Latest Rail News
The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority's BART Silicon Valley Project exemplifies findings from the recently released "Economic Impact of Public Transportation Investment" report, which demonstrates how increased investment in public transportation provides green jobs, wages and business income in industries that have been particularly hit hard by the economic downturn. 

Economic analysis of the BART Silicon Valley project by Wilber Smith and Associates estimated an overall return on investment of four to six dollars for every dollar spent on the $6-billion project.

By 2030, the 16-mile extension is estimated to generate an additional $11.42 billion in gross regional product and $3.27 billion in personal income, with 66 percent of those dollars staying in Santa Clara County and the remainder benefiting the Bay Area region. The national average of short- and long-term economic benefits of public transit investments outlined in the APTA report is for every $1 invested in public transportation, $4 is generated in economic returns.

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Monterey County, Calif., residents are one step closer to riding light rail between Monterey and Marina after the Transportation Agency selected light rail as the locally preferred alternative for the Monterey Branch Line transit corridor.  The 16-mile corridor extends between Monterey and Castroville on the publicly-owned tracks adjacent to Highway 1.

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The American Public Transportation Association and the International Union of Railways (Union Internationale des Chemins de Fer, or UIC) will host three regional seminars in early 2010. The goal of these seminars is to provide U.S. decision makers the information necessary to implement high-speed rail.

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Weekend motorists and pedestrians using the intersection of Market and San Carlos streets in San Jose, Calif., and VTA light rail riders traveling to, from or through Convention Center Light Rail Station will be affected as three sections of aging light rail track running in the median of San Carlos Street between Market Street and Almaden Boulevard in downtown San Jose are replaced.

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About 200 feet of railroad track -- including 400 feet of rail and 160 ties -- along the Nickel Plate Road rail line was damaged by heat during last week's tanker truck explosion at I-69 and I-465, the Indianapolis Star reports. That's the rail line that transportation advocates hope to use for light rail service from Noblesville to Downtown Indianapolis. The Nickel Plate runs underneath the I-465 East/West overpass and alongside the I-69 southbound ramp.

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Track maintenance on the Washington, D.C., Metrorail Red and Orange lines Oct. 30-Nov.2 will cause inbound and outbound trains to take turns sharing one track. Customers should add at least 30 minutes of time to their trips. 

Metrorail customers traveling between the Friendship Heights and Van Ness-UDC Metrorail stations should add at least 30 minutes to their travel time for their trips because Metro will replace rail fasteners that stabilize tracks and make tunnel repairs. Trains will share one track between these locations throughout the weekend from 9:30 p.m. Oct. 30, to closing (midnight) on Nov. 1. 

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The board of directors of The Whitmore Manufacturing Company appointed Jeff Peterson, a director of the company, president and Chief Executive Officer effective November 30, 2009. Peterson is Vice President of Capital Southwest Corporation, the principal shareholder of the company, and has closely followed Whitmore for more than eight years. He has gained a breadth of experience, including serving as a director of 14 companies, overseeing the acquisition or direct investments of more than 20 companies and working with rapidly growing businesses. Additionally, he serves in a variety of operational capacities at Capital Southwest and on the board of several industry trade groups, including the National Association of Small Business Investment Companies.

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St. Louis regional transit leaders joined with state and local elected officials October 26 to celebrate the grand opening of Metro's new paint facility that will be used to repaint the MetroLink Light Rail Vehicles. Located in East St. Louis, Ill., the new $4.3-million facility enables Metro to prepare and paint the LRVs in an environmentally-controlled area that is healthier for employees and better for the environment.

Many of the 87 Light Rail Vehicles in the Metro System have been in service since the 1990s, clocking an average of 500 miles per day as they carry passengers back and forth along the 46-mile alignment. Not surprisingly, the heavily utilized trains require fresh paint to maintain their structural integrity, extend the life of each vehicle and keep them looking their best. While Metro has been manually repainting the LRVs at its maintenance facility in St. Louis, the new paint booth will improve the process through increased technology, and minimize the environmental impact of maintaining the trains.

Event attendees had the opportunity to tour the new operation and see the features that enhance the process. The new facility is a 9,600-square-foot pre-cast panel structure containing two distinct work areas, one of which is the totally enclosed paint booth. This design enables Metro employees to clean and prepare the trains for painting on one side of the facility, while other trains are simultaneously being painted on the other.

The prep area includes a dust collection system that is one of the "green" features of the operation. Six separate work areas in the prep bay, where employees use various air tools, are tied into a central vacuum system that will collect all the dust and other particles and transport them to dust collection bags in a separate room. 

The paint booth itself is equipped with two automated "lifts" that give the individuals applying the spray paint easy access to all parts of the train. Each lift can accommodate up to two painters, further streamlining the process. The trains are painted with low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint, and an extensive exhaust system helps to further minimize the environmental impact of the process, while also reducing the risk of dust or other particles marring the paint job. Outside air flows in through the ceiling, where filters remove particles from the air before it enters the paint booth. Exhaust fans then return the air to the environment, pulling it through filters in the paint booth pits. The filters are designed to remove paint and other particles so that the exhaust air meets environmental standards.

In addition, 400 energy efficient fluorescent lights illuminate the paint booth, enabling Metro employees to apply the paint with precision, and allowing for careful inspection of the completed paint job before the trains are put back into circulation.

"This facility will allow Metro to effectively and efficiently restore the body of the Light Rail Vehicles, extend the service life of each train and create a consistent image for Metro's customers," notes Ray Friem, Metro's Chief Operating Officer of Transit Services.

Bob Baer, Metro's President and CEO added, "We really appreciate the support for this project from St. Clair County Transit District and the elected officials from St. Clair County."

Plocher Construction Company of Highland, Ill., was the general contractor for the project, which was awarded in September 2008 and included civil site work, utility work and track work, in addition to the building and paint booth construction. Actual construction was completed six months ahead of schedule and approximately 10 percent under the estimated budget of $4,783,821. Funding for the project came from federal formula funds with a local contribution of $246,000 from the St. Clair County Transit District. St. Louis County, Mo., also contributed funds to the facility. The Light Rail Vehicles that will be repainted at the new facility operate all along the entire alignment in St. Louis City and St. Louis County in Missouri and in St. Clair County, Ill.

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Norfolk Southern has unveiled preliminary environmental data that will serve as the foundation of its proposed intermodal terminal in Fayette County, where cargo containers will be transferred between trucks and trains, The Daily News reports.

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Canadian Pacific Railway sold its historic Windsor Station in Montreal as the country's second-largest railway continues to look at ways to improve its cash position in face of declining volumes, the Montreal Gazette reports. CP said it had sold the station and significant other related real estate, to Cadillac Fairview Corp. Ltd. for C$86 million.

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