Latest Rail News

One day after telling City Council that light-rail construction costs will not exceed the latest estimate of $328 million, Hampton Road Transit officials said that the price could climb another $12 million, The Virginian-Pilot reports. During a closed-door executive committee meeting, HRT consultants revealed that the project, which was budgeted to cost $232 million when construction started, could rise to about $340 million, a 47 percent increase, several board members confirmed. They added that the projection is preliminary.

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After years of waiting, Burlington, Iowa, residents were rewarded for their patience with a Christmas gift, The Hawkeye reports. At midnight Dec. 24, the city became a train horn quiet zone. Earlier this month, quiet zone status was granted by the Federal Railroad Administration based on safety modifications to downtown railroad crossings.

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 The City of Mission, Texas, is lobbying the U.S State Department to retain a permit to build another international bridge, mere weeks after the completion of the Rio Grande Valley's newest crossing, according to The Monitor.

 There is no plan or funding to build another crossing, but Mission city officials said they want to retain the 30-year-old permit because it allows them to connect railroads on both sides of the border, something the newly unveiled Anzalduas International Bridge does not.



 

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Construction of a new railroad siding in the west industrial park in Washington, Mo., could begin late next spring or early summer if the city receives final approval of state and federal grant funds it's seeking, the Missourian reports. The city has received the preliminary nod for more than $2 million in state economic development grants to finance the "team track" rail siding at the end of West Main Street, according to Dick Oldenburg, economic development director.

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Union Pacific has raised the roof on 15 of its tunnels over Donner Pass in the Sierra, allowing double-stacked trains to cross the pass and go through Reno for the first time on the way to Chicago, the Reno Gazette-Journal reports. When the recession ebbs, more trains could be coming through Reno and Sparks. Double-stacked trains have been routed through the longer and more difficult Feather River Canyon north of Reno.

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The Port of Vancouver, Wash., will receive nearly $3 million in additional federal funds to help build rail lines for its $137-million West Vancouver Freight Access project, the Portland Business Journal reports. The new allocation comes with the help of U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and was included in the final version of the fiscal 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act.

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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. The schedule includes Maple Avenue, Chestnut Street and Broadway, Redwood City, 8:00 p.m. - 4:00 a.m., Dec. 28-30. 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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The Illinois Commerce Commission has granted approval for the installation of automatic flashing light signals and gates and highway approach grade improvements at the 160th Street crossing of BNSF track located near Galesburg, Warren County. The estimated cost to install the new automatic flashing light signals and gates is $518,729.  The Grade Crossing Protection Fund will pay 95 percent of the warning device installation costs, not to exceed $492,793.  BNSF will pay the remaining warning device installation costs, as well as all future operating and maintenance costs. 

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Norfolk Southern Corp. expects to learn next month whether the U.S. Department of Transportation will provide it with a $300-million stimulus grant as the company works to complete a $2.5-billion rail project, Northern Virginia Daily reports.

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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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