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Thursday, 13 August 2009 05:37

Rail workers blend old technology with new

Allen Jones has found out that no matter how sophisticated the world is, working for the railroad still requires the use of a sledgehammer and a switch broom, the Morning Sun of Blue Springs, Mo., reports. These two hand tools are still the most frequently used implements when doing track work. The sledgehammer, of course, is for driving steel, pushing rails wider and setting flags. The switch broom has a hoe-like end for removing rocks from between the rails at railroad switches. The broom end of this tool is used to sweep dirt, leaves and snow from between the rails.


Sullivan City, Texas, Mayor Rosendo Benavides traces his finger along a line on the map leading from Monterrey to South Texas, The Monitor of McAllen, Texas, reports Abruptly, right before it crosses the Rio Grande near his small town of 4,000, it jags straight east - running near the river before heading into the United States near Brownsville. That line - a Kansas City Southern railroad track that stops just across the river from Sullivan City - offers the best chance his city has to secure an international bridge, he said.


Thursday, 13 August 2009 05:51

Spending on rail seen stuck at the station

Major U.S. freight railroads and their advocates have argued for years that government investment is needed in the country's rail system to take freight off congested highways and keep the economy moving, Reuters reports. But supporters say rail investments have been largely ignored by Congress, suggesting political support is lacking, despite warnings action must be taken sooner rather than later.


Vancouver's TransLink will officially open the Canada Line Pedestrian-Bicycle Bridge linking South Vancouver with Richmond via a bridge connected to the Canada Line rail guideway on Aug. 14. 

The linking of the communities will start at 12:30pm. Cyclists and police bike patrols will accompany TransLink CEO Tom Prendergast and Vancouver Deputy Mayor Geoff Meggs from the north side of the bridge, with Richmond Deputy Mayor Ken Johnston, approaching from the south side. They will meet at the centre and then carry on to the south side of the span for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.


Construction of a new and improved Plauderville Station in the City of Garfield, N.J., will begin this fall, under a contract approved by the NJ TRANST Board of Directors that will make the station fully accessible to customers with disabilities and will provide more convenient access to the station from the parking area.


The Association of American Railroads urged the Federal Railroad Administration to faithfully follow the Congressional statutory mandate requiring railroads to implement positive train control technologies across certain portions of the national freight rail network. In 2008, Congress passed a law requiring the nation's freight railroads by Dec. 31, 2015 to implement PTC on certain main line tracks used for transporting passengers or toxic chemicals. However, AAR notes that FRA's proposed rule would impose a financial burden above and beyond what Congress intended, potentially adding hundreds of millions of dollars in additional cost to the railroads as they face using private capital to pay for the federal PTC mandate.


The Norfolk Southern Foundation has given $100,000 to Penn State Altoona to assist in the development of a four-year Rail and Transit Engineering (RTE) degree program. This innovative Bachelor of Science program will include existing Penn State civil engineering courses, coupled with new customized courses in rail business, mechanical systems, track, operations, communications, and regulation. The program is designed to produce graduates who will quickly acclimate to the rail industry and its suppliers.


Friday, 14 August 2009 05:53

CN: Train fears not a reality

Where are all the trains? When Canadian National Railway won federal approval to buy the EJ&E line for $300 million in December, suburbs worried about the effects of heavy freight traffic, the Plainfield, Ill., Sun reports.


Track circuit repairs on the Red Line and track maintenance on the Orange Line the weekend of August 14-16 will cause inbound and outbound trains to take turns sharing one track. Customers should add at least 30 minutes of time to their trips. 


Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell is trying to land $47 million in federal aid to upgrade Harrisburg rail freight facilities, the Harrisburg Patriot News reports. The money would help Norfolk Southern add a third unloading track and install additional parking spaces for trailers at the terminal along Industrial Road.


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