Northstar crews continue construction work






Construction in downtown
Minneapolis continues as crews work on the Hiawatha Light Rail Transit extension
and the Northstar Commuter Rail station. Punchlist work continues at the
commuter stations in Big Lake, Elk River, Anoka and Coon Rapids. System testing
also continues as crews are testing both the Northstar train system and the LRT
extension.

MAX Yellow Line moves to Portland Mall






Beginning August 30, MAX
Yellow Line trains in downtown Portland, Ore., will move to the new tracks on
5th and 6th avenues along the Portland Transit Mall. Also on August 30, MAX
Green Line trains will begin two weeks of test runs on the Mall and along I-205
before opening for service on Saturday, September 12.

Lincoln’s hometown fighting high-speed rail set to cut city in half






The State of Illinois is in
a rush to swallow up Federal Stimulus money earmarked for the development of
high-speed rail services, the Illinois Statehouse Examiner reports. However, in
the rush to meet the arbitrary deadlines imposed by the stimulus package, state
officials are giving little consideration to the economic impact of communities
along the high-speed rail system.

 

Alabama Port Authority wants rail link






Alabama State Port
Authority officials plan to meet this week with Norfolk Southern senior
executives to discuss linking the railroad’s proposed $112-million intermodal
facility in McCalla, Ala., to the newly opened $300 million container terminal
in Mobile, according to the Birmingham Business Journal.

On the right track: Twin City Signal

(This article appeared the
July-August 2009 St. Croix Chronicle, a publication of the St. Croix Economic
Development Corp.)

Even in the current
economic downturn, it’s been several years of full steam ahead for Twin City
Signal in Hudson, Wis. In order to meet immediate demands for its services, the
railroad signal engineering and design company, founded in Hudson in 1996, has
expanded into an additional facility across from its 7,200-square-foot
headquarters on Livingstone Road. The move nearly doubles its space, and
founder and company president Lee Kisling sees rails and more rails in the future.

TRAC challenging CN request for trackage rights






The Regional Answer to
Canadian National (TRAC) is petitioning the Surface Transportation Board to
take a careful look at a recent request by Canadian National to increase its
trackage rights on its rail lines throughout the City of Chicago and suburbs.
In a move that went virtually undetected, on August 5, 2009, CN filed 17
simultaneous Trackage Rights Exemption requests with the STB asking that it be
allowed to change the flow of train traffic on its Chicago area railroad subsidiaries,
Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway, Illinois Central Railroad Company,
Wisconsin Central, Grand Trunk Western Railroad and Chicago, Central &
Pacific Railroad. This request could allow CN the ability to significantly
increase the number of trains that operate along the EJ&E line and its
subsidiaries in dozens of towns including Chicago, Mundelein, Schiller Park,
Broadview, Joliet, Frankfort, Markham, Buffalo Grove and parts of Indiana.

Industrial board, city grant rail easement






The long-awaited rail
spur for Custom Polymers in Elm Street Industrial Park in Athens, Ala., has
passed the last hurdle toward construction, the Athens News-Courier reports. On
August 27, the Limestone County Industrial Development Board and Athens City
Council granted a railroad easement to the company and clarified a payment
process utilizing company, city, county and grant funds.
 The company, which
leases a city spec building in the park, uses recycled plastic to produce
pellets used in the manufacturing of bottles, clothing, fencing and benches.


Tulsa ‘quiet zone’ delayed

Tulsans who love to hear
the eardrum-piercing sound of a train blowing its horn as it slowly snakes
through downtown will be glad to know the city still has a ways to go before it
can designate part of downtown a "quiet zone," according to the Tulsa, Okla., World.

Buses replace 1 trains between 137th and Dyckman Streets

Further repair work will
be performed at 168th and 181st Street Stations along the MTA New York City
Transit 1 Line the weekend of August 29-30. The work requires suspension of
train service between 137th Street and Dyckman Street from 12:01 a.m. Saturday,
August 29th until 5 a.m., Monday, August 31st. During this period, it will be
necessary, once again, for customers to either use A Line service, if possible,
or a temporary bus shuttle between Dyckman Street and 137th Street.

