Kentucky cabinet seeks comments on draft freight transportation plan

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) earlier this month released a proposed 2016 statewide freight transportation plan for public review and put out a call for recommendations to establish a freight advisory committee that would help enhance communications between the cabinet and the freight industry.

KYTC’s Division of Planning-Multimodal Programs Branch partnered with consultant CDM Smith Inc. and the Kentucky Transportation Center to develop the draft freight plan, which analyzes the state’s system of roads, railroads, waterways, airports and pipelines. The plan proposes initiatives and investments for the state’s freight transportation system.

KYTC will accept written comments on the draft plan until July 8. The cabinet is seeking input from constituents, local governments, industry partners, and interested agencies and organizations.

“We are eager to receive input on the statewide freight plan from interested parties whose goal is to promote the safe and efficient transportation of freight,” said KYTC Secretary Greg Thomas in a press release.

The cabinet also announced plans to form a freight advisory committee to improve communication and coordination efforts between the state and freight industry. Public and private stakeholders, and anyone with an interest in freight industry needs, innovations and goals are encouraged to apply, KYTC officials said.

We will be furnishing Kentucky Government with documents about our plans to build a HYPERLOOP connection between Louisville and Chicago AND about the use of this connection for freight.


The Great Festival of May

Windows into History

"Raising the Maypole" by Frederick Goodall, 1855. “Raising the Maypole” by Frederick Goodall, 1855.

Snippets 68A Country Book: for the field, the forest, and the fireside by William Howitt was published in 1859.  This charming book contains one chapter per month, each focussing on country life at the relevant time of the year. You can read more quotes from this book about November in Snippets 38, January in Snippets 51 and April in Snippets 61. For this snippet let’s look at Howitt’s thoughts on the month of May, a month he felt was full of joy and free from care:

Go out all ye who can into the country and see the great festival of May! See the village greens, where the maypoles once collected about them all the population of the place to rejoice. See the woods to which the young people used to go out before daylight, a-maying. See the fields…

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The Last Time Things Got This Bad, It Ended In War

The Arts Mechanical

I was going through am old picture book of Harpers Illustrated  Weekly pictures from the late antebellum period and that was about the last time political parties put armed mobs in the streets.  The Democrats started that one too. Back in the 1860 campaign, well  they actually campaigned in the streets.  In uniform and everything. These are the Republicans, marching down Broadway in NYC. Quite a show, wasn’t it?

The new uniforms aren’t as spiffy, but the Democrats are bringing violence back to political campaigns with a vengeance.  They’ve been doing it actually, for some time now and for some strange reason it never seemed to make the news.  Between the black hoodie “anarchists,” the SEIU thugs and the rest they’ve built up  a pretty strong coalition of thuggery.  Which we saw in display in California.

Of course fear is a pretty potent weapon when you’ve run out of…

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Today In NY Central Railroad History

Pictured above is Harold Vanderilt. He was followed as New York Central Chairman by Robert Young.

Continuing what we have done over the last few months, we take a column published by Mark Tomlonson and try and find more facts, pictures on the subjects.

June 14, 1954 Robert R. Young officially gains control of the New York Central. Harold S. Vanderbilt is forced out, the last Vanderbilt to serve the New York Central.

Read more on this story of Vanderilt and Young.

June 15, 1902 The New York Central & Hudson River Railroad’s “20th Century Limited”, “a train a century ahead of its time” according to contemporary accounts, begins operation. The average speed is 49 mph between New York and Chicago resulting in a 20-hour journey.

June 15, 1938 The “20th Century Limited” is equipped with new streamlined equipment and a new schedule that averages 60 mph.

Read more about the 20th Century Limited.

June 14, 1903 The Big Four Railroad (CCC&StL, later NYC) establishes the New York to St. Louis “Southwestern Limited”, scheduled at 30 hours for the trip.

June 14, 1929 The New York Central inaugurates its transcontinental rail-air service to Los Angeles. The route is formed in conjunction with Universal Air Lines (predecessor of United Air Lines) and Santa Fe via Southwestern Limited. Air travel is between Cleveland and Garden City, KS using Fokker Trimotors. Four passengers make the first westbound trip. Also on board: a silver container of Atlantic Ocean water from New York Mayor Jimmy Walker to be presented to the Mayor of Los Angeles.


