Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor

Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor

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U.S. Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME), chair and ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Transportation, respectively, urged U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to increase safety resources for shortline railroads, which make up one third of the nation's rail network, but lack the funding and support that larger, Class 1 railroads receive.

An ongoing power upgrade for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Metro-North Railroad New Haven Line has achieved a major milestone with the installation of a second new transformer at Mount Vernon, providing additional redundancy and increased capacity.

Chicago's Metra, Union Pacific, the Village of Lombard, Ill., and DuPage County officials broke ground May 14 on more than $9.7-million in improvements at the Lombard Station along the UP West Line, including a new pedestrian underpass, rebuilt platforms and new platform canopies.

By 2035, transit ridership along the Columbia Pike and the Crystal City-Pentagon City corridors is expected to more than double, according to updated ridership forecasts released by Arlington County, Va., with more than 62 percent of projected daily transit trips to be on streetcar versus bus.

Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Inc. (BBII), was chosen by the city of Charlotte to build the track and systems components of the new Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) LYNX Blue Line Extension, as well as the Blue Line Capacity Expansion Project.

Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL), Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown and a host of other federal, state and local leaders gathered May 12 to mark the start of construction on the The Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) at Dames Point,

Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) officials and city leaders from Fullerton, Placentia and Anaheim, Calif., marked the start of construction on the final three projects in the O.C. Bridges program with a groundbreaking ceremony May 9.

The University of Stony Brook's work on generating clean energy from railroad track vibrations was one of several to receive an award from PowerBridgeNY, a recently created proof-of-concept center established to move clean-energy ideas from the laboratory to become successful businesses in New York State.

Caltrain completed the $155-million San Bruno grade separation project, which it says has improved rail safety for the city and for the commuter railroad by elevating the train tracks over San Bruno, San Mateo and Angus avenues.

A tentative agreement has been reached between VIA Rail Canada and Canadian National, which will allow VIA Rail's passenger rail service to continue on the Newcastle subdivision. Under the agreement, which must be ratified by their respective boards, VIA Rail will provide funding to CN for rehabilitation work on the line between Nelson Junction and Nepisiquit Junction. Work will be done on 70.8 kilometers (44 miles) of track and represents a CA$10.2-million (US$9.3-million investment for the railroad.

As a result of this agreement, VIA Rail will be able to continue to offer its Ocean passenger rail service between Bathurst and Miramichi three days per week in each direction as part of its Montreal-Halifax service. VIA Rail will hold discussions with the province and municipalities along the subdivision to explore ways they can assist in increasing train ridership.

"Our government is committed to creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. The continuity of VIA Rail's Ocean service on this rail line in Northern New Brunswick is excellent news as it will not only benefit the users, but also each community along the route by maintaining jobs and supporting the local economy," said Canada's Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt.

In other news, the Canadian government has appointed Yves Desjardins-Siciliano as president and chief executive officer of VIA Rail.

Prior to his appointment, Desjardins-Siciliano was VIA Rail's chief corporate and legal officer and corporate secretary. Prior to joining VIA Rail in 2010, he has held executive positions, in a variety of industries, in both Montréal and Toronto.

"As Directors of VIA Rail, we are delighted that the government has chosen to lead Canada's national passenger railway, someone whose career demonstrates a breath of experiences and expertise, an intimate knowledge of our largest markets, an ability to develop new value-creation strategies and a keen understanding of public policy. He can count on our full support," said Paul Smith, chairman of the board.

Desjardins-Siciliano takes over from VIA Rail's Interim President and CEO, Steve Del Bosco. Steve will be resuming his previous role as VIA's chief commercial planning officer. Del Bosco had been in the interim position since January 4, 2014.


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