BNSF: DM&E Plan Could Cause Delays

December 16, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

FORT WORTH, Texas – If the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad were allowed to haul coal over the Powder River Basin (PRB) along the former I&M Rail Link’s (IMRL) line, it could cause substantial delays to time-sensitive BNSF Railway Co. trains at Savanna, Ill., the company said this week in a filing with the Surface Transportation Board. BNSF’s transcontinental main line between the Pacific Northwest and Chicago crosses the former IMRL line at grade at Savanna en route to the Chicago Gateway, where delays could be substantially increased by the addition of PRB coal trains regardless of what route into

Pacific Northwest Amtrak Service Disrupted by Mudslides South of Seattle

December 16, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

SEATTLE – The BNSF Railway has imposed a curfew on passenger trains between Seattle and Portland, Ore., due to mudslides south of Seattle, Amtrak said. AMTRAK CASCADES: Service south of Seattle by Amtrak Cascades trains has been canceled through Saturday evening, December 16, with alternate transportation provided to and from Seattle and Portland. Service south of Portland to and from Eugene, Ore., is being maintained. COAST STARLIGHT: The Los Angeles-Seattle Coast Starlight will originate and terminate in Portland, instead of Seattle, through Saturday evening, December 16, with alternate transportation provided to and from Seattle and Portland. This information is subject

DHS Targets High Risk Hazardous Materials in Transit

December 16, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff: Dec. 12, 2006, Press Conference WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security is proposing new rules it says will vastly strengthen the security of the nation’s rail systems in the highest threat urban areas. The proposed rule is part of a package of new security measures that will require freight rail carriers to ensure 100 percent positive hand-off of Toxic Inhalation Hazard (TIH) materials, establish security protocols for custody transfers of TIH rail cars in the high threat urban areas, and appoint a rail security coordinator to share information with the federal government, as well

FreightCar America Delivers 100,000th Aluminum Railcar

December 15, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

DANVILLE, Ill. – During a ceremony here, FreightCar America delivered the 100,000th aluminum railcar produced by the company. The milestone car, a BethGon II railcar for carrying coal, was part of an order totaling 2,695 cars for NRG Energy, Inc. of Princeton, N.J. Executives from NRG and FreightCar America attended the ceremony along with state and local officials. “The first new railcar we ever built in Danville was for an NRG predecessor company,” said Kenneth D. Bridges, FreightCar America’s senior vice president of operations. “Remarkably, NRG is now accepting the 100,000th aluminum railcar here.” Since 1997, NRG has acquired over

UP Tests Experimental Locomotive Exhaust Filter

December 15, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

OAKLAND, Calif. – Union Pacific Railroad has begun a year-long test in an Oakland rail yard to determine if an experimental after market exhaust system filter will reduce diesel engine emissions in older railroad locomotives. “Our goal is to find innovative methods of further reducing exhaust emissions to create a better environment,” said Bob Grimaila, Union Pacific’s vice president for environment and safety. A 1,500-horsepower yard locomotive built in November 1982 has been retrofitted with diesel particulate filters or “DPFs.” The DPF initiative is the result of a four-year program, funded in part by Union Pacific, to assess exhaust after

FRA, New Jersey Transit Begin Study of Portal Bridge

December 15, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON – Public comments are being sought for a project to replace, repair, or retain a 96-year-old railroad bridge on the heavily congested Northeast Corridor connecting the Newark, N.J., and New York. The Federal Railroad Administration and New Jersey Transit will jointly prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS), in cooperation with Amtrak, to study improvements to enhance capacity and operation of the Amtrak-owned Portal Bridge that spans the Hackensack River. Originally constructed in 1910, the bridge is nearing the end of its projected lifespan, officials say. “Because of the bridge’s critical role in the successful operation of the Northeast Corridor,

2006: Record Year for Transportation Construction Market, ARTBA Top Economist Says

December 11, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON – The 2006 U.S. transportation construction market was the most robust in more than 20 years with the value of work on highways, bridges, airports and transit systems up 15 percent over the last year, according to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). Fueled by increased federal, state and local highway investments, a $2.3 billion congressional appropriation for repair work on highways damaged by Hurricane Katrina and greater investments in freight rail, the total value of construction performed on transportation projects is expected to hit a record $106 billion in 2006, up from $92 billion in 2005,

Norfolk Southern Announces Planned 2007 Capital Spending

December 11, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

NORFOLK, Va. – Norfolk Southern Corp. plans to spend $1.34 billion in 2007 for capital improvements to its railroad operations and subsidiaries, the company announced. “Our capital budget reflects our commitment to maintain a safe and vibrant rail system to meet the continuing strong demand we anticipate in 2007 and beyond,” said Chief Executive Officer Wick Moorman. “We will continue to invest in the infrastructure, equipment and technology necessary to provide the best possible service to our customers.” The anticipated spending includes $884 million for roadway projects, $401 million for equipment and $55 million for small projects and real estate.

STB Issues Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Southwest Gulf Line

December 10, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON – The Surface Transportation Board’s Section of Environmental Analysis (SEA) has issued the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) for the Southwest Gulf Railroad Company’s construction and operation of a roughly seven mile line in Medina County, Texas. SEA previously issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for public review and comment in this proceeding in 2004. The DEIS assessed four potential rail routes for Southwest Gulf’s proposed rail line to connect a proposed Vulcan Construction Materials, LP limestone quarry and the Del Rio subdivision of the Union Pacific Railroad Company (UP), near Dunlay, Texas, as well as the

FRA Proposes Higher Fines for Violations of Federal Rail Safety Regulations

December 7, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON – The civil penalty guideline amounts assessed against railroads for violating numerous federal rail safety regulations would be substantially increased under a proposal announced by Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph H. Boardman. “Higher fines across all categories of federal regulations will encourage railroads to focus on safety compliance and improve the rail industry’s overall performance,” Boardman stated, noting that the proposed statements of agency policy would double the current guideline civil penalty amounts for most violations. Boardman explained that FRA evaluated each of the more than 2,000 provisions of the federal rail safety regulations using a five-point severity scale. The

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