Environmental approvals for
the proposed $4-billion DesertXpress high-speed rail project between Las Vegas
and Southern California are taking longer than expected, but executives with
the project said March 25 they expect construction to begin this year, the Las
Vegas Sun reports.
(This column by Bob Riley, Haley Barbour, Ed Rendell, Phil
Bredesen and Bob McDonnell was published March 26, 2010, by The Washington
Post. Bob Riley, a Republican, is governor of Alabama. Haley Barbour, a
Republican, is governor of Mississippi. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, is governor of
Pennsylvania. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, is governor of Tennessee. Bob
McDonnell, a Republican, is governor of Virginia.) At the White House jobs summit in December, President Obama
told dozens of corporate leaders that he is looking for "every
demonstrably good idea" to put Americans back to work.
The plan to electrify
Caltrain will achieve a major milestone pending certification of the Final
Environmental Impact Report and Project Adoption on April 1 by the Board of
Directors. Approval by the board completes the environmental process for the
Caltrain Electrification Program, a major element of the plans to modernize the
Peninsula rail system, and positions the railroad to seek federal and state
is awarding a $37-million contract to PCL Construction Services, Inc., of
Bellevue, Wash., for Phase I and Phase II of a major upgrade of its Seattle
King Street Coach Yard Maintenance Facility. The facility supports Amtrak operations
and maintenance agreements in the Pacific Northwest, including for the Empire Builder,
Coast Starlight, Amtrak Cascades, and Sounder commuter trains.
All Sounder north commuter
rail trains between Seattle and Everett, Wash., will end at Mukilteo due to a
mudslide north of Mukilteo. The Sounder north line normally serves stations in
Edmonds, Mukilteo and Everett. Sounder will operate as normal from Seattle to
Edmonds and Mukilteo.
Minnesota's new Northstar Commuter Rail depend on well-maintained trains for a
fast, safe and reliable commute along the 40-mile run between downtown Minneapolis
and the northwest suburbs. The MTU Onsite Energy standby power system serves
the line's only maintenance facility, where trains are serviced, repaired and
Unless agreement can be
reached in two weeks, $131 million meant to separate railroad tracks in Colton
will go to other Southern California projects, and leave the region's two
freight railroads without a project they say is critical to moving goods out of
the region, The Press-Enterprise reports.
Lemont, Ill., officials
would like to see more commuter train service for residents this year, and
believe it is a real possibility, according to the Lemont Reporter. But a
number of things must happen first before the hope comes to fruition, including
increased signalization and additional bi-passes along the railroad line to
improve safety and ease freight congestion. There also is the construction of a
train station in Romeoville and the approval from the railway that owns the
The Alaska Railroad
Corporation Board of Directors has appointed ARRC Chief Finance Officer Bill O'Leary
to serve as acting Chief Executive Officer of the Alaska Railroad, effective
April 1, 2010. The decision came after the Board met March 25 to discuss the
way forward in terms of railroad leadership after current President and CEO Pat
Gamble asked for some transition time to prepare for his new job as University
of Alaska system president, effective June 1, 2010.
Metra, the commuter rail
service operator in northeastern Illinois, has unveiled a mobile website that
is streamlined to be compatible with iPhones, Blackberries and any other
portable web-enabled devices. The mobile site offers the most popular features
of our regular site in a format that is easy to view on a portable device.
Anyone using such a device to go to Metra's website at www.metrarail.com will
automatically be routed to the alternative mobile site, although they will have
the option of going to the regular site if they so choose.