National Train Day is almost here!
NARP and our partner organizations will participate in dozens of National Train Day events on Saturday, May 12 (unless otherwise noted).
Please stop by to show your support or learn about becoming more active in passenger train advocacy. If you're interested in volunteering at one of these events, please email the Volunteer Contact listed.
"The comprehensive study will help us establish faster passenger rail service for business and leisure travelers moving between Chicago and Detroit, as well as make freight movements more efficient," said Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.
The study will look at ways to link a double track passenger
main to the 110 mph service at Porter,
"This is an important partnership in our efforts to
The study will receive $3.2 million from the Federal
Railroad Administration and $200,000 each from
Secretary Ray LaHood this week warned
"We need to make sure that the commitment is there to obligate the money," LaHood said to reporters at a press briefing in the State Capitol, “We want to make sure that our partners here understand what's at stake… We can't wait until the end of summer."
Governor Jerry Brown (D) has been a strong supporter of the
project, overseeing a revamp that cut the total price tag by around $30
billion, while speeding up the schedule for project delivery. But his Administration has indicated that it
will not include an initial bond request (approved by voters in 2008 as Proposition
1A) in its upcoming budget request, breaking it off into its own vote,
tentatively scheduled for early fall.
"My message to the Assembly, to the leadership, is that we need to make sure that there's a continued, strong commitment on the part of the Assembly, as reflected in their budget," LaHood said, although he wouldn’t go so far as to outline any federal responses to a failure to include the high-speed rail project in the budget. "I'm going to operate on the assumption that people are going to act in good faith."
The railroad industry’s campaign to minimize the number of track miles where positive train control must be installed took a major step forward this week. As described in the Federal Railroad Administration’s release, the revisions mean that “railroads will no longer have to conduct risk analyses to obtain approval to not install PTC or take other costly risk mitigation measures on an estimated 10,000 miles of track that will not carry passenger trains or poison inhalation hazard (PIH) commodities after December 2015.”
“Everything they do, they get accused of regulatory overreach, even if it’s clearly necessary to comply with existing laws,” Capon said.
He also blamed the action on “an intense effort by the industry to minimize the number of track miles where PTC will be installed and, obviously, thus to increase the number of track miles where … train collisions of any kind will continue to be possible.”
NARP has agreed with the industry that the December 31, 2015 deadline for PTC installation is not realistic, but has favored the one-year-at-a-time, company-specific, DOT-secretary approved extensions up to 2018 in the Senate-passed surface transportation bill rather than the blanket five-year extension in H.R. 7 that the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee approved. NARP’s letter to House-Senate conferees included this:
“We support S. 1813’s provisions to extend the Positive Train Control (PTC) deadline by up to three years. We remain concerned that PTC is being installed – with FRA approval – in a manner that will not prevent restricted-speed, rear-end collisions. FRA safety advisory 2012-02 (April 25 Federal Register) listed six such collisions over the past year which caused four employee fatalities, six employee injuries and over $6 million in property damage. Thankfully, these collisions did not involve passenger trains. The proposed time extension should be used in part to correct this problem.”
NARP told Fairwarning.org it was unfortunate that the FRA notice said nothing about positive train control even though the National Transportation Safety Board last week released its report on the BNSF rear-end collision near Red Oak, Iowa, which listing these findings:
10. Had the positive train control/Electronic Train Management System currently in development been installed on the Creston Subdivision, it most likely would not have prevented this accident because it does not identify the rear end of a standing train as a target and because it allows following movements at up to 23 mph.
11. The positive train control designs that are being deployed and the Federal Railroad Administration's final rule on the application of positive train control are unlikely to prevent future restricted speed rear-end collisions similar to the 58 rear-end collisions reported to the Federal Railroad Administration over the last 10 years or the collision at Red Oak because train speeds at the upper limit of restricted speed are allowed.
The NTSB had this recommendation for FRA: “5. Require the use of positive train control technologies that will detect the rear of trains and prevent rear-end collisions.”
