Where Will California Get The Rail Cars It Needs?

ntbraymer

By Noel T. Braymer

Back in 2012 with much fanfare, the States of California, Illinois, Michigan and Missouri announced a joint agreement to order 130 bi-level rail passenger cars capable of speeds up to 125 miles per hour. California would get 42 additional cars for ridership growth on the Capitol Corridor, San Joaquin and Pacific Surfliner services. The remaining 88 cars would be for expanded service in the Midwest with speeds up to 125 miles per hour. The $352 million dollar contract was awarded to Sumitomo, with assembly work done by Nippon Shayro at a plant in Illinois. The first cars were scheduled to be delivered by late 2015 with final delivery by 2018.

A recent story in the Wall Street Journal reports due to delays the first cars may not even be delivered  before 2018. Last Fall the prototype bi-level car failed the critical crash strength test. This has…

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EMERGENCY RELIEF

A Place for Freelance Artists (and Writers), The Haven Foundation (created by Stephen King) “gives financial assistance to provide temporary support needed to safeguard and sustain the careers of established freelance artists, writers and other members of the arts and art production communities who have suffered disabilities or experienced a career-threatening illness, accident, natural disaster or personal catastrophe. Grants are awarded and renewed at the discretion of the Haven Foundation Board.” Details including eligibility guidelines and application are HERE.

The Authors League Fund (writers helping writers) has assisted professional writers and dramatists who find themselves in financial need because of medical or health-related problems, temporary loss of income, or other misfortune. Details HERE.

Human Rights Watch administers the Hellman/Hammett Grants program for writers who have been victims of political persecution or are in financial need. Hellman/Hammett grants typically range from $1,000 to a maximum of $10,000. In addition to providing…

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App Lets You See How The Second Avenue Subway Will Help You

The Second Avenue Subway’s first phase is so close, we can almost hear it rumbling under our feet. The first phase, running the Q train through a rehabilitated station at Lexington Avenue and East 63rd Street to new stations on Second Avenue at 72nd Street, 86th Street, and 96th Street, is set to be open in December. How good will it be, in concrete numbers? One app has answered that question by peering into the future.

The free Citymapper navigation app has added a beta function that allows you to see how the Second Avenue Subway will cut down the length of a trip (h/t CityLab). You enter your start and end points, just like any mapping system. Then you get estimates for walking, biking, and Uber, followed by existing subway and bus lines. After that, however, you get a listing for “The Future.”

“The Second Avenue subway is one of the most infamous, for-so-long hypothetical lines,” Joe Hughes, the head of mobile engineering for Citymapper, told CityLab. “Now that it’s finally on the horizon, we thought: What is this going to make possible?”

We plotted a trip from Curbed NY’s offices to a destination in the upper 70s between Second and First avenues. It would take 23 to 29 minutes via current subway options, but only 16 minutes via the future Q train. It’s estimated that the line will have a daily ridership of 200,000 people from day one. Are you one of them? Download the app and have some fun!

See How the 2nd Avenue Subway Will Help Your Commute [CityLab]

An Exercise in Time Travel: Adding the 2nd Avenue Line [Citymapper]

Photos: The 2nd Avenue Subway’s Progress (And Rails!) [Gothamist]

Indiana panel OKs $1.6 million grant to double track South Shore Line

The board of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) yesterday approved a $1.6 million matching grant for the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District‘s South Shore Line double-track project.

Photo: NICTD

The money will help offset the $4 million cost of preliminary engineering and environmental work for the project, RDA officials said in a press release.

The double-track project calls for adding a second full track to the existing South Shore Line from Gary to Michigan City, Ind. The line, which runs from Chicago to South Bend, Ind., has double track only from Chicago to Tennessee Street in Gary.

The remainder of the route has single track for both eastbound and westbound trains. As a result, trains must regularly slow or stop on passing sidings to allow trains traveling in the opposite direction to pass.

Adding the second track would “greatly reduce” commuting times to and from Chicago by allowing the South Shore Line to increase the number and speed of trains it runs each day, RDA officials said. Additionally, the project will give the northwestern Indiana region a leg up over its suburban Illinois counterparts in the competition for transit-oriented development, new businesses and new residents.

“Expanding capacity on the existing South Shore line is critical to boosting the economy and creating new jobs here in Northwest Indiana,” said Bill Hanna, RDA’s resident and chief executive officer.

Read more about the South Shore Line.

Game 1: Comets Comeback Falls Short

The Utica Comets quest for the Calder Cup did not have the ideal start out of the gate as they lost 3-2 to the Albany Devils at the Times Union Center on Friday night. The Devils outshot the Comets 29-14, and scored a goal in each period en route to acquiring a 1-0 series lead in the North Division Semifinals.

