: A Canadian Pacific freight train derailed 26 empty cars near Massey Station, Iowa, south of Dubuque Febr. 5, shutting down the line. No injuries were reported. [KCRG website report, 2-5-17]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAILS IN SUFFOLK, VA.: More than 40 rail cars of coal derailed near downtown Suffolk, Va., early Febr. 4, damaging the tracks and nearby buildings. Dozens of train cars were crushed and flipped over on Wellons street, where the street crosses the Norfolk Southern tracks. Piles of coal littered the ground and tracks were torn up and scattered. No injuries were reported. [Virginian-Pilot website report, 2-4-17]

BRIDGE FIRE HALTS UNION PACIFIC TRAFFIC IN TEXAS: A railroad bridge west of Lackland Air Force Base in Texas caught fire overnight, halting main east-west rail traffic on the Union Pacific main line that runs between New Oleans and Los Angeles. [WOAI website report, 2-3-17]

CHAIRMAN OF GENESEE & WYOMING TO RETIRE: Genesee & Wyoming's chairman, Mortimer Fuller, will retire after the company's annual meeting in May. He will be succeeded by chief executive officer Jack Hellman. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-3-17]

NEW GENERATION MOSCOW METRO TRAIN DELIVERED: The first of 96 new-generation trains being built for Moscow Metro has arrived. Each eight-car train set can accommodate up to 2,000 passengers. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-3-17]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 2017 CAPITAL PLAN: Union Pacific has announced its 2017 capital plan of approximately $3.1-billion, about $400-million down from the previous year. The plan includes $300-million to further implement positive train-control. [Union Pacific, 2-2-17]

CONTRACT APPROVED FOR NEW MBTA COMMUTER-RAIL STATION: The Massachusetts Bay Transportation authority has approved a contract for construction of a new Blue Hill avenue commuter-rail station in Boston's Mattapan neighborhood. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-2-17]

SIEMENS LANDS AUSTRIAN CONTRACT FOR VECTRON LOCOMOTIVES: Siemens has obtained a contract with Austrian Railways for the delivery of up to 200 Vectron locomotives. An order for 30 multisystem locomotives was placed at signing. The first locomotives are slated for delivery in summer 2018. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-2-17]

JANUARY 2017 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 January 2017. The remaining 61 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 37 minutes behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-1-17]

FREIGHT RAILROADS TO SPEND $22-B ON CAPEX IN 2017: U.S. freight railroads are projected to spend $22-billion this year to maintain and upgrade the nation's private rail network, the Association of American Railroads said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-1-17]

UNION PACIFIC MAKING PROGRESS ON BIG BOY RESTORATION: The Union Pacific Steam Team began stripping the Big Boy 4014 locomotive in November, completing the disassembly process in January. Once additional parts are fabricated, the locomotive will be ready for reassembly. [Union Pacific, 2-1-17]

TWO SUBWAY TRAINS DERAIL AT SAME LOCATION IN QUEENS: New York City Transit officials are struggling to understand why two subway trains derailed in exactly the same location two nights in a row. The incidents happened at the Willets Point-Citi Field station in Queens January 28 and 29, although there was no obvious defect that would explain either of the derailments. There were no injuries. [ABC7 NY website report, 2-1-17]

MONTHLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations of 2,017,641 increased 0.5 pct in January 2017 compared with January 2016. Coal carloadings, included in the above total, were up by 11.9 pct. Rail carloads and intermodal units for the week ending January 28, 2017, were up by 3.3 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-1-17]

KCS PLANS IMPROVEMENT ON BEAUMONT SUB IN LOUISIANA: Kansas City Southern is investing $25-million into construction and improvement to its Beaumont Subdivision between DeQuincy and Hornbeck, Louisiana, beginning in early February and continuing through early April. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-1-17]

AMTRAK NAMES NEW CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER: William N. Feidt will join Amtrak as executive vice-president and chief financial officer effective Febr. 6, 2017. He replaces Gerald Sokol, who will be leaving the company following a brief transition period with Feidt. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-31-17]

RUSSIA, NORTH KOREA TO EXPAND RAILROAD COOPERATION: Russia and North Korea have been discussing plans to expand railroad cooperation between the two countries, including the number of North Korean students studying in Russia. The two countries share the Rajin-Hasan Railway, which was renovated between 2008 and 2014. [UPI website report, 1-31-17]

BALTIMORE'S PENN STATION GETS UPGRADED WI-FI: Amtrak has implemented a new and improved high-speed broadband Wi-Fi with enhanced connectivity and reliability at Baltimore's Penn Station. [WMAR website report, 1-31-17]

ELAINE CHAO CONFIRMED, SWORN IN AS TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: The Senate confirmed Elaine Chao as transportation secretary in a 93-6 vote Jan. 31, and she has been sworn in. Chao says she'll form a task force to study ways to improve the nation's aging infrastructure. [Various news report, 1-31-17]

