Latest Rail News

BMWED National Division President Freddie Simpson convened a meeting Oct. 21 for the purpose of reviewing membership surveys and finalizing bargaining demands that will be served on the nation's freight railroads in November. The national contract with most freight railroads will expire January 1, 2010 and the next round of bargaining will begin.

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North County Transit District leaders in the San Diego area floated the idea of refusing to pay for an expensive and federally mandated rail safety program, then did a quick about-face when they learned such a move could shut down the district's coastal railway, the North county Times reports. In the end, the district's board voted 8-1 to pay for a $332,728 study of how to install positive train control. The required safety technology could cost NCTD anywhere from $27 million to $90 million. To put that in perspective, as board member and Solana Beach City Councilman Dave Roberts did, $90 million is about the size of NCTD's entire annual budget.

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On October 22, railway control and communications systems provider Invensys Rail, Brazilian engineering company Montagens e Projetos Especiais (MPE) and Spanish telecoms specialists Infoglobal have signed a milestone $418-million contract to upgrade the Signaling and ATC on lines 8, 10 and 11 of São Paulo's rapidly developing Metro system.

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Work on Caltrain's Grade Crossing Improvement Program, which will enhance safety at 25 grade crossings in San Mateo County, continues in Burlingame, Menlo Park and Atherton. Throughout the project area, at least one lane of the impacted street will remain open. Flagmen will direct traffic and pedestrians around the construction.

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Unitrac Railroad Materials, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Healey Railroad Corporation and a specialty trackwork manufacturer and distributor of new and relay rail, has received the contract to supply 72 panelized turnouts for the Evansville Western Railway project located in North Baltimore, Ohio.

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The Board of Directors of Caterpillar Inc. elected Douglas R. Oberhelman to the offices of Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer - Elect, effective January 1, 2010. Oberhelman, 56, currently serves as Group President of Caterpillar with responsibility for the company's engine and gas turbine businesses, human services, rail services and remanufacturing divisions. As Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer - Elect, Oberhelman will take on the additional responsibilities of managing the leadership transition and updating the company's strategy.  


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North Coast Railroad Authority Chairman, Allan Hemphill said that $40 million in repairs to 62 miles of the Northwestern Pacific railway between Napa County and Windsor have been completed. He said Federal Railroad Administration inspection of the repairs to trackway, crossing signals, and bridges between Windsor in Sonoma County and the national rail interchange (Lombard), located North of American Canyon in Napa County, will take up to 90 days.

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Global Rail Systems, Inc., a Marlin, Texas-based railroad automation company, said that Vossloh has acquired a majority interest in the company, effective October 16, 2009. Vossloh is a global player in the rail technology markets. The acquisition of Global Rail Systems complements Vossloh's three other U.S.-owned companies: Vossloh Track Material (formerly Pohl Corp.), Cleveland Track Material, Inc., which manufacture track switches, and Vossloh Fastening Systems America Corp., based in Chicago. Under terms of the agreement, Global's management will remain in place.

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A recent study by the SouthEast Commuter Rail Development Board confirms what Crete, Ill., Mayor Michael Einhorn said he's known for years: that commuter rail service to the southeast suburbs is necessary, according to the Southtown Star.

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Whether trains or buses will roll along the abandoned North Shore Rail right-of-way on Staten Island will be decided in the coming months, after the MTA said it has hired a consultant to evaluate the options, the Website SILive.com reports. SYSTRA Engineering, Inc., was chosen to conduct the study at a cost of just under $1.5 million. The company has done previous work on the North Shore Rail and West Shore Light Rail projects.

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