Teamsters: Graniteville Report Highlights Vulnerability of Nation’s Railways

November 29, 2005 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON – The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Nov. 29 recommended that rail companies make important operational changes, including reducing speeds in populated areas, to avoid another catastrophic accident like the crash in Graniteville, South Carolina, in January that killed nine people. The deadly accident occurred when a Norfolk Southern train crashed into a parked freight train that was carrying tank cars of chlorine gas. One of the tank cars exploded, causing a cloud of toxic gas to blanket the area. Eight residents of Graniteville and the locomotive engineer operating the train died after inhaling the gas. "Rail companies

NCDA: Latest Construction Cost Estimates for Northstar in Line with Preliminary Budget

November 29, 2005 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

ANOKA, Minn. – After completing 60 percent of the design of the Northstar Commuter Rail required by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the Northstar Corridor Development Authority (NCDA) has found that updated capital cost estimates are consistent with preliminary cost estimates of $265 million, the group announced Nov. 29. The latest numbers are the result of an in-depth engineering of all project elements today compared to when estimates were developed during preliminary design. "We have always pursued a conservative and careful approach to ensure responsible financial management of this project," said Tim Yantos, executive director of the NCDA. "It’s gratifying

NTSB: NS Train Crew Failed to Reline Switch

November 29, 2005 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON — The crew of a Norfolk Southern train failed to return a main line switch to the normal position after the crew completed work at an industry track in Graniteville, S.C., the National Transportation Safety Board has found. On Jan. 6, 2005, a northbound Norfolk Southern Railway freight train (No. 192) encountered an improperly lined switch that diverted the train from the main line onto an industry track where it struck an unoccupied, parked train (P22). The collision derailed both locomotives and 16 of the 42 freight cars of train 192 as well as the locomotive and one of

BNSF Railway and New Mexico DOT Reach Agreement on Future Commuter Rail Line Between Belen and Trinidad

November 28, 2005 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – BNSF Railway Co. (BNSF) on Nov. 28 announced that an agreement has been reached with the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) to sell the nearly 300-mile BNSF main rail line between Belen, N.M. and Trinidad, Colo. The sale will be closed in segments for a total of $76 million to create a commuter rail line. Under the agreement, BNSF keeps on-going freight easement rights on the line, and NMDOT also has acquired a 13-acre portion of BNSF’s Albuquerque rail yard property. The sale and commencement of service are contingent on completion of other agreements anticipated by

Settlement for South Dakota Core Line Announced

November 28, 2005 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Mike Rounds and BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) on Nov. 28 announced a settlement has been reached for the sale of the state-owned Core railroad line to BNSF. “South Dakota producers and shippers will benefit by enhanced transportation access to markets,” Rounds said. “As a condition of the sale, we negotiated a settlement protecting and expanding access to the Core line for our South Dakota shippers. This is access to worldwide markets that our smaller carriers have never before had.” The state will collect approximately $40,337,295 from BNSF for the sale of the Core Line. The proceeds

Success Story? Twenty-Five Years Ago, Railroads Changed Forever, But the Debate Continues Over Whether the Staggers Act is a Success

November 1, 2005 The Cross-Tie 0

WASHINGTON — On Oct. 14, 1980, the fate of American railroads changed. Congress passed the Staggers Act, legislation that deregulated the industry. But a quarter of a century later, the debate over the law rages on. By 1980, between a fifth and a third of the railroad industry was bankrupt, the byproduct of government regulation. An investor could have made more money putting money into the typical savings account than investing in the railroad industry. Maintenance was, to say the least, sub par and the rate of wrecks was skyrocketing. Despite the grim outlook of the railroad industry, it was

Success Story? Twenty-Five Years Ago, Railroads Changed Forever, but the Debate Continues Over Whether the Staggers Act is a Success

November 1, 2005 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON — On Oct. 14, 1980, the fate of American railroads changed. Congress passed the Staggers Act, legislation that deregulated the industry. But a quarter of a century later, the debate over the law rages on. By 1980, between a fifth and a third of the railroad industry was bankrupt, the byproduct of government regulation. An investor could have made more money putting money into the typical savings account than investing in the railroad industry. Maintenance was, to say the least, sub par and the rate of wrecks was skyrocketing. Despite the grim outlook of the railroad industry, it was

Federal Railroad Administration Urges Safer Shipments of Time-Sensitive Hazardous Materials by Rail

November 1, 2005 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON — Railroads, manufacturers, refiners, and businesses that ship or receive hazardous materials by rail should immediately improve procedures for tracking the movement of time-sensitive shipments, according to a Safety Advisory distributed by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on Oct. 5. “Anyone involved in shipping hazardous materials must take the necessary steps to ensure that time-sensitive products are properly tracked from origin to final destination,” said FRA Administrator Joseph H. Boardman. “There is no margin for error when it comes to shipping hazardous materials. Everyone involved in this process has to get it right.” The Safety Advisory requests that all