ITALY'S FORMER RAIL BOSS SENTENCED TO JAIL OVER TRAIN DISASTER: Mauro Moretti, former head of Italian railways, was on Jan. 31 among a string of executives convicted over a 2009 freight train disaster that killed 29 people. The executives were held responsible for poor infrastructure and risk-avoidance systems deemed to have contributed to a train carrying liquid petroleum gas derailing and exploding. [The Local website report, 1-31-17]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-two percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending January 29, 2017. The remaining 58 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 22 minutes behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-30-17]

HOOSIER STATE TRAIN TO TRANSITION BACK TO AMTRAK EQUIPMENT: The Indiana Dept. of Transportation reports the Hoosier State train (850-851) will transition back to utilizing Amtrak equipment, beginning March 1. The four-day-a-week train - which corresponds to the schedule of Amtrak's Cardinal the other three days of the week - has been operating with equipment provided by Iowa Pacific Holdings, including full-service dining and a dome cars. No immediate reason was given for the transition back to Amtrak equipment, but the agency said it was planning on providing 'enhanced on-board amenties,' including Wi-Fi and business-class seating. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 1-30-17]

CSX IN TALKS WITH HUNTER HARRISON OVER TAKING TOP SPOT AT COMPANY: According to a Jan.29 Wall Street Journal report, CSX officials have met in Atlanta with Hunter Harrison, who presented his vision for CSX as he seeks to replace Michael Ward as CEO of the company. Harrison, who recently retired as CEO of Canadian Pacific, is allied with Paul Hilal, whose Mantel Ridge LP has reportedly raised $1-billion in order to buy a large stake in CSX. Part of the discussion included Mantel Ridge's request for more than three seats on the company's 12-person board. Two members of the current board were reportedly at the meeting. [Florida Times-Union website report, 1-30-17]

NEW LIGHT-RAIL LINE IN DENVER OPENING FEBR. 24: The new 'R' light-rail line between Lone Tree and Aurora, Colorado, allowing connection with the 'A' line between Denver and the Denver International airport, is slated to begin operations Febr. 24, following months of testing. [9News website report, 1-30-17]

SOUND TRANSIT CHOOSES ALIGNMENT FOR FEDERAL WAY LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: Sound Transit has selected a 7.8-mile alignment for extending light-rail to Federal Way, Washington. The route will travel south from the Angle Lake station in Sea Tac and continue along the west side of Interstate 5. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-30-17]

GERMAN NATIONAL RAILWAY CHIEF RESIGNS AMID PAY DISPUTE: According to German media reports, Rudiger Grube, chief executive of railway operator Deutsche Bahn, has resigned following a dispute with the board over terms of his new contract, which was due to be extended. [Deutsche Welle website report, 1-30-17]

DELIVERY OF ALSTON METROPOLIS TRAINS TO GUADALAJARA BEGINS: Alstom has delivered the first of 18 Metropolis trains that will run on the new Line 3 in Guadalajara, Mexico. The 60-MPH trains are being produced in Barcelona, Spain. [[Progressive Railroading website report, 1-30-17]

DOWNEASTER TRAIN STRIKES CAR IN MAINE: Witnesses to a crash at a railroad crossing in Portland, Maine, told police that the driver of a car wove around traffic and a crossing gate before colliding with an Amtrak Downeaster train. The driver of the car was injured, but two child passengers in the car were not hurt. [WCSH6 website report, 1-27-17]

NJT TO REPLACE RARITAN RIVER BRIDGE: N.J. Transit plans to replace the old drawbridge across the mouth of the Raritan River with a lift bridge, which would allow trains to travel as fast as 60 MPH. [Asbury Park Press website report, 1-27-17]

PASSENGER TRAINS RETURN TO ALEPPO: Syria's transport ministry has marked the resumption of passenger services to Aleppo, more than four years after operations were suspended due to civil war. Syrian Railways will operate four return services per day between Aleppo and Jibrin, each accommodating up to 600 passengers. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-27-17]

RAILMARK ACQUIRES YREKA WESTERN R.R.: Railmark Holdings has acquired Yreka Western Railroad, a shortline serving Sikiyou County, California. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-27-17]

BRIGHTLINE TESTING BEGINS: 'BrightBlue,' the first trainset for Brightline, has begun a testing phase along a nine-mile test track. The tests, with one locomotive and four cars, will continue for several weeks. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-27-17]

MBTA PLANS TO FIRE 27 FOR ATTENDANCE POLICY VIOLATIONS: In a push to reduce absenteeism among its employees, Massachusetts Bay Transportation authority officials are moving to terminate 27 workers this month for attendance policy violations, more than the total fired for that reason in all of last year. [Boston Globe website report, 1-27-17]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TOUTS INDUSTRIAL INVESTMENT ALONG RAIL LINES: Norfolk Southern assisted 71 industries in locating or expanding their businesses along its rail lines in 2016. The 58 new and 13 expanded industries represent an investment of $4-billion by Norfolk Southern customers, generating more than 50,000 carloads of new rail traffic annually. [Norfolk Southern, 1-26-17]

TWO DEADLY ACCIDENTS ON METRA: Metra trains on the Union Pacific N.W. line were stopped in both directions twice Thursday morning, Jan. 26. Inbound train 610 struck a vehicle at a five-way intersection near Gladstone Park killing the driver, and inbound train 636 hit and killed a pedestrian near Crystal Lake. [ABC7 Chicago website report, 1-26-17]

OMNITRAX BEGINS OPERATION OF DECATUR CENTRAL R.R.: OmniTRAX Inc. has begun operating the 16-mile Decatur Central Railroad. The line runs from Cisco to Decatur, Illinois, where it interchanges with CN. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-26-17]

BNSF IDENTIFIES SIX RAIL-SERVED SITES FOR DEVELOPMENT: BNSF has announced six new 'certified sites' that are optimal for customer development along the railroad's network. They include centers in Great Falls, Montana; Ardmore, Oklahoma; Los Lunas, New Mexico; Middletown, Iowa; Gallup, New Mexico; and Greenville, Illinois. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-26-17]

CP INITIATING MEASURES TO REDUCE RISK TO GRIZZLY BEARS: Parks Canada and Canadian Pacific have completed their grizzly bear research initiative, and will now institute measures aimed at reducing railway related risks to grizzly bears. Included will be vegetion management and creating escape routes in confined areas. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-26-17]

ENGINEER OF 2015 FATAL PHILADELPHIA AMTRAK CRASH SUES: The Amtrak engineer involved in the deadly 2015 crash in Philadelphia has sued the railroad, saying it failed to address reports that people were throwing projectiles at trains. The engineer evidently became disoriented, and his speeding train derailed leaving eight people dead and more than 200 injured. [6ABC website report, 1-26-17]

MAN STRUCK, KILLED BY FREIGHT TRAIN NEAR RIVERDALE PARK, MD.: Passengers on MARC Camden Line trains early Jan. 25 faced substantial delays after a man was struck and killed by a CSX freight train near Riverdale Park, Md. [WTOP website report, 1-25-17]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 2016 RESULTS: Norfolk Southern reported 2016 net income was $1.7-billion, up 7 pct compared with the previous year. Diluted earnings per share increased 10 pct to $5.62. Net income for the fourth-quarter was $416-million, a 15 pct increase compared with the fourth-quarter 2015. [Norfolk Southern, 1-25-17]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported an increase of 8.1 pct for combined carloads and intermodal units on U.S. railroads in the week ending January 21, 2017, compared with the corresponding week last year. [Railway Age website report, 1-25-17]

GE DIESEL LOCOMOTIVES ARRIVE IN ANGOLA: The first batch of 15 GE C30ACi Evolution Series diesel locomotives for Angolan National Railways have arrived in Angola after completing their sea voyage from the U.S. GE was awarded a contract in early 2015 to supply 100 of the locomotives. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-25-17]

NEW GE LOCOMOTIVES FOR PAKISTAN: GE Transportation has delivered its first seven GE Evolution Series locomotives to Pakistan Railways. The state-owned rail company has ordered 55 total units from GE. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-25-17]

FATAL R.R. ACCIDENT IN N.Y. STATE: Authorities have confirmed that a worker died Jan. 25 after falling into a covered hopper loaded with fertilizer at a railroad transfer station in Lakeville, N.Y. [TWC News website report, 1-25-17]

HUNTER HARRISON TO EXIT CP WITH $52-M: Hunter Harrison is making his early exit from Canadian Pacific with about $52-million (C), even after giving up $118-million i stock and options, to pursue a job at rival CSX. His separation agreement will not allow him to work for three of the railroads biggest rivals, but it does not forbid him from seeking a job with CSX. [Globe and Mail website report, 1-25-17]

CSX PLANS $2.2-B CAPITAL PROGRAM FOR 2017: CSX revealed a preliminary 2017 capital investment of $2.2-billion during its fourth-quarter earnings call. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-24-17]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN RAISES QUARTERLY DIVIDEND: Norfolk Southern's board has voted to increase the regular quarterly dividend by two cents per share, from 59 to 61 cents, to stockholders of record on Febr. 3. [Norfolk Southern, 1-24-17]

FEDS EXPAND INVESTIGATION INTO CANCELED BALTIMORE RED LINE: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation is expanding its investigation into Maryland's decision to cancel its $2.9-billion, 14-mile metro Red Line to connect east and west Baltimore. The funds were redirected to highway, road and bridge projects across the state. [WTOP website report, 1-24-17]

CSX TRAIN DERAILMENT SNARLS TRAFFIC IN DANVILLE, ILLINOIS: Two trains collided in Danville, Illinois, Jan. 23, causing six rail cars to derail. The resultant incident snarled traffic at two crossings. There were no injuries. [News-Gazette website report, 1-24-17]

TRI-RAIL TO SHARE USE OF MIAMI STATION WITH BRIGHTLINE: Miami has followed through on part of a financial commitment to establish a passenger rail link for Tri-Rail into downtown Miami. Plans call for Tri-Rail to have a place inside the new Miami Central station, now under construction for Brightline, the rail service planned for debut later this year to Orlando. [Miami Today News website report, 1-24-17]

CN REPORTS 2016 RESULTS: Canadian National reported 2016 net income increased 3 pct to $3.64-billion (C) with diluted earnings per share rising 6 pct to $4.67. Adjusted net income remained essentially flat at $3.581-billion. Fourth-quarter net income increase 8 pct to $1.018-billion while diluted earnings per share increased 12 pct to $1.32. [CN, 1-24-17]

CSX MAY NOT BE THE ONLY TARGET FOR HUNTER HARRISON: The terms of Hunter Harrison's separation agreement with Canadian Pacific prohibits him from working at CN, Union Pacific or BNSF. But, in addition to CSX, it does allow him to jump to Norfolk Southern or Kansas City Southern. [The Republic website report, 1-24-17]

KCS ANNOUNCES 2017 CAPITAL PROGRAM: Kansas City Southern will spend between $550-million and $560-million on its capital program, which is a 4 to 5 pct reduction from its 2016 capital program. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-24-17]

MINSK METRO ORDERS 10 STADLER TRAINS: Stadler Minsk has confirmed to the Belarusian media that the company has secured a contract to supply 10 trains to Minsk Metro. Minsk's 23-mile two-line metro will expand later this year with the opening of the initial phase of the 10.7-mile Line 3. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-24-17]

N.J. TRANSIT RESUMES SERVICE FOLLOWING STORM DAMAGE: New Jersey Transit trains resumed normal service Jan. 23 after making repairs to storm damage that delayed thousands of commuters. Residual delays were possible, the agency said. [NBC N.Y. website report, 1-23-17]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-four percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending January 22, 2017. The remaining 56 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 30 minutes behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-23-17]

ARTHUR KILL STATION OPENED ON STATEN ISLAND: The Metropolitan Transportation authority has opened a new Staten Island Railway station in the Tottenville neighborhood. Named the Arthur Kill station, it is the Staten Island Railway's first new station since the railroad was incorporated into the MTA network in 1971. The station replaces the Nassau and Atlantic stations, which will be demolished. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-23-17]

CLASS I RAIL EMPLOYMENT DROPS IN DECEMBER: Class I railroads employed 150,215 workers in the U.S. as of mid-December 2016, down 0.84 pct compared with mid-November, and down 6.58 pct with the year-ago figure, according to the Surface Transportation board. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-23-17]

UNION PACIFIC TARGETS $3.1-B CAPITAL PROGRAM IN 2017: Union Pacific aims to spend approximately $3.1-billion on its 2017 capital program, pending approval by its board of directors. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-23-17]

CSX STOCK UPGRADED ON 'HIGH' PROBABILITY OF NEW CEO: CSX Corp. stock has been upgraded to outperform at BMO Capital Markets on the 'high' probability of installing former Canadian Pacific CEO as the CSX CEO. [Financial Post website report, 1-23-17]

CALIFORNIA AWARDS OVER $25-M TO RAIL FREIGHT, TRANSIT PROJECTS: Three California freight and rail transit projects will received more than $25.6-million in funding from the state's transportation commission. Most of the money will go toward building almost six miles of double-track on a BNSF line that connects Stockton and Escalon. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-23-17]

DEADLY TRAIN WRECK IN INDIA: At least 39 people were killed and and scores were injured as nine coaches and the locomotive of an express passenger tran derailed late Jan. 21 near Kuneru station in India. (Other news reports establish the number of dead at 32, but the casualty count could rise as many people were trapped in the wreckage, officials said.) [BBC website report, 1-22-17]

SIX KILLED AS TRAIN RAMS INTO CAR IN PAKISTAN: A train hit a car in Gojra, Pakistan, Jan. 22, killing six people who were inside the car, according to police. The car was crossing the track at the time, but the crossing gate was reportedly open. [GEO website report, 1-22-17]

JOE BIDEN RETURNS TO DELAWARE BY AMTRAK: Former Vice President Joe Biden returned home from the Inauguration via Acela train 2166 that left Washington on time. It reportedly arrived in Wilmington two minutes late, according to Amtrak's train status website page.

