BioNitrogen Corp. Building New Hardee Co., FL Spur Line…

Monday, March 11th, 2013

DORAL, FL – March 11, 2013 – BioNitrogen Corporation, a cleantech company that utilizes proprietary technology to build environmentally-friendly plants that convert biomass into urea fertilizer, announced that it has begun engineering design leading to construction on a railroad spur in Hardee County where the first BioNitrogen urea fertilizer plant will be built.

As previously announced, the Hardee County Industrial Development Authority (“IDA”) allocated $2 million dollars in grants to BioNitrogen’s Florida Plant subsidiary for reimbursable expenses incurred during the construction of the Hardee County plant to cover expenses related to the rail spur, construction and engineering of the initial plant.

KBR’s Delaware-based operation, which is a KBR center of excellence for Bio Based Chemicals and Fuels, will be the lead engineer and project manager on the construction of the initial plant. In keeping with its core-values as a local community supporter, BioNitrogen will also be working with local Florida-based companies that will be involved in the design and construction of the rail spur, including Mulberry-based C.J. Bridges, which will handle construction of the rail spur, and Lakeland-based Kimley-Horn, which will handle civil and other site engineering for the project.

The railroad spur will link the plant site with the main railroad line owned by CSX, facilitating the transport of biomass to the plant and urea to BioNitrogen customers through its offtake agreement with United Suppliers, Inc.

“The rail spur is a critical piece of infrastructure and we’re pleased to finalize the design and begin construction,” said Bryan Kornegay, Jr., President and CFO of BioNitrogen. “We’re also committed to using local companies for the rail spur and look forward to expanding it throughout our property for future development. Funding from the Hardee County Industrial Development Authority is central to the success of the overall plant construction project and we are pleased to partner with them.”

FEC Appoints Senior Staff for All Aboard Florida…

Monday, March 11th, 2013

CORAL GABLES, FL – March 11, 2013 – Florida East Coast Industries, Inc. (FECI) today announced the appointment of Donald C. Robinson as President and Chief Operating Officer for All Aboard Florida, the country’s first privately owned intercity passenger rail system that will connect South Florida to Orlando.

Mr. Robinson was a longtime senior executive with The Walt Disney Company. Additionally, P. Michael Reininger has been promoted to President and Chief Development
Officer for All Aboard Florida. Mr. Reininger joined All Aboard Florida in 2012. Mr. Robinson will focus on developing the operational functions for the passenger rail project, including the procurement of rolling stock and engagement of third-party operators. Mr. Reininger will deliver the project’s built environment, including the rail infrastructure, stations, and transit-oriented real estate development. They will jointly define All Aboard Florida’s brand and customer experience.

“We’ve now solidified the executive management team for All Aboard Florida,” said FECI President and CEO Vincent Signorello. “Both Don and Mike have successfully developed consumer brands and introduced unique customer experiences to the travel industry. Their partnership will ensure that our intercity passenger rail project sets the new world standard for travel and hospitality.”

Mr. Robinson brings more than 35 years of experience developing, managing and branding complex, multi-faceted hospitality and recreational projects throughout the world. Most notably, he ran hotel operations for the entire Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla. In this role, he was accountable for all 16 Walt Disney World Resort hotels (30,000 rooms total), four theme parks, two water parks, five golf courses, more than 400 retail and dining facilities, and 35,000 employees. He was instrumental in
the opening of Disneyland Paris and led the development and opening of Hong Kong Disneyland. Mr. Robinson most recently served as President of Baha Mar Resorts Ltd., where he oversaw the design, development and construction of a $3.5 billion resort destination located in Nassau, Bahamas.

Mr. Robinson holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from University of Central Florida. He serves as a Board Member of the Denny’s Corporation.

Mr. Reininger brings nearly three decades of real estate development and brand management expertise to All Aboard Florida, having served in senior management roles with AECOM, MGM Resorts International, The St. Joe Company and The Walt Disney Company. He has spearheaded a diverse range of projects, including globally recognized mixed-use, transit-oriented developments and largescale, international entertainment resort destinations. As managing partner for Union Station Neighborhood Company in Denver, Colo., he orchestrated the master planning for the Denver Union Station transit-oriented development project through a public-private partnership structure. That project created one of the country’s largest multimodal transit hubs involving the redevelopment of 30 acres of downtown Denver, including four million square feet of commercial development.

