HOUSTON – METRORail received its first new rail car in nearly nine years when No. 201, an S70 light-rail vehicle manufactured by Siemens Industry, Inc., arrived in October at the agency’s Rail Operations Center. The car, which is currently being tested, will roll into service as the first of new generation of Houston light-rail cars dubbed H2s. METRO Board Chairman Gilbert Garcia and President and CEO George Greanias joined staff on Oct. 15 to unveil the 85-foot addition to its light-rail family. “The new light-rail-vehicle (LRV) is not just a rail car. It represents a savings of nearly a year’s time in getting optimal service to rail passengers,” Garcia said. “These units will help us offer more timely and comfortable trips.” Greanias said that the car is a welcome addition to a fleet that has supported more than 90 million boardings. Managing this fleet can be quite a challenge, however,…
Category: Light Rail / Commuter
WASHINGTON – Amtrak transported more than 31.2 million passengers in fiscal year 2012 ending Sept. 30, marking the highest annual ridership total since the railroad started operations in 1971 and the ninth ridership record in the last 10 years. A year-over-year comparison of 2012 to 2011 shows ridership grew 3.5 percent to a record 31,240,565 passengers and ticket revenue jumped 6.8 percent to a best-ever $2.02 billion. In addition, Amtrak system-wide on-time performance increased to 83 percent, up from 78.1 percent and its highest level in 12 years. Amtrak set 12 consecutive monthly ridership records; July was the single best month in the history of the railroad. The Northeast Corridor had its best year with more than 11.4 million passengers. All 15 Amtrak long-distance routes experienced an increase in passengers resulting in the best combined ridership numbers in 19 years. The Chicago-to-San Antonio Texas Eagle was up 12.8 percent to…
From Staff Reports and News Releases Light rail and transit agencies in Texas and the U.S. rejoiced in July after the signing of a bi-partisan transportation law that is designed to provide stability, as well as develop, implement and maintain public transportation services for the future. Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) authorizes $105 billion for spending on transportation projects nationwide over the next two years. The bill, signed by President Barack Obama on July 6, 2012, is the first in 27 months that provides long-term transportation funding. In late June, Congress passed the bi-partisan bill with a 373-52 vote in the House and 74-19 margin in the Senate. MAP-21 includes a limited increase for federal transit programs, providing a total of $10.6 billion in authorized funding in FY 2013 and $10.7 billion in FY 2014. Public transportation officials were worried in June at the American Public…
By Tim Blackwell/Cowcatcher Magazine IRVING, TX — Dallas Area Rapid Transit debuted today the first phase of the 14.3-mile Orange Line expansion that will take light rail to D/FW International Airport during a dedication ceremony before local, state and federal officials at the Irving Convention Center. A special train loaded with dignitaries cut through a yellow ribbon at the Convention Center Station to mark completion of the 4.5-mile section of the $1.3 billion project. The section with three stations opens for revenue service on July 30 and will connect the University of Dallas and the Las Colinas Urban Center along the way. A public event is planned for Saturday. Dignitaries that included U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Congressman Kenny Marchant said the expansion will further embed North Texas on convention and cultural destination maps and change the face of Irving, which has waited for light rail since it began contributing sales tax…
By Tim Blackwell / Cowcatcher Magazine DCTA began running the first of two four-car sets of its Stadler GTW diesel-electric cars on June 16, less than two weeks after being granted an alternative design waiver by the Federal Railroad Administration to start operating the cars that can run along traditional, heavier rail lines and will expand the agency’s reach. The cars, which likely will be fully integrated on DCTA’s A-train line by September, are the first lightweight, low-floor vehicles permitted to run in U.S. rail corridors with freight trains and commuter rail cars. They are splitting morning and evening service with DCTA’s Rail Diesel Cars (RDCs) that have been in service since the 21-mile line from Denton to Carrollton opened a year ago. Administrator Joseph Szabo presented DCTA President Jim Cline the waiver on the platform of Union Station on June 4 in front of two cars that were on…
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Just about every weekend, Ron Natinsky mans the Model Train Garden, unofficially the OBGT (Our Big Garden Train), on a small plot a stone’s throw behind the Butterfly House at the Texas Discovery Gardens in Dallas. It has been his labor of love for four years, since agreeing to donate his time and what was left of his G-scale collection to create a public garden railroad experience. Each year, about 25,000 people visit the railroad at Fair Park.
Expanding a small oil company
On the N-scale Whitehurst & Pine Ridge Railroad, the Ozark Oil Co. has provided small-batch petroleum products for Whitehurst, Pine Ridge and Van Buren since 1961. Until recently, two small tanks were enough for Ozark to manage its customer base. But the arrival of Walthers’ Cornerstone Oil Storage Tank Kit signaled additional capacity to meet growing demand.
‘Loose car’ deliveries
Incorporating “loose car” deliveries is applicable for railroads large and small in modeling railroads in any era. An example is a small family-owned lumber company in Houston. The lumber transfer and storage facility near downtown is on the former Southern Pacific Sunset Route mainline and receives regular deliveries of centerbeam cars. It is a perfect fit for anyone looking to model a modern small industry served by a big railroad, either on a permanent layout or a module.
The Rocky Mountain Train Show returned with gusto in early April after being sidelined in 2021 because of the pandemic. …
Canadian railroads make the grade on Amtrak’s annual host railroad report card, but some U.S. freight railroads fell short. …
The Monon’s Thoroughbred was the Hoosier Line’s racehorse and the “lifeline of Indiana” on the Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville Railway. …
THESE STORIES AND MORE, PLUS A FULL CALENDAR OF UPCOMING EVENTS AND THE BUSINESS PULSE OF THE RAILROAD INDUSTRY!
Whitehurst & Pine Ridge Railroad
Product News & Review
Athearn EMD SD70ACu Locomotive
The Cowcatcher reviews Athearn Trains’ newly released HO-scale SD70ACu diesel locomotive in the March/April 2022 issue. The Canadian Pacific model sent for review is highly detailed and rugged, with plenty of gusto to pull a lot of cars.
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