BNSF aims to better prep for harsh winter weather

No, picture above is NOT the BNSF. BNSF is waking up about Winter, Snow and Railroads. By so doing, maybe they won’t become another Lackawanna.

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BNSF Railway Co. announced to its customers this week that the railroad will enter the 2014-15 winter season “better prepared than ever before,” especially if the Polar Vortex returns, BNSF officials said in a press release.


Given last winter’s extremes, the Class I’s operating divisions evaluated this year’s winter action plan. Each division has completed the following:

• safety briefings with employees to review hypothermia and frostbite prevention, as well as general safety precautions regarding slips, trips and falls, and cold weather gear review;

• inventories of snow removal equipment and supplies, such as emergency generators and salt supplies;

• specialized snow removal equipment testing to ensure the machinery works properly; and

• operational procedure reviews as to when to adjust crew transportation procedures and adjust train size, speed and other operating restrictions.

BNSF also added several new resources to support winter operations, such as larger rapid response teams dedicated to addressing service interruptions that might be caused by a variety of mechanical or operational issues, including winter weather. In addition, the railroad:

• increased mechanical rapid responders by 25 percent, mainly in the form of nine new rapid response teams positioned in the northern part of North Dakota in Williston and New Rockford, as well as in La Crosse, Wis., Savanna and Sterling, Ill., and Fort Scott, Kan.;

• established after-hours track rapid response teams to assist with snow removal across the northern part of the network by keeping more than 300 additional maintenance-of-way employees who traditionally were during winter;

• expanded container and trailer parking capacity by 800 spots at the Willow Springs, Corwith and Cicero intermodal facilities in the Chicago area;

• installed an additional 150 switch heaters at locations that previously did not have protection from cold temperatures;

• installed air dryers on all new locomotives to help reduce moisture that can accumulate in the braking system; and

• acquired additional snow removal equipment, with the most significant acquisitions involving two industrial-size snow blowers that will be dedicated to keeping Chicago hub facilities free of snow and ice.

“While we always prepare the operations for winter, the extreme cold experienced last year provided us some additional insight that we have incorporated into our future preparations and operating procedures,” said Steve Bobb, BNSF’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “While unplanned events can always happen, we will go into this winter season with more resources and more preparation than ever before so that our people stay safe amid the harshest of weather conditions and our customers’ freight gets to its destination as promised.”


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Florida East Coast Railway begins to take delivery of GE locomotives

Locomotive above is going to BNSF, others are going to Florida East Coast.

Florida East Coast Railway (FECR) is about to take delivery of the first of 24 new Tier 3-compliant locomotives ordered from GE Transportation, the regional announced yesterday.

The locomotives will be used on the railroad’s 351-mile mainline between Jacksonville and Miami. FECR expects to place the remainder of the units in service by year’s end.

Part of GE’s Evolution® Series, the ES44C4 locomotives are designed to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier 3 emission requirements via advanced engine technology that can control nitrous oxide and particulate matter emissions, as well as reduce fuel usage.

“These locomotives will be utilized to [provide] the efficient horsepower needed to support the transportation of intermodal, carload, auto and port business for the growing Florida economy,” said FECR President and Chief Executive Officer James Hertwig in a press release.

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Utica Comets Drop To Binghamton Senators

The Overtime 4-3 loss was Friday night at the Utica Aud.

The Comets, who had a tough time defeating the Senators 3-2 in Binghamton on Wednesday, had won four consecutive games in sprinting to a 6-1-1-0 early season record.

The Comets, though, got back into it when defenseman Travis Ehrhardt scored from the left point off a faceoff won by O’Reilly, that coming with just 41 seconds left in left in the second period.

Travis Ehrhardt
Travis Ehrhardt

The Comets made it tight early in the third. Frankie Corrado took passes from O’Reilly and Henrik Tommernes and fired past Greenham from the left point at 4:07, then tied it at 10:15 on Tommernes’ goal, set up by O’Reilly and Ronalds Kenins.

Hendrik Tommernes
Hendrik Tommernes


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Adirondack Scenic Railroad on the Move

Located in the center of New York State, the Adirondack Scenic Railroad begins in Utica and goes north through the Adirondack Mountains to Thendara station (Old Forge) to Big Moose Station. Another section runs between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid stations. The ultimate aim is to connect the two sections and run it like it used to be.

Webb's Wilderness Railroad

Webb’s Wilderness Railroad

The railroad played a key role in both the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics.

The original railroad slowly went out of business and died under Penn Central Railroad . It came back to life for the 1980 Olympics. Then went out of business until the Adirondack Scenic Railroad began. In this “abandoned” era, “trail people” occupied it for hiking, snow mobiles, etc. This is where the dissention lies. They don’t want to leave.

New York State is trying to decide what to do. They have asked for comments and already have tons.

Amid discussion of the future of the Remsen-Lake Placid rail corridor, the Adirondack Scenic Railroad will publicly launch an online campaign on Indiegogo to restore two vintage passenger cars;

Executive Director Bethan Maher said the cars, which haven’t been used for at least 15 years, could increase seasonal seating capacity by up to 11,000 passengers and generate up to $214,000 more annually. 