June 13, 1845 The Troy & Greenbush Railroad (later NYC) opens between its namesake New York towns. It is the last link in an all-rail line between Boston and Buffalo.

June 13, 1938 New train sets for the “20th Century Limited” are placed on display at Grand Central Terminal and LaSalle Street Station.

June 8, 1962 The Trustees of the New Haven Railroad ask to be included in the Penn Central merger. The Presidents of the New York Central and Pennsylvania Railroads state they would rather see all the railroads of the Northeast united in a single system.

June 8, 1967 An 18-car New York Central freight trains runs from New York to Los Angeles in 54 hours, 17 minutes. This joint venture between NYC and the Santa Fe sets a new speed record, but does not lead directly to any changes in freight service.

8 Things Exceptional Employees Hate (and Toxic Employees Love to Do)

The very worst employees don’t actually cause the biggest problems. Whether totally incompetent or unbelievably lazy, they’re easy to spot — so, although it’s never fun to fire anyone, at least you know there’s a problem and you can let that person go.

The biggest problems are caused by employees who appear to be doing a decent job but who in fact are slowly ruining the morale, attitude, and performance of other employees — and in the process, ruining your business as well.

What do they do?

1. They love to have the meeting after the meeting.

You have a meeting. Issues are raised. Concerns are shared. Decisions are made. Everyone in attendance fully support those decisions. Things are going to happen.

Then someone holds the “meeting after the meeting.” Now she talks about issues she didn’t share in the actual meeting. Now he disagrees with the decisions made in the actual meeting.

And sometimes those people even say to their teams, “Look, I think this is a terrible idea, but we’ve been told to do it, so I guess we need to give it a shot.” That means what was going to happen never will.

Waiting until after a meeting to say “I’m not going to support that” is like saying “I’ll agree to anything … but that doesn’t mean I’ll actually do it. I’ll even work against it.”

Those people need to work somewhere else.

2. They love to say, “That’s not my job.”

The smaller the company, the more important it is that employees think on their feet, adapt quickly to shifting priorities, and do whatever it takes, regardless of role or position, to get things done.

Even if that means a manager has to help load a truck or a machinist needs to clean up a solvent spill; or the accounting staff needs to hit the shop floor to help complete a rush order; or a CEO needs to man a customer service line during a product crisis. (You get the idea.)

Any task an employee is asked to do — as long as it isn’t unethical, immoral, or illegal, and it’s “below” his or her current position — is a task an employee should be willing to do. (Great employees notice problems and jump in without being asked.)

Saying “It’s not my job” says “I care only about me.” That attitude quickly destroys overall performance because it quickly turns what might have been a cohesive team into a dysfunctional group of individuals.

3. They love to act like they’ve already paid their dues.

An employee did great things last year, last month, or even yesterday. You’re appreciative. You’re grateful.

Still, today is a new day. Dues are never paid in full. Dues get paid. The only real measure of any employee’s value is the tangible contribution he or she makes on a daily basis.

Saying “I’ve paid my dues” is like saying “I no longer need to work as hard.” And suddenly, before you know it, other employees start to feel they’ve earned the right to coast too.

4. They love to think their experience is all that matters.

Experience is definitely important, but experience that doesn’t translate into better skills, better performance, and greater achievement is worthless. Experience that just “is” is a waste.

Example: A colleague once said to younger supervisors, “My role is to be a resource.” Great, but then he sat in his office all day waiting for us to come by so he could dispense his pearls of wisdom. Of course, none of us did stop by–we were all busy thinking, “I respect your experience, but I wish your role was to do your job.”

How many years you’ve put in pales in comparison with how many things you’ve done.

Saying “I have more experience” is like saying “I don’t need to justify my decisions or actions.” Experience (or position) should never win an argument. Wisdom, logic, and judgment should always win — regardless of in whom those qualities are found.

5. They love to gossip.

Before a meeting, some of us were talking about supervisors in another department when our new boss looked up and said, “Stop. From now on we will never say anything bad about anyone unless they are actually in the room. Period.”

