Caltrain, the 55-mile
commuter railroad serving the San Francisco Peninsula, has an ongoing
commitment to safety. The agency uses a multifaceted approach, addressing
safety issues on three fronts: engineering, education and enforcement.
include upgrades to crossings, such as pedestrian gates, and grade separation
projects that separate vehicle and pedestrian crossings from the train tracks.
This year marked the start
of construction on the San Bruno Grade Separation Project. The $147-million
project will elevate the Caltrain tracks above three existing at-grade street
crossings at San Bruno, San Mateo and Angus avenues. A new elevated Caltrain
station will be constructed between San Bruno and San Mateo avenues, replacing
the existing station at Sylvan Avenue. And pedestrian underpasses will be built
at Euclid, San Bruno and Sylvan avenues.
At the Santa Clara station,
a $40-million modernization project will add a new wider, longer
center-boarding platform to the station. A new pedestrian underpass will allow
passengers to move safely from one side of the platform to the other.
A $5.8-million project will
improve safety for motorists and pedestrians at eight crossings in Santa Clara
County. The improvements include signalized pedestrian gates, crossing panels
and, where appropriate, center medians to keep vehicles from driving around lowered
In September, as part of
Railroad Safety Month, the agency installed the first of 250 suicide prevention
signs with a hotline number to a local crisis intervention agency. The signs
are part of national study to test the effectiveness of signs in preventing
suicides on railroads.
The signs will be posted
along a 10-mile stretch of the right-of-way between Menlo Park and Mountain
View. The hotline number on the new signs is routed directly to the Youth and
Family Services Crisis Intervention Center in San Carlos. The calls will be
tracked to determine if the signs are an effective tool for suicide prevention.
Caltrain is a member of
Operation Lifesaver, an internationally renowned organization promoting rail
safety. First organized 38 years ago, the organization has helped reduce the
number of train/vehicle collisions from a 1972 high of roughly 12,000 annual
incidents to a 2009 record low of approximately 1,900 incidents. This past
year, Caltrain has given Operation Lifesaver presentations to more than 1,300
people. Audiences have included students, community groups, police and fire
officials, elected officials and civic leaders. The presentation can be
targeted to specific audiences and includes videos and handouts.
Caltrain's Transit Police
represent the enforcement component of Caltrain's rail safety program. The
Transit Police Bureau, comprised of San Mateo County Sheriff's officers, is
responsible for policing Caltrain property, including stations, parking lots
and railroad right of way. These highly-skilled law enforcement professionals
are familiar with railroad operations and the conditions at rail grade
crossings. Whenever a vehicle or pedestrian collision occurs along Caltrain's
rail line, the Transit Police respond.
The Transit Police target
locations where people may engage in unsafe behavior, such as trespassing along
the rail line and walking around lowered gates at stations or grade crossings.
As of October, Transit Police had issued 560 citations.
Transit Police deputies
also receive specialized Crisis Intervention Training. This training helps
deputies recognize people who may be a threat to themselves or others in the
vicinity of Caltrain's railroad. As a result, the Transit Police referred 17
people to treatment programs this year.
Caltrain is committed to
its role as a safety advocate and will continue to communicate safety messages
with the goal of increasing public awareness and ending tragic collisions,
fatalities and injuries at grade crossings and on the right of way.
Fort Worth & Western
Railroad said that Steven George would retire in the first quarter of 2011 as
president and chief executive officer of the Fort Worth-based 276-mile regional
railroad. Succeeding him will be Thomas Schlosser, former chief executive
officer of Global Rail Systems, Inc., Marlin, Texas, and chairman of the
American Short Line & Regional Railroad Association from 2007 to 2010.
Koppers Inc., a
wholly-owned subsidiary of Koppers Holdings Inc., said that it has completed a
transaction to acquire the rail joint business product line and related
manufacturing facility of Portec Rail Products, Inc. for a purchase price of
$10.1 million less certain assumed liabilities, subject to certain working
capital and other adjustments. The purchase price was funded with cash on hand.
Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig said that a historic public-private
partnership agreement on high-speed rail development is in place to bring
Illinois one giant step closer to achieving high-speed passenger service
between Chicago and St. Louis by 2014.
L. B. Foster Company announced
the expiration of the subsequent offering period offered by its wholly-owned
subsidiary, Foster Thomas Company, for its cash tender offer for all outstanding
shares of common stock of Portec Rail Products, Inc. The subsequent
offering period expired at 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on December 21, 2010.
MTA NYC Transit reopened
the Rockaway Park-bound platforms at the Beach 105th Street-Seaside and Beach 90th
Street-Holland stations. The rehabilitation of
these stations is part of a $117-million project encompassing nine stations on
the Rockaway Peninsula.
Tracks between San Juan
Capistrano and Oceanside, Calif., remain closed due to mudslides. Trains are
only operating as far south as Laguna Niguel. Metrolink is continuing
to provide bus transportation between Oceanside and Laguna Niguel.
With a new majority in
the House, a new chairman and many new members of the House Transportation and
Infrastructure Committee, as well as a changing national economic picture, it
is worth asking the question, "What's ahead for transportation in
2011?" The American Association
of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has compiled a list of very distinct - and pressing
- issues that loom at the local, state, and federal levels.