The future of downtown rail
- for right or wrong, better or worse, for whatever it turns out to be - is now
firmly in the City of Austin's hands, writes Ben Wear in the Austin Statesman. Capital
Metro, carrier of the passenger rail flag around here for more than 20 years,
will still open its MetroRail commuter line (sometime soon). And conceivably
the agency could be hired to operate a rail line built by the city. But Capital
Metro, nearly out of money and tarnished by its halting MetroRail performance
so far, won't be the prime mover.
Quixote Corporation, a
leading manufacturer of transportation safety products and advanced
technologies, celebrated its 40-year anniversary in July 2009.
Construction in downtown
Minneapolis continues as crews work on the Hiawatha Light Rail Transit extension
and the Northstar Commuter Rail station. Punchlist work continues at the
commuter stations in Big Lake, Elk River, Anoka and Coon Rapids. System testing
also continues as crews are testing both the Northstar train system and the LRT
promise to fund an additional station,
approval of a budget of up to $941 million and award of a contract to
start public utility relocation in downtown St. Paul capped a banner month for
the Central Corridor LRT Project.
Beginning August 30, MAX
Yellow Line trains in downtown Portland, Ore., will move to the new tracks on
5th and 6th avenues along the Portland Transit Mall. Also on August 30, MAX
Green Line trains will begin two weeks of test runs on the Mall and along I-205
before opening for service on Saturday, September 12.
The State of Illinois is in
a rush to swallow up Federal Stimulus money earmarked for the development of
high-speed rail services, the Illinois Statehouse Examiner reports. However, in
the rush to meet the arbitrary deadlines imposed by the stimulus package, state
officials are giving little consideration to the economic impact of communities
along the high-speed rail system.
Alabama State Port
Authority officials plan to meet this week with Norfolk Southern senior
executives to discuss linking the railroad's proposed $112-million intermodal
facility in McCalla, Ala., to the newly opened $300 million container terminal
in Mobile, according to the Birmingham Business Journal.
The Regional Answer to
Canadian National (TRAC) is petitioning the Surface Transportation Board to
take a careful look at a recent request by Canadian National to increase its
trackage rights on its rail lines throughout the City of Chicago and suburbs.
In a move that went virtually undetected, on August 5, 2009, CN filed 17
simultaneous Trackage Rights Exemption requests with the STB asking that it be
allowed to change the flow of train traffic on its Chicago area railroad subsidiaries,
Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway, Illinois Central Railroad Company,
Wisconsin Central, Grand Trunk Western Railroad and Chicago, Central &
Pacific Railroad. This request could allow CN the ability to significantly
increase the number of trains that operate along the EJ&E line and its
subsidiaries in dozens of towns including Chicago, Mundelein, Schiller Park,
Broadview, Joliet, Frankfort, Markham, Buffalo Grove and parts of Indiana.
The long-awaited rail
spur for Custom Polymers in Elm Street Industrial Park in Athens, Ala., has
passed the last hurdle toward construction, the Athens News-Courier reports. On
August 27, the Limestone County Industrial Development Board and Athens City
Council granted a railroad easement to the company and clarified a payment
process utilizing company, city, county and grant funds.
The company, which
leases a city spec building in the park, uses recycled plastic to produce
pellets used in the manufacturing of bottles, clothing, fencing and benches.