Latest Rail News
Construction of Norfolk's starter light-rail line is running as much as 41 percent over its original budget, and that has angry local leaders demanding an explanation from Hampton Roads Transit, which manages the project, The Virginian-Pilot reports. HRT officials said this week they need $38 million to $40 million more to finish the 7.4-mile transit system, which is just over 50 percent complete.

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Vancouver's TransLink's Board of Directors has approved a 2010 budget that will preserve its roads and transit program. Revenue increases and cost cutting initiatives have eliminated the structural deficit and TransLink will maintain services and keep equipment and facilities in a state of good repair. Funding levels do not allow TransLink to proceed with further expansion of the transportation system in 2010.

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Axion International Holdings, Inc., which makes plastic crossties, pointed to the release of a white paper on the overall state of America's railroad tie market by the editors of SmallcapInsights.com.

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Canada's Transport Minister John Baird and the Honorable Rob Merrifield, Minister of State said Marc Laliberté, of Boucherville, Québec, has been appointed president and chief executive officer of VIA Rail Canada Inc. for a term of four years, effective January 4, 2010.


 

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BART customers who subscribe to the five major mobile phone companies can now use their mobile phones and wireless hotspot devices to make calls or surf the web as they go under the bay between San Francisco and Oakland. Over the weekend Sprint/Nextel, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and MetroPCS turned on their networks inside the Transbay Tube. In fact, BART passengers now have a continuous wireless access from the West Oakland BART Station all the way to Balboa Park.

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Fort Worth officials and regional planners have long tried to get federal support behind solving the infamous freight train delays at a railroad intersection south of downtown, the Dallas Morning News reports. Mayor Mike Moncrief on Dec.21 seemingly made more progress with one phone call than North Texas politicians have made in years of lobbying federal lawmakers. Moncrief's audience: Vice President Joe Biden.

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The Kansas City District Corps of Engineers with cooperation from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region 7, has concluded review of the proposed BNSF Railway Company's Intermodal Facility in Johnson County, Kansas. The Corps determined that the project is in the public interest, is the least environmentally damaging practicable alternative and will not significantly impact the human environment.

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With a goal of speeding freight between East Coast ports and the Midwest, CSX Transportation has undertaken what it calls the National Gateway project - an $842-million public-private upgrade of rail infrastructure to accommodate double-stack container cars, The State Journal in Huntington, W.Va., reports.

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This city (Chicago) was built on railroads that moved meat from its famous packing houses, steel from its mills, corn from surrounding fields. Today Chicago is still the nation's leading rail hub, with about 37,500 rail cars passing through daily, the Washington Post reports. But massive congestion on Chicago tracks costs millions of dollars in shipping delays, and it causes substantial noise and air pollution as trains idle for hours, waiting for track clearance. The problem threatens to get worse since freight traffic is expected to double in the next 20 years.

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(This editorial appeared on the Boston Globe Website on December 21, 2009.) The Federal Railroad Administration says it was just following the law in requiring a major environmental review before Amtrak can seek money for improvements on its Boston-Washington route. The review should be performed as quickly as possible, and, if it can't be completed in time to qualify for some of the $8 billion in high-speed rail funds in the federal stimulus bill, Congress should change the rules. The Northeast Corridor is, after all, a century-old railbed, and environmental risks stemming from fairly simple improvements aren't serious enough to jeopardize the best chance in a generation to push American rail policy in the right direction.

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