Latest Rail News

With the formal acquisition this week of one of the key chromite deposits among the remote Ring of Fire properties northeast of Thunder Bay, Ont., Canada, U.S. iron-ore giant Cliffs Resources positioned itself as the most likely company to build the mine everyone‘s been talking about, The Chronicle Journal reports. But while the euphoria associated with the development of what could the largest chromite mine in the world is understandable, the company says many details still have to be hammered out.

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Metro Blue Line passengers will experience travel delays of up to 30 minutes on three consecutive weekends beginning Friday night, Feb 5, due to construction of the Expo light rail line, which will connect with the Metro Blue Line in downtown Los Angeles. Work will begin at 9 p.m. on Friday nights and continue until the close of rail service on Sunday night for the weekends of Feb. 5-7, Feb. 12-14, and Feb. 19-21.

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Work on Caltrain's Grade Crossing Improvement Program, which will enhance safety at 25 grade crossings in San Mateo County, will continue t week Fair Oaks Avenue, Atherton.

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At its January 28, Board meeting, the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority Board of Directors issued the following two bid packages, seeking design-build-finance teams to construct Phase 2A (Pasadena to Azusa):  (1) the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Iconic Freeway Structure project and (2) the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the Phase 2A Alignment project. These actions keep the Foothill Extension on schedule to break ground in June 2010 and be completed to Azusa in 2013.

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NJ Transit board members approved the appointment and contract of former Transportation Commissioner James Weinstein as the state commuter agency's new executive director Jan. 28, the Asbury Park Press reports. Weinstein was nominated by Gov. Chris Christie earlier this month. The contract is effective Jan. 30. Former executive director Richard Sarles is retiring.


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The governing board of Hampton Roads Transit has selected Philip A. Shucet as HRT's president and CEO. One of Virginia's leading transportation administrators, Shucet is the former commissioner of the Virginia Department of Transportation, where he imposed a series of reforms that greatly improved the agency's on-time and on-budget performance.

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(The following is a statement from Association of American Railroads President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger in response to President Barack Obama's award of $8 billion in federal grants to 31 states around the U.S. for high-speed and intercity passenger rail projects.)

"Moving more people and goods by rail is good for America. The Obama Administration's announcement recognizes the vital importance of rail to our nation's economic recovery.

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The Amtrak national route network is a significant beneficiary of President Obama's historic federal investment in intercity passenger rail as approximately $4.5 billion of the $8 billion awarded in grants are for state projects that support improvements to current or future Amtrak routes.

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A bill backed by Olmsted County, Minn., and Mayo Clinic seeking $8 million in planning dollars for a freight railroad bypass of Rochester got a rocky reception from lawmakers Jan. 28, The Rochester Post-Bulletin reports. Opponents blasted the proposal during a House Transportation Finance and Policy Committee hearing. That included Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston.

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The latest meeting between state authorities, local officials and concerned citizens regarding the possible construction of a parking structure in downtown Ayer, Mass., revealed not only that the groups were miles apart about the type of structure that could be built, but that one of the key sources of funding for the project might not be available, the Ayer Public Spirit reports.

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