Track maintenance to affect Metro’s Red, Orange and Green lines






Track maintenance on the
Red, Orange and Green lines in the Washington, D.C., area over the weekend of
August 29-30 will cause inbound and outbound trains to take turns sharing one
track. Customers should add at least 30 minutes of time to their trips. 

Red
Line Track Maintenance 

Metrorail customers traveling between the
Grosvenor-Strathmore and Friendship Heights Metrorail stations should add at
least 30 minutes of travel time to their trips because Metro will make tunnel
repairs and replace rail and rail fasteners that stabilize the tracks.

Canada Line start brings station name changes






The launch of the new
Canada Line transit system in Vancouver will mean a key change in customer trip
planning. Because one of the new Canada Line stations is located on Broadway,
concerns have been raised by police, ambulance and fire dispatchers of
potential confusion between Broadway/City Hall and Broadway/Commercial SkyTrain
station.

State grant application includes $52 million for yard expansion






With the money already in
place to build what likely will be two overpasses and one underpass at three
major rail crossings in Galesburg, Ill., there is more good news, The Register-Mail
reports. The state has applied for about $550 million of federal stimulus
money, $52 million for what Illinois is calling its "Galesburg congestion
relief project." 



DM&E drops condemnation against Wyoming landowners






The Dakota Minnesota
& Eastern dropped its condemnation lawsuit against several Wyoming
landowners in northeast Wyoming, the Casper Star-Tribune reports. 

In
addition, the DM&E said current regulatory and economic conditions for its
proposed rail expansion into the Powder River Basin coal-mining district are
not good.



Sound Transit bids for light rail tunneling below estimate






Sound Transit opened bids
for work that will get under way next year to bore light rail tunnels
connecting Capitol Hill and the existing Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel. The
apparent low bid was submitted by JCM U-Link Joint Venture, formed by Jay Dee
Contractors of Livonia, Mich.; Frank Collucio Construction Company of Seattle;
and Michaels Corporation of Brownsville, Wis. Its bid of $153,556,000 came in
12 percent, or $20.7 million, below the Sound Transit engineer’s estimate of
$174,304,700.

 

BNSF seeks PTC slowdown






BNSF is pushing Congress to
scale back a requirement for carriers to install automatic-braking systems on
most of their tracks, reports Bloomberg News. "Heavy-handed" legislation
enacted last year would cost Fort Worth, Texas-based BNSF almost $2 billion,
Chief Executive Officer Matt Rose said.

UP Invests Nearly $11 million to Hiawatha-to-Upland, Kan., line






Union Pacific is investing
nearly $11 million in track improvements to its Hiawatha-to-Upland, Kan., line.
When the project is complete, crews will have removed and installed more than
72,000 ties, spread more than 30,000 tons of rock ballast, renewed road
surfaces at 123 crossings and replaced rail in various curves on the line. Work
began on the project August 26 and is scheduled to be completed by the end of
September.


Railroad connector should lessen traffic jams






Traffic back-ups on
Arlington Boulevard and on Howell and 14th streets in Greenville, N.C., should
decrease when it becomes easier for trains to pass through those areas later
this year, the Greenville Daily Reflector reports. Construction on a new
connector railroad track near the intersection of 14th and Beatty streets
should begin at the end of September, according to Greenville Public Works
Director Wes Anderson.

CTA temporarily suspends service in Blue Line’s Dearborn Subway

Rail service between the
Blue Line’s Western/Milwaukee and Washington stations temporarily will be
suspended from 10 p.m. Friday, August 28 until 4 a.m. Monday, August 31 as work
continues in the Dearborn subway to reduce slow zones. In addition, a single
track will be in effect between the UIC-Halsted and LaSalle stations from
midnight until 2 a.m. on Monday, August 31.  Eastbound customers at the UIC-Halsted, Clinton and LaSalle
stations must board and exit trains from the westbound side of the platform.