Looking to raise about $72,000, the railroad is offering things such as signed art prints and naming rights to one of the restored cars as incentives for donations. 

Here’s the link to INDIGOGO

Over the past five years, the railroad says its annual ridership has increased from 52,000 to 70,000. 

Adirondack Division Map
Adirondack Division Map

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New York City Subway Breaks Ridership Records In September

MTA New York City Transit’s (NYCT) ridership reached unprecedented milestones in September, breaking the previous single-day ridership record five times in a single month, agency officials announced yesterday.

Newly available figures show 6,106,694 riders took the subway on Sept. 23, making it the highest daily ridership ever since figures were first recorded in 1985. Four other September days also registered more than 6 million passengers, and the 149 million riders for the month were more than in any other September in more than 60 years, according to NYCT. The previous ridership record of 5,987,595 was set on Oct. 24, 2013.

“This is a phenomenal achievement for a system that carried 3.6 million daily customers just 20 years ago,” said Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Prendergast in a press release. “As ridership increases, the MTA Capital Program is vital to fund new subway cars, higher-capacity signal systems and improved stations to meet our customers’ growing needs and rising expectations.”

Record-breaking ridership was recorded on September weekends, as well. Fueled by ridership generated by the People’s Climate March, 2,953,948 passengers rode the subway on Sept. 21, the highest Sunday ridership since 1985 and likely the highest since the late 1940s, MTA officials said.

“The trend towards increasing ridership is not expected to slow down. Improved transit services, combined with a growing population and an improved economy, have resulted in the strongest subway ridership growth occurring among discretionary riders and during off-peak times,” said NYCT President Carmen Bianco.

Now for the Penney Vanderbilt take on the subway:Last time I rode, the newest cars in the fleet were R68’s. Last weekend I was riding all sorts of new  cars, especially the R143.
 R-143 car. Much different than the R 1-10 cars at topR-143 car. Much different than the R 1-10 cars at top

The MTA is adjusting to life of no huge budgets. Yes the 2nd Avenue Subway is coming someday. But in the meantime, they have “optimized” the 4-5-6  IRT lines into what is probably the most efficient model based on the restraints like tunnel size in the whole World.
But instead of ignoring lower-density  lines, they have improved them. THIS IS WHERE I THINK A LOT OF THE INCREASED RIDERSHIP IS COMING FROM.

Let’s take the BMT Canarsie Line, the ‘L TRAIN’. Used to be dirty, poor track conditions, crummy cars. My hotel last weekend was in Brooklyn on the L Train (New York Loft Hostel ……….HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
Back to the L Train: NEW CARS: Model R-143 (crème de la crème, the best of the best) in the system.  Track and signals working perfectly. Stations fixed up (not replaced at 100 times the cost). Those classic 1928 stations with the white tiles are much nicer than the new plastic stations.
Funny thing is the renovations have spilled over into sections of Brooklyn (like where the New York Loft Hostel is.)

New York City’s High Line: A Fantastic “Linear Park”

The High Line (also known as the High Line Park) is a 1.45-mile-long (2.33 km) New York City linear park built on a section of a  disused New York Central Railroad spur called the West Side Freight Line Inspired by the 3-mile (4.8-kilometer) Promenade plantée, a similar project in Paris completed in 1993, the High Line has been redesigned and planted as an aerial greenway and rails-to-trails park.

The High Line Park uses the disused southern portion of the West Side Line running to the Lower West Side of Manhattan. It runs from Gansevoort Street – three blocks below 14th Street – in the Meatpacking District, through Chelsea, to the northern edge of the West Side Yard on 34th Street near the Javits Convention Center. An unopened spur extends above 30th Street to Tenth Avenue.  Formerly, the High Line went as far south as a railroad terminal to Spring Street just north of Canal Street. However, most of the lower section was demolished in 1960, with another small portion of the lower section being demolished in 1991.

Repurposing of the railway into an urban park began construction in 2006, with the first phase opening in 2009 and the second phase opening in 2011. The third and final phase officially opened to the public on September 21, 2014.

Below is a Slide Show of pictures we took on a recent visit.

1st Section 34th Street. Note they even left the rails.
1st Section 34th Street. Note they even left the rails.
Long Island Railroad Storage Yard
Long Island Railroad Storage Yard
Empire State Building in background
Empire State Building in background
Love that art-deco building in background
Love that art-deco building in background
same building from 10th Ave
same building from 10th Ave
Lots of art along the way
Lots of art along the way
Even a concert
Even a concert
Concert too
Concert too

You might be interested in a blog we published on the 5th Anniversary of the High Line

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6 Ways EDI Removes Barriers To Commerce With Trading Partners

As long as most of us can remember, there have been roadblocks to trading with our suppliers and customers. The noble EDI sales forces kept repeating how their product would knock down these roadblocks faster than a speeding bullet! Well, let’s bring in the usual suspects and see.
1. Business processes built around paper handling may not be suited for EDI.

