Northstar on track; Fridley Station construction progressing

Northstar train service
is on track to begin on Monday, November 16, 2009. In downtown Minneapolis,
Light Rail and Northstar system testing continue. Crews finished milling and
paving the LRT track area. Communications system testing and programming
continued at the LRT station. The overhead catenary system wires are now live.

Caltrain construction, maintenance update, Sept. 8-10

Work on Caltrain’s Grade
Crossing Improvement Program will continue at Encinal, Glenwood and Ravenswood
avenues in Menlo Park Sept. 8-10 between the hours of 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. Throughout
the project area, at least one lane of the impacted street will remain open.
Flagmen will direct traffic and pedestrians around the construction. The work
is part of a larger program to enhance safety at railroad crossings in San
Mateo County.

Sounder M Street to Lakewood Project update

Railworks Track Systems and
subcontractors continue to work in sections to remove existing track and spurs
and rebuild the sections with new rail along the seven mile Sound Transit rail
corridor between South M Street in Tacoma, Wash., to Bridgeport Way SW in Lakewood. For
the next two weeks, track removal and replacement work is being performed
between S. 48th and S. 56th streets. This work is being coordinated with Tacoma
Rail to minimize or avoid any disruption to their customers for existing rail

UP, officials “break ground” on Joliet, Ill., IM facility

Union Pacific’s new Joliet, Ill., Intermodal Terminal will
support customer growth by increasing the railroad’s international and domestic
container capacity and improving rail traffic efficiencies in Chicago, the
nation’s largest rail center. Once on line, customers from across Union
Pacific’s network will benefit from Joliet’s annual capacity of 500,000
ocean-going containers. Officials and customers gathered Sept. 3 to celebrate
the construction commencement of Union Pacific’s nearly $370 million, 785-acre
Joliet Intermodal Terminal and CenterPoint Intermodal Center – Joliet, a
3,900-acre state-of-the-art integrated logistics center.

PB providing CM services for CTA Blue Line

Chicago Transit Authority has awarded a construction management contract to
Parsons Brinckerhoff for a rail replacement and tunnel rehabilitation project
on the system’s Blue Line subway, which connects the downtown business district
with O’Hare International Airport.

Stimulus-funded CTA Dearborn Subway project reaches milestone

The Chicago Transit
Authority has made significant progress replacing track in the Blue Line’s
Dearborn Subway. The $88-million project is funded by American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act funds, commonly referred to as stimulus funds, and involves
the replacement of approximately seven miles-or 39,000 feet-of track from
Division on the O’Hare branch to Clinton on the Forest Park branch.

Dignitaries get close up look at new Montana rail line, mine

After an investment of
$408 million and a year of rapid construction, the first coal train will leave
the Signal Peak Energy Mine near Roundup, Mont., next week, carrying the first
load of low-sulfur Montana coal east to an Ohio utility, the Billings Gazette
reports. A new railroad junction near Broadview and the mine site south of
Roundup were officially dedicated Sept. 2 by top executives from BNSF;
FirstEnergy, an Ohio utility; the Boich Group of Ohio; Signal Peak Energy; and
a corral of Montana politicians, including Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

Boatright may build tie plant in Chilton County

Enterprises, Inc., is
finalizing a deal to build a new railway crosstie plant in Chilton
County, Ala., by next year, according to the Birmingham Business Journal. The
Birmingham-based railroad maintenance company is eyeing a site in Chilton
County Industrial Park, between Clanton and Thorsby, for its newest plant, the
company confirmed.

Watkins Glen rail line gets $349,000 boost

A rail line between two
salt plants in Watkins Glen N.Y., will be realigned with the help of a federal
grant to improve safety and boost economic development, local newspapers report.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., was in Watkins Glen Sept. 2 to announce the
approval of a $349,000 Rail Line Relocation grant from the Federal Railroad

BNSF’s new Memphis yard to lift cargo, economy

If a seaport were built on
dry land, it would look a lot like Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad’s new
Memphis intermodal facility, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports. Giant
cranes loom over vast expanses of tracks, roads and parking, soon to be piled
high with oceangoing shipping containers.

D.C. Metro details work to be done during station closures

Starting Sept. 4, at 9:30
p.m., until closing (midnight) on Sept. 7, Metro will undertake a complete
track overhaul on the Blue and Yellow lines that will close the Pentagon City,
Crystal City and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport Metrorail stations.
Customers using the Blue and Yellow lines should add 45 minutes to their travel
plans to transfer to a free shuttle bus to get past the affected work area.

