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 American Public Transportation Association (APTA) has named the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) Outstanding Public Transportation System of 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.
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has awarded a $1.8-million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant to rehabilitate 12 miles of track on the state-owned rail line located between Erick and Sayre, Okla., that will enable faster speeds and increases in freight service along the line.
Keolis Commuter Services (KCS) has reached agreement with all 14 of the labor unions representing its employees for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) commuter rail service, which Keolis begins operating on July 1.
Axion International Holdings, Inc., has received a new purchase order of $890,000 for ECOTRAX® rail ties to be shipped to a large multi-national industrial company.
Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo called on elected officials and transportation planners in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia to develop a shared vision of rail service along the Southeast High-Speed Rail Corridor (SEHSR) between Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, Ga.