One Killed, Dozens Injured in Amtrak Derailment

YAZOO CITY, Miss. – One person was killed and dozens more injured when the northbound City of New Orleans derailed Tuesday (April 6). Meanwhile, members of Amtrak’s customer care team arrived at the wreck scene, about 25 miles north of Jackson, Miss. The team provided assistance for passengers, including accommodations, clothing, transportation and communication. At the time of the wreck, there were 73 people aboard the train – 61 passengers and 12 crewmembers. Injured passengers were taken to six area medical facilities, where most were treated and released; four persons were admitted. One person – 68-year-old Clara L. Downs of

Group: Calif. High Speed Rail Could be ‘Train Wreck’

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A proposed high-speed rail system through California’s Central Valley could cause an agricultural, environmental and financial “train wreck” if it promotes more urban sprawl, according to American Farmland Trust. At a public hearing held in March, Edward Thompson, Jr., the organization’s state director, said the environmental report underestimates the impact the rail project will have on agriculture. Thompson called on local and state officials to step up their efforts to manage the state’s growth by getting better control on development and by protecting the “best farmland on the planet. … This doesn’t mean we need more laws

Swing Time Ending for Black River Railroad Bridge

March 31, 2004 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

LA CROSSE, Wis. – A century-old railroad swing bridge will soon get a lift. During the last week of April, Canadian Pacific Railway will replace a 307-foot truss swing span with a more modern rolling bascule span, turning its 1902 swing bridge over the Black River between La Crosse and French Island into a lift bridge. Improvements to the railroad bridge, which is a mile south of the Interstate 90 bridge, will allow train traffic to operate more fluidly between Wisconsin and Minnesota. “The new structure will substantially reduce maintenance costs in our current high axle loading environment and provide

CPR Gives Amtrak Best On-Time Performance in Country

March 23, 2004 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Canadian Pacific Railway dispatcher Jimmy Norris insists it’s a simple matter to keep the Hiawatha trains on time better than any other Amtrak route in the country. Don’t be fooled. Preparation and knowing the train crews and the territory are key, Norris acknowledges. “It takes a lot of planning when there are a lot of heavy freights to see when it will be clear for Amtrak,” said Norris, who will mark his 25th year as a dispatcher this May. Thanks to Norris and the other CPR dispatchers in Minneapolis, the Hiawatha service trains were on time 95.5

BNSF Targets Memphis for Intermodal

March 23, 2004 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company is planning to expand its Tennessee Yard, an intermodal facility in Memphis. The expansion project represents a $40 million capital investment and will create about 150 new jobs over the next few years. “This cooperative agreement with the City of Memphis and Shelby County is a critical step that will enable BNSF to successfully meet our projected growth demands for container traffic,” said Fritz Draper, vice president, Business Development. “As a result, we anticipate doubling our capacity to 400,000 container lifts within the next five years, and we also

CN, CAW Reach Agreement

March 15, 2004 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

MONTREAL — Canadian National and the Canadian Auto Workers union have reached a tentative agreement. CN, however, is withholding details of the agreement until it is ratified. The railroad said the agreement is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2004. CAW shopcraft, intermodal and clerical members remain on strike at CN, as they have been since Feb. 20, pending ratification of new agreements. CN has also reached a tentative agreement covering owner/operator truck drivers represented by the CAW. These drivers are not on strike. CAW notified CN on Feb. 16 that it would launch labor action against the company starting Feb. 20,

OL, FTA and APTA Work Together To Develop Light Rail Safety Program

February 2, 2004 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

Seven transit agencies nationwide have received free packets of information for use in their marketing, education, and communications efforts for Light Rail Safety Education. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Operation Lifesaver (OLI) jointly developed the program, which meets a need identified by many light rail agencies, as well as federal policymakers, with significant assistance by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Light Rail Benefits Light rail is one of the fastest growing modes of transit in the country. As urban and suburban areas across America grapple with gridlock and air quality, an increasing number are turning to light rail.

BNSF Closes 2,000th Grade Crossing as Part of Safety Program

January 19, 2004 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

FORT WORTH, Texas – The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF) announced that, in December 2003, it closed its 2,000th highway-rail grade crossing since the beginning of year 2000. During the four-year period from 2000 to 2003, BNSF closed six percent of its grade crossings, in a cooperative effort with landowners and communities along its route to identify unnecessary or redundant grade crossings. BNSF currently has approximately 30,000 at-grade crossings across its 32,500-mile rail network. BNSF is a subsidiary of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation. “There’s no question that eliminating an unnecessary or redundant crossing can improve safety,”

The End of An Era: The Redbirds Retire

January 4, 2004 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

NEW YORK – MTA New York City Transit’s legendary Redbirds have made their farewell journey – the last 11-car train of Tuscan-red cars operated Nov. 3 on the Flushing Line between Times Square and Willets Point before being permanently retired from service. About three years ago, there were more than 1,400 Redbirds of various vintages serving many of NYC Transit’s A Division routes (numbered lines). However, with the MTA’s $2 billion capital investment in more comfortable and reliable high-tech subway cars the number of Redbirds on the system has dwindled. Their last stronghold was along the No. 7 Flushing Line,

CPR: Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure Should be National Priority

December 31, 2003 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

TORONTO, Ontario – Canada urgently needs a long-term strategy to address looming capacity constraints in the nation’s surface transportation infrastructure, Rob Ritchie, President and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Pacific Railway, said here Dec. 5. “Let’s resolve here and now to make the improvement and sustainability of Canada’s transportation infrastructure a national priority,” Ritchie said in a speech to the Toronto Railway Club. “This is a great gift that our government and business leaders can give to future generations of Canadians.” He called on federal, provincial and civic leaders to develop “a new, collective vision” for an efficient, integrated and

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