The Moynihan Station Development Corporation Board and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced May 9 the award of a contract to begin work on the transformation of the historic Farley Post Office Building in Manhattan into Moynihan Station
The station—named after the late U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick
Moynihan (D-NY)—will serve to ease pressure on the overcrowded Penn Station,
which is the busiest train station in
“The redevelopment of Moynihan Station has struggled for more than two decades to achieve the momentum necessary for such an important infrastructure project,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo (D). “Today, we are moving faster and making more progress than ever to constructing the word-class transit center that New Yorkers deserve. I commend the Port Authority and the federal government for their commitment to this project.”
The Port Authority revealed the details of the contract in a May 9 release:
The Moynihan Station Development
Corporation’s Board approved the award of the $147.7 million contract today to
Skanska USA Civil Northeast. In October 2011, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
announced that the corporation’s operations will be consolidated into the Port
Authority. The Port Authority will oversee the project, with construction
management support from STA Moynihan JV, a joint venture of AECOM, STV and
The first part of construction necessary to realize the late Senator Moynihan’s vision will double the width of the existing West End Concourse of Penn Station – which will be the concourse for the new train station – to serve eight additional tracks to be used by Amtrak, NJ Transit and Long Island Rail Road passengers. It also will provide new vertical circulation, including elevators, escalators and stairs to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. The project will include fire safety improvements to Penn Station including new standpipes and a command center for the New York City Fire Department.
Construction is slated to begin this summer.
Amtrak announced that
operations for the Wolverine Service
and Blue Water train will be
returning to normal, meaning passengers riding between
The study will look at ways to link a double track passenger
main to the 110 mph service at Porter, building on 110 mph service between Porter
Amtrak will issue schedules
effective May 21 for the Pontiac-Detroit-Chicago Wolverines (Trains 350-355)
and the Port Huron-East Lansing-Chicago Blue Water (Trains 364 & 365)
accounting for the speed increase this year to 110 mph on the Amtrak-owned
Michigan District in Michigan and Indiana. Permanent schedules changes are
pending approval of NS for the
New schedules will be provided at stations, shown as part of the booking process on Amtrak.com, and posted at Amtrak.com/Alerts.
The Federal Railroad Administration reached a deal to
provide a grant for $7.9 million, which is being matched with another $7.9
million from the State of
“President Obama’s bold vision of investing in rail projects like the West Detroit Connection Track will create jobs and grow our economy over the long-term by moving people and goods more quickly and efficiently than ever before,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “In eliminating a longstanding bottleneck, we are creating capacity to handle future rail demand as our population grows, while strengthening the foundation for economic development across the region.”
A group of investors
announced that they are looking to raise $10 billion in private investment to
connect Dallas-Fort Worth and
At the International Transport Forum last week in
“We're in the process of doing the route studies, the
environmental work, pooling the engineering work to determine the best route
between Houston and Dallas," said Texan Judge Robert Eckels from
Mass Transit Magazine has an in depth piece looking at the
benefits—and challenges—of connecting two of
Others argue that the project could
be built at a lower cost by connecting in
Also undecided is precisely where
the tracks would be built. The rail line could be installed in existing freight
railroad right of way between Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston, but it would have
to be separate from freight operations, Eckels said. Such a move would require
the cooperation of freight companies such as Union Pacific Railroad and Fort
Worth-based BNSF Railway, which own many of the tracks in
Canadian and U.S.
officials have reached a key agreement that will allow customs agents to
prescreen passengers on Amtrak trains at Montreal, eliminating a two-hour delay
“[This corridor] should be a major artery for economic
growth, but the delays have left this artery completely clogged,” Senator
Charles Schumer (D-NY), who has been a vocal proponent of easing the obstacles
for passenger rail travel between
After high-level meetings between officials from both sides
of the border, transportation officials in
The move was applauded by
"This is another step forward in our quest to optimize
border fluidity," said Garry Douglas, President of the North Country
Chamber of Commerce. "With Senator Schumer's enormous support, we built
From the NARP Blog: