Trains magazine offers railroad news, railroad industry insight, commentary on today's freight railroads, passenger service (Amtrak), locomotive technology, railroad preservation and history, railfan opportunities (tourist railroads, fan trips), and great railroad photography.
ROCKHILL FURNACE, Pa. — The nonprofit organization that now owns the East Broad Top Railroad is considering rebuilding a mountainous branch line that’s been inactive since the 1940s, a move that would provide spectacular ridgetop vistas and increase the number of destinations available to visitors.
The nonprofit EBT Foundation, Inc., owner of the historic narrow-gauge line in south-central Pennsylvania, is considering revival of a 2.5-mile-long branch known variously as the Coles Valley Branch, Midvalley Branch, or Joller Branch, Joller being the postal designation for the former mining community at the top of Wrays Hill. Perched at an altitude of 1,600 feet, the town was named for the first and last letters...
Yesterday was a difficult day no matter how you slice it. Our first real banger of a snow storm dumped around a foot of snow onto the region - well ahead of what I would’ve expected. Sure, that’s around what was predicted, but I have found that totals are often overestimated compared to the direct impact on my home area.
Not so yesterday. 12 inches of snow, and bitter cold that hovered in the single digits and topped out around 11 degrees in town. That meant a lot of hyrail trips, inspections, sweeping out switches, and supporting a switch move late at night. It wasn’t always fun, or comfortable. But it sure was pretty. So I did take a few photos. Which I am sure surprised nobody. Enclosed are a selection of photos of the train in a spectacular environment wrought a little more spectacular, if you can imagine that.
Nebraska, Kansas & Colorado Railway Project Receives $4.5 Million Us Department Of Transportation Grant For Track Improvements
Omnitrax Press Release
October 22, 2020
LINCOLN, NEB. – The Nebraska, Kansas & Colorado Railway (NKCR), a line managed by OmniTRAX, Inc., one of the largest privately held transportation service companies in North America and an affiliate of The Broe Group, has received a $4.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The grant will fund the renovation of more than 100 miles of track in western Nebraska and eastern Colorado.
“This grant is a great example of how government and business can come together to improve safety for the communities where the NKCR operates and support commercial activities in those communities. We appreciate the efforts of the federal government, particularly Nebraska’s US senators and congresspeople, who have supported the grant from the beginning,” said Kevin Shuba, CEO of OmniTRAX.
Biden, an Amtrak Evangelist, Could Be a Lifeline for a Rail Agency in Crisis
Amtrak has reduced service and is poised to cut thousands of jobs. Rail supporters argue that, win or lose, the Democratic presidential candidate could shift the debate over the agency’s future.
Joe Biden says he loves ice cream, aviators and Amtrak. But if elected president, his love for the rail agency may be put to the test.
Amtrak is facing a crisis. The coronavirus has led to scores of riders abandoning its trains, causing huge drops in revenue. The agency has cut back on service to America’s heartland. It has furloughed over 2,000 workers. If it does not get $2.8 billion in emergency funding by December, another 2,400 employees could lose their jobs, Amtrak officials warn. High profile projects across the country, including those in New York and New Jersey, are facing delays.
The six Class I railroads that practice the marketing-term model called Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR)—all of the “Big 7” except BNSF—are now reporting third-quarter financial results in the remaining days of October. There is, however, an opportunity for a more holistic quarterly briefing. There is an argument for a new checklist of service metrics that would be of interest mostly to customers and, perhaps, public policy groups. However, instead of a balanced scorecard from the carriers, we are mostly seeing accounting reports that cater exclusively to analysts.
UP expects longer and heavier trains in its future as it seeks to take more intermodal market share away from trucks.
With rail volumes expected to improve year-over-year in the fourth quarter and into 2021, Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP) will seek to fine-tune its deployment of precision scheduled railroading (PSR) by continuing to focus on asset productivity. This includes taking measures such as lengthening trains farther and speeding up the network.
UP expects “positive year-over-year growth” in the fourth quarter. Coupled with positive volumes in the first quarter, the company expects full-year volumes to be down by around 7%.
Transport Canada has concluded CP Rail failed to properly identify safety hazards in the B.C. mountains following a workplace fatality investigation into a train derailment which killed three workers, CBC News has learned.
Andy Dockrell, Dylan Paradis and Daniel Waldenberger-Bulmer were killed on Feb. 4, 2019 when their 2-kilometre long freight train, with failing brakes, ran away down a steep mountain and derailed into a creek near Field, B.C.
The regulator has given CP Rail until the end of this week to fix the problems, according to a notice dated Sept. 23 from Transport Canada, stamped confidential and posted inside CP's Calgary headquarters, which was obtained by CBC News.
NJ TRANSIT ADOPTS FISCAL YEAR 2021 OPERATING BUDGET AND A FIVE-YEAR CAPITAL PLAN
Budget and Capital Plans Continue Governor Murphy's Commitment to Increased Mass Transit Investment; Maintains Pledge to Keep Fares Stable
October 21, 2020
NEWARK, NJ -- The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors today adopted a Fiscal Year 2021 (FY 2021) operating budget and A Five-Year Capital Plan that supports continued investments in frontline personnel, infrastructure and equipment to maintain the system in a state-of-good repair, helps advance its 10-year Strategic Plan (NJT2030) and includes additional spending due to the ongoing effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, all without raising fares for a third straight fiscal year.