2. Another significant barrier is the cost in time and money in the initial set-up.

3. EDI can save a lot of money if an effective number of partners are identified.

4. Routers and servers on the net may store e-commerce data for indeterminate periods.
5. For e-commerce to work, both online companies and Internet consumers must be willing to disclose information about themselves.
6. Many view EDI from the technical perspective that EDI is a data format.

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Pastor Murder In Nice

Keep watching this case. More interesting than OJ Simpson


Here are the latest news clips from the murders of Helene Pastor and her chauffeur outside a Nice hospital in May.

June 21, 2014

Around twenty people were arrested late yesterday afternoon by police investigating the murders of Helene Pastor and her chauffeur outside a Nice hospital in May. Two of the arrested are believed to be Mme Pastor’s daughter Sylvia and her son-in-law Wojciech Ratkowski, the Polish consul in Monaco. Further arrests were made in Nice, Marseille and Rennes, with the presumed killers of Comoran origin.
June 25, 2014
23 people have now been arrested in connection with the murders of Helène Pastor and her chauffeur in early May. It is thought that her daughter Sylvia is only in custody to help police with their enquiries, but they are looking at irregular movements of money between Mme…

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Utica Comets Halt Rampage 5-2

The Utica Comets might have stolen one.

Outskated much of the night and outshot by a wide margin, the Comets got a huge game from goalie Joacim Eriksson and another great effort on the penalty kill to score a 5-2 American Hockey League victory over the San Antonio Rampage Friday before a sold-out crowd at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.

“Good teams find a way to win,” said forward Brandon DeFazio, who wasn’t sure stolen was the right word. “It’s not the effort we wanted, but it’s a good sign to win that kind of game that we might not have won last year.”

Eriksson, part of the Comets’ Swedish Connection with Jacob Markstrom that has allowed just seven goals in six games to help the Comets jump out to a 4-1-1-0 start and into first place in the North Division, made 39 stops to frustrate the Rampage.

“It’s a game that easily could have gone the other way,” said Comets coach Travis Green. “I thought we were a little soft on the puck … I thought our goalie kept us in it at times.”

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PortMiami, Florida Railway Form Partnership for Faster Shipments

PortMiami and Florida East Coast Railway said they have formed an alliance to offer ship-to-rail transfer for faster shipments.

Through Sunshine Gateway, PortMiami can handle increased volume, and the service has the potential to reach about 70% of the U.S. population in four days or less.

“In order to meet the needs of supply chain managers, it is important for various modes of transportation to work together seamlessly. We are pleased with the positive impact we have seen as a result of our partnership with PortMiami and look forward to continuing to provide effective solutions for shippers,” FECR President James Hertwig said in a statement.

The on-dock intermodal rail facility provides shippers with lead times that match trucking, with reduced carbon emissions, according to PortMiami.

Port of Miami
Port of Miami

Florida East Coast Railway (FECR) and PortMiami, through a strategic alliance, are offering the Sunshine Gateway service, which includes on-dock intermodal rail capabilities.  This seamless ship to rail transfer allows the port to handle additional volumes and ensures that shipments move more quickly and efficiently with the potential to reach 70 percent of the United States population in four days or less.

“Our goal has always been to facilitate the process of cargo shipments for fast and efficient delivery to our customers,” said Juan M. Kuryla, PortMiami Director.  “Through our partnership with FECR, we are expanding access for shipments coming into and out of the port to reach their final destinations seamlessly and with greater reliability.”

Another proactive step has been the PortMiami -50 ft. deep dredge project enabling the port to handle larger TEU vessels.  Kuryla stated, “Our investments in infrastructure and collaboration with innovative providers like FECR, ensure that we are well positioned for the Panama Canal expansion.”

President and CEO James R. Hertwig noted, “In today’s global marketplace, shippers often need solutions that go beyond the United States borders and involve multiple modes to move goods from the point of origin to the final destination.  In order to meet the needs of supply chain managers, it is important for various modes of transportation to work together seamlessly.  We are pleased with the positive impact we have seen as a result of our partnership with PortMiami and look forward to continuing to provide effective solutions for shippers.”

In January 2015, FECR and PortMiami will hold an event celebrating this new service.

About PortMiami
PortMiami is among America’s busiest ports and recognized across the globe with the dual distinction of being the Cruise Capital of the World and the Cargo Gateway of the Americas. PortMiami contributes more than $27 billion annually to the South Florida economy and helps provide direct and indirect employment for more than 207,000. For more information please visit

About Florida East Coast Railway
Based in Jacksonville, Florida, Florida East Coast Railway (FECR) is committed to providing customers with outstanding reliability, flexibility and connectivity. The company provides a wide range of economical services, including carload and door-to-door intermodal solutions across North America.  In addition, FECR connects customers to worldwide locations through its strategic partnerships with PortMiami and other South Florida partners.  For more information, visit

Sunshine Gateway
Sunshine Gateway
Sunshine Gateway
Sunshine Gateway

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