(The following column by
Brain Palmer was published in the Washington Post.) Americans love to complain
about the pitiable state of our once-great rail system and wonder why our
locomotives are stuck in the past. I mean, you can zip between Wuhan and
Guangzhou, China, at 220 mph. Japan's Shinkansen system tops 186 mph. The
French TGV can blaze across the countryside at more than 200 mph. Yet the Acela
train, the pride of Amtrak, hits a ho-hum 150 mph at top speed and maintains
that for only a few minutes between New York and Boston.
You get history by the
earful when you ride around Raleigh with railroaders. And a little prehistory,
too, the News & Observer reports.
The Chicago Transit
Authority has installed LED signs at 14 rail stations that provide elevator
status information. The new LED signs are located above the accessible
turnstiles at accessible rail stations and provide the most current information
on elevator outages. By providing this information at the station entrance it
allows riders who need elevator access to check on the status of the elevators
at their origin and destination station before they pay their fares.
A grade crossing renewal
project in St. James, N.Y., will affect some midday train service on the MTA
Long Island Rail Road's Port Jefferson Branch from Monday, August 2, through
Friday, August 6. During the work four eastbound and four westbound midday
trains will depart and terminate from the Smithtown Station instead of the Port
Eugene J. Kim has been
named Vice President in the Los Angeles office of Parsons Brinckerhoff, a
global infrastructure strategic consulting, planning, engineering and
program/construction management organization. In his new position, he is
responsible for managing PB's Los Angeles transportation planning practice,
which provides comprehensive multimodal corridor planning, transportation
policy and program implementation services to Southern California's regional
(OneRail Coalition sent he
following letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee to support more funding
for railroads and rail transit.) As the Subcommittee prepares to mark up
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2011, the OneRail Coalition urges a balanced
approach including equivalent growth in public investment for rail
infrastructure as well as highways and transit.
Massachusetts Department of
Transportation Secretary and CEO Jeffrey Mullan joined state and local
officials for the groundbreaking for the $17.7-million Four Corners/Geneva
Commuter Rail station project. As
part of the Fairmount Commuter Rail Line Rehabilitation Project, the Four
Corners/Geneva station is one of four new commuter rail stations to be built
along the corridor.
Metro's Safety Department
received approval from the Tri-state Oversight Committee to close 22
corrective action plans last month that address safety issues identified during
internal and TOC safety audits. Some of the plans closed in June included
identifying and marking tripping hazards near the tracks, evaluating and
updating communication procedures for track workers and developing standards
for allowable wheel roughness and wheel repair for rail cars.
presented these and other steps made to improve safety to the Metro Board of
Director's Customer Service, Operations and Safety Committee.
For Florida's high-speed
rail, early work begins July 19 -- in a very geeky way, local media report. Crews
are starting "geotechnical exploration."
PBS Coals has invested in
its own stretch of railroad, and this summer work on the project is complete,
the Somerset, Pa., Daily American reports.
The Friedens, Pa., company now has
a 10-mile railway that will transport most of the coal to a Baltimore port to
be exported. The project cost "just shy of $1 million," according to Hank
Parke, director of business development.