“The budgets presented today allow NJ TRANSIT to continue to provide necessary service to our customers and make improvements to an aging system,” NJDOT Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said. “We are grateful for the...
KIDS RIDE FREE SALE AVAILABLE FOR TRAVEL ON AN AMTRAK RAIL ADVENTURE THIS FALL
Make memories onboard with your family
WASHINGTON – Families can travel this fall, without the hassle of driving or flying, by taking advantage of the Kids Ride Free flash sale. This sale allows one child, age 2-12, to travel free with each paid adult ticket and is available for purchase Tuesday, Oct. 20, to Sunday, Oct. 25. The sale is valid for travel in Coach and Acela Business Class from Oct. 26 to Dec. 17, 2020.
Take your child along for free and enjoy a memorable experience onboard Amtrak to take a much-needed vacation.
“Whether seeing family, taking a trip cross-country or going on a weekend excursion, we truly believe the journey is the most important part of the adventure,” said Roger Harris, Amtrak...
VIA RAIL ANNOUNCES A GRADUAL SERVICE RESUMPTION IN WESTERN CANADA
MONTRÉAL, October 20, 2020 – VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) announces the gradual return to service in Western Canada by providing intercity transportation exclusively between Winnipeg and Vancouver as of Friday, December 11, 2020.
After a very thorough evaluation of its health and safety protocols, including physical distancing measures, enhanced air ventilation systems, and improved measures for passenger access and the protection of its employees, one weekly round-trip will thus be offered on this portion of the Canadian route.
"The health and safety of passengers and our employees remains our top priority. We are offering our customers in Western Canada an additional choice in regions where intercity transportation is more limited as a result of this pandemic," said Cynthia Garneau, President and CEO.
Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE: UNP) today reported 2020 third quarter net income of $1.4 billion, or $2.01 per diluted share. This compares to $1.6 billion, or $2.22 per diluted share, in the third quarter 2019.
"Our third quarter results represent another step in our company's transformation. We demonstrated our ability to efficiently adjust to a sharp rebound in volume, which increased 19% from the second quarter, while operating expenses, excluding fuel price changes, increased only 11% sequentially," said Lance Fritz, Union Pacific chairman, president and chief executive officer. "The strong financial results and quality service product delivered in the quarter are a testament to the women and men of Union Pacific as they continue to exhibit their commitment and resilience through safe operations."
Third Quarter Summary
Operating revenue of $4.9 billion was down 11% in third quarter 2020, compared to third quarter 2019. Third quarter...
The American Short Line Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) has selected the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis (TRRA) as its 2020 Veterans Engagement Award winner for “focused and sustained efforts to recruiting veterans for employment, and for the railroad’s efforts beyond their workforce in supporting U.S. Veterans and their families in their community.”
The American Short Line Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) has selected the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis (TRRA) as its 2020 Veterans Engagement Award winner for “focused and sustained efforts to recruiting veterans for employment, and for the railroad’s efforts beyond their...
CP announces strategic, multi-year rail agreement with A.P. Moller - Maersk
October 19, 2020 Calgary
Today, Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (TSX: CP) (NYSE: CP) is announcing a strategic, multi-year rail agreement with A.P. Moller - Maersk to move freight through the ports of Vancouver and Montreal. The agreement is further to the September 15 announcement regarding the construction of a new, world-class transload and distribution facility in Vancouver to expand CP's and Maersk Canada's supply chain options for customers.
"We are proud to provide safe and efficient rail service to the world’s largest shipping company, and with Maersk we see a strong relationship developing,” said CP’s President and CEO Keith Creel. “Today’s news coupled with the announcement of the Vancouver transload facility back in September are evidence...
Construction on The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway is chugging along and is one track closer to its highly anticipated May 2021 reopening. The railway recently reached the halfway point of construction completion mark with the newly reconstructed Mountain View siding, approximately 4.5 miles into the 9-mile line.
THE RAILROAD FOR TOMORROW: HOW TWO GREAT LINES COMBINED THEIR STRENGTHS TO CREATE BNSF
When you think of resilient industries that have stood the test of time, railroads are at the top of that list. While the technology has evolved, the basic concept of steel wheels on steel rails to efficiently move large loads is just as relevant today as it was during the origins of railroading nearly 200 years ago.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made 2020 a year of challenges to be overcome, but this global crisis will eventually fade into the past and become one of many moments that make up a part of BNSF's history.
“A lot has changed as a result of COVID-19, but one thing that has not changed is that BNSF continues to deliver the essential freight that our nation needs," said BNSF President and CEO Carl Ice.
While 2020 may always be remembered for the pandemic, it also marks the 25th anniversary of a pivotal moment in BNSF's history: The merger between Burlington Northern...
When you can’t get to the work site because of the water, you use the water to get to the work.
That’s what happened when BNSF floated in a new bridge to replace a century-old steel truss bridge over Drano Lake in Washington. The lake is fed by the Columbia River and in a remote area, with the bridge on BNSF’s line running east from Vancouver – an important route for grain export.
Using the river to float the new span 60 miles posed challenges for the Engineering team, which is used to building bridges on site. One significant challenge of this waterway is high winds. In fact, one section is known as the “windsurfing capital” of the world.
“With crane and barge operations involved, we had to make sure Mother Nature cooperated. Some days she did, some she didn’t,” said Mike Herzog, director, Bridge Construction. Smoke from nearby wildfires also added to the project’s challenges.