KCS REPORTS 2016 RESULTS: Kansas City Southern reported 2016 revenue of $2.3-billion, down 3 pct from the previous year. Operating income was $819-million, up 2 pct from the previous year. Operation ratio was 64.9 pct, a 1.9 point improvement. Net income totaled $480-million or $4.43 per diluted share. [Kansas City Southern, 1-20-17]

BNSF ANNOUNCES 2017 CAPITAL INVESTMENTS PLAN: BNSF has annouced its 2017 capital expenditure plan will be approximately $3.4-billion. Similar to last year's $3.9-billion plan, the largest component of the plan will be to replace and maintain the railroad's core network and related assets. [BNSF, 1-19-17]

HUNTER HARRISON SAID TO PURSUE CSX TAKEOVER: E. Hunter Harrison will retire as Canadian Pacific's CEO effective Jan. 31, five months ahead of schedule, so that he can 'pursue opportunities' at other Class I railroads. Harrison is reportedly completing an agreement to join with activist investor Paul Hilal in an attempt to 'shake up management' at CSX. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-19-17]

KEITH CREEL NAMED TO HEAD CP: Canadian Pacific has announced the appointment of Keith Creel as the company's president and CEO effective Jan. 31, replacing E. Hunter Harrison, who is retiring. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-19-17]

CP REPORTS 2016 RESULTS: CP's revenue for the full year 2016 declined 7 pct, while diluted earnings per share climbed 27 pct. Revenue in the fourth-quarter fell 3 pct, while diluted earnings per share rose 25 pct. CP plans to spend about $1.25-billion (C) in capital programs this year, an increase of 6 pct over 2016. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-19-17]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 2016 RESULTS: Union Pacific reported diluted earnings per share declined 8 pct in 2016. Operating income of $7.3-million declined 10 pct, and operating ratio of 63.5 pct was up 0.4 points. For the fourth-quarter, diluted earnings per share increased 6 pct. Operating income totaled $2.0-billion, up 2 pct. Operating ratio of 62.0 pct improved 1.2 points. [Union Pacific, 1-19-17]

CALIFORNIA BULLET TRAIN PROJECT CLEARS ENVIRONMENTAL HURDLE WITH KERN COUNTY: The California High-Speed Rail authority has reached a settlement with Kern County, clearing the final Environmental Quality act litigation for the Fresno to Bakersfield rail segment. The agreement will allow work to progress in the Central Valley, which already features more than 119 miles of active construction. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline, 1-19-17]

VERMONT FINALIZES STUDY ON FEASIBILITY OF COMMUTER RAIL: Vermont's agency of transportation has finalized a study on the feasibility of commuter rail service that would link Burlington with St. Albans to the north, and Montpelier to the east. The study offered what it terms 'conceptual' possibilities for the service involving six or seven locomotive-hauled six-car trains. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline, 1-19-17]

N.Y. PENN STATION'S 'BIG BOARD' SET TO BE REPLACED: The big board that commuters gather under at New York's Penn Station to find out what track their train is leaving from is fading into history starting Jan. 23. Amtrak crews will start disassembling the iconic 10-foot-high departure board that evening, which will be replaced by a network of video displays. [NJ.com, 1-19-17]

TWO BNSF WORKERS KILLED ON TRACKS IN S.D.: Two BNSF railway employees died early Jan. 17 after being struck by a train in Edgemont, S.D., according to the company. The accident is under investigation. [Rapid City Journal website report, 1-18-17]

CSX EXPECTS MODEST PROFIT GROWTH IN 2017: CSX railroad officials expect profits to grow this year as the economy improves modestly, coal demand stabilizes, and our new President pursues 'reforms.' [Seattle Times website report, 1-18-17]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported total U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Jan. 14, 2017, increased 2 percent compared with the same week last year. [Railway Age website report, 1-18-17]

CALIFORNIA HSR PROJECT NOT FACING COST OVERRUNS, AGENCY SAYS: In response to the Los Angeles Times report of Jan. 13 citing potential cost overruns of California's bullet train project, the California High-Speed Rail authority says the project is not facing cost overruns, is not in danger of failing to spend its federal grant money by September, and has resolved issues raised by the state auditor four years ago. It said the paper incorrectly lumped federal and state-funded project costs totaling $7.8-billion, not the $9.5-billion quoted in the Times report. [Silicon Valley Business Journal website report, 1-17-17]

CSX ANNOUNCES 2016 EARNINGS: CSX generated $11.1-billion in revenue as volume declined 5 pct overall in 2016, with a 21 pct decline in coal business. Earnings per share were $1.81, operating income was $3.4-billion with an operating ratio of 69.4 pct. Net earnings in the fourth-quarter were $458-million or 49 cents per share, versus $466-million or 48 cents per share in the same period last year. [CSX, 1-17-17]

