Latest Rail News

Frankfort, Ill., is moving full speed ahead before the freight trains really get rolling along the Canadian National Railway tracks in its community, the Southtown Star reports. Village officials have been working with engineers and residents to soften the blow of what is expected to be 28 daily freight trains.

Trustees recently approved a quiet zone feasibility study detailing safety improvements at every crossing from Harlem Avenue to 116th Avenue. It now goes to the Federal Railroad Administration and the Illinois Commerce Commission for approval. Village administrator Jerry Ducay said if all goes well with that approval process, work could begin in the spring and be completed by this time next year.

Once all work is completed, train engineers would not be required to sound the horn at each intersection unless there is a danger present. CN is paying for all improvements.

Ducay said he has seen no increase in rail traffic and figures CN has been operating four to six trains a day.

To date, the village also has issued $400,000 out of a $2.7-million pot provided by the rail company to landscape homes near the tracks to further reduce the noise level. Homeowners are allowed to pick their own landscaping contractor, but must submit a plan for approval and a building permit from the village.

To distribute the funds among 300 homeowners, the village developed a four-tier system, with payments ranging from $1,000 to $12,000.

"Our goal is to spend $500,000 this season and gear up again in the spring," Ducay said. "Most people will have all winter to prepare."

Even though the village has five years to spend the money, Ducay said officials hope to use it all within two years. Sound mitigation funds must be spent on landscaping walls, fences, berms, trees, evergreens, shrubs, perennials and mulch or stone. While some homeowners wanted a sound wall, it was not financially feasible, Ducay said.

Funding levels for Frankfort homeowners impacted by the Canadian National Railway:

Tier 1: $10,000 to $12,000 for properties adjacent to the railroad tracks.

Tier 2: $6,000 to $8,000 for properties separated by ComEd lines.

Tier 3: $4,000 to $5,000 for properties separated by another parcel.

Tier 4: $1,000 for properties separated by a street.

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The Association of American Railroads awarded the 2009 Environmental Excellence Award to CSX Transportation employee Paul Kurzanski. A 30-year veteran of the railroad industry, Kurzanski currently serves as manager of environmental remediation with CSXT in Jacksonville, Fla. The award was presented at the annual Railroad Environmental Conference at University of Illinois, Urbana.

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Union Pacific and CSX Transportation launched RailChem Connect, a coordinated rail service for expedited transport of chemicals between the Texas Gulf Coast region and the Southeast. The new RailChem Connect service is the result of increased coordination and re-designed interline service by the two railroads for their chemicals market customers. The service allows shipments to bypass smaller rail yards for expedited transit between major hubs. These changes, along with increased operations coordination between the railroads, increase reliability of east- and west-bound service between Union Pacific-served chemical markets such as Houston, southern Texas and Louisiana, and CSXT-served consumption markets in the southeastern states. RailChem Connect offers more consistent transit times, faster equipment turns and a shorter route than previously available for chemical shipments in this corridor.

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Following five years of construction and coming in on budget with a flawless four-million-plus-hour construction safety record, the Edward R. Roybal Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension from Union Station downtown to East Los Angeles will open to the public on Sunday, Nov. 15.

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Standing with U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities Rina Cutler, SEPTA General Manager Joe Casey, DRPA Board Chair John H. Estey, Board Vice Chair Jeff Nash and others, DRPA CEO and PATCO President, John J. Matheussen, announced an agreement that will result in Light Rail Service along Market Street between City Hall and the Delaware River Waterfront initially serving Pier 70 to the South and SEPTA's Route 15 Trolley at Girard Avenue to the North.

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Will riders of the Chicago Transit Authority's Red Line trains be pulling into the Apple iTrain station any time soon? That's the question being posed after CTA officials confirmed they were in talks with Apple over the technological giant's plans to fork over millions to refurbish the North/Clybourn station, the Chicago Tribune reports.

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Steve Weber has been named Vice President of Engineering for Nordco, Inc., where he will focus on the development of new products. Weber's extensive experience includes both development of new product lines and maintenance of existing products. His most recent position prior to joining Nordco was in the outdoor power equipment industry.

 


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Labrador Iron Mines Holdings Limited has signed a Rail Co-operation Agreement with New Millennium Capital Corp. regarding the reconstruction of the "Timmins Extension" rail spur line that will run from the TSH Railroad main rail line near Schefferville, Quebec, approximately 2.5 miles to LIM's planned processing center at Silver Yards and on a further approximately 13 miles to NML's planned processing center at the Timmins mining area.

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On Oct. 26, Secretary Ray LaHood convened the first meeting of a newly created U.S. Department of Transportation Safety Council formed to tackle critical transportation safety issues facing the department's 10 operating administrations.

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Front Royal, Va., Councilman N. Shae Parker verbally blasted representatives of Norfolk Southern over the firm's proposal that will involve the use of explosives for a construction project, according to local newspapers. The railroad is offering to pay Front Royal $160,000 in exchange for vacation of a portion of Depot Avenue and the acquisition of a temporary construction easement on a 100-foot wide strip of town property.

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