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FRA Approves Waiver for New Braking Technology to Improve Train Control and Safety

WASHINGTON — Two railroads will begin equipping and operating trains with new brake technology capable of significantly improving train control, reducing derailments, and shortening stopping distances as a result of a waiver approved by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Administrator Joseph H. Boardman announced March 29. “It is time for the railroad industry to embrace new train braking technology and prevent some of the accidents that are happening now,” Boardman said. “Rail safety can be improved and better brakes are part of the solution,” he stressed, noting that the FRA is considering issuing a proposed rule later this year designed

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Norfolk Southern and BNSF Railway to Test New Train Brake Technology

FORT WORTH, Texas — Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) and BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) will begin testing a new braking system that may reduce the amount of time it takes to stop a train. The project, authorized by the Federal Railroad Administration, calls for NS and BNSF to equip and test certain locomotives and freight cars with electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes. ECP brakes have the potential to reduce train stopping distances by as much as 50 to 70 percent over conventional air brake systems. ECP brakes utilize electronic signals to simultaneously apply and release throughout the length of a freight

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NTSB Celebrates 40 Years

WASHINGTON — The National Transportation Safety Board reaches its 40th anniversary on April 1. The NTSB opened its doors April 1, 1967. On that day, the Bureau of Safety was removed from the Civil Aeronautics Board and became the foundation for the new accident investigation agency. Since then, the NTSB has investigated about 130,000 aviation accidents and thousands of accidents in the other modes of transportation: highway, rail, marine and pipeline. “I have often said that the NTSB is one of the best bargains in government,” NTSB Chairman Mark V. Rosenker said. “With fewer than 400 employees, the Safety Board

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CSXT Pledges Prompt, Aggressive Safety Response

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Michael Ward, chairman and chief executive officer of CSX Corporation, has assured Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Boardman that CSX Transportation will move promptly and aggressively to address safety concerns, through heightened inspection standards and other special initiatives in response to a FRA inspection report. “Safety is our top priority, and we welcome the FRA’s inspections and insights,” Ward said. “We are committed to working closely with FRA on all safety issues.” Company officials reported that CSXT promptly took corrective action on the defects identified in the FRA focused inspection in January, many of them before the inspection

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Commuter Rail

MARTA Sees Ridership Increase

ATLANTA – From July to December 2006, MARTA’s passenger counts grew by 7.2 percent and passenger revenue increased by 3.8 percent over the same period last year.   Nationwide, public transit ridership grew by 2.9 percent from 2005 to 2006. “MARTA is working hard to improve service and attract more riders to the system and we are pleased to see the positive results of our efforts,” said General Manager Richard McCrillis. “We hope to sustain this trend through the multiple renewal and improvement efforts we have underway – including our rail car rehabilitation project, increased service levels, and heightened focus on

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Short Line/Regional

FRA Issues RRIF Loans to DM&E and R.J. Corman Railroad Group

WASHINGTON — The Federal Railroad Administration approved a Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan to a pair of short line railroads. The FRA gave one grant to the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad (DM&E) of $48.3 million to improve safety and service between Wall, South Dakota and Colony, Wyo. Rail line improvements will be made to accommodate heavier freight cars that haul grains, ethanol, and minerals. Specifically, 134 miles of track will be upgraded, including the replacement of 60 miles of rail between Wall and Owanka, and from Whitewood to the SD-WY state line. Major bridge repairs will occur

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Norfolk Southern

Norfolk Southern Facilitates $2 Billion of Industrial Investment Along Rail Lines in 2006

NORFOLK, Va. — Norfolk Southern Corp. participated in the location of 70 new industrial facilities and provided support for the expansion of 45 additional industrial facilities along its rail lines in 2006, the company announced. New plants and expansions represent an investment of $2 billion by Norfolk Southern customers and are expected to create an estimated 3,578 customer jobs in the railroad’s territory and eventually generate more than 95,000 carloads of new rail traffic annually. Norfolk Southern assisted state and local government and economic development officials throughout 19 states in helping customers identify ideal locations for new and expanded facilities.

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Amtrak Continues Work on Quantico Bridge

WASHINGTON — Beginning March 24, Amtrak will operate on a single track over Quantico Creek in Quantico, Va. The track work is a continuation of work that started February 16-23 to build a second bridge span over the Quantico Creek to allow for multiple track operation from Richmond to Washington, DC. Service on the Carolinian, which operates between New York and Charlotte, NC, will be affected from March 24 through April 1 to accommodate the track work. Saturday March 24 through Sunday April 1 Carolinian trains (79 and 80) will operate between Rocky Mount and Charlotte only, with no alternate

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Amtrak Adjusts Missouri Service Schedules to Accommodate Trackwork

CHICAGO — Amtrak is adjusting train schedules between St. Louis and Kansas City effective April 2, 2007, due to a major track repair project by the line’s owner, Union Pacific Railroad (UP). The project will continue through the fall of 2007 and is expected to lead to improved ride quality and reliability. During the construction period, UP will install new rail, ties, ballast and replace surfaces at road crossings. Unlike 2006, when Amtrak and the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) regularly chartered motorcoaches, this year’s plan calls for two daily round-trips to be provided solely by train. “Although we were

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Canadian National

NTSB: Crew’s Failure to Comply With Signals Caused Miss. Derailment, Fatigue Also a Possible Factor

WASHINGTON — The National Transportation Safety Board today determined that the probable cause of a fatal train collision was the failure by the crew to comply with wayside signals requiring them to stop at North Anding. The crew’s attention to the signals was most likely reduced by fatigue, the Board said, although other factors cannot be ruled out. ” This was an accident that could have been prevented,” said NTSB Chairman Mark V. Rosenker. “We will continue to promote and reiterate the importance of having positive train control on our railroad system.” On July 10, 2005, two CN freight trains