SUPREME COURT REJECTS W&LE PETITION OVER TRAIN CREW DISPUTE: The Supreme Court has denied a petition by Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway asking the court to overturn a lower court ruling that determined the railroad's use of managers in place of union conductors was a 'major dispute' under the Railway Labor Act. [Progresive Railroading website report, 1-17-17]

WSP PARSONS BRINCKHEROFF WILL REBRAND AS 'WSP': WSP Parsons Brinckheroff will rebrand as 'WSP' effective May 2017. The firm has operated under its current name since WSP acquired Parsons Brinckherhoff in Oct. 2014. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-17-17]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-five percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending January 15, 2017. The remaining 65 percent, on average, arrived two hours and one minute behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-16-17]

SOUND TRANSIT BEGINS CONSTRUCTION OF NORTHGATE LIGHT-RAIL STATION: Sound Transit has broken ground for its Northgate Link light-rail station, one of three slated to open in 2021 with the completion of the 4.3-mile Northgate Link extension. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-16-17]

GENESEE & WYOMING LOGS 4-Q TRAFFIC INCREASE: Genesee & Wyoming reported a 7.9 pct increase in carload traffic in the fourth-quarter 2016 compared with carloads in the same quarter 2015. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-16-17]

MONTREAL PULLS NEW BOMBARDIER-ALSTOM SUBWAY TRAINS: Montreal's transit authority is pulling 12 new trains built by Bombardier and Alstom out of service following an equipment problem over the weekend that forced the sutdown of a subway line for several hours. The problem stemmed over an interface between the trains and the track, but there was no indication suggesting that the trains were at fault. [Globe and Mail website report, 1-16-17]

CHICAGO GRANTED $1-M FOR TRANSIT IMPROVEMENTS: The Obama administration has awarded Chicago a $1-billion grant for improvements to two L train lines for improvement to tracks into the northern suburbs, renovating four stations, and purchasing new railcars for the lines. Funds will be provided over a nine-year period, while $622-million will be raised by local funding through a transit tax-increment financing district. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline, 1-13-17]

CHAIRMAN NAMED TO GATEWAY DEVELOPMENT CORP.: Richard Bagger, New York and New Jersey Port Authority commissioner has been elected chairman to the newly-formed Gateway Development Corporation. The Gateway project includes upgrades and expansion of rail infrastructure connecting New York and New Jersey, including construction of new Hudson River tunnels. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline, 1-13-17]

BNSF ASSUMING SERVICE IN CARLSBAD AREA FROM SOUTHWESTERN R.R.: BNSF will take over operations from Southwestern Railroad in the Carlsbad, N.M., area beginning Jan. 17, BNSF said, citing the ending of a contract with Southwestern. [Carlsbad Current-Argus website report, 1-13-17]

CALIFORNIA BULLET TRAIN MAY BE HEADED TO COST OVERRUN, FEDS SAY: California's bullet train could cost taxpayers 50 pct more than estimated, as much as $3.6-billion more, and that's just for the first 118 miles through the Central Valley, according to a Federal Railroad Administration report. [Los Angeles Times website report, 1-13-17]

LAST CONRAIL-PAINTED LOCOMOTIVE ON CSX ROSTER RETIRED: Nearly 17 years since the heralded 'split date' by which most of Conrail got absorbed into Norfolk Southern and CSX, the one remaining CSX locomotive remaining in its blue Conrail paint scheme has been retired. Unit 8865 (formerly Conrail unit 6521) has been deleted from the CSX locomotive roster and sold, along with a group of other former Conrail units that had since been repainted into one of the CSX paint schemes. [Robert Michaels, 1-12-17]

STATION IMPROVEMENTS PROPOSED FOR LIRR: New York's governor has unveiled a proposal to invest $120-million for enhancements to 16 Long Island Rail Road stations, a new termnal at MacArthur Airport, and a new stop at Brookhaven National Laboratory. [Railway Age website report, 1-12-17]

TWO 'TOWER OF POWER' BAND MEMBERS INJURED BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN CALIFORNIA: Two members of longtime Oakland, California, Tower of Power band were hit and injured by an Amtrak train Jan. 12 near Jack London Square, just minutes before a scheduled show at a nearby venue. Both are in critical condition. [SF Gate website report, 1-12-17]

WASHINGTON STATE SUPREME COURT REJECTS OIL EXPORT TERMINAL: The Washington State Supreme Court has ruled against plans to locate a rail-fed crude oil export terminal at Hoquiam in Grays Harbor. [Seattle Post Intelligencer website report, 1-12-17]

COAL TRAIN DERAILS IN B.C.: Twenty-nine cars of a Canadian Pacific coal train derailed near Ashcroft, B.C., late Jan. 12, according to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. There were no injuries. [Vancouver Sun website report, 1-12-17]

