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Monday, September 13, 2010

BNSF News - Sioux Falls Site For Grade Crossing Safety Record

City officials join BNSF Railway to close 69th Street and mark 5,000th crossing closure across BNSF network

Officials from the city of Sioux Falls, the state of South Dakota and BNSF Railway today celebrated the closure of the 5,000th grade crossing on BNSF's rail network, setting a new national record for grade crossing closures and safety improvement.

At a ceremony near the crossing and in view of the new 69th Street overpass currently under construction, officials watched as railroad crews pulled out the old crossing surface that allowed vehicles to cross the railroad tracks on 69th Street in Sioux Falls. Removing the surface was the last step to permanently closing the 69th Street crossing and to eliminating the opportunity for any future grade crossing collisions.

"Safety is a top priority at BNSF," said Lyn Hartley, BNSF Director of Public Projects. "We have learned over time that one of the best ways to address grade crossing safety is to reduce the number of at-grade crossings. To the great credit of Sioux Falls city leaders, they recognized that the ideal solution between trains and motorists was to close this crossing and build the 69th Street overpass."

Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether said, "We are a forward thinking city in Sioux Falls always looking for opportunities to grow. However, public safety always remains as our primary goal in our quest to have the highest quality of life possible. This provides us a safer, more efficient way for vehicles to cross the tracks."

BNSF has worked cooperatively with states and communities across its 28-state network to close 5,000 crossings since the BNSF crossing closure program began in 2000. Combined with other safety initiatives, the grade crossing closure program has helped to reduce grade crossing collisions on BNSF's 32,000 mile network by 70 percent since 1995. BNSF has one of the lowest highway-railroad grade crossing collision rates in the rail industry and continues to work with the states and communities it serves to further improve grade crossing safety.

See Also: BNSF Crew Haulers Honored At Summit / Top-Scoring BNSF Locomotive Engineers Recognized With Top Gun Awards / BNSF Named Finalist As Most Valuable Employer For Military / Railroad Photography - Saturday Afternoon At Oro Grande / BNSF Shareholders Approve Sale To Berkshire Hathaway / The BNSF Honors Three Shortline Railroads For Partnership Excellence / The Cajon Pass Railroad Museum - The Birth Of A Dream

HO Scale BNSF Items: Athearn HO Scale SD75M Locomotive - Santa Fe / BNSF / Athearn HO Scale Center Fow Hopper Car - BNSF / Athearn HO Scale 50ft Sieco Box Car - BNSF / Athearn HO Scale Iron Horse Express Electric Train Set - BNSF / Athearn HO Scale SD60M Locomotive - Burlington Northern Santa Fe / Athearn HO Scale SD60M Locomotive - Burlington Northern / BNSF

Friday, March 26, 2010

Final Environmental Report To Electrify Caltrain Receives Clearance

Source: Caltrain (Press Release)

The plan to electrify Caltrain will achieve a major milestone pending certification of the Final Environmental Impact Report and Project Adoption on April 1 by the Board of Directors.

Approval by the board completes the environmental process for the Caltrain Electrification Program, a major element of the plans to modernize the Peninsula rail system, and positions the railroad to seek federal and state funding.

“Electrification is the future of Caltrain,” said Caltrain Chair Sean Elsbernd, “and this puts us in an ideal position to pursue federal and state funding. This is a major step forward for our efforts.”

Caltrain prepared a combined environmental document for the electrification program: an Environmental Assessment/Final EIR. Approval of the Environmental Assessment and Certification of the Final EIR are critical steps in enabling Caltrain to compete for federal and state funds. Environmental clearance is a key criterion for funding investment decisions.

Under the National Environmental Policy Act, the Federal Transit Administration issued the Findings of No Significant Impact for the Environmental Assessment in 2009. The Final EIR is required by the state under the California Environmental Quality Act.

