Latest Rail News

For months, the New York MTA and the Federal Transit Administration had been at odds over cost overruns of the MTA's two biggest projects: the long-planned Second Avenue Subway and East Side Access, which would bring the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central, the New York Observer reports. The FTA, which is partially funding both, had argued the projects were running up to $1.6 billion over what the MTA was projecting, and the projects would be further delayed, both into 2018. The MTA begged to differ.

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BNSF, Union Pacific and the Texas Department of Transportation are working together to secure National Infrastructure Investments Discretionary Grant, TIGER II, funding to make Tower 55 improvements in Fort Worth, Texas. Tower 55 is one of the nation's busiest railroad intersections and a TxDOT ...
The Association of American Railroads reported that rail traffic for the week ending July 3, 2010 topped comparison weeks from both 2008 and 2009. Carloads were up 18.8 percent, at 286,777 cars, from the comparable week in 2009 and up 0.4 percent from the same week in 2008. Comparison weeks in b ...
Today is the final day Amtrak will run Virginia Railway Express trains. Keolis Rail Services America will begin its five-year, $85-million contract with VRE on Monday. It's been a difficult eight-month transition process between the contract being awarded to Keolis and its operational ...

Georgetown Rail Equipment Company (GREX) announced the promotion of Dan Bateman to Director-Service Planning, effective immediately.

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A $293-million investment announced by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood means that residents in dozens of communities nationwide will soon enjoy major transit improvements, including new streetcars, buses and transit facilities.

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Nearly 1,000 CSX Transportation engineering employees completed the annual coal route maintenance project the week of July 5. Track maintenance teams worked their way across the Appalachian coal route, which includes Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, New York, North Carolina and South Carolina. Demand for coal remains strong, and on a typical day as many as 50 trains make their way across this important corridor.

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The so-called Tower 55 crossing in downtown Fort Worth, Texas, needs additional tracks so not every train moving through the crowded freight intersection has to stop and wait for another, state and local officials said Wednesday during a tour of the crossing, The Dallas Morning News reports.

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Close to 70 people from a wide array of business, economic development and state and local organizations joined forces July 7 to implore members of the federal Surface Transportation Board to refuse to allow Maine, Montreal & Atlantic Railway to abandon 233 miles of tracks that run through Aroostook and Penobscot counties, the Bangor Daily News reports.

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The long-running commercial rail saga in North Charleston, S.C., has taken another turn, and a resolution could finally be in sight, the South Carolina Business Journal reports. The Business Journal has learned that the city has drafted a memorandum of understanding with development firm Shipyard Creek Associates and railroad operator CSX Transportation that, if approved by City Council, would eliminate rail service to the former Navy base from the north in favor of a new southern line.

City Council will be presented with the memorandum during its 7 p.m. meeting July 8.

A southern line would satisfy a 2002 memorandum of understanding penned by North Charleston and the S.C. State Ports Authority in which the SPA agreed to "use rail access exclusively from the south end of the property." That document has been a source of contention among city leaders, who backed the agreement, and state officials, who claim the memorandum didn't pertain to them.

Under the latest proposal, CSXT would abandon rights of way from a to-be-determined point between Clement Avenue and Viaduct Road northward to just past the intersection at Braddock Road. In return, North Charleston would assist CSXT in acquiring city-owned property making up the new route. North Charleston would also pay CSXT between $3 million and $5 million in tax-increment financing revenue for the old rights of way.

Shipyard Creek Associates, meanwhile, would move ahead with construction of an intermodal facility on its Macalloy property, a project it's been pitching for years. That Macalloy site is located practically adjacent to the container terminal being constructed by the State Ports Authority on the former Navy base and would serve as a rail yard for CSXT.

In the past, officials from the state and CSXT's chief rival, Norfolk Southern, have claimed that such an arrangement would be unfair. Those officials have trumpeted the need for dual access to the port terminal and said that Norfolk Southern would be at competitive disadvantage if it had to pay CSX for access to its tracks.

The threat of northern rail access loomed, but North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey is now close to vanquishing that possibility. He said that the proposed memorandum provides dual access.

"Is it equal dual access?" Summey said. "I don't know if that's available at any port."

The new plan relies heavily on federal grant financing and the "existence of sufficient property tax revenues to permit bonding against city TIF districts."

Summey said that a series of federal grants over a period of several years would be needed to pay for the project and that the parties involved will move ahead in seeking those funds if the memorandum of understanding is approved.

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