NEW RAIL LINE INAUGURATED BETWEEN DJIBOUTI AND ETHIOPIA: A ceremony was held at Nagid station in Djibouti to make the official opening of a new 467-mile electrified standard-gauge railway to Addis Ababa. Commercial operation of passenger and freight services is expected to start early this year. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-12-17]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT:The Association of American Railroads reported total U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Jan. 7, 2017, declined 11.4 percent compared with the same week last year. [Railway Age website report, 1-11-17]

CSX CUSTOMERS ANNOUNCE $9.5-B IN 2016 INVESTMENTS: CSX worked with its customers in 2016 to announce 114 new or expanded facilities to be located on the company's rail network or connecting short lines. These new projects represent $9.5-billion in customer investments, projected to generate more than 136,000 new carloads annually for CSX. [CSX, 1-11-17]

HOUSTON'S METRO GREEN LINE COMPLETED: The Metropolitan Transit authority of Harris County, Texas, has marked the completion of the Harrisburg Overpass bridge, which carries Green line light-rail trains and motorists over Union Pacific tracks. The bridge was the final component of the Green Line route, which now offers nine stops linking downtown to the city's East End district. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-11-17]

SOME TEXAS LEGISLATORS OPPOSE HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT: Brazos Valley, Texas, lawmakers have expressed their opposition to the proposed Houston-Dallas high-speed train. Many of them cite a statistic that not one private high-speed rail system has ever been profitable. The project's promoter, however, says its system is backed by private investors, not government grants, and the company will not take public money for its operations. [KBTX website report, 1-11-17]

SNCF ORDERS 255 TRAINS FOR PARIS NETWORK: SNCF (French National Railways) has selected a consortium of Alstom-Bombardier to renew 255 trains on lines D and E of the Paris RER network. The contract is the largest ever to be financed by the Ile-de-France Transport authority. The new trains will replace a current rolling stock which has an average age of over 30 years. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-11-17]

PTC COST TO NJT INFLATES TO $320-M: The price tag to install positive train-control by the Dec. 2018 deadline will cost N.J. Transit another $32-million, pushing the project's cost to $320-million. [NJ.com, 1-11-17]

UNION PACIFIC SUES COUNTY IN OREGON OVER RIGHT TO ADD SECOND TRACK: Union Pacific has asked a federal judge to reject local Wasco County, Oregon, rules that threaten to reject plans to add four miles of a second main track along the Columbia River Gorge where a crude oil train derailed last June. The county had denied the railroad's application, citing concerns about the project affecting tribal treaty rights. [Seattle Times website report, 1-10-17]

THREE DEVELOPMENT TEAMS VYING FOR BALTIMORE'S PENN STATION PROJECT: Amtrak issued a request for proposals in Dec. 2016 to three developers vying to become the master developer for Baltimore's Penn Station project. The three teams were shortlisted in November after a request for qualifications was issued in October. Redevelopment of the station and the surrounding area comprehends mixed-use development, including office and retail space, and even a hotel. [Baltimore Business Journal website report, 1-10-17]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-two percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending January 8, 2017. The remaining 68 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 42 minutes behind schedule. Eccentric weather throughout much of the country during the week contributed to the poor performance. (In the corresponding week last year, 56 percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier.) MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-9-17]

CTA'S RED LINE TO GET UPGRADE: Part of Chicago Transit authority's Red line, portions of which are more than a century old, will get rebuilt under a funding agreement with the Federal Transit administration. First phase will include rebuilding of the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwy and Bryn Mawr stations, and more than a mile of adjacent tracks and track structure. Also included is a Red-Purple line bypass. [Railway Age website report, 1-9-17]

BART TRAIN BREAKS DOWN IN VULNERABLE SPOT; MAJOR DELAYS TO SYSTEM: Thousands of Bay Area Rapid Transit commuters were stranded early Jan. 6 when a train became disabled at West Oakland where five lines merge into a single track. The incident caused massive delays throughout the 107-mile system. [San Francisco Chronicle website report, 1-6-17]

LIRR TRAIN MOVING AT 10 MPH AT TIME OF IMPACT: The Long Island Rail Road train that crashed into a pumping block in Brooklyn Jan 4 injuring more than 100 people was going approximately 10 MPH when it crashed, federal investigators said the following day. [N.Y. Times website report]

NEW SINGLE-LEVEL DINING CAR PERFORMING WELL, AMTRAK SAYS: Amtrak's first new dining car, built by CAF in Elmira, N.Y., has been out and running since just after Thanksgiving. Amtrak believes that the car is generally performing well. It and 24 others will run on the Silver Meteor, Crescent and Lake Shore Limited. Also to be delivered are 25 sleepers, 70 baggage cars and 10 baggage-dormitory cars. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline, 1-6-17]

AMTRAK SERVICE TO ROANOKE EXPECTED TO BEGIN THIS FALL: Amtrak's train route to Roanoke, Va., an extension of current service ending in Lynchburg, is expected to start in the fall of 2017. It is contingent on the construction of a platform and other facilities in Roanoke. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline, 1-6-17]

