A civil engineer with an
extensive railroad engineering background is the Federal Railroad
Administration's new deputy associate administrator for safety, regulatory and
legislative affairs. Dr. Magdy El-Sibaie succeeds Grady Cothen in the post,
following an extensive nationwide search to fill the position. Cothen announced
his retirement in late 2009, but is remaining at the FRA through March to
assist El-Sibaie in the transition.
Most recently, El-Sibaie
was acting associate administrator for hazardous materials safety at DOT's
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Until October 2009, he
was the FRA's director of research and development, following a successful
tenure as the agency's chief of track research, where he managed the FRA's
track inspection technology development program that created improved systems
for measuring track geometry at high speeds.
El-Sibaie earned a
doctorate in engineering mechanics from the University of Delaware in 1986, and
was recruited by the Association of American Railroads as a researcher at the
industry's Chicago Technical Center, where he is credited with pioneering new
methods of computer modeling to measure the dynamic behavior of track under
varying loads, speeds and conditions. For that work, the American Society of
Mechanical Engineers honored him in 1980 with its Rail Transportation Award.
In 1989, he was reassigned
by the AAR to its Transportation Test Center in Pueblo, Colo., where he worked
on vehicle/track interaction modeling and testing, in-train stability and
wheel-load dynamics. He returned to the Chicago Test Center in 1993 to lead the
AAR's track assessment and test program.
El-Sibaie joined the FRA in
1995 as a senior program manager in the Office of Research and Development,
chairing a government-industry working group that formulated the first set of
safety standards for U.S. high-speed rail service. He also worked with rail
suppliers and Amtrak to establish standards for Amtrak's high-speed Acela
trains operating on the Northeast Corridor.
As deputy associate
administrator for safety, regulatory and legislative affairs, El-Sibaie will
lead FRA initiatives that develop and implement industry safety regulatory
strategy. These efforts include leading the Rail Safety Advisory Committee in
studying emerging safety issues, including the incorporation of new technology
into the rail environment, as well as risk reduction strategies and close-call
When it comes to
attention-grabbing covers, the title "Great Rail Disasters" with an
illustration of a train wreck is tough to beat for creating a sense of danger
and drama, Ted Jackovics wrote in the Tampa, Fla., Tribune website. Inside, the
44-page American Dream Coalition report focuses on "foolish
investments" and "pork barrel spending" in a critique of rail as
a passenger transportation alternative.
(The following column by
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) appeared on the Williamson Daily News website
on January 23, 2010. He represents West Virginia's 3rd District.)
When the workers laboring
to raise the roof of the old Cooper Tunnel on the Norfolk Southern main line in
Mercer County, W.Va., see daylight, it's about time to call it a day, the
Bluefield Daily Telegraph reports. NS is on the home stretch of the Heartland
Corridor project that started in the fall of 2007 and is on track to be
finished later this summer. When it's done, the Heartland Corridor will enable
NS to move double-stacked freight cars from Lambert's Point (near Hampton Roads,
Va.) on the Atlantic coast all the way to Chicago on the Lake Michigan shore.
Mayor Richard M. Daley and
Chicago Transit Authority President Richard L. Rodriguez announced a
significant development in the agency's ongoing effort to enhance safety and
security on its rail and bus system. With the installation of cameras at 24
Green Line stations, the CTA's rail system now has 1,657 cameras at 73 rail
Two bridge projects that
were put on hold about two months ago are back on track, The Medina County,
Ohio, Gazette reports. Bob Sullivan, spokesman for CSX Transportation, said the
company is working to secure funding to proceed with work on the bridges over
the tracks at Rivers Corners Road in Homer Township and at Pawnee Road on the border
of Homer and Harrisville townships. The project includes rebuilding the bridge
at Rivers Corners to allow for taller, double-stack trains to pass underneath,
and demolishing the bridge at Pawnee and vacating the road with a detour at
North Shore construction
work will cause much of the intersection of Allegheny Avenue and Reedsdale
Street in Pittsburgh to close starting Jan. 25. The closing is due to the
ongoing construction of the North Shore Connector light rail project. The
intersection is scheduled to remain partially closed through Feb. 10.
Work on Caltrain's Grade
Crossing Improvement Program, which will enhance safety at 25 grade crossings
in San Mateo County, will continue at the following locations: Main Street,
Redwood City, Jan. 24-25; Watkins Avenue, Atherton, Jan. 24-25; Fair Oaks
Avenue, Atherton, Jan. 25-28; and Oak Grove Avenue, Menlo Park, Jan. 24 - 25 Throughout
the project area, at least one lane of the impacted street will remain open.
Flagmen will direct traffic and pedestrians around the construction.
International Holdings, Inc., a next-generation technology company utilizing
recycled plastic for high-load industrial products, said that demolition has
begun of the current structures at the Ft. Eustis Army Transportation Corp.
military base in Virginia in order to replace those spans with two new railroad
bridges made almost entirely from Axion's 100-percent recycled plastic
Illinois DOT I setting up
the first ever business exchange with Chicago area small businesses to connect
small disadvantaged businesses (DBEs), many minority- and women-owned enterprises,
with the CREATE partners and the rail industry to explore opportunities for
near-term and future business partnerships.