Mr. Reininger holds a Bachelor of Architecture, Design Specialization from Texas Tech University, and executive certifications in resort and hotel master planning, financial engineering and business management from Harvard University School of Design, Harvard Business School, and Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Greenville & Western Promotes Stephens to Mech. Manager…

Friday, March 8th, 2013

TAYLORS, SC – March 8, 2013 - Greenville & Western Railway Company, LLC (GRLW), a wholly owned subsidiary of Western Carolina Railway Service Corporation, is pleased to announce the promotion of Mark A. Stephens to Manager – Mechanical effective March 1, 2013.

Stephens will be responsible for motive power and equipment maintenance for both GRLW and sister company Aiken Railway Company, LLC.

Stephens joined the GRLW in 2009 following a 21-year career in the United States Navy, retiring as Sr. Chief Electronics Technician in 2004. Between 2004 and 2009, Stephens gained valuable industry experience in the locomotive maintenance and repair/rebuild fields working for two railroad mechanical companies before joining GRLW as a Rail Transportation Specialist. Locomotive maintenance has been integral part of Stephens’ tenure with GRLW and has made him the clear choice for the position.

CSXT Awards TestAmerica Two Awards for Excellence…

Friday, March 8th, 2013

JACKSONVILLE, FL – March 8, 2013 – TestAmerica, a leading provider of environmental testing services, announced Thursday that they have received two 2012 Awards for Excellence and Outstanding Performance from CSX Transportation, Inc (CSXT) at their 2013 Public Safety, Health & Environment Safety Training & Technical Conference.

CSXT’s Environmental Programs recognized TestAmerica for collaborative efforts in quickly providing reports that could be uploaded into CSXT’s database system, as well as the continued support to CSXT in offering solutions to meet additional program needs. In addition, CSXT’s Environmental Remediation Group individually recognized Betsy Beauchamp, Client Service Organization Director at TestAmerica for her dedicated technical support of over 10 years. CSXT highlighted Ms. Beauchamp’s team approach to the support CSXT’s emergency response and remediation project needs.

James E. Hyman, CEO of TestAmerica stated, “We are honored that CSXT has recognized our service with these awards. This is a significant achievement by TestAmerica and reflects our dedication to provide the best laboratory services to meet the needs of our clients. The awards underscore our commitment to making TestAmerica’s network easier to use for our clients.”

Pan Am Pair of Derailments Disrupt Service in NH and ME…

Friday, March 8th, 2013

NASHUA, NH and MATTAWAMKEAG, ME – March 8, 2013 – A pair of separate derailments on Pan Am Railways have disrupted two routes, one leaving intact oil tank cars on their sides and the other loaded coal hoppers derailed, requiring the service of the company’s wreck trains.

The derailment in Nashua, New Hampshire occurred before 8:00 p.m. when at least ten loaded hoppers of the 88-car loaded coal train left the rails on the bridge over the Nashua River near Bridge Street.  According to reports, the derailed cars remain upright and along the rail, some leaning against bridge supports in the thru-truss bridge and reports of extensive track damage at the site.  The coal train was powered by NS SD70ACE trio 1070, 1060 and 1058 at the time of the derailment though none of the locomotives were involved in the derailment.

No injuries were reported at the site of the Nashua derailment.

Further north, fifteen cars of a Pan Am Railways-operated 96-car crude oil train derailed at the Winn-Mattawamkeag town lines at and adjacent to US Route 2.  The durable multi-lined tank cars held up well in the derailment and only a few gallons of oil were reportedly spilled, posing no environmental damage.

Thirteen of the cars reportedly toppled onto their sides and two of them remained upright and inline with the tracks, according to a Pan Am statement.

Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Samantha Warren said DEP crews at the derailment site were reporting little leaked oil and catching it in pails placed under the tank car covers.  “It’s being measured in drips and not gallons,” she said.

