STB Denies Nev.’s Request to Halt DOE Project

WASHINGTON — The Surface Transportation Board has denied a request by the State of Nevada to reject the application of the United States Department of Energy for authority to construct and operate an approximately 300-mile railroad line in Nevada, in the Board proceeding entitled United States Department of Energy — Rail Construction and Operation — Caliente Rail Line in Lincoln, Nye, and Esmeralda counties. The Board found that DOE’s application was sufficiently complete for this stage of the proceeding. The proposed rail line, to be known as the Caliente Line, would connect an existing line near Caliente, Nev., to a

New DOT Rule Makes Cheating on Drug Testing Harder

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters announced today a new rule that will make it more difficult for transportation workers to cheat on their required drug tests by requiring drug testing labs to analyze every test for tampering. “We want to make sure there are no doubts about the ability of anyone working in transportation do their job as safely as possible,” said Secretary Peters said. “There is no margin for error when it comes to the safety of the traveling public.” The Secretary said the new rule would cover the nation’s approximately 12.1 million transportation employers, safety-sensitive transportation

2007: A Strong Year For Railroad Safety

WASHINGTON — Last year was another strong year for safety on the nation’s railroads, with records being set in two key safety measurements while a third fell just shy of setting a record. “Over the years, the railroad industry has developed a strong safety culture,” said Edward R. Hamberger, president and CEO of the Association of American Railroads (AAR) at the annual E.H. Harriman Awards luncheon which honors railroads with the best employee safety records for the previous year. “Last year the train accident rate was the lowest in history,” he said. “So was the grade crossing accident rate. The

Southwest Chief, Empire Builder and California Zephyr Midwest Flooding Disruption Update

Amtrak has been notified by BNSF Railway it has restored service through the affected areas on the Los Angeles-Chicago route of the Amtrak Southwest Chief, effective June 24. However, BNSF and Canadian Pacific (CP) railways are still working to restore passenger train service on two other routes disrupted due to flooding on the Mississippi River and its tributaries in Iowa and Wisconsin. BNSF and CP host these trains on tracks they own, maintain and dispatch. Amtrak is planning to operate limited alternate transportation through the affected areas for these trains until further notice, while hoping to restore rail service soon.

CSX Annual Meeting Results Too Close to Call

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — CSX Corp. today announced that the outcome of the election of Directors at CSX’s 2008 annual meeting of shareholders is too close to call at this time. The annual meeting will reconvene at 10 a.m. Friday, July 25, at the company’s headquarters in Jacksonville, Fla., to receive certification of the voting results. This adjournment will allow the independent inspector of elections time to tabulate the voting results. “We want to express our gratitude for the continued support of our shareholders,” said Michael J. Ward, CSX chairman, president and chief executive officer. “We have met with a large

Thames River Bridge Rail Service Outage Set for June 24-27

NEW YORK – Amtrak has scheduled limited alternate train and bus service during the rescheduled replacement of the moveable span of Amtrak’s Thames River Bridge in New London, Conn., Tuesday, June 24 through Friday, June 27. During that four-day period, regularly scheduled Amtrak service between New York and Boston will be suspended and limited alternate train and bus service will be provided in the New York-Boston region. Because of the bridge outage, Amtrak has scheduled three Boston-New Haven-New York Inland Route trains (via Hartford and Springfield) and limited connecting bus service to bypass the bridge outage during the four-day period

Southwest Chief, Empire Builder and California Zephyr Midwest Flooding Disruption Update

Amtrak has been notified by BNSF and Canadian Pacific (CP) railways of efforts to restore passenger train service on three routes disrupted due to flooding on the Mississippi River and its tributaries in Iowa and Wisconsin. BNSF and CP host these trains on tracks they own, maintain and dispatch.While still hoping to restore rail service soon, Amtrak is planning to operate limited alternate transportation through the affected areas for each of these trains until further notice. Through June 24, passengers are urged to call Amtrak at 800-USA-RAIL if they have travel plans through the affected areas on routes of the

STB Reschedules Hazardous Materials Hearing

WASHINGTON — The Surface Transportation Board announced that it has rescheduled — to July 22 — its public hearing examining issues related to the common carrier obligation of railroads (the duty of railroads to provide transportation or service on reasonable request) relative to the transportation of hazardous materials. Notices of intent to participate, speakers’ written testimonies, and written submissions by interested persons not wishing to appear at the hearing are now due no later than July 8. The Board originally had scheduled the hearing for July 16 with submissions by hearing participants and by interested persons not wishing to appear

Freight Railroads Using Technology to Boost Environmental Performance

The nation’s freight railroads, already the most environmentally friendly form of ground transportation, are using innovative “green” technologies to further reduce their environmental footprint. New technologies such as hybrid-powered locomotives and on-board computers that read route terrains are helping railroads lower emissions by as much as 80 percent and reduce fuel consumption by 16 percent.

Kummant: Amtrak Could Always Use a Little More Cash

BOSTON – Amtrak could had easily asked for $1.6 billion to invest on capital improvements, more than double the funding it asked for in 2009, President Alex Kummant told Reuters. “To give you a sense of the capital flow, we today get between $500 million and $600 million a year on capital,” Kummant said. “We asked for the coming year for $800 million. We could easily spend twice of that if you look at the state of the repair backlog. And if you look at the appropriation, the kind of sliding scale here, the capital grants range in 2009 from

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