Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor

Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor

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The Sound Transit Board officially designated Sound Transit Deputy Chief Executive Officer Mike Harbour as acting CEO as Joni Earl continues her medical leave. Harbour has been deputy CEO since October, 2012.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will provide a $50-million grant to the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (CapMetro) in Austin, Texas, for the purchase of four additional MetroRail cars and help construct a permanent, expanded downtown rail station.

J.L. Patterson & Associates, Inc. (JLP) and STV, Inc., received a contract worth up to $10 million from the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA) to provide on-call professional engineering design services for Metrolink.

IntegriCo Composites has received an order from a railroad in the U.S. for approximately 5,000 composite crossties for installation in their railway system.

Blue Ridge Southern Railroad (BLU), a subsidiary of Watco Transportation Services (WTS), has reached a definitive agreement with the Norfolk Southern to purchase three branch lines in North Carolina that feed into its terminal in Asheville. The lines are the T-Line, which runs west of Asheville; the W-Line, which runs south of Asheville and the TR-Line, which branches off the W-Line south of Asheville. BLU could begin operations by July 26, 2014.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has established a special advisory board of 22 experts who will make up the Transportation Reinvention Commission.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has closed three more Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (WMATA) safety recommendations, bringing the total number of recommendations closed to 24 out of 29.

The recommendations include:
R-10-12 - Conduct a comprehensive safety analysis of the WMATA automatic train control (ATC) system to evaluate all foreseeable failures of this system that could result in a loss of train separation and work with your train control equipment manufacturers to address in that analysis all potential failure modes that could cause a loss of train detection, including parasitic oscillation, cable faults and placement and corrugated rail.

R-10-13 - Based on the findings of the safety analysis recommended in R-10-12, incorporate the design, operational and maintenance controls necessary to address potential failures in the automatic train control system.

R-10-17 - Develop and implement a non-punitive safety reporting program to collect reports from employees in all divisions within your organization and ensure that the safety department; representatives of the operations, maintenance and engineering departments and representatives of labor organizations regularly review these reports and share the results of those reviews across all divisions of your organization.

Last week, WMATA was awarded the Gold Award for Safety from the American Public Transportation Association for its roadway worker protection program and at an industry event, National Safety Council President and former NTSB Chair Deborah Hersmann noted that WMATA has gone "from worst to first among [its] peers."

"We are committed to closing the five remaining NTSB recommendations as soon as possible, while maintaining our focus on fostering a culture of safety, shared responsibility and vigilance," said WMATA General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Richard Sarles.

WMATA says he remaining five recommendations involve longer-duration projects, such as replacement of the entire 1000-series fleet with new 7000-series railcars. The first 7000-series trains are expected to enter service late this year.

 

 

Detroit City Council gave unanimous approval of construction and operating agreements, putting construction of the M-1 Rail 3.3-mile streetcar project in motion this July.

Great Sandhills Terminal Ltd. (GST) Board of Directors and Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) have entered into an agreement where CWB will acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of GST for cash consideration of CA$581.98 (US$542.80) per share.

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