Public participation has been an important component of the complex project. To solicit input on the Environmental Assessment/Draft EIR, four formal public hearings were held in 2004 throughout the Caltrain service area and the meetings were widely publicized. Additionally, the Environmental Assessment/Draft EIR was available for public review and comment from April 12, 2004 through May 25, 2004. Staff also met with representatives from cities and other public agencies about the project. All of the comments received during this period have been included and addressed in the Environmental Assessment/Final EIR.

Last year, persons who submitted comments on the Environmental Assessment/Draft EIR, as well as elected officials and public agencies in the Caltrain service area, received a newsletter updating them on the status of the electrification program. Public agencies that commented on the Environmental Assessment/Draft EIR within the public review period have received copies of the Environmental Assessment/Final EIR.

The electrification program is the critical modernization program to ensure a vibrant future for Caltrain. It anticipates an electrified rail system from the San Francisco Caltrain Station to the Tamien station in San Jose. The system is powered by overhead wires and designed to minimize visual impact.

In addition, the electrification program calls for converting the Caltrain rolling stock from its current diesel locomotive-powered cars to Electric Multiple Units in use throughout the world. The EMUs feature greatly enhanced performance that will enable Caltrain to provide more service.

The electrification of Caltrain also will result in significant reductions in noise and air pollution. The Environmental Assessment/Final EIR concludes that the electrified system will be quieter than the current diesel equipment and will mean a 90 percent reduction in emissions.

Following the board action, the Final EIR will be filed with the State Clearinghouse. The public has 30 days to review the report.

The Environmental Assessment/Final EIR is posted on the Caltrain Web site: Questions can be directed to Stacy Cocke, senior planner at or 650.508.6207

See Also: Caltrain Addresses Recent Delays / Caltrain Holiday Train Collects More Than 4,000 Toys / Caltrain Beats Traffic To The KPFA Crafts & Music Fair / Live Entertainment Lights Up Caltrain Holiday Train / Caltrain Gears Up For A Busy Holiday Schedule

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Union Pacific Railroad Invests $6 Million For Kansas Track Improvements

Source: Union Pacific (Press Release)

Union Pacific will improve part of Kansas' transportation infrastructure with a $6 million investment to its rail line that runs from Wichita to near Caldwell, Kan.

The project includes removing and installing more than 41,500 ties. Crews also will spread 33,500 tons of rock ballast to ensure a stable roadbed and renew the roadway surfaces at 70 crossings. The tie replacement part of the project began March 1 and is scheduled to be completed April 5. The crossing surface renewal projects will be completed in mid-August.

Union Pacific plans to spend approximately $2.5 billion in 2010 to support America's current and future freight transportation needs and enhance the safety and efficiency of the railroad's 32,000-mile network. Investment in rail capacity benefits everyone. It allows freight rail service to grow, helping to build a cleaner environment. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, freight trains are nearly four times more fuel efficient than trucks. Motorists also benefit from reduced congestion on highways as a single Union Pacific train can remove up to 300 trucks off our roads.

See Also: Union Pacific Railroad's Legendary Steam Locomotive 844 To Visit South Texas On A Heritage Tour / The Union Pacific Invests $5.7 Million To Improve Washington State Trackage / Railroad Photography - Saturday Afternoon At Oro Grande / Union Pacific To Sink $29 Million Into Improving Houston Infrastructure / The Union Pacific Increases Speed Through Malvern, Arkansas With Grade Crossing Improvements / Union Pacific Railroad Sets Monthly Record Moving Loaded Agricultural Unit Trains / Union Pacific Railroad's Pipeline Express Service Reaches 25,000 Rail Car Milestone / Railroad Photo Gallery - Union Pacific GP40-2 1368 (Ex Rio Grande) / The Diesel Railroad Locomotive - From Box Cabs And The SD40 To The SD70 And Gensets / The Cajon Pass Railroad Museum - The Birth Of A Dream

See Union Pacific Model Trains: Proto 2000 Ho Scale Alco PA/PB Locomotive Set - Union Pacific / Athearn HO Scale C44-9W Locomotive - Union Pacific / Bachmann HO Scale Pacific Flyer Electric Train Set - Union Pacific / Athearn HO Scale GE AC4400 Locomotive - Union Pacific / Trainline HO Scale Alco FA-1 Locomotive - Union Pacific / Athearn HO Scale 4-8-4 Nothern "800" Locomotive - Union Pacific / Athearn HO Scale 50ft Combo Door Box Car - Union Pacific

BNSF Crew Haulers Honored At Summit

Source: BNSF (Press Release)

Crew hauler successes in 2009 and opportunities for 2010 were the focus of the recent Fifth Annual Crew Transportation Supplier Summit.

