By reaching a mitigation agreement with Long Grove, Ill., late last week, Canadian National Railway has come to terms with 23 of the 33 municipalities along the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway, many of whom expressed concern or outright opposition to CN’s acquisition of the latter.
Under CN’s agreement with Long Grove, CN will provide funding to Long Grove for maintaining a quiet zone as well as safety training. Long Grove lies northwest of Chicago. The Surface Transportation Board approved the acquisition on Dec. 24, 2008, with conditions, and CN began operating over the EJ&E early in 2009. But several municipalities, forming the umbrella group The Regional Answer to Canadian National (TRAC), filed an appeal of the STB’s decision. While opposition and the organization still exist, CN’s step-by-step approach to the situation appears to be slowly outflanking those still protesting the acquisition.
Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. said Tuesday it has won a $12.5 million engineering services contract from Phoenix’s Valley Metro Rail, Inc. for the Central Mesa Light Rail Extension project. The project will extend LRT 3.1 miles through downtown Mesa, a Phoenix suburb. Jacobs will provide both preliminary and final engineering services for the project.
Jacobs expects the project to take approximately two years to complete and will be followed shortly thereafter by construction. The extension is scheduled for completion in 2016.
Said Jacobs Group Vice President Robert Clement in a statement, “Jacobs is very pleased to be involved in the Central Mesa Light Rail Extension project and proud to support METRO's overall efforts to improve transit in the greater Phoenix area.”
At present, Valley Metro's LRT service ends in western Mesa, just across the border from neighboring municipality Tempe, Ariz.; the 3.1-mile addition will extend the line further east. Mesa, unlike some Phoenix-area suburbs, has been consistent in its support for LRT access.
Valley Metro began revenue operations on its current 20-mile route on December 27, 2008.
Riders on the Long Island Rail Road will find out Monday if they indeed have access to normal weekday service levels, following a fire last week affecting an antiquatedswitching machine near Jamaica Station in Queens, N.Y., that hampered service on 10 of the LIRR's 11 routes.
LIRR had been running three-quarters of its usual morning service since last Monday, when a pair of track cables short-circuited near Hall Tower, setting fire to a 1920s-era lever-and-pulley machine that controlled track switches at Jamaica Station. The railroad ran about two-thirds of its normal afternoon service while repairs took place.
The switching machine is scheduled to be replaced with a modern computerized system by late October. Transit officials said they believed the equipment upgrades would go on as scheduled, although the $56 million project is already behind schedule and over budget. Service disruptions are likely to occur again on the weekends when the railroad carries out the upgrade.
As for Monday, “we’re anticipating a normal rush hour, a.m. and p.m.,” said LIRR spokesman Joe Calderone.
In a statement, LIRR President Helena Williams said, “I appreciate the challenges our customers faced during the past week and I thank them for their patience during what has been a difficult time.
“I would alsolike to thank the hundreds of railroad employees who worked around the clock to put the damaged signal and switch system back together while keeping service going and assisting our customers throughout the week. Once again, they demonstrated their dedication and commitment to our customers,” Williams said.
Norfolk Southern’s Heartland Corridor Clearance Improvement Project has been awarded the 2010 Dr. William W. Hay Award for Excellence. The $190 million project, which improves capacity, clearances, and travel times for freight rail traffic between Chicago and Norfolk, Va., was named during the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA) Annual Conference and Exposition in Orlando, Fla.
This is the 12th year the award was presented.
Norfolk Southern Friday began running test trains on its upgraded Heartland Corridor between Chicago and Norfolk, Va., with hopes of beginning scheduled service on the improved route September 9.
The Seattle-area Sound
Transit Board of Directors authorized the award of the construction contract
for the Sounder D-to-M Streets Track and Signal project to low-bidder
MidMountain Contractors, Inc. The project will build a new commuter rail line
from East D to South M Streets in Tacoma.