Latest Rail News

The National Transportation Safety Board determined that last year's fatal collision of two Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority trains on the Red Line in Washington, D.C., was a failure of the track circuit modules that caused the automatic train control system to lose detection of one train, allowing a second train to strike it from the rear. The NTSB also cited WMATA for its failure to ensure that a verification test developed after a 2005 incident near Rosslyn station was used system-wide. This test would have identified the faulty track circuit before the accident.

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Union Pacific employees achieved the best first-half-of-the-year safety performance in company history. For the period January 1 through June 30, Union Pacific's employee reportable injury rate was 1.31, a nearly 10 percent improvement over the previous company best 1.45 reportable rate for the first six months of 2009. Union Pacific's employee injury rate improved 50 percent from 2001 to 2009.

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The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously voted July 27, 2010, in support of a resolution honoring America's freight railroad industry and its employees.

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Adding yet another voice to the chorus objecting to a proposed increase in freight rail traffic in St. Louis Park, Minn., the city's school board weighed in last week with its concerns, the Star Tribune reports. At a special meeting, the board passed a resolution in full support of two resolutions passed recently by the City Council.

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The City Council in Niagara Falls, N.Y., is expected to take the first concrete steps toward transforming the historic old Customs House into a combination passenger railroad station, bus station and trail head for bike riders and hikers, as well as a tourist attraction of its own and a museum commemorating the slave escape route called the Underground Railroad, The Buffalo News reports.

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Engineering, architecture and planning firm TKDA was selected as part of a design-build team with Coleman Industrial Construction to complete Mobility First Improvements at Amtrak's passenger stations in California and Oregon. This work is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for rebuilding and modernizing infrastructure and equipment. TKDA is currently providing engineering services to Amtrak in more than 10 states.

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Hatch Mott MacDonald recently hired key, high-level staff members at several of its U.S. office locations. Frank Facciolo joins Hatch Mott MacDonald's New York City office as a senior project manager for rail/transit projects and has 21 years of experience in infrastructure, transportation, and design-build projects in the N.Y. Metropolitan area and in California. John Cross joins HMM's Tallahassee, Fla., office as a senior project manager with more than 30 years of professional engineering experience in both the private and public sectors.

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A Pioneer Railcorp representative left no uncertainty about the railroad's position regarding a proposed toll increase for the use of Keokuk's swing-span railroad bridge, the Daily Gate City reports. Keokuk Junction Railway, which runs the trains on the bridge, is a subsidiary of Pioneer Railcorp.

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PS Technology (PST), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Union Pacific Corporation, has added a 3-D simulation-training program to its capabilities. The program produces realistic 3-D simulation training solutions for a variety of industries including railroad, construction, mining and shipping. For example, railroad-specific simulations for conductors, locomotive engineers and remote-control locomotive operators are used in certification training to enhance railroad safety and improve operating efficiency. Implementing this program accelerates and expands employee-training opportunities previously constrained by equipment availability and travel.

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The Federal Transit Administration has committed to a 50-percent share for the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project in Oregon. TriMet had requested a 60 percent federal share, since all previous light rail projects were funded by at least a 60 percent federal share. The 50-percent federal share would be capped at a maximum of $735.8 million.

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