3-Way Rail Relocation Project Announced in Rockford, IL…

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

ROCKFORD, IL – December 6, 2012 – Illinois Railway, L.L.C. (“IR”), Chicago, Central & Pacific Railroad Company (“CC&P”), and Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad Corporation (Canadian Pacific Railway) have jointly filed relocation project in the City of Rockford, Illinois.

The proposed joint relocation project (the “Relocation Project”) will facilitate the removal and replacement of an old highway bridge (the “Morgan Street Bridge”) over the Rock River in the City. The Morgan Street Bridge was originally constructed in 1916 and reconstructed in 1956. The Morgan Street Bridge currently carries approximately 10,000 vehicles a day and is restricted to vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds. The replacement bridge will support a Class II Truck Route.

To facilitate the City’s bridge replacement project, IR and CC&P have agreed to re-align their trackage and interchanges in the area including the removal of IR’s tracks located beneath the Morgan Street Bridge. The Relocation Project provides a number of public and private benefits. Public safety will be enhanced through the closing of existing public highway-rail grade crossings and the upgrading of five existing highway-rail grade crossings.

The removal of the IR-CC&P diamond south of the Morgan Street Bridge will improve railroad safety and decrease maintenance costs for the railroads. The removal of the IR tracks below the Morgan Street Bridge and conveyance of the right-of-way to the City will also allow for the design and construction of a safer and more sustainable highway bridge.

The Relocation Project is sponsored by the City and is funded in part by the Illinois Commerce Commission.

The components of the Relocation Project are as follows:

1. IR will acquire limited overhead trackage rights over CC&P between approximately CCP Milepost 85.75 and CC&P’s connection to the CP at or near CCP Milepost 86.85, a physical distance of approximately 1.1 miles, with the right to enter and exit IR’ s main line west of the diamond at approximately CCP Milepost 85.75 and the right to enter and exit IR’s former main line track east of the diamond at approximately CCP Milepost 85.65 (including over CC&P between CCP Milepost 85.65 and CCP Milepost 85.00 for headroom), to enable IR to continue serving Joseph Behr & Sons, Inc. (“Behr”) (the “IR Trackage Rights”).  The IR Trackage Rights will allow IR to use the CC&P route across the Rock River and existing rights over CP in order to access theIR’s Yard at South Rockford.

2. CC&P will acquire limited local trackage rights over IR between approximately IR Milepost 22.54 and IR Milepost 21.90, a distance of approximately .64 miles to enable CC&P to continue serving Accuride Wheel End Solutions, formerly Gunite Foundries (“Gunite”) (the “CC&P Trackage Rights”).

3. A new connecting track will be constructed west of the diamond at or near CCP Milepost 85.75 to facilitate IR’s use of the IR Trackage Rights and to facilitate CC&P’s use of
the CC&P Trackage Rights.

4. A new connecting track connecting CC&P’s mainline and the former IR mainline north of the diamond will be constructed east of the diamond at or near CCP Milepost 85.65 to facilitate IR’s use of theIR Trackage Rights to enable IR to continue serving Behr.

5. IR will remove the diamond and its trackage on either side of the diamond between the two new connecting tracks and between IR Milepost 23.05 (approximately 150 feet
south of the center line of Morgan Street) to IR Milepost 23.45 (at the north end of IR’s Rock River bridge).

6. CC&P will remove certain industrial lead track south of the diamond (located parallel to the IR’s line) currently used by CC&P to serve Gunite.

7. CP will discontinue its overhead trackage rights over IR between IR Milepost 22.54 to IR Milepost 23.5, which were granted to CP’s predecessor in interest Central Illinois and Wisconsin Railroad Company by IR’s predecessor in interest Chicago, Rockford and Northern Railroad Company pursuant to an agreement dated November 5, 1881 and as later modified by an agreement between the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad Company and the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company dated August 31, 1928.

Once the Relocation Project is completed, IR will quit claim to the City its right-of-way for a distance of 750 feet north of the centerline of Morgan Street and 150 feet south of the centerline of Morgan Street.

The proposed Relocation Project will not disrupt service to shippers. There are only two rail shippers located adjacent to the lines being relocated: Gunite and Behr. CC&P will continue to have access to Gunite via the new connecting track west of the former diamond and the CC&P Trackage Rights. IR will continue to have access to Behr via the new connecting track east of the former diamond and the IR Trackage Rights.

LIRR Concrete Tie Project Continuing on Hempstead Branch…

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

JAMAICA, NY – December 6, 2012 – The MTA Long Island Rail Road will be replacing concrete track ties on weekends in the area between Jamaica and Queens Village starting the weekend of November 16-18 and continuing on the weekends of November 30-December 2 and December 7-9.

