Latest Rail News

The announcement by the National Transportation Safety Board on July 27 on the likely cause of the June 2009 Washington, D.C., Metro crash might have major safety and financial implications for transit systems nationwide, the Washington Post reports. Federal investigators have focused on the failure of Metro's automatic train-control system in the accident, in which one train slammed into the back of another that was stopped north of the Fort Totten Metro station in Northeast Washington. The accident killed a train operator and eight passengers, injured scores of others and caused $25 million in damage.

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It has to start with small steps by city leaders in Las Cruces and El Paso, but the goal is to someday provide commuter rail service between the cities, the Sun-News reports. Officials met the week of July 19 with representatives of BNSF and Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima came away with two definite opinions: The cost to start commuter rail service won't come cheap and he's excited the service has the potential to become a reality.

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Funding has fallen through on a $15-million project to rebuild an abandoned freight-rail line from Plymouth to Sheboygan Falls, Wis., and Sheboygan County officials now are working to secure federal dollars to get the stalled plan moving again, the Sheboygan Press reports. The project, which proponents say will spur new development along the approximately 15-mile rail corridor, looked like a done deal last fall after the state agreed to pitch in $12 million toward the effort.

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The Board and staff of the NEW METRO in Houston expressed their appreciation to U.S. Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn for their strong support and significant efforts to secure another $150 million for the North and Southeast Corridor light- rail lines, as the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the FY2011 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill July 22.

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New Lenox, Ill., took the first step to establish quiet zones along the Canadian National tracks, the Southtown Star reports. At the July 26 village board meeting, trustees approved hiring Christopher Burke Engineering to study what improvements are necessary to qualify for a quiet zone and the costs involved. The firm's fee will not exceed $11,000.

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Representatives of the National Gateway will discuss a broad range of environmental, business and economic benefits with legislators, business representatives and government officials this week at the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) Legislative Summit 2010. The NCSL Legislative Summit, a major public policy conference featuring thousands of state lawmakers and legislative staff, is being held from July 25-28 in Lexington, Ken.

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Sen. Dick Durbin said July 23 that giving the Union Pacific Railroad $98.3 million in federal money for track improvements without an agreement in place to allow high-speed passenger rail is still a good idea, The Springfield, Ill., State Journal-Register reports.

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that the Denver Union Station project will receive just over $300 million in federal loans through an unprecedented and historic innovative financing arrangement using the Department of Transportation's Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) Program and the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) Program. The project is funded with a unique financing structure and for the first time combines credit assistance from both programs.

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Can two rail agencies share a set of new tunnels under the Hudson River to midtown Manhattan and save billions of dollars, instead of building separate tubes under the Hudson River? asks the Asbury Park, N.J., Press.

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Excavators are eating into a slope above BNSF's main line in the Fruit Valley neighborhood, the Columbian reports. The work is to prepare the site for a 3.2-mile-long set of bypass tracks designed to help ease a railroad chokepoint in Vancouver, Wash. The new line will run along the east side of the BNSF main line from downtown Vancouver all the way to the Fruit Valley Road overpass.

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