(The following editorial appeared
in the Fort Worth, Texas, Star Telegram.) America's railroads have a good track
record when it comes to hauling toxic inhalants. Accidents are extremely rare
even though volume is extremely high -- trains hauled 72,000 tank cars of such
dangerous cargo in 2008.
PennDOT says moving
freight by rail eases congestion on highways, saves fuel costs and, with some
enhancements to the current lines, the state could improve upon its position as
an important crossroads for the rest of the country, the Beaver County Times
reports. A PennDOT study released earlier this month outlines what officials
hope will be the future of the rail industry-freight and passenger-and spells
out what needs to happen to achieve the goals the report sets for 2035. And
while the report makes it clear that many of the goals must be achieved by both
sides of the industry, it sets a few priorities for specific improvements that
will help improve freight rail in the state.
Six months ago, the
biggest day in Dallas Area Rapid Transit history turned into one of its worst
when thousands of football fans found themselves stranded at rail stations in
Dallas waiting to get to or from the Texas-Oklahoma game. Many fans vowed never
to ride the rails again, The Dallas Morning News reports.
Freight traffic could
resume on the Upper Hudson River Railroad as soon as next year, as a northern
Warren County business seeks to get its product to market more cheaply, the Post
Star reports. Barton Mines would use trains to transport product from its North
River mines to markets right now, if it could, said Chuck Barton, chief
operating officer of the company.
(The following column by
Sens. Jeff Wentworth and Wendy Davis and Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon appeared May
3, 2010, in the Houston Chronicle. State legislator Wentworth is a Republican
from San Antonio, Davis is a Democrat from Fort Worth, and McClendon is a
Democrat from San Antonio.) Transportation advocates
won a hard-fought victory during the 2009 legislative session by securing $182
million in financing for the Texas Railroad Relocation and Improvement Fund,
created by the voters through a constitutional amendment passed in 2005 but
never funded. Sadly, the state's transportation bureaucracy at the Texas
Department of Transportation is using a budgetary shell game to thwart the will
of the Legislature and steal this victory from the public.
CSX Transportation, citing
safety concerns, has told the New York Department of Transportation that
passenger trains traveling faster than 90 mph would have to do so in a separate
corridor located at least 30 feet away from the nearest freight track, the
Albany Times Union reports.
In May, there will be no
train service between the WMATA East Falls Church and West Falls Church-VT/UVA
Metrorail stations in Virginia during the Memorial Day holiday weekend as the
Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project will undertake the first in a series of major
construction activities that will eventually connect the new rail line to the
existing Metrorail system. Additionally, Metro will replace fasteners and
conduct bridge repair work on the Red Line and replace ties and weld rail on
the Orange and Green lines. Customers should expect significant travel delays
during the weekends of May 7-9, May 14-16, May 21-23 and May 28-31 as intervals
between trains will be lengthy.
Alexandria, Va., has
become a whistle stop town - in more ways than one. Trains have been a regular
feature of city life here since before the Civil War. But lately they've been
making a ruckus. All over Alexandria, the sound of train whistles has been
heard at all hours of the night and day, the Alexandria Gazette Packet reports.
Sales of SmartCards for
travel on PATH trains has hit a record, jumping to more than 50 percent of
market share on the rail line. SmartCard use, which has tripled in two years,
has eclipsed use of MetroCards, which total about 40 percent of payment methods
on PATH lines. PATH QuickCards make up most of the remainder of fare choices. PATH's
Automated Fare Collection System was installed in 2003 to phase-out obsolete
payment methods of cash and magnetic-strip cards.
As the 2010 construction
season gets under way, Amtrak is embarking on $1-billion construction program
to fund capital projects designed to rebuild, upgrade and modernize its tracks,
bridges, stations and other critical infrastructure along the busy Northeast
Corridor and across the country, including Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle and
the Miami area.