Latest Rail News

The Illinois Commerce Commission has granted approval Grade-crossing safety improvements in three communities across the state. ICC OKed the installation of automatic flashing light signals and gates at the 130th Street grade crossing of BNSF track located near Cameron, Warren County. The estimated cost to install automatic flashing light signals and gates is $234,377. The Grade Crossing Protection Fund will be used to pay 95 percent of the warning device installation costs, not to exceed $222,658. BNSF will pay all remaining installation costs, as well as all future operating and maintenance costs.

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A $14.7-million rail improvement project in Cary, N.C., will construct a new grade-separated crossing under the railroad near Walker Street, local newspapers report. The crossing will provide an alternative emergency service connection from south to north Cary, according to the N.C. Department of Transportation.


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Dayton, Ohio, city officials are in discussions with Norfolk Southern to tear down an abandoned train trestle bridge now used as a tent-housing complex by the area's homeless, local newspapers report. Engineers from the city and railway company examined the bridge that runs over South Patterson Boulevard, just south of Apple Street, within the last two weeks, city spokesman Tom Biedenharn confirmed. He said no decision has been made about the bridge's fate.

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The Federal Highway Administration, Illinois Department of Transportation, Chicago Department of Transportation and Association of American Railroads have agreed to modifications to the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program in response to changing needs. In particular, much of the Central Corridor, as defined in the original CREATE Feasibility Plan & Preliminary Screening is no longer required. Major portions of the southern half of the Central Corridor are being retained, however, to provide an alternate route for freight trains, in order to free up capacity on the existing route (over the Norfolk Southern Chicago Line) for Amtrak trains from New Orleans and Carbondale into Chicago Union Station, while minimizing impacts to Amtrak and freight service already using this line.


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GO Transit in metropolitan Toronto is set to start an environmental assessment that will look at what infrastructure upgrades would be required to expand rail service to the Niagara Peninsula, including prospective building sites for new rail stations and potential improvements to the existing rail line. The EA begins the week of Nov. 16, with completion scheduled for summer 2010.

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The City of Seattle and Sound Transit are moving forward with plans to build a new streetcar line linking the city's First Hill neighborhood with Capitol Hill and the International District. The city and Sound Transit have executed an agreement that includes an expedited construction timeline - the line is anticipated to open in 2013 instead of the 2016 completion that was earlier planned. The City of Seattle will build and operate the new line, which voters approved as part of the 2008 Sound Transit 2 ballot measure.

 

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CN reached a voluntary mitigation agreement related to its acquisition of the principal lines of the former Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway Company (EJ&E) with the Village of Lake Zurich, Ill., located 37 miles northwest of downtown Chicago. With this agreement, CN has VMAs with 20 municipalities that are home to two-thirds of the population living along the EJ&E in Illinois and Indiana.

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The Patrick-Murray Administration said MBTA will hire of a diverse group of 15 employees with funds from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. The new jobs support the $9-million Fitchburg, Mass., Commuter Rail Line project, funded through the ARRA stimulus program and part of Governor Deval Patrick's Massachusetts Recovery Plan. The Massachusetts Congressional delegation worked with colleagues in Washington, D.C., to allocate a total of $319 million in recovery funds for transit projects at the Regional Transit Authorities and the MBTA.

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The Dixon administration is expected to bring two contracts before the Board of Estimates Nov. 18 cementing its two-year-old accord with CSX Transportation under which the railroad will pay roughly three-quarters of the cost of replacing two of the city's most deteriorated bridges, the Baltimore Sun reports.

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The Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway Co. is on track to increase train speeds from 25 to 40 mph, and railroad and public officials are advising motorists to take extra precautions at crossings. The Gazette in Medina County, Ohio, reports.

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