Latest Rail News

According to government forecasts, freight volumes in the United States will significantly increase by 2020. Unless major transportation infrastructure improvements are made, this could lead to reduced productivity resulting in job losses, higher prices for the goods we buy and reduced worldwide demand for the goods we sell. The National Gateway - an $842-million multi-state public-private infrastructure initiative - will help meet current infrastructure needs and prepare the nation for this projected growth by investing in surface transportation infrastructure improvements.

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(The following opinion piece by Alfred Doblin appeared in The Record in Northern New Jersey.) Last week, Governor-elect Chris Christie met with The Record's editorial board. During the meeting, he was asked about transportation projects and the possibility of a gas tax to help keep the Transportation Trust Fund solvent.



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Mapping the route of a proposed high-speed passenger train between the Twin Cities and Chicago will take a year or more, a Minnesota transportation official said, according to local newspapers. Dan Krom, who made a presentation to Washington County commissioners, said as many as eight routes are under study. One of them, which the commissioners favor, would follow the existing Amtrak route, known in planning circles as Red Rock, through southern Washington County and eastern Dakota County.

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Whether you might take the train for holiday travel in the future might well depend on a $200-million request for federal funds. Missouri Transportation Director Pete Rahn says people are being drawn to rail travel for reasons other than saving money on fuel, local media report.

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The city of Inver Grove Heights, Minn., has received a couple of mighty big gifts totaling $1.4 million in grant money to convert a historic swing bridge into a 670-foot public pier over the Mississippi River, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. And now, as they're getting ready to seek contractors to do the work, city officials say they're expecting that bids could come in 20 to 40 percent lower than anticipated by engineers -- thanks in part to highly competitive bidding during tough economic times.

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The recent sale of the Chamberlain, S.D.-based Dakota Southern Railway Company could result in lower shipping prices for area producers served by the line, according to its new owners, the Daily Republic reported. Mike Williams and Stan Patterson, who purchased the line, met in Chamberlain with the Mitchell-Rapid City Regional Rail Authority and laid out the broad strokes of a multi-year rebuilding plan.

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New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert C. Lieber and Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman and CEO Jay H. Walder lauded the completion of the first phase of the Number 7 subway extension at the Hudson Yards in Manhattan. The second of two tunnel boring machines has reached the southern wall of the 34th Street Station cavern after mining a combined 2,900 feet from their starting point at 26th Street under 11th Avenue. The $2.1-billion project, funded by the City and managed by the MTA, will help transform the Hudson Yards vicinity into a vibrant 24-hour neighborhood, containing a mix of commercial, residential, retail, open space and recreational uses.

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The Port of Seattle Commission approved a Memorandum of Understanding with King County and BNSF that will result in the Port's acquisition and receipt by donation of the 42-mile Eastside rail corridor in King and Snohomish counties from the railroad. Acquisition of the southern corridor for the public is one of the largest and most significant in the history of the federal rail-banking program.

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Iowa Mold Tooling Co. Inc., an Oshkosh Corporation company, has expanded its manufacturing operations into McIntire, Iowa, by opening a new facility to handle its increased welding activities. The plant opening created about 40 welding jobs. IMT has also hired more welders at its main facility in Garner, Iowa.

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Construction of Norfolk's starter light-rail line is running as much as 41 percent over its original budget, and that has angry local leaders demanding an explanation from Hampton Roads Transit, which manages the project, The Virginian-Pilot reports. HRT officials said this week they need $38 million to $40 million more to finish the 7.4-mile transit system, which is just over 50 percent complete.

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