FRA Issues Final Environmental Review on Proposed DM&E Powder River Basin Project, New Safety and Air Quality Requirements Added

January 31, 2007 News Wire 0

WASHINGTON — The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today announced it has determined that the proposed Dakota, Minnesota, & Eastern (DM&E) Powder River Basin project has met the requirements of the federal environmental review process, and outlined new measures the railroad must take to improve safety and air quality if the pending DM&E $2.3 billion Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan application is approved. The release of FRA’s final environmental review, known as a Record of Decision (ROD), marks the start of a 90-day clock within which the agency must approve or disapprove the DM&E loan application. The final decision

Amtrak Welcomes Chicago RTA Transit Checks

January 31, 2007 News Wire 0

CHICAGO — Frequent users of Amtrak trains to and from Chicago can save money by buying tickets using special “Transit Checks” issued by their employers through the Chicago-based Regional Transportation Authority (RTA). Effective today, Amtrak will accept the checks that list Amtrak among the area transportation providers. Amtrak accepts RTA Transit Checks for the purchase of multi-ride tickets that are perfect for long-distance commuters and others who make regular trips in Illinois. They are also usable for other routes, with many available connections through Amtrak Chicago Union Station. “Although Amtrak does not currently receive funding from the Chicago RTA, we

FRA Issues Safety Advisory on Maintenance Equipment

January 26, 2007 News Wire 0

WASHINGTON — In response to a deadly derailment in November, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today issued a safety advisory to railroad industry owners and operators urging them to ensure specialized maintenance equipment is only operated by fully qualified individuals and is properly inspected. “I cannot emphasize enough the responsibility and necessity of railroads and contractors that use these vehicles to operate them in the safest manner possible,” said FRA Administrator Joseph H. Boardman. “We have zero tolerance for careless mistakes that needlessly cause harm or injury to workers, contractors or the public at large.” The Safety Advisory is being

FRA Issues Proposed Guidelines for Rail Relocation and Improvement Grant Program

January 19, 2007 News Wire 0

WASHINGTON — The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking detailing proposed qualifications and standards for capital grants under the rail line relocation and improvement program created in the SAFETEA-LU legislation. In order to be eligible for a grant, a project must mitigate the adverse effects of rail traffic on safety, motor vehicle traffic flow, community quality of life or involve a lateral or vertical relocation of any portion of the rail line. Under the FRA proposal, half of all grant funds are reserved for projects costing no more than $20 million each. A state or other

FRA Issues Safety Advisory for Rail Yard Safety

January 19, 2007 News Wire 0

WASHINGTON — As a result of a fatal Dec. 14 rail yard switching accident in Manlius, N.Y., the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued a Safety Advisory recommending that railroads assess their existing rules addressing safety at yard grade crossings. The agency also urges railroads to review, or as necessary, amend their rules governing yard movements to clarify what actions employees must take under various circumstances to fully adhere to operating procedures. In the December accident, a worker backing a pickup truck over a yard grade crossing was struck by rail cars being moved by a remote control locomotive. The

Development of New Federal Design Standards for Hazardous Materials Tank Cars to Benefit from Public-Private Partnership

January 18, 2007 News Wire 0

WASHINGTON — In a move designed to aid in the development of new federal design standards for stronger and safer hazardous materials tank cars, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is joining forces with rail and chemical industry leaders to create the tank car of the future, FRA Administrator Joseph H. Boardman announced. “Our goal is to jump beyond incremental design changes,” Boardman said. “We and our partners are looking to apply the latest research and advanced technology to provide increased safety for rail shipments posing the greatest safety risk.” Boardman also said the FRA is considering issuing new, more robust

Kentucky Guard Unit Checks Air Quality at Derailment Site

January 17, 2007 News Wire 0

A special team of National Guardsmen is conducting an environmental survey at the site of a CSX train derailment in Brooks, Ky. The derailment occurred south of Louisville, spilling a flammable liquid that ignited and caused a fire along the track and among the tanker cars, according to a report from the National Guard Bureau’s joint operations center in Washington. Fifteen members of the Kentucky National Guards’ 41st Civil Support Team (Weapons of Mass Destruction) have been deployed to the derailment site to assist local emergency responders, a Kentucky National Guard official said. “They’re assisting the fire chief from Bullitt

Fire Erupts After Ky. Derailment

January 16, 2007 News Wire 0

BROOKS, Ky. — For the second time in two days, fire erupted after a CSX train derailment. Cyclohexane, methyl ethyl ketone, butadiene and alcohol were released following the derailment of 12 cars, according to published reports. No one was injured in the derailment, but several people did go to area hospitals, though they were soon released. A portion of Interstate 65 was closed because of the derailment. Footage of the derailment showed large flames and thick black smoke. A day earlier in Irvine, Ky., fire erupted after butyl acetate leaked from a crashed tank car. The leak and fire came

Teamsters: MBTA Has Poor Safety Record

January 15, 2007 News Wire 0

WOBURN, Mass. – Following the Jan. 9 deaths of two workers on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the Teamsters voiced their disappointment to what they say is a poor safety record on the railroad. “Per mile of railroad operated, MBCR has one of the worst roadway worker safety records of any railroad in the country,” said Rick Inclima, Director of Safety for BMWED. “There have been four BMWED roadway worker fatalities on the MBCR since December 6, 2003, yet the railroad has not taken significant steps to improve roadway worker safety. MBCR management still refuses to even fill the vacant

Service Alert: Missouri Mules Service Restored between St. Louis and Kansas City

January 15, 2007 News Wire 0

Union Pacific Railroad has informed Amtrak the route used by the Missouri Mules passenger trains between St. Louis and Kansas City has reopened, following a weekend closure due to ice storms and resulting debris blocking the tracks. Therefore, service by Train 313, the afternoon westbound train from St. Louis, and Train 316, the afternoon eastbound train from Kansas City, resumes this afternoon. Also service by Train 311, the morning westbound train from St. Louis, and Train 314, the morning eastbound train from Kansas City, resumes on Tuesday, January 16. This information is correct as of the above time and date

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