Chicago $15.6-billion plan includes West Loop transit hub

A guide for downtown growth
through 2020 that calls for $15.6 billion in public works was endorsed by the
Chicago Plan Commission, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The Chicago Central
Area Action Plan would allocate most of the spending for transportation
projects. The most expensive would be a $6-billion West Loop transit hub
beneath Clinton Street with a multilevel connection between Metra and CTA


Exploratory drilling completed for LA Metro extension

Joined by local elected
officials from Los Angeles County and nearby cities, Los Angeles City Mayor
Antonio Villaraigosa said the completion of exploratory drilling in West Los
Angeles is a key part of the planning and environmental process for the
proposed Westside Subway Extension, a regionally beneficial Measure R
transportation project.

New Hampshire competes for $1.5 million grant

Peter Burling, chairman of
the Rail Transit Authority in New Hampshire, envisions a rail line running
between Boston and Concord, N.H., at speeds of up to 90 mph, the Concord
reports. The rail would carry Massachusetts shoppers to Nashua and
travelers to Manchester Airport. It would take sports fans to Celtics games and
workers to their jobs in Boston.


Progress made on two Burlington, Iowa, projects

The city of Burlington,
Iowa, has a lot of irons in the fire, according to The Hawkeye. With that in
mind, City Manager Doug Worden updated city council members on the status of
two projects nearing completion during a recent meeting.


Construction of a 1
million gallon underground wastewater equalization tank on Gunnison Avenue and
a similar tank near the BNSF tracks on Lucas Avenue is complete.

WMATA track circuit repairs, track maintenance

Track circuit repairs on
the Red Line and track maintenance on the Red, Blue, Orange and Yellow lines
this weekend will cause inbound and outbound trains to take turns sharing one
track on the Washington, D.C., Metro. Customers should add at least 30 minutes
of time to their trips. 

This weekend, there will be no Red Line trains
serving the Fort Totten Metrorail station. Due to track circuit repairs, Red
Line trains will operate between the Shady Grove and Brookland-CUA Metrorail
stations and between the Glenmont and Takoma Metrorail stations from 9:30 p.m. August
21, to closing (midnight) on August 23. Free shuttle buses will take Red Line
riders between the Brookland-CUA, Fort Totten and Takoma Metrorail stations or
free non-stop shuttle buses will run from Takoma to Union Station on Saturday
and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. 


Rail service suspended in CTA Blue Line subway this weekend

From 10 p.m. August 21
until 4 a.m. August 24, service on the Blue Line between the Western/Milwaukee
and Clark/Lake stations will be temporarily suspended as work continues in the
Dearborn subway to remove slow zones. Bus shuttles will operate as a substitute
for rail service making stops at Western/Milwaukee, Damen, Division, Chicago,
Grand and Clark/Lake. CTA customers are advised to allow extra travel time.
Both the Western/Milwaukee and Clark/Lake stations are accessible to customers
with disabilities.
,Blue Line trains will
operate normally from Forest Park to Clark/Lake, and from O’Hare to


T-REX closes out light rail portion $3.7 million under budget

Denver’s Transportation
Expansion (T-REX) project, which opened to the public in November 2006, has
completed the final close-out on the project. The transit portion of the T-REX
project is being completed $3.7 million under budget. The Regional
Transportation District’s Southeast Light Rail line was built as a part of
T-REX, which was a combined highway/light rail expansion project and successful
partnership between RTD and the Colorado Department of Transportation. The
project was also completed 22 months ahead of the original schedule and
included several additional enhancements along the corridor that weren’t part
of the original project.

CREATE agrees to trim following CN/EJ&E merger

The Federal Highway
Administration, Illinois Department of Transportation, Chicago Department of
Transportation and Association of American Railroads have agreed to
modifications to the CREATE Program in response to changing needs. In
particular, the full 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 a new direct route (over the NS 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. These
improvements are now part of the P4 project.


Railroad agrees to stop filling wetlands

Although it maintains the
town has no jurisdiction over its property, the Housatonic Railroad has agreed
to voluntarily abide by the town’s cease-and-desist order and submit a permit
application for wetlands remediation work near the company’s trash transfer
station in Hawleyville, Conn., off Route 25, local newspapers report.