Pan Am crews retrieved twenty empty tank cars from an empty oil train heading westbound and oil from the derailed cars will be transferred to the empty tank cars before the cars are and lifted and rerailed.

The train was enroute from the Bakken Oil Fields of North Dakota to the Irving Refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick.  Shipments have been increasing monthly, from about 1 million gallons in November 2011 to about 48 million gallons in December 2012.

For all 2012, more than 220 million gallons of oil was transported across Maine, according to DEP records.

 

NS Rail Yard Expansion Gets Borough Approval in PA…

Friday, March 8th, 2013

WEST BROWNSVILLE, PA – March 8, 2013 – Norfolk Southern has been given the high green to purchase a parcel of property in the Borough of West Brownsville, Pennsylvania for the purpose of expanding the rail yard that serves the former Monongahela Railroad coal fields.

Following extensive discussion about the rail yard expansion project, the West Brownsville Borough Council voted 3-2 to permit Norfolk Southern to purchase property off of Main Street for $15,000.  During its special meeting on Wednesday evening, the council had many questions and concerns before approving the purchase of the property, which is estimated at 0.07 acres.

With many council members still unclear as to specific aspects of the project, the biggest concern was whether every specification was included in the contract. Every detail must be included in the contract for the council to be comfortable in moving forward, said Mayor Martin Brockman. “Everything they’re going to do has to be in black and white,” he said.

Prior to the meeting, Norfolk Southern published a news release that addressed the concerns of residents and the council.

Besides providing notable public benefits, Norfolk Southern said the project would save the borough considerable funds with the expansion of the rail yard.

According to the release sent by Norfolk Southern spokesman Dave Pidgeon, the project “allows Norfolk Southern to more efficiently operate coal trains on its vitally important Monongahela Line, and it provides positive impacts for West Brownsville residents.”

Until conditions are established, the council mentioned they will not have further discussion with Norfolk Southern at a public meeting. Since Norfolk Southern is willing to pay $15,000 for the property, Brosky believes they should also offer an annual donation for it as well to assist in maintaining the property.

According to Maxon, Norfolk Southern property manager Eric Sylvester said they are unable to provide grants for parks or projects but were willing to increase the amount they would pay for the property in order to help the borough construct a new park. All costs incurred from the project would be paid for by Norfolk Southern.

 

NS Celebrated 100-Year Anniversary of Ohio River Bridge…

Friday, March 8th, 2013

NORFOLK, VA – March 7, 2013 – March 4 marked the 100-year anniversary of the completion of the modern version of Norfolk Southern’s bridge over the Ohio River between South Point, Ohio, and Kenova, West Virginia – a dependable link in the nation’s freight rail transportation infrastructure.

The bridge, on NS’ Pocahontas Division main line, carries essential freight rail traffic and supports economic development in the Tri-State region and Ohio River Valley. “It’s an important component of the Heartland Corridor, NS’ groundbreaking public-private partnership that connects Virginia’s ports to Midwestern markets to expedite the movement of international commerce,” said Mickey Runyon, NS assistant division superintendent, Bluefield, W.Va. “At the same time, it handles a steady amount of grain, coal, and general merchandise. With some 35 trains a day, and double-stack clearance, it’s a workhorse.”‘

“The bridge is crucial to the operations of the Pocahontas Division,” added Gary Shepard, NS division superintendent, Bluefield. “It is an example of the type of quality and hard work produced by our valued employees.”

Although the bridge is 100, its durability is unquestioned. NS bridge forces monitor and maintain it for reliability and safety. “The bridge has undergone major upgrades several times over the past century, and its excellent condition is a reflection of the industry’s continual investment – without taxpayer dollars – to give the nation an economic competitive edge,” said Jim Carter, NS chief engineer, Atlanta. “Like everything on the railroad, it is well-designed and systematically well-maintained. We fully expect it to be serviceable for another 100 years.”

Major river crossings by railroad bridges are relatively few in number across the country. NS’ Ohio River bridge is nearly 4,000 feet long and 82 feet above normal water level, and it creates a memorable scene, especially as the early-morning sun reflects downstream.