Until then, I never thought of gossip as a part of a company’s culture — gossip just was. We all did it. And it sucked — especially because being the focus of gossip sucked. (And in time, I realized people who gossip suck too.)

If an employee has talked to more than one person about something Mark is doing, wouldn’t everyone be better off if he stepped up and actually talked to Mark about it? And if it’s “not his place” to talk to Mark, it’s definitely not his place to talk about Mark.

Saying “Did you hear what he did?” is like saying “I have nothing better to do than talk about other people.”

Not only do employees who create a culture of gossip waste time better spent on productive conversations, but they cause other people to respect their co-workers a little less–and anything that diminishes the dignity or respect of any employee should never be tolerated.

6. They love to use peer pressure to hold other employees back.

A new employee works hard. She works long hours. She’s hitting targets and exceeding expectations. She rocks. And she eventually hears, from a more “experienced” employee, “You’re working too hard and making the rest of us look bad.”

Where comparisons are concerned, a great employee doesn’t compare herself with others — she compares herself with herself. She wants to “win” that comparison by improving and doing better today than she did yesterday.

Poor employees don’t want to do more; they want others to do less. They don’t want to win. They just want others to make sure they don’t lose.

Saying, “You’re working too hard,” is like saying, “No one should work hard because I don’t want to work hard.” And pretty soon very few people do — and the ones who keep trying get shunned for a quality you need every employee to possess.

7. They love to grab the glory.

OK, maybe he did do nearly all the work. Maybe he did overcome almost every obstacle. Maybe, without him, that high-performing team would have been anything but.

Probably not. Nothing important is ever accomplished alone, even if some people love to act like it is.

A good employee and good team player shares the glory. He credits others. He praises. He appreciates. He lets others shine. That’s especially true for an employee in a leadership position–he celebrates the accomplishments of others secure in the knowledge that their success reflects well on him, too.

Saying “I did all the work” or “It was all my idea” is like saying “The world revolves around me, and I need everyone to know it.” And even if other people don’t adopt the same philosophy, they resent having to fight for recognition that is rightfully theirs.

8. And they love to throw others under the bus.

A vendor complains. A customer feels shortchanged. A co-worker gets mad. No matter what has happened, it’s someone else’s fault.

Sometimes, whatever the issue and regardless of who is actually at fault, some people step in and take the hit. They willingly accept the criticism or abuse, because they know they can handle it (and they know that maybe the person actually at fault cannot).

Few acts are more selfless than taking the undeserved hit. And few acts better cement a relationship. Few acts are more selfish than saying “It wasn’t me,” especially when, at least in part, it was.

Saying “You’ll have to talk to Martha” is like saying “We’re not all in this together.” At the best companies, everyone is in it together.

Anyone who isn’t needs to go.

 Jeff Haden

Contributing editor, Inc.


MTA mulls months-long closures to fix L Line subway tunnel

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) could close its L line Canarsie subway tunnel for as long as 18 months for repairs, New York City media reported yesterday.

In 2012, Hurricane Sandy flooded the Canarsie Tunnel with 7 million gallons of saltwater.
Photo: Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin

It’s one of two options under consideration to repair the tunnel, which suffered extensive damage during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The second option calls for shutting down one track at a time over the next three years.

The project is expected to cost $800 million to $1 billion.

The Canarsie tunnel carries MTA New York City Transit L trains under the East River between Brooklyn and Manhattan, with about 225,000 riders traveling between the boroughs each weekday. The L is the only subway line between the boroughs.

Hurricane Sandy significantly damaged tracks, signals, cables, lighting, cable ducts and bench walls throughout a 7,100-foot-long section of the Canarsie tubes, MTA officials said in February, when they announced plans to seek community input on addressing the damage.

Bench walls throughout those sections need to be rehabilitated to protect the structural integrity of the tubes.

The tubes were flooded with 7 million gallons of saltwater that deteriorated metal and concrete materials that make up the tubes’ infrastructure, according to the MTA.

The agency will present the two repair proposals at a public meeting in Brooklyn