From staff reports and news releasesU.S. freight railroads are opening their pocketbooks in 2013 to enhance their rail networks. The Association of American Railroads (AAR) announced this week that the nation’s major freight railroads plan to invest an estimated $24.5 billion in 2013 to build, maintain and upgrade America’s rail network. Projected capital expenditures which upgrade or enhance network capacity within the year is expected to reach $13 billion. “While most other transportation modes rely on government funds, America’s freight railroads operate on infrastructure they own, maintain and upgrade to serve their customers and power our economy,” AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger said. “This year, freight railroads plan to continue to focus on investments that maintain and enhance our physical infrastructure and safety systems, including cutting edge technology that ensures we are ready to deliver for the future.” With hundreds of nationwide transportation infrastructure projects under way, railroads…
Category: Class 1 Railroads
OMAHA, NE — Union Pacific Railroad unveiled in December one of the seven next-generation Genset diesel locomotives being used in a rail yard in the Chicago area. UP developed the environmentally friendly locomotives to reduce air emissions in cooperation with federal, state and local environmental agencies. The Genset switcher reduces emissions of oxides of nitrogen by 80 percent and particulate matter by 90 percent, while using 37 percent less fuel compared to older switching locomotives, the company says. The 2,000-horsepower locomotives at Proviso Rail Yard in Northlake, IL, are powered by three 667-horsepower ultra-low-emission EPA off-road Tier 3-certified diesel engines. The Gensets are equipped with six traction motors instead of four found on a traditional rail-yard locomotive. The two additional motors provide increased pushing power for “hump” service. At low throttle settings, only one of the engines operates. When additional power is needed, the second and third diesel engines automatically start…
Union Pacific Railroad announced last week that it acquired complete ownership of a rail line in Oklahoma decades after state officials saved what continues to be a link of commerce through the Sooner State. The agreement was originally drafted 30 years ago when Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Co. filed for bankruptcy, potentially eliminating a critical rail connection that linked Texas and Kansas through Oklahoma. Oklahoma purchased 351 miles of track that runs through Enid, El Reno, Oklahoma City, Chickasha, Duncan and Lawton. The tracks were operated by Oklahoma-Kansas-Texas Railroad Co. through a 30-year-lease purchase agreement signed Nov. 1, 1982. Union Pacific acquired the tracks after several mergers and finished paying $35 million plus accrued interest for the rail line last year. “This type of agreement was unique, but we felt it was critical that we preserve the rail corridors and work towards getting them back in the hands…
Kansas City Southern’s 12th Annual Holiday Express train will makes stops at 22 cities in seven states in November and December, the railroad announced today. At each stop, visitors can board a festive holiday train for free and tour three of six cars. The train will make its first stop in Jefferson, TX on Nov. 23 and embark upon a tour of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri that terminates in Kansas City, MO. KCS’s Holiday Express has raised more than $1 million to purchase gift cards, which are donated to the Salvation Army at each scheduled stop. Cards are designated for purchasing warm clothing and other necessities for children. The Holiday Express was built on the tradition of the Santa Train, which ran on a segment of the network purchased by KCS in 1997. In 2000, KCS employees noticed that the Santa Train was the only Christmas some kids…
BNSF Railway Co. is pumping $92 million into track maintenance and rail capacity improvements in Oklahoma in 2012. BNSF, headquartered in Fort Worth, TX, will surface and undercut 667 miles of track and replace another 29 miles of rail. Signal upgrades will also be made to comply with the federally mandated positive train control (PTC) program. The capital improvements are part of the company’s $3.9 billion commitment, which also includes locomotive, freight car and other equipment acquisitions. BNSF plans to spend $1.1 billion on equipment and another $300 million on PTC installations. “Investment in BNSF’s network in Oklahoma is an investment in Oklahoma jobs and competitiveness, and will ensure our infrastructure remains strong and efficient to better serve Oklahoma shippers and the state’s economy,” said Matthew K. Rose, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
Kansas City Southern Railway Co. increased train speed over some segments of its Gulfport to Hattiesburg, MS line from 10-25 mph in early June. The increase in train speed over these track segments is the result off a major track rehabilitation effort that will enhance economic development opportunities at the Port of Gulfport, according to KCS. Trains going through downtown Wiggins are restricted to 10 mph. Rail speed limits south of I-10 also will not increase.
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Door to Door
Intermodal shipping has been on a 30-year growth pattern for North American railroads and in the last 10 years has led nearly all rail commodity categories. Far from main lines, almost 80 vessel calls are made at U.S. ports by massive ships loaded with everything from toys to onions to toilet seats each day. Approximately 1,200 ocean-going liner vessels, mostly container ships, make more than 28,000 calls at ports in the United States annually, according to the World Shipping Council.
Making More Than Memories
For many years the tourist train industry thrived off the idea of riding a rocking train over hill and dale or through the majestic Rockies. The encounter was more about looking out the window of a vintage coach as scenery and trailing smoke passed by. Today, tourist railroads operate in just about every state in the continental U.S., as well as Alaska and Hawaii. They are in business to not just offer a train ride but to entertain. A two- or three-hour excursion is likely to include dining and bar service, maybe even a one-act play.
Coverage begins on building the N-scale Whitehurst & Pine Ridge Railroad, a free-lanced short line serving the Union Pacific and Kansas City Southern between Dallas and Kansas City during the merger era…
Complementing coverage on the intermodal and container industry, a Corpus Christi, TX, modular railroad group goes for that ‘wow’ look while modeling port-to-rail operations…
A Michigan short line railroad gets crafty and finds a way to bring malt barley closer to a local brewery…
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BONUS WEB COVERAGE: Adding a little clutter to right of ways adds realism without overdoing it on the Cowcatcher’s project layout, the Northwest Tarrant & Pacific Railroad…
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