Category Archives: Railroad Current

Critics of high-speed rail step up pressure as federal decision

Took afew minutes for me to get the mail on this.Started out in THE HOUR in Norwalk, Connecticut. Went to California who reblogged it their E-NEWS. Then friend sent to me.

In simplicity: With a major decision looming, preservationists are stepping up their efforts to get the Federal Railroad Administration to rethink its proposed high-speed rail route through Connecticut.

The FRA’s NEC Future would cut 29 miles of new rail lines, between New Rochelle, N.Y., and Greens Farms, under preliminary plans released late last year.

“There is significant concern that the Federal Railroad Administration intends to push through public opposition to the New Rochelle, N.Y. to Greens Farms bypass through Fairfield County,” said Gregory Stroud, director of special projects for The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. “Until we hear otherwise, the Connecticut Trust intends to exert maximum pressure possible so that this poorly-considered project will be dropped from the plan.”

Stroud said The Connecticut Trust expects the FRA to release its Record of Decision regarding NEC Future around June 1. The decision will identify a Selected Alternative and outline short- and long-term improvements to the Northeast Corridor, the rail line between Washington, D.C., and Boston.

The Washington bureaucrats who are “planning” the “new” Northeast Corridor should understand that Fairfield County is unlike most US counties. The people who run the United States live there or formerly lived there. They throw FRA bureaucrats out on their tails!

Can Amtrak bar NJ Transit from Northeast Corridor if state withholds rent?

Governor Chris Christie (best known for George Washington Bridge) posed this question and NJ.com covered the story.

NJ Transit pays Amtrak $93 million a year so that more than 400 of its trains can use the Northeast Corridor, but Gov. Chris Christie wants to stop making the lease payment until he gets answers to maintenance questions after an April 3 derailment in Penn Station…
NJ Transit paid $62 million for maintenance for 2016, in a lump sum payment after executing a contract with Amtrak in February, spokesperson Nancy Snyder said. That payment wasn’t late under the agreement, she said.

NJ Transit officials are waiting for an invoice from Amtrak for this year’s $74 million maintenance payment. That bill will be reviewed and, once any discrepancies have been reconciled, NJ Transit will make arrangements to pay, Snyder said. Amtrak officials said NJ Transit makes monthly rent payments.

At the same time, NJ.com reported Amtrak officials are citing mechanical issues with an NJ Transit train as the cause for the incident that stranded 1,200 passengers for several hours in the Hudson River tunnels between New Jersey and New York on Friday night.

“Amtrak has determined that the incident involving NJ Transit Train 3850 last Friday was not caused by Amtrak infrastructure, and that the preliminary cause appears to be a NJ Transit mechanical problem involving the train’s pantograph (power collector),” said Mike Tolbert, an Amtrak spokesman in a statement on Monday.

Then a story from Bloomburg: After three passenger-train mishaps in the past month underscored the fragility of New York City rail travel, Amtrak Chief Executive Officer Wick Moorman said the only solution is the $23 billion Gateway tunnel project.

“The fundamental problem is: What is plan B?” Moorman, 65, said in an interview at Bloomberg headquarters in New York. “I don’t know.”

Then WABC-TV chimed in: Recent train disruptions in New York that caused cascading delays between Boston and Washington, D.C., have refocused attention on a multibillion-dollar tunnel project that could have ameliorated future problems if it hadn’t been canceled by Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in 2010.

Whether Christie feels any pangs of remorse over the decision was left unanswered Wednesday at a news conference to urge President Donald Trump’s administration to honor a pre-existing commitment to fund a new tunnel project.

Patrons Upset With Trump Administration Over AMTRAK Long Distance

The current California RailPAC Newsletter is just CRAWLING with upset riders over Washington’s handeling of long distance AMTRAK.

Pictured above, this is the eastbound California Zephyr stopping at Colfax on April 20th. One passenger got off and 13 got on including one person with a sleeper. The Zephyr this time of year runs with 3 coaches and 2 usually full sleepers. Think what they could do with more cars!

The DesMoines Register: Tell Congress to choo, choo, choose rail service. On my way home from Sacramento, Calif., last month, I saw scores of passengers board Amtrak’s California Zephyr at Osceola, Ottumwa and Mount Pleasant. And this was on a Thursday in March! Even though the train bypasses Iowa’s largest cities, it remains very popular. Yet the Donald Trump administration wants to kill the Zephyr as well as every other long-distance train. We should be improving rail passenger service, as candidate Trump said on the campaign trail.