During that time the concrete ties on one of the four main tracks in this four-mile stretch will be removed and replaced with newly manufactured ones.

This tie replacement work, originally schedule to be done on weekends at the end of October and the beginning of November, was postponed due to preparation work before and restoration work after Hurricane Sandy. The rescheduled tie replacement work is being undertaken now, as the LIRR also continues recovery efforts related to Hurricane Sandy. The critical concrete tie replacement work is being accomplished with equipment that is designed specifically for tie replacement and that is not needed for the storm recovery work. Capacity restrictions on the LIRR network imposed by Amtrak’s continuing work to restore their flooded East River tunnels are unaffected by this weekend work.

During the work period each weekend – starting at 9:41 PM Friday and continuing until 3:30 AM on Monday – customers at Queens Village and Hollis stations looking to travel westbound will be provided bus service to Jamaica for a train connection to points west. Additionally, those customers on westbound Hempstead Branch trains traveling to Queens Village and Hollis stations will disembark trains at Bellerose Station for bus service to Queens Village and Hollis.

Eastbound Hempstead Branch service will not be affected during the work weekends with the exception of the 10:42 PM train from Atlantic Terminal to Hempstead.  This train will operate up to five minutes later than normal at stations east of Jamaica, since the work being performed will require this train to be held at Jamaica Station for approximately five minutes longer than normal.

In addition, some other trains on the Port Jefferson Branch and Montauk Branch will have their schedules adjusted a few minutes later.

The work will take place around-the-clock on weekends between Jamaica and Queens Village and will require the use of mechanized equipment. Because some of the work will take place at night and in the overnight, lighting will be required in the work area. All efforts will be made to minimize the noise associated with this project.

GETS Releases ShipperConnect Rail Fleet Optimization…

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

ATLANTA, GA – December 6, 2012 - GE Transportation Optimization Solutions, a leading provider of transportation management software and analytics to the railroad industry, announced the release of ShipperConnect Rail Fleet Optimization, a new software solution designed to help rail shippers reduce transportation costs, improve fleet allocation decisions, and maximize investment in rail equipment.

Rail Fleet Optimization enables bulk shippers to create optimal rail shipment plans, reduce the time needed to evaluate shipment variables and tradeoffs, and manage the balance between private and railroad-owned equipment.

This new software offering from GE Transportation Optimization Solutions is designed to deliver savings and increase productivity for bulk rail shippers in several important areas:

  • Reduce rail transportation expense
  • Maximize railcar capacity and utilization
  • Reduce investment in excess railcar supply
  • Optimize rail shipments to fulfill customer orders

“ShipperConnect Rail Fleet Optimization is a powerful tool for rail shippers to reduce transportation costs,” said Kirk Knauff, SVP Marketing and Services. “The ability to create an optimal rail shipment plan helps shippers manage a wide range of shipment variables and drive bottom-line savings through better fleet decisions.”

Rail Fleet Optimization is an offering in the GE Transportation Optimization Solutions ShipperConnect System, a suite of rail supply chain execution software for bulk rail shippers.

Derailment Cleanup Continuing at Paulsboro, NJ Wreck Site…

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

PAULSBORO, NJ – December 6, 2012 – Crews working on the Conrail derailment over the Mantua Creek in Paulsboro, New Jersey began the task of readying the partially submerged tank cars for removal, while at least 100 people remain evacuated near the derailment site.

National Transportation Safety Board chairman Deborah Hersman said in her latest statement, that train crewmembers have told investigators that a radio code used to change a light from red to green failed to work just before Friday’s accident.  After the conductor got off of the train and visually inspected the bridge the engineer called for and received permission to cross, she said.

“Two locomotives, several cars had cleared the bridge when the crews stated they saw the bridge collapse,” Hersman said.

Focus is centered around the bridge locking mechanisms which had failed just a little more than 24 hours previously.  Four slide locks are used to maintain the bridge position for the rail alignment and when all are functioning properly and the bridge locked, the green signal would be displayed.  Details emerged that indicated that roughly 24 hours before the derailment, at 3:17 a.m. on November 29, a train crew had also encountered a red signal and upon walking the bridge and visually inspecting, found that the bridge was not properly locked into position.  Inspectors and maintainers arrived at the site and reportedly made repairs to the bridge with the successful operation of four more trains over the bridge.  All four trains received the appropriate signals and reported no abnormalities on the bridge, however at 11:15 p.m., the final train to operate on Thursday night (the last before the train that derailed), after the train had passed received the automated voice announcing “bridged failed to operate properly”.

It is unclear to what extent the bridge was inspected following that final error message, however the NTSB, FRA and Conrail continue to investigate.

