NEW ULM, Minn. – By a 7-to-1 margin, Minnesotans favor Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad’s plan to upgrade its existing tracks in southern Minnesota, according to a new statewide survey of Minnesota voters about the railroad improvement plan. Asked why they favor it, supporters most often said that it would improve rail safety. The statewide survey found that 74 percent favor the DM&E plan, 10.4 percent oppose it and 15.7 percent did not know or refused to answer. Minnesotans voiced an equally strong conviction that the project would benefit farmers. The survey found that 71 percent believed the DM&E upgrade
WASHINGTON – Track maintenance employees of the Appalachian and Ohio Railroad have unanimously approved their first contract as members of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division (BMWED) of the Teamsters Union. This is the first union contract on the short line railroad since being sold by Watco Companies. “This contract will provide an immediate increase in wages,” said Randall Brassell, General Chairman of the BMWED’s Eastern Federation. “The contract language standardizes pay rates and gives employees access to a 401(k) plan. This is a good first contract.” The contract ratification vote took place Aug. 3 in Buckhannon, W.Va.
WASHINGTON — The Surface Transportation Board has released letters from Class I railroads outlining their “peak season” service plans. In June, Chairman W. Douglas Buttrey sent letters to the chief executive officers of the seven largest railroads and to the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA), asking the railroads to inform the STB of their plans to ascertain the demand for, and to prepare for, the provision of peak-season service; their performance goals for the remainder of 2006 and their plans for achieving those goals; and their plans to communicate their service goals and plans with customers. In
GLENCOE, Minn. — The Twin Cities & Western normally is freight service only, but on July 21-22-23 the 229-mile regional railroad celebrated its 15th anniversary by running a series of diesel-powered passenger trains. Regularly scheduled passenger service ended on the line in 1969. "It’s our way of thanking customers, employees, government leaders and railroad officials who helped make our railroad a success," says TC&W Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Mark Wegner. The general public had an opportunity to ride similar trains on July 29-30 when the city of Cologne, Minn. marks its 125th anniversary. As a bonus, the
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad (B&P) on June 22 announced that its freight rail service has resumed to three companies in Butler County, Pa., following a fire last month that destroyed a wooden railroad bridge on that line. With the cooperation of local, state and federal officials and regulatory agencies to expedite the permitting process, the B&P was able to replace the damaged bridge with new track on culverts and earthen fill in about six weeks. The branch line runs from East Butler to Bruin and was out of service since the fire on May 10, 2006.
WILLIAMS, Ariz. – After nearly 20 years of devotion and resources, Grand Canyon Railway’s owners, Max and Thelma Biegert, are ready to be less involved with the day-to-day operation and have set forth a new goal for the future – to preserve the Railway as their legacy. Grand Canyon Railway has signed an agreement with Peacock, Hislop, Staley and Given, Inc. (PHSG) and are currently pursuing strategic business options, including the possible sale of Grand Canyon Railway. “Max and Thelma are looking forward to enjoying the fruits of their labor during their Golden Years,” said David Chambers, president of Grand
PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Mike Rounds and BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) on Nov. 28 announced a settlement has been reached for the sale of the state-owned Core railroad line to BNSF. “South Dakota producers and shippers will benefit by enhanced transportation access to markets,” Rounds said. “As a condition of the sale, we negotiated a settlement protecting and expanding access to the Core line for our South Dakota shippers. This is access to worldwide markets that our smaller carriers have never before had.” The state will collect approximately $40,337,295 from BNSF for the sale of the Core Line. The proceeds
Short-line rail companies continue to carry their weight on routes that otherwise might have been abandoned The train grinds to a halt, and engineer Eddie Pitchford breaks out his cell phone. Two locomotives with coal cars in tow sit idle in a wooded area north of downtown Athens, and the train’s progress rests on the word of an anonymous dispatcher 300 miles away. “Some days we get hung up here,” Pitchford said. The Hartwell Railroad freight train must cross CSX Transportation’s main rail line running between Atlanta and Wilmington, N.C., before it can proceed into downtown Athens. From his cell