On August 11, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Royal Galipeau, member of Parliament (Ottawa–Orléans) and Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson toured the Confederation Line light-rail transit tunnel to see progress that has been made since mining began in October 2013.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) has selected Charles Stark as the new executive director of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, overseeing construction of the 11.4-mile Phase 2 extension of the Silver Line from Reston, Va., through Washington Dulles International Airport to Ashburn in Loudoun County, Va.
The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) has selected Linda Bauer Darr as president, succeeding Richard Timmons, who is retiring at the end of 2014.
The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (SCVTA) Board of Directors awarded an $86.8-million contract to McCarthy Building Companies, Inc., for the design and construction of the parking structures for VTA's future Berryessa and Milpitas Bay Area Rapid Transit Silicon Valley Berryessa Extension stations.
Kansas City Southern named Erik Hansen vice president intermodal and Daniel Bozung assistant vice president mechanical operations.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) awarded the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) a $35-million Core Capacity grant to lay the groundwork to improve service and capacity on a heavily-traveled segment of its aging North Red Line and Purple Line rail transit system.
Caltrain's Board of Directors unanimously approved a $43.6-million capital budget, which will provide funding for bridge repair work in San Mateo, new safety improvements on the rail system and station modifications to allow for longer trains.
Siemens Rail Automation plans to combine and expand its manufacturing and engineering operations in the Pittsburgh area to specifically support Positive Train Control (PTC) projects, including a project to upgrade train control systems on two lines for the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA). The company plans to add 129 jobs, 68 in engineering and 61 in manufacturing, at its new location in Munhall, Pa.
Fort Wayne, Ind., Mayor Tom Henry and the mayors of eight other cities plan to sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA) calling for cooperation in development of a Chicago-Fort Wayne-Columbus passenger rail corridor.
The Indiana cities include Fort Wayne, Warsaw, Plymouth, Valparaiso and Gary. The Ohio cities represented are Columbus, Marysville, Kenton and Lima.
The MOA calls for the parties "...to systematically and incrementally develop the higher-speed rail intercity system in cooperation with existing freight rail operators and owners of right‐of-way along a corridor from Chicago to Columbus through northern Indiana, hereafter known as the Northern Indiana/Ohio High Speed Rail Initiative."
Specifically, the MOA resolves that the parties will work together to secure funding for the federally-required Environmental Impact Study (EIS), the next step in developing the passenger rail line. The EIS would examine the preliminary engineering, technical analysis, service planning and environmental impacts along several different routes in order to determine the preferred route for locating the rail lines. Once complete, the EIS would be submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration. This study could begin in late 2014 and would take 18 months to complete.
"This is a big step forward in the effort to bring passenger rail back to our community," said Mayor Henry. "The Chicago-Fort Wayne-Columbus corridor will be good for citizens throughout northern Indiana and central Ohio. It will increase transportation alternatives and help boost economic development and tourism."
A rail corridor feasibility study concluded that approximately 2.1-million riders would use the Chicago-Fort Wayne-Columbus route in 2020, with that number growing to more than three million in 2040. The study also estimated that for every $1 of investment, $1.70 would be generated in economic return through job growth and increased property values. The study was completed in 2013 by Transportation Economics & Management Systems, Inc. for the Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association.
The 300-mile-long passenger rail corridor would operate up to 12 trains daily, each direction, along the route. Express services would link downtown Chicago to Columbus in less than four hours.
Santa Fe, N.M., residents will see a higher level of safety at Rail Runner crossings in their area, following a review of the crossings by Rio Metro Regional Transit District, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the New Mexico Department of Transportation, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission and the city of Santa Fe.