Held in Fort Worth, Texas, the summit helps improve alignment in safety, service and efficiencies. Participants included representatives of BNSF's primary contract crew haulers; Outsource Administrators Inc., the third-party company that manages the crew haulers; and BNSF.

Greg Fox, vice president, Transportation, and Paul Bischler, vice president and chief services officer, addressed the group as part of the summit.

The summit also celebrates the successes of the past year. Awards were given to the supplier with the best safety record and the BNSF divisions with the lowest incident ratio and most improved safety performances in 2009.

* Randall West, president and chief operating officer of RailCrew Xpress (RCX), was presented the Supplier Safety Performance Award for 2009.
* Stephen Dawson, UTU safety coordinator, accepted the award for the California Division for lowest incident ratio.
* Pat Engebrecht, UTU safety coordinator, received the most improved award for the Powder River Division.

See Also: Top-Scoring BNSF Locomotive Engineers Recognized With Top Gun Awards / BNSF Named Finalist As Most Valuable Employer For Military / Railroad Photography - Saturday Afternoon At Oro Grande / BNSF Shareholders Approve Sale To Berkshire Hathaway / The BNSF Honors Three Shortline Railroads For Partnership Excellence / The Cajon Pass Railroad Museum - The Birth Of A Dream

HO Scale BNSF Items: Athearn HO Scale SD75M Locomotive - Santa Fe / BNSF / Athearn HO Scale Center Fow Hopper Car - BNSF / Athearn HO Scale 50ft Sieco Box Car - BNSF / Athearn HO Scale Iron Horse Express Electric Train Set - BNSF / Athearn HO Scale SD60M Locomotive - Burlington Northern Santa Fe / Athearn HO Scale SD60M Locomotive - Burlington Northern / BNSF

CSX Highlights Company Achievements In 2009 Annual Report

Source: CSX (Press Release)

CSX Corporation (NYSE:CSX) today announced that proxy materials for its 2010 Annual Shareholders Meeting are now available to shareholders via the Internet under the Securities and Exchange Commission's Notice and Access rules. These materials, including the company's proxy statement and 2009 annual report, can be accessed on its website at

In his annual report message to shareholders, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Michael J. Ward said that CSX positioned itself as a "stronger and more capable company" in a tumultuous 2009.

While a 15 percent volume decline led to a 22 percent reduction in earnings per share from continuing operations, the company set records in safety, lowered full-year operating costs by 20 percent and achieved a record 74.7 percent operating ratio. These achievements were made while delivering strong customer service and maintaining a healthy balance sheet with strong cash flows for future investment and value creation.

"Our 30,000 employees didn't just let the economy happen "to" us. When the downturn began, we moved quickly to respond," said Ward. "Many of the operational changes we made are systemic and permanent." Ward reiterated the company's plans to invest $1.7 billion in its train network in 2010 and to continue to offer value to communities as well as customers. "We are holding ourselves even more accountable for tackling important issues for our nation, including the environment, traffic congestion and fuel dependency," he said.

