Union Pacific has
raised the roof on 15 of its tunnels over Donner Pass in the Sierra, allowing
double-stacked trains to cross the pass and go through Reno for the first time
on the way to Chicago, the Reno Gazette-Journal reports. When the recession
ebbs, more trains could be coming through Reno and Sparks. Double-stacked
trains have been routed through the longer and more difficult Feather River
Canyon north of Reno.
The Port of Vancouver,
Wash., will receive nearly $3 million in additional federal funds to help build
rail lines for its $137-million West Vancouver Freight Access project, the Portland
Business Journal reports. The new allocation comes with the help of U.S. Sen.
Patty Murray, D-Wash., and was included in the final version of the fiscal 2010
Consolidated Appropriations Act.
Work on Caltrain's Grade
Crossing Improvement Program, which will enhance safety at 25 grade crossings
in San Mateo County, continues. The schedule includes Maple Avenue, Chestnut
Street and Broadway, Redwood City, 8:00 p.m. - 4:00 a.m., Dec. 28-30. Throughout
the project area, at least one lane of the impacted street will remain open. Flagmen
will direct traffic and pedestrians around the construction.
The Illinois Commerce
Commission has granted approval for the installation of automatic flashing
light signals and gates and highway approach grade improvements at the 160th
Street crossing of BNSF track located near Galesburg, Warren County. The
estimated cost to install the new automatic flashing light signals and gates is
$518,729. The Grade Crossing
Protection Fund will pay 95 percent of the warning device installation costs,
not to exceed $492,793. BNSF will
pay the remaining warning device installation costs, as well as all future
operating and maintenance costs.
Norfolk Southern Corp.
expects to learn next month whether the U.S. Department of Transportation will
provide it with a $300-million stimulus grant as the company works to complete
a $2.5-billion rail project, Northern Virginia Daily reports.
According to government forecasts, freight volumes
in the United States will significantly increase by 2020. Unless major
transportation infrastructure improvements are made, this could lead to reduced
productivity resulting in job losses, higher prices for the goods we buy and
reduced worldwide demand for the goods we sell. The National Gateway - an $842-million
multi-state public-private infrastructure initiative - will help meet current
infrastructure needs and prepare the nation for this projected growth by
investing in surface transportation infrastructure improvements.
(The following opinion
piece by Alfred Doblin appeared in The Record in Northern New Jersey.) Last
week, Governor-elect Chris Christie met with The Record's editorial board.
During the meeting, he was asked about transportation projects and the
possibility of a gas tax to help keep the Transportation Trust Fund solvent.
Mapping the route of a
proposed high-speed passenger train between the Twin Cities and Chicago will
take a year or more, a Minnesota transportation official said, according to
local newspapers. Dan Krom, who made a presentation to Washington County commissioners,
said as many as eight routes are under study. One of them, which the
commissioners favor, would follow the existing Amtrak route, known in planning
circles as Red Rock, through southern Washington County and eastern Dakota
you might take the train for holiday travel in the future might well depend on
a $200-million request for federal funds. Missouri Transportation Director Pete
Rahn says people are being drawn to rail travel for reasons other than saving
money on fuel, local media report.
The city of Inver Grove
Heights, Minn., has received a couple of mighty big gifts totaling $1.4 million
in grant money to convert a historic swing bridge into a 670-foot public pier
over the Mississippi River, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. And now, as
they're getting ready to seek contractors to do the work, city officials say
they're expecting that bids could come in 20 to 40 percent lower than
anticipated by engineers -- thanks in part to highly competitive bidding during
tough economic times.