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FRA

FRA Proposes to Improve Crash Survivability of Locomotive ‘Black Box’

WASHINGTON – Event recorders, the train equivalent of an airplane’s “black box,” will be improved to make sure critical information survives train accidents according to a proposed rule issued June 30 by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). “The survival of data is key to understanding why a train accident happened,” said FRA Acting Administrator Betty Monro. “Having a better ‘black box’ will improve our ability to prevent future accidents.” The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) published in today’s Federal Register addresses several safety recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board to improve the quality of data available for post-accident

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Canadian Pacific

NS and CP: Agreement Will Improve Performance

CALGARY – Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and Norfolk Southern Railway (NSR) on June 30 signed a memorandum of understanding for an exchange of trackage rights, freight haulage and yard services that both railroads say will increase operational efficiency and enhance rail service to customers. “This agreement with NSR opens up new opportunity to move our northeastern U.S. franchise into a position of profitability,” Rob Ritchie, President and Chief Executive Officer of CPR, said. “We expect the changes will generate higher traffic volumes and revenues, greater productivity and lower operating costs.” CPR announced in June 2003 it was restructuring its northeastern

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Commuter Rail

Seattle Approves Monorail Alignment

SEATTLE – By an 8-1 vote, the Seattle City Council this month approved the route alignment for the Seattle Monorail Project’s Green Line, moving the voter-approved transit project a step closer to becoming a reality. “This is a huge accomplishment for the Council, for the Monorail Project and for the City,” said Council President Jan Drago, who co-chaired the Monorail Committee and noted that in the past year the Council has held 21 committee of the whole meetings and four public hearing dedicated to the monorail. “I don’t want to be part of another generation that fails to provide adequate

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Canadian Pacific

CPR Employs Plus Technology

CALGARY, Alberta – Canadian Pacific Railway has become the first Canadian railway to use a PLUS train – a high-speed ballast unloading system that is revolutionizing the way the company spreads new ballast to maintain the integrity of a track roadbed. PLUS or “Programmable Linear Unloading System,” reduces ballast spreading to a fraction of the time it previously took, speeding up maintenance work, thus reducing impact to the train operation.  Ballast, made up of cleaned crushed rock, is the solid foundation that ensures the tracks are able to handle modern trains. With the aid of a laptop computer, global positioning

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Legislation

Legislation Designed to Improve Security Programs

WASHINGTON – Government officials say new legislation will expand and improve anti-terrorist security programs for passenger railroad and freight rail systems. The bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on June 17. “The Protecting Railroads against Enemy Efforts through Modernization, Planning and Technology Act” (PREEMPT) was introduced by: U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, chairman, Transportation & Infrastructure Committee; U.S. Rep. Jack Quinn, R-N.Y., chairman, Subcommittee on Railroads; and U.S. Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev., vice chairman, Subcommittee on Railroads. The legislation will provide the resources both to harden our nation’s rail system against the possibility of terrorist attack and

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Miscellaneous

Indian Derailment Kills As Many As 20 Passengers

An Indian passenger train derailed Wednesday, killing as many as 20 people and injuring scores more, officials said. An Associated Press photograph showed a passenger coach dangling from a railway bridge. According to CNN, an engine and three passenger cars from the train – known as the Matsyagandha Express – fell off the 65-foot tall bridge after the locomotive jumped the tracks. A boulder that washed onto the tracks may be to blame for the derailment, various accounts indicate. The stretch of tracks – known as the Konkan route – is considered by many to be one of the most

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Amtrak

Woman, Unhurt, Falls in Path of Amtrak Train

NEW CARROLLTON, Md. – A woman, who fell off a platform and under an Amtrak train, avoided injuries, published reported indicate. “It appears to be an accidental fall,” Maryland Gazette Newspapers quoted Chauncey Bowers, spokesman for the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department, as saying. “Unfortunately, she ended up falling onto the track bed and under a portion of the train.” Authorities indicated the train had stopped when the woman fell of the platform. Emergency crews responded to the station shortly after 2 p.m. Monday (June 14) and rescued the woman. She was transported to an area hospital where she was

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Commuter Rail

Greenleaf/Taylor Introduce Transit Funding Bills; Paul Levy to Lead saveTransit Coalition

PHILADELPHIA — Pennsylvania State Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf (R-12) has introduced legislation that would help provide dedicated and predictable funding for public transit agencies throughout Pennsylvania. State Representative John J. Taylor (R-177) intends to introduce identical legislation in the near future. “Efficient and effective public transportation is critically important to the economic prosperity of all Pennsylvanians,” said Senator Greenleaf, a member of the SEPTA Board representing Bucks and Montgomery Counties. “SEPTA and every transit agency across Pennsylvania are facing dire consequences without stable state funding. I’m confidant this legislation will provide that stability,” said Representative Taylor. The legislation being introduced

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Commuter Rail

MARTA Passes ’05 Budget, No Rail Cuts

ATLANTA — MARTA’s rail operations are safe – for now, at least. Last month, operating and capital budgets for FY ’05 were passed, and although no reductions to rail service were included, 300 employees were cut. Of those, 244 were bus operators and 56 were bus maintenance employees. “Although we’ve been able to maintain operating costs in the past with cost containment measures, this is just a small precursor of what’s to come,” MARTA assistant general manager of legal Mike Sloan said. “If no additional sources of revenue are identified for MARTA operations, more budget reductions may be needed in