RTA floats proposal for 3 new streetcar lines in New Orleans

New Orleans transit planners hope to expand
streetcar service to the North Rampart Street and St. Claude Avenue corridor,
Loyola Avenue and Convention Center Boulevard, The Times-Picayune reports.
Armed with a $212-million financing plan for three
new streetcar lines that includes substantial local investment, Regional
Transit Authority officials are hopeful that federal officials will look kindly
on the ambitious project and agree to pick up more than half its cost.


Southwest Florida considers bringing back commuter trains

If you’re waiting on a
train in Southwest Florida, you might have a long wait – and when it does
arrive, it’ll be murder, reports the Naples News. The most consistent rail
service south of Arcadia is on the Seminole Gulf Railway Murder Mystery Dinner
Train. Those trips run a loop north from a station near Colonial Boulevard and
Metro Parkway to about the Charlotte County line five nights a week.

ICC approves rail safety improvements at three grade crossings

The Illinois Commerce Commission has granted
approval for the installation of automatic
flashing light signals and gates at the Triumph Road
grade crossing of Dakota
Minnesota & Eastern track near Leaf River, Ogle County. The total estimated cost to install the
new automatic warning devices is $162,363.
The Grade Crossing Protection Fund will be used to pay 95 percent of the warning device installation costs, not to exceed
DM&E will pay all
remaining installation costs, as well as all future operating and maintenance

Navistar, Caterpillar start Global Truck Joint Venture NC2

International Corporation and Caterpillar Inc. closed a joint venture
transaction resulting in a new company, NC2 Global LLC, to serve the global
commercial truck market.  Navistar
and Caterpillar first announced plans to form a joint venture in June 2008 and
have identified the leadership team of the new entity that will establish its
headquarters in the Chicago area.

CTA opens Fullerton entrance, continues Blue Line subway work

Although construction work
continues, on Saturday afternoon, September 12, CTA customers entering and
exiting the Fullerton station served by the Red, Brown and Purple lines will
begin using the new station entrance located approximately 75 feet west of the
existing temporary entrance. The temporary entrance was opened in October 2006
to allow crews to relocate the historic stationhouse to the north side of
Fullerton Parkway and build the new station in its place.

CN opens new C$14-million Toronto auto compound

CN celebrated the official
opening of its new C$14-million Toronto Automotive Compound at MacMillan Yard
north of Toronto. The new facility’s track layout will accommodate the
unloading of 60 auto-carrying rail cars at once, compared with 27 unloading
spots at the former compound at Mac Yard, and will have room to park up to
4,500 vehicles. A planned phase two expansion of the compound will provide
parking for 6,000 cars and/or trucks.

NM Rail Runner Express completes Lobo Special Events Platform

The New Mexico Rail Runner
Express is ready to open its Lobo Special Events Platform. More than a year
ago, the University of New Mexico and the Mid-Region Council of Governments
collaborated on an idea to create a special events platform for Lobo Athletics.
The MRCOG then worked with the governor and legislators to procure an
additional half-million dollars in funding, and UNM matched that funding with
another half-million dollars.

NJ TRANSIT slates track work on Pascack Valley Line

Beginning the week of
Sept. 14, NJ TRANSIT will adjust weekday midday service on the Pascack Valley
Line to accommodate necessary track work. NJ TRANSIT crews will make priority
repairs to the Essex Street grade crossing in Hackensack to address damage to
the crossing caused by a motor vehicle. While the track is out of service, NJ
TRANSIT will also perform regular track maintenance on the line.

Illinois high-speed rail plan must benefit all

(The following editorial appeared
in the Springfield, Ill., State Journal-Register.)

We are profoundly hopeful
that today’s Illinois high-speed rail summit in Chicago can bring about a plan
in which this state can have a good shot at federal funds for a Chicago-St.
Louis route without severely damaging this community’s quality of life and
future economic growth. But based on recent correspondence between Union
Pacific and local officials, Union Pacific is going to need a fairly drastic
attitude adjustment if that is to happen. So far, the railroad’s attitude has
been that Springfield needs to quit complaining about its plans because our
objections might jeopardize the state’s shot at $2 billion-plus in federal
stimulus money for high-speed rail. It has been abetted in this attitude by the
Illinois Department of Transportation.

New VIA Rail station for Cobourg, Ontario

At a ceremony in Cobourg,
Ontario, Northumberland-Quinte West MP Rick Norlock, Mayor Peter Delanty and
John Marginson, VIA Rail Canada’s Chief Operating Officer, said VIA plans a new
station with improved and expanded facilities. VIA estimates that it will
invest as much as C$7 million for the new station and related improvements from
recent capital funding for VIA announced by the Government of Canada. C$1
million of the project’s cost will come from the government’s Economic Action

PATCO road work to begin at 6 New Jersey stations

PATCO is set to
embark on a three-month project to both repave the roadway and repair concrete
curbs for the access roads at six PATCO Stations in New Jersey. Work is
scheduled to begin on September 14 at the Lindenwold Station, with work then proceeding
west to Ashland, Haddonfield, Westmont, Collingswood and Ferry Avenue. At times
the roadwork will require some traffic pattern changes at the Stations.

New UP siding under construction in Missouri

The Union Pacific sidetrack
is under construction west of California, Mo., in the vicinity of Elkhorn
Crossing, the California Democrat reports. When completed in December 2009, the
9,000-foot rail side track will allow two trains to pass, adding capacity and
reducing delays for both rail freight shipments and the Amtrak Missouri River
Runner trains between Kansas City and St. Louis.

Norman, Okla., underpass project cost will increase

Design changes being
mandated by a railroad company will increase the cost of building an underpass
at the Robinson Street crossing in Norman, Okla., by about $1.4 million, city
officials say, according to The Oklahoman. Public Works Director Shawn O’Leary
said the city hopes to use stimulus money to cover most of the increased cost
of the now $26 million project.


Open house for Kinston, N.C., railroad improvement

For two hours Sept. 10,
city and railroad officials made themselves available to answer questions
regarding a nine-month train track realignment between Mitchell and North
Independence streets as they host an open house in downtown Kinston, N.C.,
local newspapers report.

Port starts repair work on Oregon rail line

The Oregon International
Port of Coos Bay will begin repairs this week on a series of tunnels whose
deterioration led to the September 2007 closure of the 110-mile Coos Bay line
formerly operated by Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad, The News-Review in Roseburg, Ore.,
reports. The work is the first stage of a rehabilitation project to get the
rail line back in operational shape. Officials hope the line could be running
again by the second or third quarter of next year.

Railroad relents on Illinois platform, tower project

Union Pacific railroad
officials responded to Braeside neighborhood residents’ concerns and agreed to
move the massive platform and communications tower being built next to the
railroad tracks on the south east side of Highland Park, Ill., Pioneer Press
reports. City leaders requested a meeting with the railroad company after a
group of residents attended the Aug. 24 City Council meeting and spoke against
the construction that created an unsightly streetscape along the once heavily
tree-lined railway.

CTA approves cameras for all train stations

The CTA moved to equip all
144 rail stations with security cameras, the Chicago Tribune reports. The
agency’s board approved a $4.3-million contract with Teleste Corp. of
Georgetown, Texas, to install cameras and related equipment.