Georgia industrial park, rail spur to create jobs

An area that had emanated
objectionable odors could produce the sweet smell of commercial success along
Bill Carruth Parkway, according to the Times-Georgian in Carrolton, Ga. Paulding’s
Board of Commissioners voted last week to transfer about 130 acres formerly
used as sewage treatment plant spray fields to the Paulding County Industrial
Building Authority, which will plan, design, construct and market an industrial
park. The site across from the Water System building on the parkway is served by
rail, and "rail spur projects have done well," said Blake Swafford, director of
both the IBA and Paulding County Regional Airport.

Colo Railroad Builders awarded surfacing contracts

Colo Railroad Builders has been awarded contracts to surface approximately 100 miles of track on two WATCO Transportation Services railroads, South Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad (SKOL) and Yellowstone Valley Railroad (YSVR). According to the company, the SKOL and YSVR selected Colo to execute its surfacing work because of their ability to perform quality, high-production surfacing both safely and at a competitive rate. 

Outremont Rail Yard redevelopment to proceed

The governments of Canada and Quebec gave the green light to the rehabilitation and development of the Outremont rail yards in Montreal. The total estimate of the project is C$120 million (US$117,016,080). The Government of Canada has earmarked up to C$30 million (US$29,254,020) for the project from the major Infrastructure component of the Building Canada Fund. The province will provide a further C$30 million (US$29,254,020), while Montreal will contribute C$60 million (US$58,508,040). Federal funding will be granted on condition that the project satisfies all federal eligibility requirements for the Building Canada Fund and that the Government of Quebec signs a contribution agreement.

Long Beach seeks input on port expansion plan

The Port of Long Beach will host a series of public meetings to solicit community input on plans to expand a staging area for double-stack trains. The staging yard is in the vicinity of 9th Street and Pier B Avenue. The goal of the expansion is to increase the on-dock rail usage in the harbor.

STB denies TRAC petition on CN/EJ&E

The U.S. Surface
Transportation Board denied a petition filed by The Regional Answer To Canadian
National (TRAC) coalition last week, local newspapers report. The TRAC petition
was in response to Canadian National’s recent request for track rights
exemptions to allow the company to change the flow of freight train traffic on
17 Chicago area rail lines, including the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railroad.

VTrans, NECR seek funds to increase speed of Vermonter

The Vermont Agency of
Transportation and the New England Central Railroad are seeking $52 million in
federal funds to boost the speed of Amtrak’s Vermonter intercity passenger
service and increase NECR’s capacity for heavier freight carloads. If awarded
the grant, NECR will contribute 10 percent of project costs.
Plans for the two-year
project include upgrades to heavier continuously welded rail, bridge work, new
tie installation and ballast work along 191 track miles. The project would be
funded through the Federal Railroad Administration’s High-Speed Intercity
Passenger Rail program, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

SEPTA awards L.B. Foster $3.9-million track renewal contract

L.B. Foster Company has
been awarded a $3.9-million transit rail products stimulus-funded contract for
the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Fern Rock Yard Track
Renewal Project. New York City-based contractor Railworks Track Systems, Inc.
is replacing track and contact rail installations dating from 1928 in
Philadelphia’s Fern Rock Yard with a wide range of transit products sourced
from L.B. Foster.

Major Work Begins on Airport TRAX Line in Utah

Utah Transit Authority will
begin major earthwork activities in the I-80 corridor in preparation for laying
new rail on the Airport TRAX line. The new line will extend TRAX service from
downtown Salt Lake City to Salt Lake International Airport.

WMATA Labor Day weekend track work to close three stations

Weekend track work will
close three Blue and Yellow Line Metrorail stations in Northern Virginia
throughout the Labor Day weekend. 

The Pentagon City, Crystal City, and Ronald
Reagan Washington National Airport Metrorail stations will be closed from 9:30
p.m. Friday, Sept. 4, to closing, (midnight) Monday, Sept. 7. These stations
will reopen at 5 a.m., on Tuesday, Sept. 8. 

Metrorail riders in Virginia who
are planning to ride the Blue or Yellow lines will need to transfer to a free
shuttle bus if they want to pass through Pentagon City, Crystal City or the
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport Metrorail stations because Metro
officials will be conducting track work between the Pentagon and Braddock Road
Metrorail stations throughout the holiday weekend. Regular service will resume
when the Metrorail system opens on Tuesday morning, Sept. 8.