SECOND ALBANY-SCHENECTADY TRACK TO BE READY BY SPRING: Work to install a second track on Amtrak's line between Albany and Schenectady, N.Y., has picked up again, with the long-awaited addition expected to be completed this spring. Also, a new platform is being built at the Schenectady station to accommodate the new track. The project is part of an effort to eliminate congestion and ease train flow. [Daily Gazette website report, 1-6-17]

MBTA TO ALLOW CONTRACT WITH KEOLIS TO EXPIRE: The Massachusetts Bay Tansportation authority will not extend the contract with Keolis, the transit agency that operates the agency's commuter rail system, when the contract ends in June 2022. [WWLP website report, 1-6-17]

RALEIGH'S NEW TRAIN STATION HALFWAY COMPLETE: Union Station in Raleigh, N.C., is halfway complete, and should be fully operational in early 2018. The city aims to make it a central focal point, and it will also serve as a hub for local buses. The $90-million facility will offer a variety of restaurants and shopping centers, while serving as a venue for city events. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline, 1-6-17]

TEXAS CENTRAL TO TAKE EMINENT DOMAIN ISSUE TO COURT: The Texas Central Railroad will go to court in July to argue that it meets the proper state requirements as an official railway company, allowing it to use eminent domain to survey and then acquire private land for the construction of a high-speed rail line from Houston to Dallas. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline, 1-6-17]

AMTRAK ANNOUNCES CORPORATE RESTRUCTURING: Effective immediately, Amtrak's management team will consist of Operations, led by Scot Naparstek; Marketing and Business Development, led by Jason Molfetas; Finance, led by Jerry Sokol; Law, led by Eldie Acheson; Administration, led by D.J. Stadler; and Technology and Public Affairs, led by Stephen Gardner. Train operations will be managed regionally through three general managers, and supported by Mechanical, Engineering, Network Support, Police and security organizations. The restructuring will give Amtrak more flexibility to comply with the new accont structure created under the Fixing America's Surface Transportation act. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-5-17]

FEDS OK $1.6-B FOR L.A. PURPLE LINE EXTENSION: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has committed $1.6-billion toward the second phase of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation authority's Purple line extension. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-5-17]

LIRR TRAIN CRASHES IN BROOKLYN: A Long Island Rail Road commuter train crashed at Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn, N.Y., early Jan. 4, injuring about 103 people, officials said. About 430 passengers were aboard the train at the time. The train struck the bumping block at the end of the track at low speed. None of the injuries appear to be life-threatening. The accident is under investigation. [ABC News website report, 1-4-17]

CHINA SENDS FIRST TRAIN TO LONDON: China has sent its first freight train on its 8,000-mile route to London in what is one of the world's longest train journey. [CNN website report, 1-4-17]

NEW AUTOMATED METRO LINE OPENS IN HONG KONG: Hong Kong's new fully-automated metro line has opened. The 4.4-mile South Island Line includes four new stations. [Global Rail News website report, 1-4-17]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported total U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Dec. 31, 2016, was up 7.7 percent compared with the corresponding week a year earlier. For the entire year, traffic was down 5.0 percent. [Railway Age website report, 1-4-17]

JAN. 4 MARKS 30TH YEAR SINCE AMTRAK CRASH IN MARYLAND: Thirty years ago Jan. 4 an Amtrak train from Washington DC to Boston collided with a Conrail train near the south end of the Gunpowder River bridge in Chase, Md., killing 16 people. [WTOP website report, 1-4-17]

SECOND AVENUE SUBWAY OPENS: Thousands attended the inauguration of service on New York's Second avenue subway line between 63rd and 96th streets Jan. 1. The opening of the line came nearly 88 years after the first bond issuewas floated to finance construction of a subway beneath Second avenue. [Railway Age website report, 1-3-17]

UNION PACIFIC ACQUIRES RAILEX ASSETS: Union Pacific announced Jan. 3 that it had acquired Railex LLC's refrigerated and cold storage distribution assets in Delano, California; Wallula, Washington; and Rotterdam, N.Y. [Union Pacific, 1-3-17]

AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE IN 2016: For the full year 2016, the Bull Sheet calculates that 40 percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier. The remaining 60 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 14 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-3-17]

BOLIVIA, PARAGUAY TO STUDY RAIL LINK: Bolivia and Paraguay on Jan. 2 signed a bilateral memorandum of understanding pledging to carry out preliminary studies into a rail link between the two countries. [Railway Age website report]

CLASS I RAIL EMPLOYMENT DECLINES: Class I railroads employed 151,495 workers as of mid-November 2016, down 0.27 percent from mid-October, and 7.76 percent from year-ago levels, according to the Surface Transportation Board. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-3-17]

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