NCTD leaders slam federal requirement on PTC mandate

North County Transit
District leaders in the San Diego area floated the idea of refusing to pay for
an expensive and federally mandated rail safety program, then did a quick
about-face when they learned such a move could shut down the district’s coastal
railway, the North county Times reports. In the end, the district’s board voted
8-1 to pay for a $332,728 study of how to install positive train control. The
required safety technology could cost NCTD anywhere from $27 million to $90
million. To put that in perspective, as board member and Solana Beach City
Councilman Dave Roberts did, $90 million is about the size of NCTD’s entire
annual budget.

Invensys Rail wins Brazilian Metro contract

On October 22, railway
control and communications systems provider Invensys Rail, Brazilian
engineering company Montagens e Projetos Especiais (MPE) and Spanish telecoms
specialists Infoglobal have signed a milestone $418-million contract to upgrade
the Signaling and ATC on lines 8, 10 and 11 of São Paulo’s rapidly developing
Metro system.

Caltrain construction, maintenance update, Oct. 24-30

Work on Caltrain’s Grade
Crossing Improvement Program, which will enhance safety at 25 grade crossings
in San Mateo County, continues in Burlingame, Menlo Park and Atherton. Throughout
the project area, at least one lane of the impacted street will remain open.
Flagmen will direct traffic and pedestrians around the construction.

Caterpillar names Doug Oberhelman Vice Chairman and CEO – Elect

Board of Directors of Caterpillar Inc. elected Douglas R. Oberhelman to the
offices of Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer – Elect, effective January
1, 2010. Oberhelman, 56, currently serves as Group President of Caterpillar
with responsibility for the company’s engine and gas turbine businesses, human
services, rail services and remanufacturing divisions. As Vice Chairman and
Chief Executive Officer – Elect, Oberhelman will take on the additional
responsibilities of managing the leadership transition and updating the company’s

Northwestern Pacific repairs substantially complete

North Coast Railroad
Authority Chairman, Allan Hemphill said that $40 million in repairs to 62 miles
of the Northwestern Pacific railway between Napa County and Windsor have been
completed. He said Federal Railroad Administration inspection of the repairs to
trackway, crossing signals, and bridges between Windsor in Sonoma County and
the national rail interchange (Lombard), located North of American Canyon in
Napa County, will take up to 90 days.

Global Rail Systems acquired by Vossloh

Global Rail Systems, Inc.,
a Marlin, Texas-based railroad automation company, said that Vossloh has
acquired a majority interest in the company, effective October 16, 2009. Vossloh
is a global player in the rail technology markets. The acquisition of Global
Rail Systems complements Vossloh’s three other U.S.-owned companies: Vossloh
Track Material (formerly Pohl Corp.), Cleveland Track Material, Inc., which
manufacture track switches, and Vossloh Fastening Systems America Corp., based
in Chicago. Under terms of the agreement, Global’s management will remain in

New York MTA hires consultant for North Shore study

Whether trains or buses
will roll along the abandoned North Shore Rail right-of-way on Staten Island will
be decided in the coming months, after the MTA said it has hired a consultant
to evaluate the options, the Website reports. SYSTRA Engineering,
Inc., was chosen to conduct the study at a cost of just under $1.5 million. The
company has done previous work on the North Shore Rail and West Shore Light
Rail projects.

Logjam removed after cleanup pause

A 500-yard-long logjam on
the San Antonio River at the Victoria-Refugio county line in Texas has been
removed, and water is now flowing downstream, Raquel Espinoza-Williams, a
spokeswoman for Union Pacific, said, according to the Victoria Advocate. Union
Pacific, which owns the bridge where the logjam occurred, had started cleanup
earlier this month, when the problem arose because of heavy rainfall.

Thales selects BelAir Networks Wi-Fi for Bergen Light Rail Project

Thales has selected
Networks for
both onboard and trackside Wi-Fi infrastructure for
mass transit deployments,
including the
Bergen Light Rail project
in Norway. BelAir Networks is the global market share leader in
mesh Wi-Fi for the last eight
quarters and is the Wi-Fi equipment provider to North America’s largest Wi-Fi
networks. The new Bergen Light Rail project, which will serve 380,000 citizens
in Norway’s second largest city, is slated to launch in 2010.

UP plans improvements for Mason City, Iowa, line

Robert W. Turner, senior
vice president for corporate relations for the Union Pacific in Omaha, said
significant improvements are planned for the local rail line, according to The Mason
City, Iowa, Globe Gazette.
Turner accompanied Gov. Chet Culver Oct 20 on the
Iowa Unlimited visit to Mason City and Manly.

Tennessee seeking funding for rail upgrades

Tennessee is seeking $81.2
million as part of a coalition of states applying for $300 million in federal
stimulus funds to make railroad upgrades linked to development of intermodal
rail terminals, where trailers and containers are transferred between trucks
and trains, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. Although the coalition’s
application for stimulus money is based on reducing truck traffic along
Interstate 81, whose southern terminus is in Jefferson County, Tennessee would
spend its entire share on an intermodal facility being built near Memphis, some
400 miles from I-81.

Lawmakers challenge LA mayor on subway funding

Mayor Antonio
Villaraigosa’s efforts to fast-track the long-stalled Westside subway faced a
challenge (Oct. 20) when a bipartisan group of congressional representatives
said the current plan is unlikely to bring immediate federal funding to L.A.
County, The Los Angeles Times reports.

LaHood upbeat about recovery, highlights role of rail in Illinois

U.S. Secretary of
Transportation Ray LaHood talked Oct. 20 at Knox College n Galesburg, Ill.,
about the role of transportation in helping the local, state and national
economy recover, according to The Galesburg Register-Mail. LaHood said all
indicators show the country is coming out of the recession, but it won’t be
over until unemployment numbers drop.

Nigeria: Igwemezie – Railway Engineer Par Excellence

He is one of the
exemplary ambassadors of the rebranding Nigeria campaign in diaspora, the Daily
in Nigeria reports. A man who has made immense contribution to the development of
modern railways in the world, he is one of the exemplary ambassadors of the
rebranding Nigeria campaign in diaspora.

Pennsauken Transit Center construction begins

NJ TRANSIT Executive
Director Richard Sarles joined U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, Congressman Rob
Andrews and other officials to break ground on a project that will offer
convenience and new travel options to South Jersey rail customers by directly
linking the River Line with the Atlantic City Rail Line (ACRL).

LA Metro to hold community meetings for Regional Connector

The Los Angeles
County Metropolitan Transportation Authority will be conducting five community
meetings to update the public on the Regional Connector project the week of November
5 through 12. Members of the community are encouraged to attend one of the meetings,
all of which are available by public transit.