More than 70 people were hospitalized for minor breathing problems. Officials initially thought the air quality was safe, but then at 6 p.m. Friday, officials ordered an evacuation of a 12-block radius surrounding the accident site because of an increase in the level of the vinyl chloride gas.

The bridge usually supports at least three major trains each day serving refineries and other customers in an industrial area along the Delaware River. It was rebuilt after it failed in 2009, derailing nine coal hoppers at that time.  That derailment was attributed to a bridge misalignment.

 

FEC Served Land Gaining Large Industrial Property…

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

MIAMI, FL – December 6, 2012 – Florida East Coast Railway will benefit from a newly financed industrial development property in Medley, Florida.

Holliday Fenoglio Fowler has secured a $9.3 million construction loan for a 185,520-square-foot, Class A spec industrial development in Medley.  HFF placed the three-year construction loan on behalf of Industrial Income Trust, according to a statement.

The project will be developed on an 8.8-acre site near Miami’s most important transportation arteries, including the Florida Turnpike, Okeechobee Road, the Palmetto Expressway and Route 27. The site also has direct rail access on-site through the Florida East Coast Railway, which links it to 351 miles of rail along Florida’s east coast as well as South Florida’s major port.

 

CPR Yard Conversions, D&H Getting “Closer Look”…

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

NEW YORK, NY – December 5, 2012 – E. Hunter Harrison and several Vice Presidents for the Canadian Pacific Railway, today continued to outline the processes that will improve the rail carrier’s efficiency and operating ratio.

Among the highlights, the Operations Team outlined plans to lengthen several sidings across the system and remove others, while increasing train size to decrease the number of crew starts.  The Operations Team is also looking at ways of improving efficiency through changes in the way operations are conducted.  Harrison noted that Canadian Pacific Railway’s typical crew districts are approximately 120 miles in length and that crews are still using mileage based reporting, as opposed to hourly pay.  Harrison said that on this system the typical monthly mileage for a crew is around 3,800, while railroads using the hourly pay system get nearly 8,700 monthly miles from crews.

Additionally it was announced that all hump yard operations had been curtailed by October and the only remaining hump yard on the CP system would be at St. Paul, Minnesota.  All remaining humps were converted to flat switching or block swapping yards, immediately improving efficiency and dwell time, according to Guido De Ciccio, SVP Canadian Operations.

Harrison also responded to questions about the uncertainties surrounding the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern and the Delaware & Hudson properties mentioned in December 4’s conference.  Notably, Harrison said that the DM&E and the D&H are “not in the same category.”

He reasoned that, the DM&E was an investment into reaching the Powder River Basin before his time and said while they still have some interest in the tracks west of Tracy, Minnesota; CP still stands to profit from the business – coming or going – even if another operator takes over that portion of 600-700 miles of rail line.  He mentioned that a new operator would have to use CP for interchange or for access to that route, but CP would not have to invest in the upkeep of the line.

Harrison said in comparison, “the D&H has another set of complexities, all its own.”   While not a profitable operation, the D&H connects CP’s network with key energy shipping terminals in Albany and Philadelphia.  Harrison continued that, “If we can work with another carrier through the Chicago and Buffalo gateways, we will, but the energy traffic is forcing us to take a closer look at the D&H for now.”

Harrison says he’s confident that they will reach the aggressive goals set forth in yesterday’s announcements, but feels that even when his tenure is up in a few years, there will be a “long list of opportunities of things that are going to be left to do.”

CSX Gains Joint Venture Warehousing at Savannah, GA…

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

SAVANNAH, GA – December 5, 2012 – The Kearney Companies of New Orleans, LA has announced a joint venture with Page International of Savannah, GA to establish cutting-edge warehouse services at the Port of Savannah.

According to terms of the joint venture, the facility will be located less than two miles from the Georgia Port Authority’s (GPA) main container terminal and will have direct rail service with CSX. The Kearney Page Joint venture is expected to support approximately 20 local jobs once the rail service with CSX is fully operational around April 1, 2013.

“This joint venture marks a major expansion of The Kearney Companies’ third party logistics service offering. We are proud to continue to develop cutting edge logistics solutions with Page International and CSX, two companies with which we have enjoyed longstanding partnerships,” said David W. Kearney, President of the newly formed Kearney Page Warehouse Services, LLC. “This joint venture builds on our commitment to provide our customers with efficient supply chain options and further integrates us into the nation’s freight transportation infrastructure through CSX’s services.”

The facility will primarily support containerized shipments of export paper, cotton, lumber, metals, food products and consumer goods. Full-time operations will be served five days a week by CSX, a company that in 2011, invested nearly $84 million in its Georgia freight rail network and more than $948 million in freight cars and other rolling assets to serve customers through its rail system.

