Latest Rail News

The Wisconsin Legislature's Joint Finance Committee agreed Feb. 16 to accept $822 million in federal stimulus funds for high-speed rail linking Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago, but not before lawmakers wrangled over whether the project was necessary, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. The funds had been sought by Gov. Jim Doyle to link the three cities - and potentially the Twin Cities. The vote represents the final action for Wisconsin to tap the stimulus funding for rail.

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A light rail plan along Woodward to connect downtown Detroit with New Center will get a $25-million infusion of federal money, officials briefed on the matter told The Detroit News. The federal funds -- to be announced Feb. 17 -- are a big boost for the M-1 Rail Project, which would represent Detroit's first foray into rail-based public transit since the opening of the People Mover in 1987.

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Sidetracked for nearly four years, an ambitious plan to convert the Farley Post Office into a train station named after Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan got a jump-start when the federal government kicked in $83.3 million in stimulus funds to put the project back on track, the New York Daily News reports. The funding gives the state the $267 million it needs to begin Moynihan Station's first phase, which will create new access to rail platforms beneath the post office and expanded rail facilities in Penn Station across the street.

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The Canadian federal government has said it will fund its share of infrastructure improvements needed for Huron Central Rail if the Province of Ontario signs a Canada-Ontario Provincial-Territorial Base Fund Agreement, The Sault Star reports.

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Jim Cline was recently selected as the new president of the Denton County Transportation Authority, local media report. Cline will begin his new position on March 1. Denton County is part of the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex.

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The CREATE Program partners are pleased to announce that the Chicago area's Metra Board of Directors has approved the final design contract for the 63rd and State Improvement Project (CREATE Project P1, Englewood Flyover). TranSystems Corp. was awarded the $5.65-million contract. The flyover will carry the north-south Metra Rock Island commuter rail line over the east-west Norfolk Southern/Amtrak line (a federally designated High Speed Rail Corridor), eliminating conflict between 68 Metra Rock Island trains and approximately 60 freight and Amtrak trains that presently cross at grade each day. --> ...

TransLink's Board of Directors has chosen to go with organizational and regional experience in its choice of a new leader for the organization by appointing one of TransLink's original executives, Ian Jarvis, as the transportation authority's new Chief Executive Officer. The Board appointed Jarvis interim CEO last November and, according to Chair Dale Parker, the decision to forego an executive search for a permanent replacement for Tom Prendergast was based on Jarvis' ‘deep and long experience' in the organization and the strong endorsement he received within TransLink and from its stakeholders.

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Helping more people get to work and stimulating job growth and economic development are the goals of a 30-year long-range plan unanimously approved Feb. 12 by the St. Louis Metro Transit Board of Commissioners. Called "Moving Transit Forward," the plan for the future of transit in the region presents the results of nearly a year of in-depth study by Metro officials and staff from the East-West Gateway Council of Governments (EWGCG), the region's planning agency.

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BART has received FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff's letter stating that the FTA has rejected BART's plan to meet the FTA's standards of full compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. This letter cites no substantive deficiencies in BART's latest draft action plan to correct Title VI deficiencies identified in a December 2009 audit. Instead, the basis of the FTA Administrator's rejection rests solely on the fact that BART's plan contains a timetable with an end date beyond September 30, 2010-the deadline for awarding stimulus fund grants.

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When railroads were first stretching their tentacles across vast new parts of this country, each new expanse of track was bought with Herculean human labor, the Racine, Wis., Journal-Times reports. No longer. Maintaining and replacing the rails still requires manpower, but far less of it. Mechanization has replaced much of what the gandy dancer and the sledgehammer achieved.

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