But his administration’s budget team, giving in to the Heritage Foundation and its like, wants to eliminate service to the national system while continuing lavish subsidies to highway and air travel. Ironically, the proposed cuts would hurt the very regions which supported Trump last November.

If you don’t want to lose your Amtrak service, write or call your representatives in Congress. As author Peter Lyon wrote: “Passengers of America unite! You have nothing to lose but your trains!”

A local meeting coincides with efforts by Gov. Jim Justice and both Democratic and Republican state lawmakers to increase Amtrak passenger train service in the state and with President Donald Trump’s budget proposal to slash funding for Amtrak in “fly-over states, ” including West Virginia.

Amtrak is a federally-funded passenger railroad service that provides medium- and long-distance intercity service in the United States.

The Cardinal, an Amtrak train which runs between Chicago and New York, currently provides service in Prince, Hinton, White Sulphur Springs and other stations in southern West Virginia on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.

The “troops” are not happy campers!

California: Connecting With High Speed Rail

This map from ACE shows the future connections with ACE to future High Speed Rail, San Joaquin, Capitol Corridor, Caltrain and BART. The future ACE route will be on the UP right of way with a separate track for ACE passenger trains. The UP will be able to use this track when there are no passenger trains using it to relieve UP freight congestion in the San Joaquin Valley.

What is a GREEN Railroad?

The Railpower GG20B Green Goat is a low-emissions diesel hybrid switcherlocomotive built by Railpower Technologies Corp. It is powered by a single Caterpillar C9 six cylinder inline engine developing 300 horsepower (224 kW), which is also connected to a large battery bank where both sources combine for a total power output of 2,000 horsepower (1,490 kW).

Union Pacific Saves Fuel While Increasing Efficiency

Fuel reduction initiatives save nearly $7 million during first quarter

Omaha, Neb., April 28, 2006 – As fuel prices continue to rise, the pain at the pump is leading consumers to look for ways to improve fuel economy. The same is true for the nation’s largest railroad. Imagine the cost of fueling a 4,000 horsepower vehicle with a 4,900-gallon tank. Union Pacific fuels nearly 8,000 of these vehicles every day. They are the diesel locomotives that move the consumer goods, food, energy and construction materials fueling the nation’s economy.

Even though fuel prices are at record highs, and the railroad is hauling more materials than ever before (four percent more than last year at this time), Union Pacific was able to shave two percent off its diesel fuel consumption during the first quarter of 2006 – resulting in nearly $7 million in savings. The railroad was able to achieve the savings through a number of energy conservation initiatives, including:
* Creation and deployment of the Fuel Masters program to reward locomotive engineers for efficiently operating trains
* Acquisition of newer, more fuel-efficient locomotives
* Implementation of changes in traffic flow and operations to move freight more efficiently.

“We all have a role to play in helping conserve fuel for our nation, and Union Pacific employees are doing it every day,” said Jim Young, president and CEO, Union Pacific. “In a relatively short period of time, our employees have made great strides in implementing and creating world-class energy conservation techniques that are helping us to move more freight while saving fuel. With their help we will continue to improve our efficiency while delivering the goods America needs.”

Railroad versus Road

In terms of fuel efficiency, railroads are three times more fuel-efficient than trucks. If just 10 percent of the freight moved by highway were diverted to rail, the nation could save as much as 200 million gallons of fuel each year. And, railroad fuel efficiency has increased by 72 percent since 1980. Prior to 1980, a gallon of diesel fuel moved one ton of freight an average of 235 miles. In 2001, the same amount of fuel moved one ton of freight an average of 406 miles. Overall, railroads and rail suppliers have reduced the weight and increased the capacity of rail cars to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.

Studies also indicate the diversion of freight traffic from truck to rail can reduce highway congestion. For example:
* One intermodal train can take 280 trucks (equal to 1,100 cars) off our already congested highways
* Trains carrying other types of freight can take up to 500 trucks off the highway.

A study of 50 major U.S. metro areas by transportation consultant Wendell Cox found that the diversion of 25 percent of truck freight to rail would lead, by 2025, to:
* 2.8 billion fewer traveler-hours wasted in congested traffic
* A savings of 16 billion gallons of fuel
* Nearly 800,000 fewer tons of air pollution.

“Union Pacific is committed to the development and use of new technologies to preserve the environment for future generations,” said Young. “Environmental protection is a primary management responsibility as well as the responsibility of every Union Pacific employee.”

A Green Railroad Did you know that railroads are one of the most environmentally friendly modes of freight transportation? It’s true. Freight trains are three times more fuel-efficient than over-the-road trucks and have less of an impact on air emissions than trucks.

