Latest Rail News

Kansas and Oklahoma officials already are at work on a development plan for rail passenger service between the Kansas City area and Oklahoma City, with a stop in Topeka, even though they haven't actually seen Washington's money yet, the Topeka Capital Journal reports. The Federal Railroad Administration recently announced the approval of a $250,000 grant to the Kansas Department of Transportation to do the planning.

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Work to improve the train station in Burlington, N.C., should begin this fall or winter, with about $685,000 worth of improvements being added there, the Times-News reports. The station, an Amtrak hub on the Raleigh-to-Charlotte line, will get a new backup electric generator, video security system and passenger information display system. The size of the boarding platform will be doubled in length, allowing the train to stop only once to board and unload passengers.

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Recent flooding caused little damage locally on the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad, the Post-Bulletin in Rochester, Minn., reports. Mike LoVecchio, spokesman for Canadian Pacific Railway, which owns DM&E, said no damage occurred on the east-west line, which passes through Rochester, but that a small washout suspended traffic on the north-south line near Owatonna. The line was expected to be restored to service shortly, LoVecchio said.

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Los Angeles Metro Blue Line passengers will experience travel delays of up to 40 minutes for two weekends beginning September 24, due to construction of the Expo light rail line, which will connect with the Metro Blue Line in downtown Los Angeles.

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Work will be done on the new pedestrian underpass at the Santa Clara, Calif., station. The underpass will connect the north- and southbound platforms, allowing two trains to pass through the station at the same time and improving safety for pedestrians in the station.

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On October 1-2, Sunne Lane and Harvey Drive near the Pleasant Hill, Calif., BART Station will be closed to traffic. This closure is to allow for the set-up and ceremonies for the grand opening of the Contra Costa Centre Transit Village and the Robert I. Schroder Overcrossing that will be held in the Town Square on October 2.

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Nearly 1,000 construction grant applications for more than $19 billion from all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia far exceeded the $600 million in TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) II dollars the U.S. Department of Transportation can award for infrastructure projects ranging from highways and bridges to transit and ports, Secretary Ray LaHood said following the August deadline for submissions.

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When the Sound Transit Board began work Sept. 23 on the 2011 budget, it signaled the kickoff of a process that will realign agency project and service priorities in response to the national recession's impact on local tax revenues.

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Metrolinx, Infrastructure Ontario and the Toronto Transit continue to move forward on a commitment to improving public transit in the Greater Toronto Area with the release of a request for proposals to the three teams short-listed for the new Sheppard East Maintenance and Storage Facility project.

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Houston's NEW METRO is hosting a public hearing on its FY2011 budget at noon Sept. 27 and the public is encouraged to attend. In a break from past practice, the budget will be presented by METRO's President & CEO George Greanias.

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