Latest Rail News

The City Council in Niagara Falls, N.Y., is expected to take the first concrete steps toward transforming the historic old Customs House into a combination passenger railroad station, bus station and trail head for bike riders and hikers, as well as a tourist attraction of its own and a museum commemorating the slave escape route called the Underground Railroad, The Buffalo News reports.

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Engineering, architecture and planning firm TKDA was selected as part of a design-build team with Coleman Industrial Construction to complete Mobility First Improvements at Amtrak's passenger stations in California and Oregon. This work is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for rebuilding and modernizing infrastructure and equipment. TKDA is currently providing engineering services to Amtrak in more than 10 states.

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Hatch Mott MacDonald recently hired key, high-level staff members at several of its U.S. office locations. Frank Facciolo joins Hatch Mott MacDonald's New York City office as a senior project manager for rail/transit projects and has 21 years of experience in infrastructure, transportation, and design-build projects in the N.Y. Metropolitan area and in California. John Cross joins HMM's Tallahassee, Fla., office as a senior project manager with more than 30 years of professional engineering experience in both the private and public sectors.

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A Pioneer Railcorp representative left no uncertainty about the railroad's position regarding a proposed toll increase for the use of Keokuk's swing-span railroad bridge, the Daily Gate City reports. Keokuk Junction Railway, which runs the trains on the bridge, is a subsidiary of Pioneer Railcorp.

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PS Technology (PST), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Union Pacific Corporation, has added a 3-D simulation-training program to its capabilities. The program produces realistic 3-D simulation training solutions for a variety of industries including railroad, construction, mining and shipping. For example, railroad-specific simulations for conductors, locomotive engineers and remote-control locomotive operators are used in certification training to enhance railroad safety and improve operating efficiency. Implementing this program accelerates and expands employee-training opportunities previously constrained by equipment availability and travel.

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The Federal Transit Administration has committed to a 50-percent share for the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project in Oregon. TriMet had requested a 60 percent federal share, since all previous light rail projects were funded by at least a 60 percent federal share. The 50-percent federal share would be capped at a maximum of $735.8 million.

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Metro-North Railroad plans to buy a strip of land from Fordham University in order to widen and improve the outbound platform at the Fordham Station, where each morning almost 6,000 people board northbound trains to get to jobs in Westchester and Connecticut. After Harlem-125th Street, Fordham is the busiest station for reverse commutation, that is for people going north in the AM peak instead of into Manhattan. Over all, Fordham is Metro-North's third busiest outlying station, after Stamford and White Plains.

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Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell is set to call for one of the state's biggest bond issues in recent memory when she proposes selling $260 million in bonds to make improvements to the New Haven-to-Springfield rail line, the Hartford Courant reports. The money is intended to attract an additional $220 million in federal aid to begin building a high-speed train line linking Springfield and Hartford to Amtrak's busy Boston-to-Washington route along the shoreline.

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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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