Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor

Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor

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Wednesday, 03 June 2015 13:25

Bianco retires from MTA NYCT

President of Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New York City Transit (NYCT), Carmen Bianco plans to retire later this year from his position running the largest mass transit system in North America. In his time as president, Bianco transformed the agency's organizational culture to align management strategies, enhance safety and improve customer service to advance the subways, buses, paratransit and Staten Island Railway in New York City.

According to a plan developed and finalized by the Washington State Department of Transportation, improvements to a state-owned eastern Washington rail line would help Washington farmers deliver their goods to market more efficiently and benefit the state's overall economy.

Tuesday, 02 June 2015 08:19

NS, INRD perform rail safety outreach

Norfolk Southern is bringing its Train Your Brain public safety campaign to central and south Georgia to remind people to be safe and alert around railroad tracks and trains.
Billboards, with photos and captions, such as "She needs story time" and "Your fan club is waiting," will remind motorists that their families and loved ones depend on them to return home safely.

"The images are intended to grab drivers' attention and encourage them to cross tracks safely," said Cayela Wimberly, Norfolk Southern's director of grade-crossing safety. "Our goal is to save lives by educating people that trying to beat a train across railroad tracks or walking or playing on tracks is potentially deadly and always illegal."

The billboards are going up in communities along the Interstate 75 corridor from Macon to Valdosta. Georgia was selected for this year's annual campaign because of the high number of deaths and injuries resulting from vehicle-train and trespassing incidents. In 2014, the state ranked fifth-highest in the U.S. in highway-rail grade crossing collisions and tenth-highest in trespassing incidents.

The campaign's mascot, "Brainy," a giant wide-eyed pink walking brain, will make appearances at fairs, festivals and sporting events to remind people to be smart and alert at highway-rail grade crossings and to avoid trespassing on railroad property.

In addition to the billboards, Train Your Brain safety messages will appear on gas pumps and ice chests at convenience stores, in movie theaters, on game tickets at 38 high schools and on homework folders at 63 public elementary schools. To encourage safe driving habits, rail safety kits will be distributed to 3,600 students enrolled in driver's education programs at 18 public high schools.

Now in its ninth year, Norfolk Southern's "Train Your Brain" public safety campaign has run in Alabama, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee, reminding more than seven million people to make safe decisions around tracks and trains.

Additionally in the name of safety, the Indiana Rail Road (INRD) and Indiana Operation Lifesaver hosted an "Officer on a Train" event June 2.

Law enforcement officers from Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Johnson and Morgan counties and Indiana University participated in a train ride from Indianapolis to Bloomington and returned.

A live video feed delivered real-time views from the front of the locomotive to participants, so officers could monitor the behavior of motorists and pedestrians on INDR mainline. The live feed also provided a point of discussion among law enforcement and railroad officials on how to better work together to promote grade-crossing collision prevention and trespassing prevention.

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, 59 Indiana residents were killed or injured in preventable grade crossings accidents in 2014, which is 10 more than in 2013 and fourth highest among states, trailing only California, Illinois and Texas.

The day after "Officer on a Train," June 3, is the 7th Annual International Level Crossing
Awareness Day, created to send a message to public to act safely around grade crossings.

"All too often, there are news headlines of a tragic yet wholly preventable accident involving a grade crossing collision or a trespasser who was struck by a train," said Eric Powell, INRD manager, intermodal and economic development. "Indiana Rail Road's infrastructure is in the best condition in its history, but our trains cannot stop on a dime to avoid collisions with motor vehicles or pedestrians. Through coordination with law enforcement, we hope to raise awareness about these vulnerabilities and to change public behavior around railroads. It's all in the name of protecting the public and our employees."

Canadian National will invest CA$20-million (US$-16 million) in the expansion of its cold supply chain capacity to help producers and distributors of chilled or frozen foods grow their businesses in 20 North American and overseas markets.

On May 29, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Sarah Feinberg as administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration. Feinberg has been serving as acting administrator since January 9, 2015.

The Transportation Research Board is accepting proposals until September 15, 2015, for the Safety IDEA Program, which supports the development and testing of innovative concepts and methods for improving railroad safety or performance.

Jim Hertwig, Florida East Coast Railway's (FEC) president and chief executive officer and Juan Kuryla, director and CEO of PortMiami, met with Panama Canal officials and toured the construction site for the canal expansion, which is scheduled to be completed in April 2016.

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) will conduct a track renewal project on a portion of its Route 15 trolley line from June 14-September 19, 2015, which was originally installed in the 1950s.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) Board of Directors has approved a new $5.56 billion FY 2016 budget.

The Surface Transportation Board's Office of Environmental Analysis (OEA) has issued a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed construction and operation of a 43-mile rail line between Levan and Salina, Utah. Approval to construct and operate the line is being sought by the Six County Association of Governments' (Six Counties), an association of local governments located in central Utah.

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