CSX will mail printed copies of its proxy materials only by shareholder request. The company adopted this practice last year, reducing printing by 25 million pages, and expects a similar result this year. The company employed eco-friendly printing processes certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

CSX's 2010 Annual Shareholders Meeting will be held at 10 a.m. (EDT) on Wednesday, May 5, 2010, at The Rittenhouse Hotel, 210 West Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia.
CSX HO Scale locomotives: Athearn HO Scale C449W Locomotive - CSX

MTH HO Scale 4-6-4 Hudson Locomotive - Streamlined NYC Empire State

HO RTR 4-6-4 with PS3, NYC/Empire State #1

Written By:
Ken Hulsey
Source: Steamlocomotives

MTH has released, what might be, one of the finest examples of the famed New York Central's 4-6-4 streamlined, 'Hudsons', in HO gauge. This locomotive is painted in the railroad's 'Empire State' paint scheme, and is a must have for all railroad modelers and enthusiasts.

In total 275 of these powerful passenger locomotives were built for the NYC by the American Locomotive Company between 1926 and 1938. Of these engines, 13 were streamlined in the now infamous, "bathtub" casing that was designed by the Case School of Science in Cleveland, OH.

NYC locomotive 5344 was the first to receive the streamline treatment, in fact, it was the first American steamer to ever be streamlined, having its shroud installed in 1934.

In 1935 No. 5344 was assigned to the New York Central's premiere passenger train, the 20th Century Limited, which ran between Toledo and Chicago. This locomotive would remain on the head end of the 'Limited' until 1945, when a collision with a truck at a grade crossing, would cause the engine to have to have it's streamlining removed.

Locomotives 5426 and 5429, were streamlined with a stainless steel cowling to match the "Empire State Express" train. Both locomotives would wear this cowling until 1950.

Ten 'Hudsons' , numbers 5445 through 5454, were graced with the famed streamline design created by Henry Dreyfuss that matched the new cars of the New York to Chicago "Twentieth Century Limited" which was one of America's most famous luxury trains.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

UNM Student Maggie Ryan Is The Rail Runner's Three Millionth Passenger

Source: New Mexico Rail Runner Express (Press Release)

This morning (Monday) following the arrival of the 8:34 southbound Rail Runner train at the Downtown Albuquerque Station, commuter Maggie Ryan became the three millionth passenger to ride the New Mexico Rail Runner Express! The University of New Mexico graduate student says she boards the train at the Santa Fe Depot Station two to four times a week, and takes it into Downtown Albuquerque where she connects to the Rapid Ride to get to UNM.

“I love that I can get all my work done on the train, so it’s a very productive ride,” said Maggie. “Since I started taking the Rail Runner, I’ve saved thousands of dollars. In fact, I sold my car last November because I just didn’t need it anymore.”

The Santa Fe resident says she’s been taking the train to school since the Rail Runner extended service to Santa Fe in December 2008. Ryan says prior to hopping on the Rail Runner, she drove her car into Albuquerque everyday. She says now she doesn’t have to worry about the crowded morning commute – she arrives to school relaxed with a her work done instead of being stressed.

“Maggie is a shining example of how commuters in our region can save money and help our environment by using public transportation,” said Transportation Secretary Gary L. J. GirĂ³n. “She is just one of many New Mexicans who has realized the convenience and economic benefits of the Rail Runner.”

The Rail Runner, which has become the fastest start-up of a commuter rail train in the country in the past 20 years, currently carries a daily average of approximately 4,500 commuters between the City of Santa Fe and the City of Belen.

“It’s amazing that in less than four years, we’ve carried 3-million passengers to their destinations,” said Dewey Cave, Executive Director of the Mid-Region Council of Governments. “That translates to more than 100 million vehicle miles taken off our roadways.”

For the distinction of three millionth passenger, Ryan was rewarded with a basket of Rail Runner items, including a pass to ride the train free for one year, a Three Millionth Passenger certificate and a gift bag that included Rail Runner pins, t-shirts, hats and other train merchandise.

See Also: New Mexico Rail Runner Express Announces Schedule & Fare Adjustments / New Mexico Rail Runner Express Featured On The Santa Fe TV Show / Santa Claus Rides The New Mexico Rail Runner Express! / The New Mexico Rail Runner Express Fits Into A New Vision For Bernalillo County - Mass Transit Magazine Feature