Darren Archibald (1-0-1) and Jordan Subban (1-0-1) each potted a goal, and Ronalds Kenins (0-2-2) enjoyed a multi-point with two helpers. Richard Bachman made the start and made 26 saves in the loss.

Albany scored the first goal of the series off of the stick of Ben Thomson. Moments after the Devils power play expired, Thomson redirected Vojtech Mozik’s slap shot from the point over the shoulder of Bachman and gave the Devils a 1-0 lead.

The Devils extended their lead 4:27 into the second period on a power play. Pavel Zacha brought the puck around the back of the net and set up Reid Boucher for a one timer from the right slot. The puck slipped past Bachman and into the net to give Albany the 2-0 advantage.

The Devils commitment to defense was evident throughout the game, especially so during the second period. The dominant Devils defense held the Comets to no shots on goal through the entirety of the middle frame.

27 seconds into the third period, and on the team’s first shot since the first period, the Comets cut the Albany lead in half. Alex Friesen received a pass in the left slot from Ronalds Kenins, spun around, and sent a pass across the front of the net to Archibald who was planted in the crease. Archibald finished off the scoring play and jammed the puck into the wide open net to make it 2-1.

Joseph Blandisi reestablished the Devils two goal lead with nifty backhand goal on a breakaway.

Utica wouldn’t go away easy, and chipped away at the Albany lead once again late in the third. Kenins dumped off a pass to Subban just inside the blue line, and he fired a laser past the stick of the net minder to narrow the Devils lead to 3-2.

The score held, and the Utica comeback attempt fell just short.

The Comets and Albany Devils get right back at it Saturday night. Game 2 of the North Division Semifinals is slated to start at 5 p.m. at the Times Union Center in downtown Albany.

Building Blocks of Supply Chain Visibility

If you see an iceberg coming and don’t react quickly or appropriately, you may become the subject of a major motion picture.  And, although the soundtrack was nice, the results were not so stellar for the people on the boat.

While the issues you encounter managing your supply chain on a daily basis are seldom this extreme, you need visibility to actionable information that allows you to predict disruptions or delays and make course changes quickly. It is not enough to know how the network performed last week or month; you need accurate data about the present.

The words supply chain visibility continue to receive a lot of attention by Chief Supply Chain Officers, and rightly so.  As technologies evolve, it creates more and more opportunities to streamline supply chain processes and improve efficiency in the system. Transportation Management Systems play a pivotal role in providing control tower visibility capabilities, but not all solutions are created equal. Achieving true supply chain visibility requires a solution that has all the building blocks that work together to provide a comprehensive and impactful solution.

Cloud based logistics network

The emergence of the cloud based business network brings together a community of already connected and ready to go logistics partners. Cloud based platforms have the innate ability to integrate all participants in a single platform unlike traditional on premise software which requires point to point connections. True control tower capability is impossible with just batch information enabled by EDI. Web service based integration via API’s set the stage for providers to create the next generation of decision support tools

Collaborative business process workflows

Today’s supply chains are inherently multi enterprise business processes that extend beyond the walls of a single enterprise. Supply chain visibility solutions need to have the capacity to stitch together workflows that transcend enterprise boundaries with active participation from partners integrated seamlessly into the system. The multi enterprise platform should also support security and data restrictions that are necessary when different parties are accessing a single solution.

Top down meets bottoms up

Visibility means different things for different people, and a visibility system should understand the nature and role of the specific user and satisfy the demand for information at the appropriate level and detail. For instance, senior management needs access to performance metrics, profitability numbers, and customer service levels while operational resources need granular access to specific orders/shipments. A viable supply chain visibility solution should incorporate both levels: a top down view characterized by Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and metrics and a bottoms up view with granular details of track and trace.

Exception management

In all likelihood, you will take great care to design an end-to-end process and capture it in your workflow. However, if you build exception management into your solution, when things go wrong – and we all know this happens despite the best plans – you have a path to recognize and mitigate these challenges appropriately. The objective is to ensure proactive notification and ensure disruption in the supply network is attended to in a timely fashion.

Decision support and prescriptive analytics

Beyond providing just visibility, control tower solutions of today are slowly evolving into excellent decision support tools that provide insight into how problems and issues could be solved and, in some cases, how they could be averted. It is no longer enough if you just raise a flag and state that something is wrong. Solutions should be able to assess a supply chain disruption and provide recommendations and course corrections to address the issue. Prescriptive solutions over time could evolve into more automated solutions which auto corrects itself and continuously adjusts and tunes itself based on real time supply chain events.

We have all heard the old saying that seeing is believing. As a supply chain professional, you must go beyond both seeing and believing to ensure that you have the best technology and well developed workflows to to make proactive decisions, totally avoiding the “icebergs” in your world.