With nearly 55 percent of its locomotives certified under existing EPA Tier 0, Tier 1 and Tier 2 standards, UP owns the cleanest fleet in the nation, using technology to further reduce fuel consumption and diesel engine exhaust-related emissions.

Union Pacific has been working with two manufacturers to field-test new, high-horsepower locomotives that surpass the EPA’s most stringent emission standards. UP was able to test the locomotives under severe operating conditions before the locomotives went into production. Since 2000, more than 2,600 new fuel-efficient, long-haul, high-horsepower locomotives have been added to Union Pacific’s fleet. More than 1,700 older locomotives were retired, and more than 1,700 locomotive diesel engines were overhauled or rebuilt.

To reduce emissions in the train yard, Union Pacific tested the world’s first diesel-battery hybrid switch locomotive in early 2002. The “Green Goat” is similar in concept to the Toyota Prius automobile, which relies on both a gasoline engine and on a battery-powered electric motor.

The Green Goat, however, depends entirely on its large, onboard storage batteries, which are charged by a small diesel engine, to provide all propulsion power. The Green Goat hybrid locomotive is estimated to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter by up to 80, and reduce fuel consumption by at least 16 percent, compared to a conventional switch locomotive.

Union Pacific also is pioneering another low-emissions switch locomotive, the “Genset Switcher.” This prototype uses modified, low-emissions EPA-certified “off-road” diesel engines (derived from low-emissions, truck-style diesel engines) and was delivered to the railroad in late 2005.

Like the Green Goat hybrid, the Genset is expected to reduce emission of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter by up to 80 percent and achieve a similar 16 percent reduction in fuel consumption. In 2007, some 150 Gensets are scheduled to begin service.

AL GORE, take note, these people are trying!

A lot of us think more mass transit when we think “Green Railroad”. Both freight and passenger are important.

Take a look at an “OP-ED” viewpoint on green railroads. Thought provoking!

 

Find other stories like this one

https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/union-pacific-the-railroad-established-by-abraham-lincoln-to-span-the-continent/

 

You’ll soon be able to get to Chicago an hour faster

From the Belleville News-Democrat via California Rail News

“We’re getting close to finishing the project,” said Scott Speegle, the Passenger Rail communications manager for IDOT.
Work this year includes upgrades at 21 rail crossings between Granite City and Shipman, Speegle said.
Upgrades include putting in four quad gates to prevent cars from weaving through crossings when a train is approaching. Signaling upgrades, increased fencing and pedestrian gates, if necessary, also are planned. Most of the work is expected to be completed by the end of the summer, Speegle said.
The crossings will be temporarily closed while upgrades are taking place.
What has not received much press are efforts to throw a money wrench to raise passenger speeds in the Midwest by the UP. Where it controls the rails that used government funding for track improvements to reduce running times for passenger trains, the UP is trying to block the use of new High Speed “Charger” locomotives. Among the issues UP is claiming is the the Chargers don’t meet current FRA regulations. One thing the UP is claiming is that since the Charger uses LED lights, it can’t be used on American railroads since FRA regulations says nothing about LED lights.

After NYC mess, senators call for Amtrak funding

RailwayAge Magazine – ‎Apr 12, 2017‎

Senators Bob Mendez and Cory Booker (both D-NJ) sent a letter to Senate Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Committee on Appropriations Chairman Susan Collins and Ranking Member Jack Reed, calling for $2.3 billion for the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts capital grant program and $1.6 billion to support Amtrak. The New Starts grant program funding was slashed and Amtrak’s funding for long distance service was eliminated in President Donald Trump’s proposed Fiscal Year 2018 budget.

“The President proposed, Congress disposes”

Amtrak close to reviving Gulf Coast rail line despite Trump budget concerns

AL.COM via California Rail News

 

Plans to bring passenger rail back to the eastern part of the Gulf Coast for the first time in 12 years are close to being realized, according to Amtrak and other officials that met in Mobile Wednesday night. However, the plans hang in the balance because of extensive cuts contained within President Donald Trump’s recent budget proposal that outlines $54 billion worth of cuts aimed at programs across the country.

“When we look at the situation of where we are, we are closer now than we have ever been over the course of the last 12 years,” said Thomas Stennis III, Amtrak’s Director of Government Affairs South, who told stakeholders from Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida to urge their respective members of Congress to reject Trump’s America First Budget. “I cannot urge that enough.”

