Latest Rail News

An independent team of consultants charged with looking at competitiveness in the U.S. rail industry has found that railroad rates have been steadily increasing since 2004, with a particularly steep increase in 2008. But Christensen Associates, Inc., of Madison, Wis., found that the rate increases were driven by fluctuating fuel prices and other costs and did not appear to reflect a greater exercise of railroad market power over captive shippers.

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A national environmental group with deep pockets and specialized legal expertise is joining the effort to block a permit for one of the area's biggest development projects, The Kansas City Star reports. The Natural Resources Defense Council filed a lawsuit Feb. 1 to halt the environmental permit issued for a rail yard proposed for southwest Johnson County.


The lawsuit is separate from one brought by Hillsdale Environmental Loss Prevention Inc. and several other plaintiffs. Unlike the earlier lawsuit, BNSF Railway is not named as a defendant.

 

The defense council's entrance into the case is significant because of the hefty resources at its disposal. During 2007-08, the organization raised $108 million, according to its tax returns from that year. As of mid-2008, the group had assets of $186 million.

 

Its decision to join the legal dispute "guarantees there will be some funding at least for the plaintiffs," said John Ragsdale, who has taught environmental law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

 

Groups like the council have national constituencies with dues paid by thousands of people, enabling the groups to assemble lots of money with small donations, Ragsdale said.

 

"Many of these groups have staffs of attorneys ... that are very, very competent and skilled," Ragsdale said. "They can bring a strong force to bear."

 

BNSF wants to build what's known as an intermodal hub for transferring freight arriving on West Coast trains to trucks for shipment elsewhere. The railroad plans to develop the hub on 492 acres while a private developer builds a nearby distribution and warehouse complex to store some of the incoming freight. Overall, the project promises the creation of 13,000 jobs when fully built in about 20 years.

 

BNSF is seeking $50 million in federal stimulus money to get the project started.

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Bayer MaterialScience AG has acquired the worldwide marketing and usage rights for the DURFLEX® track superstructure system from Hyperion Verwaltung GmbH, Frankfurt/Main, Germany. The two companies have signed an agreement to this effect. Financial details have not been disclosed. The superstructure system stabilizes the ballast stones under rail tracks, thus enabling more cost-effective railroad operation in the long term. It is based on the flexible Bayflex® polyurethane foam system from Bayer MaterialScience.

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Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn visited Moline, Ill, Jan. 30 to announce $45 million in state capital funds to establish passenger rail service from Chicago to the Quad Cities. The new service will result in up to 825 new jobs, including 440 construction jobs.

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Infotech Enterprises Limited, a global technology solutions provider with headquarters in Hyderabad, India, said its wholly-owned subsidiary Infotech Enterprises America Inc., acquired Daxcon Engineering Inc. located in Peoria, Ill.


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In February, in addition to the Presidents Day holiday weekend closure of the Rosslyn and Arlington Cemetery Metrorail stations on the Orange and Blue Line, Washington, D.C., Metro will replace fasteners and weld rail that will help ensure reliable Metrorail service. Customers should expect travel delays during the weekends of Feb. 5-7, Feb. 12-15, Feb. 19-21 and Feb. 26-28.





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New Lenox, Ill., Mayor Tim Baldermann is "confident" that he soon will be talking to Canadian National Railway officials before the village's battle against the company reaches the courts, the Southtown Star reports.

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The steel railroad bridge crossing high above Alhambra Avenue in Martinez, Calif., is known to local train buffs as both the Muir Trestle and Alhambra Trestle. Owned and operated by BNSF, the trestle has long been a recognizable Martinez landmark, and lately a conversation has resurfaced among local denizens about the trestle's appearance, the Martinez News-Gazette reports. Splotched with large patches of rust in between its fading gray paint, the structure is in need of a face-lift.

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The Alaska Railroad invites the public to an open house February 19 in Seward to provide an opportunity to review and comment on a proposed Program of Projects for 2010. Open House displays are open to the public and will be set up in the inn's Mount Marathon meeting room. Displays will showcase continuing and proposed capital improvement projects that are in various stages - from conceptual planning to engineering and construction.

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The CREATE Partners said that the CREATE Program will receive $133 million as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for a critical rail/rail flyover near 63rd and State Streets in the Englewood community on the south side of Chicago. The flyover will carry the north-south Metra Rock Island commuter rail line over the east-west Norfolk Southern/Amtrak line, eliminating conflict between 78 Metra Rock Island trains and approximately 60 freight and Amtrak trains that presently cross at grade each day.

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