The bridge originally was designed with a single track in 1892 by NS predecessor Norfolk and Western Railway, although it was constructed with piers wide enough to accommodate future double-track.

As nearby coal fields developed and the demand for coal in the Midwest grew, traffic increased, meaning more wear and tear. So, N&W rebuilt the bridge with double-track and a stronger overall structure. Updates included pier modifications and new trusses, completed entirely around the existing structure to allow train traffic to continue during construction.

It was on March 4, 1913 – 100 years ago – that work crews met in the middle to connect the ends of the main channel truss. The first train crossed the newly completed double-track at 10 a.m., June 9. The bridge was “completely finished” in September, when workers finished painting. “Overall, it was a remarkable achievement under traffic,” Carter said. “To read the accounts is a humbling experience.”

It was the longest structure on the railroad and had taken 21.6 million pounds of steel and $1 million to upgrade. Its importance was not just physical but strategic. As N&W’s gateway to the West, the bridge was said to have been one of the Germans’ targets on American soil during both World Wars. During WWII, saboteurs were caught nearby, and a Coast Guard unit was detailed to protect it. “Had any of these dastardly efforts come to fruition, it would have impeded the movement of coal, vital war materials, and soldiers traveling to military and manufacturing installations,” said Tim Hensley, a noted railway historian who lives within walking distance of the bridge’s West Virginia approach.

One of the more unusual sights on the bridge occurred Nov. 15, 1967, when the world’s longest, heaviest freight train traversed it. With 500 loaded coal cars and six locomotives, this five-mile train was operated by N&W in a contest with the Pennsylvania Railroad.

“Today, the Kenova bridge is an integral part of the landscape – a beautiful, historic, and key part of our national rail system,” Hensley said. “I see it as a link from the past to the future.”

Amtrak Hiawatha Service Priority Boarding Announced…

Friday, March 8th, 2013

CHICAGO, IL – March 8, 2013 – Amtrak Hiawatha Service passengers holding current monthly and ten-ride tickets now have Priority Boarding at Chicago Union Station as they travel on the Chicago-Milwaukee corridor, the busiest in the Midwest.

The route, with intermediate stops in Glenview, Ill., and in Wisconsin at Sturtevant and the Milwaukee Airport, carried nearly 839,000 passengers last year, ranking it among the top 10 Amtrak routes nationally. About a quarter of the trips were made by passengers using multi-ride tickets. Seven round-trips are operated Monday-Saturday, with six round-trips on Sundays.

Amtrak and Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) representatives rode last month with a group of regular Hiawatha Service passengers who requested Priority Boarding, among other suggestions that are also under consideration.

“These are some of our best passengers and they usually need the least assistance because they ride so frequently,” said Ray Lang, Chief, State Government Relations, one of the Amtrak officials who met with an informal group of regular passengers. “In giving priority to the monthly and ten-ride passengers, our customer service representatives and conductors can give more assistance to those less-frequent customers who often need more help.”

Amtrak operates the service under contracts with WisDOT and the Illinois Department of Transportation (Illinois DOT).

“Providing an efficient and enjoyable transportation experience is critical to the on-going success of the Hiawatha Service,” said Ron Adams, WisDOT’s Rails and Harbors Section Chief. “We look forward to adding Priority Boarding at the Milwaukee Intermodal Station in the near future.”

“We applaud Amtrak for providing this benefit to the Hiawatha Service’s most loyal customers,” said Joe Shacter, Director of Public and Intermodal Transportation at Illinois DOT.  “This important corridor carried 50 percent more passengers last year than it did back in 2006 and we hope steps like this will help continue that pattern of growth.”

Uniformed military personnel will also be given Priority Boarding and can go to the head of the line for purchasing tickets at Amtrak ticket windows.

Frequent passengers can save money on their travel by purchasing monthly and ten-ride tickets at Amtrak ticket offices, including Chicago, Milwaukee and Glenview. For more information about schedules, fares and boarding procedures, visit AmtrakHiawatha.com.