Once agreements are finalized between the states, CSX and Amtrak, the rail service could be up and running in as little as six to 12 months, according to Amtrak Director of Government Affairs Todd Stenniss.

Amtrak officials and members of the Southern Rail Commission (SRC) hosted a meeting Wednesday to update the public on efforts to restore passenger rail service to the Gulf Coast.

The meeting in Marianna was the second in a series of six taking place across the stakeholder states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

Louisville Not Alone Anymore; “Skinny Budget” To Bring MORE!

In the middle of the picture is the Louisville railroad station. No AMTRAK here!!! Better for Louisville to donate station for the Louisville to Chicago HYPERLOOP. (Some money to fix would be appreciated too).

Now we are going to get more “Louisville’s” thanks to President Trump’s Skinny Budget”.

Headline (really bottom line) Cutting Off ‘Fly-Over’ States, Trump to Axe Amtrak for 220 Cities.

President’s so-called “skinny budget” will eliminate all federal funding for Amtrak’s national train network.

Some of what we know:

In addition to slashing funding for the arts, education programs, climate change research, and worker protections (among many other things), another lesser known casualty of President Donald Trump’s “morally obscene” budget proposal: Amtrak.

The president’s so-called “skinny budget” will eliminate all federal funding for Amtrak’s national train network, meaning 220 cities will lose all passenger service, the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) warned this week.

“It’s ironic that President Trump’s first budget proposal undermines the very communities whose economic hardship and sense of isolation from the rest of the country helped propel him into office,” said NARP president Jim Mathews.

“These working class communities—many of them located in the Midwest and the South—were tired of being treated like ‘flyover country,'” Mathews continued. “But by proposing the elimination of Amtrak’s long distance trains, the Trump administration does them one worse, cutting a vital service that connects these small town economies to the rest of the U.S..”

“These hard working, small town Americans,” he added, “don’t have airports or Uber to turn to; they depend on these trains.”

Specifically, Trump’s proposal slashes $2.4 billion (or 13 percent) from transportation spending, threatening long distance routes including the east coast’s Silver Star and Silver Meteor lines, the New York-Chicago Cardinal train service, the Empire Builder, which connects Chicago to the Pacific Northwest, as well as the effort to restore the Gulf Coast line.

Indianapolis and Cincinnati will now join the “club” of NO AMTRAK.

Last week HYPERLOOP ONE (the leader in the HYPERLOOP world) held a conference in Washington. They “show-cased” projects they are supporting. Pittsburgh-Columbus-Chicago is included. Cincinnati-Chicago is affiliated with another Hyperloop manufacturer. Louisville-Chicago will be built with private funding using HYPERLOOP ONE technology. They attended the conference and were very, very impressed.

Louisville-Chicago “The Muhammad Ali Hyperlink” will offer other HYPERLOOPs use of it’s entrance to Chicago’s Millennium Station. And YES! They are into freight (like steam-ship containers).

Stay tuned to this blog! We will be the first to know.

After 1OO+ Years, Private Industry Will Build Rail Infrastructure

The last time a private American company built rail infrastructure was more than 100 years ago. But this summer’s launch of Brightline service, connecting downtown Miami with Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, could propel private passenger rail forward.

The trio of southeast coastal-Florida cities, which comprise the destinations in the first phase of the $3 billion, 235-mile project, are well suited to testing a privately funded rail revival. “We have to challenge the monopoly of the car and adapt to changing trends of millennials,” says Brightline president Mike Reininger, referring to the dual desires of young adults to settle in cities and do without cars. Between 2000 and 2012, this demographic increased in population 24.7 percent around Brightline’s service corridor, 118 percent around Miami alone, while auto congestion in the area consistently ranked among the world’s worst traffic. Brightline uses the century-old Florida East Coast Railway corridor, on which its parent organization ships freight, although the right-of-way access still had to undergo extensive community review.

The company’s new investments should yield benefits for passengers and the wider public. Perhaps most significant, its Miami terminal links three different commuter lines while its groundfloor retail space stitches together four downtown neighborhoods, says Roger Duffy, design partner of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in New York. The firm designed all three stations in association with Miami-based Zyscovich Architects.

The terminal is noteworthy visually as well. “The architectural expression is in the base structure,” says Duffy, who adds that visible V-bracing and multimodal connections at the smaller Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach stations unify the three. Rockwell Group was responsible for Brightline’s colorful branding, including exterior train graphics and car interiors.

The project’s second phase, which is slated to open with the completion of the Intermodal Terminal Facility at Orlando International Airport in 2018, will connect coastal South Florida to that city.