Port Authority to Open Stage II Light Rail Transit Project

PITTSBURGH – The modernization of Port Authority’s T light rail transit system reached a major milestone Wednesday, June 2, 2004, when the first new light rail vehicles (LRVs) in 19 years begin revenue service over the new Overbrook Line. The 5.2-mile Overbrook Line, closed in June 1993 due to deteriorated track bed and bridges, and the purchase of 28 new LRVs are among the major elements of the $386 million Stage II Light Rail Transit Project. The project continues the modernization of Port Authority’s 25-mile T system. “We are very pleased to open our Stage II project and fulfill a

Suspicious Device Placed in SEPTA Yard by Employee

PHILADELPHIA – An “electronic motion detector” discovered May 5 in SEPTA’s Powelton Rail Yard was placed there by an employee for personal use, the railroad and the FBI said in a joint statement. The unidentified employee, who works full time for SEPTA and part-time for a security alarm company, told the FBI he put the device by the tracks to alert him of approaching foot traffic, “presumably his supervisors,” the statement indicates. “In light of the high degree of attention being devoted to public transportation security, we consider this to be a very serious matter,” SEPTA and the FBI said

SEPTA Employee Finds Suspicious Device, Not Linked to Terrorism

PHILADELPHIA – A device, described as a “commercial motion detector,” was found in a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) rail yard, arousing suspicions among officials. A SEPTA employee discovered the device on May 5 and a week later it was turned over to the FBI for analysis. SEPTA Transit Police, Philadelphia police and the FBI are continuing to investigate the device discovered along a track in a rail car storage yard near 30th Street Station. “The investigation, to date, shows no indication of any threat to the security of the SEPTA rail system,” SEPTA and the FBI said in a

Man Killed By MARTA Train

May 10, 2004 Todd DeFeo 0

ATLANTA – A man walking in a train tunnel was killed Monday when he was struck by a westbound MARTA train, published reports indicate. The man was struck by the six-car train at about 10:20 a.m. It is unclear why the man was inside the tunnel, just east of the Decatur station. The train’s operator notified authorities after the train struck the man. “She pulled the emergency stop when she saw him,” MARTA spokeswoman Kimberly Willis Green told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for a story posted to their web site Monday afternoon. Authorities did not release the man’s identity except to

‘Save Transit’ Coalition to Inform Region of SEPTA’s Financial Plight

PHILADELPHIA – A region-wide coalition of major business, civic, labor and community organizations has been convened to inform the public and state government of the financial plight of SEPTA, which is facing a $70-million budget crisis. Approximately 50 leaders of region-wide businesses and organizations gathered for the first time today at the offices of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. "Public transportation services provided by SEPTA affect everyone in the five-county region, whether they are regular commuters or not," said Pasquale T. Deon, Sr., SEPTA Board Chairman. "Without long-term, predictable funding, SEPTA service will be in jeopardy. This, in turn,

N.O. Reopens Historic Streetcar Line After 40 Years

April 14, 2004 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

NEW ORLEANS – For the first time in 40 years, the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority will resume revenue service of the Canal Streetcar line. "The new Streetcar will be a bright, functional and most-welcomed addition to our city," said Sandra Shilstone, president and CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation. "Generations of New Orleanians have ridden the Streetcar to and from work, and visitors love the old-world charm of the ride." The new Canal Streetcar will take thousands of locals and tourists to work and play each day as it travels the 5.5-mile route from the French Market,

No Fare Hike for N.J. Transit

April 14, 2004 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

NEWARK, N.J. — For the second straight year, Governor James E. McGreevey’s budget calls for N.J. Transit fares remain at their current level. "Public transportation must remain affordable for the hundreds of thousands of hard-working New Jerseyans who commute to work every day," McGreevey said. "This is an important addition to their quality of life – and yet another way we’re investing to keep New Jersey’s economy the strongest among the Northeastern states." In keeping the fares the same this year, McGreevey decided to allocate an extra $85 million to N.J. Transit. These additional funds, combined with internal cost efficiencies,

Transit Leader Testifies on Importance of Security

April 14, 2004 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON — In testimony before the full Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, on the safety and security of passenger rail and public transportation systems, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) highlighted an identified $6 billion in critical security needs to keep America’s public transportation systems safe. “In the United States, more than 9 1⁄2 billion trips are taken on public transportation systems every year. 32 million times every weekday Americans board public transportation vehicles throughout the country-in urban, suburban, and rural communities,” said APTA President William W. Millar. “To put it in perspective, 16 times more Americans travel by

Marta Faces $6 Million Shortfall

April 10, 2004 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

ATLANTA – It’s a budget shortfall to the tune of $6 million. In response, MARTA officials are turning to the public, holding a series of hearing to gather input as the next budget year approaches. “We’ve reduced our costs, but the economic recession has left us with no choice but to propose service modifications,” MARTA General Manager/CEO Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. said in a statement posted online. “And unfortunately, MARTA could see more changes in the heart of its service next year and the year after if new sources of revenue aren’t identified.” MARTA says it will have to reduce

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

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