Housatonic Railroad Restructures Corp. Family…

Friday, March 8th, 2013

OLD LYME, CT – March 8, 2013 – Housatonic Railroad Company, Inc. (HRRC), the Maybrook Railroad Company (MRC), a non-operating common carrier and Housatonic
Transportation Company (HT), a non-common carrier holding company and parent corporation to HRR, has filed notice with the Surface Transportation Board to reincorporate and move the corporation from Delaware to Connecticut.

Housatonic Transportation will change from a Delaware corporation to a Connecticut corporation and will remain in control of HRR , and HRRC will transfer ownership of a rail line in Massachusetts to Maybrook Railroad, which HRR would continue to operate.

HRRC is a class III common carrier by rail which operates in the state of Connecticut and Massachusetts.  HRRC operates in Connecticut over lines owned by MR and over a line owned by the Connecticut Department of Transportation, respectively, and operate over a line in Massachusetts it currently own and another line in Massachusetts owned by Coltsville Terminal Company, Inc. (CTC), another HTC subsidiary.

HRRC operates the Maybrook Line owned by MR between Derby Jct., Connecticut and the New York State Line at Danbury, CT/Southeast, NY, a distance of approximately 33.6 miles. HRRC also operates the Berkshire Line between Berkshjre Jct. in Danbury, and Pitt field, MA, where it interconnects with CSX’s Berkshire Subdivision, running between Boston and Albany, a distance of approximately 86.3 mile . The Berkshire Line consists of three ownership segments:

(1) the segment between Berkshire Jct. and a point in New Milford called Boardman s Bridge, a distance of 13.65 miles is owned by MR

(2) the segment between Boardman’s Bridge and the Massachusetts state line at North Canaan CT/Sheffield MA, a distance of approximately 36.35 miles, is owned by Conn. DOT and the segment between the state line and Pittsfield, MA, a distance of approximately 36.3 miles is owned by HRRC.

HRR also operates the Coltsville Branch in Pittsfield MA, owned by TC, a distance of 1.91 miles. The Coltsville Branch is not contiguous with other rail lines within the Housatonic corporate family. HRR also has freight operating rights over the so-called Beacon Line owned by Metro North Railroad between its connection with the Maybrook Lin at th New York/Connecticut State line and its connection with the Hudson Line in Beacon, New York, a di tance of approximately 41.1 miles and over the Harlem Line owned or leased by the New York Metropolitan Transp0rtation Authority between MP 22.0 in North White Plain, NY and MP 81.6 in Wassaic, New York.

HRR has not operated over either of the New York lines in several years because there are no freight rail customers currently. HRR discontinued its common carrier obligation over the Harlem Line pursuant to a STB-granted exemption.

The reincorporation of HT in Connecticut and the transfer of ownership of the Massachusetts rail line from HRR to MRC will not result in adverse changes in service levels,  will not result in any significant operational changes and will not result in a change in the competitive balance with carriers outside the Housatonic corporate family.

Pan Am Railways Oil Tanks Derailed in Mattawamkeag, ME…

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

MATTAWAMKEAG, ME – March 7, 2013 – A Pan Am Railways train hauling oil tank cars from the Bakken Oil Fields to Saint John, New Brunswick, has derailed at least fifteen cars this morning near Mattawamkeag, Maine, several are reportedly leaking crude oil at various locations.

According to initial reports, the derailment occurred around 7:30 a.m. between the towns of Winn and Mattawamkeag, Maine and at the grade crossings and adjacent to US Route 2.  Initial reports were that at least fifteen tank cars derailed with three or more spilling crude onto the snow-covered ground in the area.  The extent of the spill is still being evaluated and Maine Department of Enivironmental Protection officials are enroute to evaluate, as well as inspectors from the Federal Railroad Administration.  

Main Street in Winn is reportedly also blocked by derailed equipment with cleanup crews being dispatched with Pan Am Railways wreck trains from Waterville, Maine and from East Deerfield, Massachusetts.  

Details are still being reported from the scene, however the wreck is said to be extensive and with DEP cleanup required, Pan Am Railways will most likely be looking for alternative routing to get the oil trains delivered to Saint John.  Detours are likely west of the wreck site, however those details and routes are still at least a day away from being secured.