Patrick Page, Vice President of Page International said, “Since its inception, Page International has continuously searched for ways to expand the services it provides to its clients. We feel that with partnering with The Kearney Companies that we take a giant step in that direction. In working with their New Orleans operations, we have become very familiar with The Kearney Company’s unsurpassed expertise and customer service in the warehousing and transloading area. We are indeed excited about this joint venture and look forward to elevating it to greater heights in the upcoming months and years ahead.”

By shifting freight to rail from other shipment modes, The Kearney Page Warehouse Services LLCs will improve their customer’s environmental footprint as shipping via rail takes traffic off an already congested highway system, and minimizes fuel consumption and transportation costs.

“We’re pleased to have the opportunity to serve The Kearney Page Warehouse Services facility and to support vital commerce at the Port of Savannah,” said Derrick Smith, vice president of emerging markets for CSX. “CSX is committed to working closely with customers to identify new opportunities, help locate facilities and provide reliable transportation solutions to better connect them to the global supply chain.”

NCDOT to Hold Public Info Session on Charlotte Track Changes…

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC – December 5, 2012 – The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) will hold an informal Design Public Hearing on December 11, 2012 in the  Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center from 5-7 p.m. to discuss the proposed improvements to the CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern trackage in Charlotte.

NCDOT proposes improvements to the CSXT and Norfolk Southern Railroads in Charlotte that are approximately 1.5 miles long, and involve a grade separation of CSXT and Norfolk Southern railroads, as well as closing the North Church Street railroad crossing.

The project will enhance safety and reduce noise, and emissions while improving rail operations and increasing efficiency for freight and passenger rail. The project will require the purchase of additional right of way and the relocation of businesses.

Interested individuals may attend this informal hearing any time. NCDOT representatives will be available to answer questions and receive comments. Input received will be taken into consideration as work on the project progresses. Project maps will be on display, but there will not be a formal presentation.

Click the PROJECT MAP for a large map depicting the layout changes.

FRA Grant Funds Received by Sylacauga, AL for Rail Relocation…

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

SYLACAUGA, AL – December 5, 2012 – The Federal Railroad Administration has provided the city of Sylacauga, Alabama, the $1.59-million Rail Line Relocation Grant the city was awarded by Tansportation Secretary Ray LaHood in March of this year.

The grant will be used to relocate East Alabama Railway and Norfolk Southern interchange tracks away from the downtown area.  The railroads operate four trains through the area daily, resulting in road delays of 20-30 minutes for each train, disrupting local traffic patterns at critical peak hours of the day, hindering emergency responses and raising vehicle exhaust levels.

The relocation will also include upgrading track through the city of Sylacauga to improve railroad safety for heavier car loads serving industries in the city. The East Alabama Railway will contribute $858,338 toward the cost of the project.

VIA Rail Announces Project Completions in Modernization Plan…

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

OTTAWA, ON – December 5, 2012 – On Monday, Steven Fletcher, Minister of State (Transport) and VIA Rail announced the completion of a number of important projects including additional frequencies and the introduction of a new service between Ottawa and Quebec City.

These initiatives will lead to safer, faster, and more efficient service in the Quebec-Windsor corridor. The activities are part of VIA Rail’s modernization plan. To make travel easier for Canadians, new scheduling options in the Ottawa-Toronto-Quebec City line were added, the F40 were renovated, and additional safety features were implemented at railway crossings in the Quebec-Windsor Corridor. The upgrades to F40 locomotives will improve fuel efficiency and environmental sustainability. These initiatives help VIA Rail to bring Canadians together, and promote economic growth and prosperity in Canada.

According to Minister of State Fletcher: “Our government is committed to creating a safe, efficient and reliable passenger rail service for Canadians. That’s why we are supporting VIA Rail through our Economic Action Plan, and why we have invested nearly $1 billion in passenger rail since 2007. We believe that improvements to VIA Rail will help to create jobs and stimulate economic growth across the country.”

“This investment in VIA Rail is made possible through the support of the Government of Canada, who like us, wants to provide transportation solutions that are accessible to Canadians and improve their quality of life by offering more train frequencies to millions of passengers. The improvements made to our schedules and rolling stock will allow us to meet our targets in terms of the environment, customer experience and operational performance,” said Marc Laliberté, President and Chief Executive Officer of VIA Rail. “The Corporation is in a better position to face the future and, thanks to the vision and innovation of our employees and partners; it addresses the needs of a larger number of people in terms of mobility.”

The improvements were made possible by the federal government’s Capital Investment Program for VIA Rail. The Government of Canada has invested almost $1 billion in VIA Rail since 2007 to improve its stations, infrastructure, trains and technology. These investments will directly benefit Canadians and the country’s economy, by promoting job creation and prosperity across the country.