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

Orange Alert: Nationwide Railroads Step Up Security

December 24, 2003 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON – Nationwide, railroads stepped up security following the announcement of an increase to the country’s terror threat level. “We are taking precautionary measures to assure our customers that we are doing everything that we can to make sure they can pass through our system without incident. Our customers are likely to see special response teams of officers carrying additional weaponry with a canine accompanying them,” said Metro Transit Police Chief Polly Hanson. “We also are asking our customers to be an extension of our eyes and ears, and let us know if they see anything unusual.” Since Dec. 21,

SEPTA Statement on Passage of the Pennsylvania Fiscal 2004 Budget

December 24, 2003 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

PHILADELPHIA – The passage of the Fiscal 2004 Pennsylvania state budget restores a 6 percent cut in SEPTA subsidies ($15 million), but does not alleviate the need for greater state support for public transit in the Commonwealth. “Passage of the 2004 budget essentially returns SEPTA to where we were last January,” said SEPTA Board Chair Pasquale T. Deon, Sr. “But we are facing an immediate $70-million dollar deficit going into the next budget year. “With the prolonged budget struggle hopefully over, there is the expectation that state government will quickly address the fundamental issue of providing a long term and

MTA, Bus and Rail Operators Reach Tentative Contract Agreement

December 24, 2003 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

LOS ANGELES – A tentative agreement has been reached on a new three-year labor contract between the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the United Transportation Union, which represents 5,000 bus and rail operators, officials announced Dec. 18. Terms of the settlement are being withheld pending a ratification meeting for the Union’s members. Subject to Union ratification, the MTA Board will consider approval of the contract at its January Board meeting. “We are delighted that we have been able to reach an agreement which is equitable to both parties,” MTA Board Chairman Zev Yaroslavsky, CEO Roger Snoble and UTU

Innovation Under Way as Railway Aims to Cut Costs

December 18, 2003 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

CALGARY, Alberta – Canadian Pacific Railway in December became the first railway in Canada to operate intermodal freight trains with mid-train remote-control locomotives, the company said. Mimicking the control inputs of engineers in leading locomotives, the remote-control units enable CPR to run intermodal trains approaching three kilometers in length through the winter when they were previously shortened because of air-pressure loss in colder temperatures. Since 1995 all new main-line locomotives ordered by CPR have been equipped to operate in leading or remote-control configuration. Introduction of remote-control locomotives is a cornerstone of the railway’s campaign to completely transform its intermodal service,

Communities Can Quiet Train Horns

December 17, 2003 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON – The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on Dec. 17 announced a rule allowing local communities to quiet train horns at some 150,000 railroad crossings nationwide if safety requirements are met. “For several years, the Federal Railroad Administration has been working to address the impact of train horn noise on communities in a way that improves quality of life for nearby residents without sacrificing safety for motorists at railroad crossings,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta. “Train horns are important safety devices, but they also can be a nuisance for residents,” he added. “This rule means less noise

NS to Spend $810 Million in 2004

December 11, 2003 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

NORFOLK, Va. – Norfolk Southern Corporation plans to spend $810 million in 2004 for capital improvements to its railroad operations and subsidiaries. “Our capital spending budget reflects our commitment to providing the highest levels of service and safety for our customers and to utilizing our equipment and facilities efficiently,” said Norfolk Southern Chairman, President and CEO David R. Goode. The anticipated spending includes $517 million for roadway projects and $258 million for equipment. In roadway improvements, the largest expenditure will be $384 million for rail, crosstie, ballast and bridge programs. In addition, $29 million is provided for communications, signal and

November is Good to Amtrak

December 11, 2003 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON — Amtrak ended the busiest November in its 32-year history with a ridership total of 2,076,054, up 11.7 percent over last year’s total of 1,858,345. All 16 long-distance trains posted double-digit gains and, collectively, posted a 32 percent surge in ridership. The most impressive gains were realized on the Capitol Limited (Chicago – Pittsburgh – Washington), up 54 percent; the Sunset Limited (Orlando – New Orleans – San Antonio – Los Angeles), up 50 percent; and the Cardinal (Chicago – Indianapolis – New York), up 51 percent due to a route extension from Washington to New York City. Regional

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