NS hub to have berms near school

Preliminary designs of
Norfolk Southern’s $112-million Alabama cargo-loading rail hub call for 15-foot
berms next to McAdory Elementary School and a 16-foot sound wall along the
access road behind the Sadler Ridge subdivision, the Birmingham News reports. The
design will be shown at a public meeting Norfolk Southern is holding at the
Bessemer Civic Center. Some residents of the area and parent of students at the
school are vehemently opposed to the project.

VW building Tennessee rail terminal

Volkswagens just off the assembly line and ready for shipment countrywide will
start their journey at a state-of-the-art terminal unrivaled in the industry, a
consultant told the Chattanooga Times Free Press. The terminal will be served
by CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern.

WMATA installing wireless service in 20 Metrorail stations

Metrorail riders in the
Washington, D.C., area soon will be able to use four major cell phone providers
to make calls or access the Internet from 20 of Metro’s busiest underground

Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel, AT&T and T-Mobile began
installing hardware at designated Metrorail stations that will allow Metrorail
customers to make calls, send text messages or surf the Web from 20 stations
starting Friday, October 16. 

RailComm DOC® Yard Automation System at CSXT Hamlet facility

RailComm’s DOC®
Yard Automation System has been integrated with the existing RailComm Shove
Track control system at CSX Transportation’s Hamlet facility in North Carolina.
RailComm’s Domain Operations Controller (DOC®) PC-based control
system controls the shove track system and provides wireless remote control
from the yard tower to all equipped switch locations.

MTA NYC Transit 181st-Dyckman repair update

Repair work to remove
debris and any remaining loose brick from the architectural façade of the
ceiling at the 181st Street station is proceeding around the clock, but more
work needs to be completed before 1 train service can resume between the 168th
Street and Dyckman Street stations.

Norfolk, Va., installing power poles for light rail

Hundreds of poles that
will carry electricity for Norfolk’s light rail trains are going up along the
7.4-mile alignment, marking a construction milestone for The Tide, Virginia’s
first light rail system. A small group of poles were bolted into place last
month along a section of track near Norfolk State University, and a larger
group of them will be secured in place in the coming weeks.

UP increasing train speed on line in Kennewick, Wash.

Union Pacific Railroad will
increase the speed of its trains from 10 mph to 20 mph on nearly 12 miles of
its rail line located in Kennewick, Wash. The rail line generally parallels
state highway SR 240 through Kennewick. The increased train speed will take
effect September 1, 2009. Trains currently operate through the area at 10 mph
due to track and operating constraints. 
Recent track improvements will permit the higher speed.

Stimulus Funds Could Save Katy Bridge

The Missouri Department
of Transportation is applying for more than 27 million dollars in stimulus
funds to pay for a new steel railroad bridge in Osage City, Mo., local media
report. This comes as a relief to many history buffs in Boonville, who fought
for the past few years to save the Katy Bridge from demolition.


Town feuds with CSX over sign removal

The North Charleston, S.C.
feud with the CSX railroad line got a little hotter this week when an employee
cited during a sign-removal dispute last month apparently failed to show for
his court appearance, the Charleston Post and Courier reports. A bench warrant
was issued for a CSX employee who allegedly played a role in the railroad’s
attempt to remove a sign telling motorists where to direct complaints about
bumpy railroad crossings.


Sound Transit update: Yale Avenue on-ramp wall construction

weekend of August 22-23, Sound Transit crews in the Seattle area will install a
temporary wall comprised of interlocking metal sheets called sheet piles. The
sheet pile wall will be about 60 feet long by 20 feet high and will be vibrated
into place along the shoulder of southbound I-5 next to the Pike-Pine
reversible HOV ramp. The Yale Avenue on-ramp to southbound I-5 and the right
lane of southbound I-5 between Yale Avenue and Union Street will close from
8:00 a.m.- 11:00 p.m. on August 22 and from 8:00a.m.-1:00p.m.on August 23 to
create a safe work zone during the sheet pile wall installation. The off-ramp
from southbound I-5 to Union Street will remain open. This work is anticipated
to take up to two days to complete. 


Vital rail line gets one-year reprieve

Looking forward to
possible economic development in the South County, the Lassen County, Calif.,
Board of Supervisors, Union Pacific and Lassen Valley Railway, an affiliate of
V&S Railways, reached an agreement that will save the Wendel/Flanigan rail
line-a piece of infrastructure that could prove invaluable in the future-for at
least one year, the Lassen Valey Times reports. Union Pacific, the current owner of the 21.77 miles of rail
line, abandoned it in 2007, and planned to sell it for salvage and dispose of
the property.