Latest Rail News

In its ongoing effort to enhance public safety, Metrolink Board Chair Keith Millhouse announced that the agency has activated Automatic Train Stop technology at an additional 49 priority locations throughout its rail system. This ATS installation will expand the number of locations of ATS inductors to 105 on Metrolink routes in Orange County, San Gabriel Valley, Antelope Valley and Ventura County. The new installations are also compatible with the Pacific Surfliner ATS-equipped Intercity trains that operate on the Metrolink system. Metrolink received expedited approval from the Federal Railroad Administration for the expanded ATS program as another important safety measure while the commuter rail service continues to accelerate the development and deployment of Positive Train Control in Southern California.

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The National Gateway initiative will spur thousands of employment opportunities throughout the Midwest and East Coast, creating growth and building the nation's economic competitiveness. The National Gateway is an $842-million, multi-state public-private infrastructure initiative that will create a more efficient freight rail route between Mid-Atlantic ports and Midwestern markets. Planned improvements that will create job opportunities include raising bridges, increasing tunnel clearances and building new terminals along existing rail corridors to support the movement of double-stacked containers on rail cars.

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The Sound Transit Board on Thursday unanimously approved a contract to dig twin-bored tunnels between the Capitol Hill Station and downtown Seattle for the University Link light rail extension. The contract, with JCM U-Link Joint Venture, is for $168.9 million, which includes a 10 percent contingency. The firm's bid was 12 percent below the engineer's estimate.


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Construction activities at the Fridley, Minn., Northstar commuter rail station are slightly behind schedule. However, crews remain optimistic that the station will be ready for opening day.

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Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell said that she would push ahead with plans to borrow $100 million so that the state can build a key part of the New Haven rail yard, the Hartford Courant reports. One of Connecticut's biggest contractors recently offered to build a 293,000-square-foot maintenance center for rail cars that was only about half as expensive as transportation officials and a consultant had projected.

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The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors has approved the 2009 Long Range Transportation Plan that will guide transportation development in the county through the year 2040, a period in which the county is expected to experience unprecedented growth.

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Fulfilling a commitment to the PATH rail system's long-term growth, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's Board of Commissioners authorized more than $340 million worth of contracts to help replace antiquated mechanical train controls on the 101-year-old system with state-of-the-art, computerized signals.

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TriMet in the Portland, Ore., area is beginning work on the first of several stimulus-funded projects aimed at improving rider and pedestrian safety, security and convenience at Eastside MAX stations. TriMet is using federal stimulus funds to repaint six MAX stations, starting at the E 162nd Ave station in Gresham.

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The North County Transit District reached an agreement with AECOM (formerly DMJM+Harris) to settle all claims arising from the design services performed by DMJM+Harris for the SPRINTER light rail project in the San Diego area. The settlement allows each party to avoid future litigation regarding disputed claims. With this agreement, NCTD should complete the SPRINTER project well within its federally approved budget of $484.2 million.

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Hampton Roads Transit's board awarded a $3.96-million contract to build 11 light-rail stations, slightly under the $4.09 million projected budget, according to The Virginian-Pilot. The contract went to W.M. Schlosser Company Inc., which is already building the light-rail vehicle storage and maintenance facility. The company has done similar work for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

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