Latest Rail News

The provincial government of Ontario has announced plans to develop the James Bay Lowlands in the north of the province, Minerals and Metals magazine reports. More than 20 mining companies are hoping to cash in on an area believed to contain high-grade deposits of nickel, copper, zinc, gold, chromite and palladium.

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Workers are distributing 90,000 railroad ties beside CN's track between Prince Rupert and Smithers, B.C., in preparation for an extensive spring/summer replacement work project, the Terrace Standard reports. A bright yellow tie carrier, complete with a grappling arm to unload the ties, is now making its way on the tracks east from Prince Rupert.

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Beginning the early part of April, Earthquake Safety Program construction crews will start working inside BART's West Oakland, Calif., Station to strengthen it against earthquakes. Crews will erect scaffolding and enclosures around work areas, which may obstruct your path through the concourse area as you head to the platform or fare gates.

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By 2014, the Illinois Department of Transportation hopes to start separating the railroad crossing at Ogden Avenue in Aurora, Ill., the Sun-Times Media Group reports. But at this early stage, officials aren't certain just how they're going to do it.

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BART began running on schedule again March 29 between Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill, Calif., after weekend work on a major construction project that involved removing and installing 1,200 feet of rail weighing some four million pounds in under 48 hours.

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Federal aid alone won't pay for meaningful highway projects these days, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Monday during a visit to the Chicago suburbs, the Daily Herald reports. Instead, tolls and public-private partnerships in addition to government funding are the wave of the future when it comes to transportation improvements, he noted.

"Public-private partnerships, tolling, the highway trust fund ... a combination of these things and we'll get there. But right now we're trying to find the path forward," LaHood said, while at a stop in Barrington, Ill.

The Peoria Republican returned to Illinois to meet with U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean, a Barrington Democrat, and local leaders to talk about transportation needs and tour several controversial railroad crossings.

The Canadian National Railway's purchase of the smaller EJ&E railroad to relieve congestion on some of its busier tracks is opposed by Barrington and other towns along the line because of traffic and safety concerns.

Although opponents are suing to overturn federal regulators' 2008 decision permitting the merger, "it's reality," LaHood said of the acquisition.

The pending surface transportation bill, a multi-year funding program for roads and transit, will provide critical assistance for projects across the country when it is passed, LaHood said.

"I think the region should look to the next transportation bill as an opportunity to solve some of these big transportation issues," he said.

But the secretary noted that finding the cash to finance the program is a challenge, particularly given the depleted state of the highway trust fund, which is funded largely by gasoline taxes and has had to receive emergency allocations from Congress.

"It's deficient because people drive less and drive more efficient cars," LaHood said.

And given that President Obama opposes raising the gas tax in the current economic climate, "we've got to be creative and think outside the box," when it comes to funding the surface transportation bill, LaHood said.

Touring EJ&E railroad crossings with LaHood was productive, Barrington Mayor Karen Darch said, adding the village will continue its legal fight against the U.S. Surface Transportation Board's ruling.

"One likely scenario is that the court could remand it back to the board for further environmental review that could lead to further mitigation," she said.

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Ontario's plan to save $4 billion by postponing the construction of Greater Toronto Area transit infrastructure was met with uncertainty by various industry stakeholders, the Daily Commercial News And Construction Record reports.

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers warns that legal disputes over property access needed to build levees, floodwalls and gates in eastern New Orleans could mean that area won't get 100-year protection by the promised June 1, 2011, deadline, says an editorial in The Times-Picayune.

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Supporters of a railroad in northern Maine and a deep-water pier in southern Maine told lawmakers that state money is needed to retain jobs and boost tourism, the Kennebec Journal reports.


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A study of possible high-speed, intercity rail for Colorado has found that lines between Fort Collins and Pueblo and between Denver International Airport and Eagle County have the best "operating and cost-benefit results" of the options evaluated, The Denver Post reports.

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