The demand for public transportation rose last year as Americans took 10.5 billion trips, the second highest ridership since 1957, and 154 million more trips than the previous year, according to a report released today by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Light rail, heavy rail and commuter rail ridership each increased as U.S. public transportation recorded more than 10 billion trips for the seventh straight year. Ridership in 2012 was the second highest since 1957. “Every mode of public transportation showed an increase in ridership,” APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy said. “Public transit ridership grew in all areas of the country – north, south, east, and west – in small, medium and large communities, with at least 16 public transit systems reporting record ridership.” “Considering the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy on some of the nation’s largest systems, this record level of ridership is truly significant,” said Melaniphy….
Category: Top News
By Tim Blackwell/Cowcatcher Magazine Freight trains will soon run on the Texas State Railroad. Iowa Pacific Holdings, operator of several freight and tourist railroads, inked a deal in early August with American Heritage Railways to assume ownership of the Texas State Railroad. Terms were not disclosed. According to Iowa Pacific President Ed Ellis, the Chicago-based short line will supplement tourist runs with freight service between Palestine and Rusk, TX. “We are very excited about this opportunity to build on the substantial achievements that American Heritage has made, in cooperation with the Texas State Railroad Authority, in improving the Texas State Railroad’s infrastructure and in developing the tourist ridership,” he said in a prepared statement. “We are already taking steps to continue this progress by further developing passenger services, reconnecting the railroad with the national rail network at Palestine, and implementing freight service.” TSRA President Steve Presley said Iowa Pacific’s freight ability…
Ownership and operations of the Texas State Railroad could change hands within 90 days if a deal is reached between American Heritage Railways and Iowa Pacific Holdings. Texas State Railroad Authority agreed Thursday to pursue the proposed acquisition of the railroad from current operator AHR to IPH. TSRA President Steve Presley said that the companies have discussed terms for the Chicago-based short line freight and tourist railroad group to take over the cash-strapped TSR. “I would say we’re within 60-90 days of having a closing,” Presley said. IPH, according to published reports, wants to bring commercial freight operations to the line while maintaining tourist operations. The company is talking to Union Pacific about accessing a 3-mile stretch of line from the Palestine Depot to an interchange point. President Ed Ellis told a local radio station that IPH is interested in creating a transload facility for rail/truck transfer to move oil and timber industry products….
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation formally signed an agreement to receive $6.75 million from the Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) III program to rehabilitate 49 miles of state-owned rail line between Elk City and Sayre, OK, in the Anadarko Basin, according to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. The Federal Railroad Administration announced in December that ODOT was awarded the funding. Farmrail, a short line that serves the region, will benefit from track improvements that are expected to reduce transportation costs in bringing crude oil and gas to market quicker. The railroad has made recent investments in equipment to keep up with more outbound crude and inbound frack sand trains coming from the Basin. The track rehabilitation will allow for speeds up to 25 miles per hour with fewer restrictions on the number of cars per train.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today awarded more than $186 million to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) for a high-speed rail project. The project will extend construction of the corridor north to Joliet, allowing for 110-mph service along nearly 70 percent of the route. Construction is already under way on the Chicago – St. Louis corridor, and work on the extension to Joliet will begin this spring. Once construction is complete, travelers can expect reductions of more than an hour in trip time, with improved on-time performance as well. Ridership has grown 137 percent over the last five years. The state has plans to add more frequent trips, and further reduce trip times on this popular route in the future. The corridor will also benefit from next-generation American-made trains, funded as part of a previously announced $782 million grant that will pump new life into domestic manufacturing. States will…
PURCHASE THE CURRENT ISSUE TODAY!
JUST $4.95 (includes shipping)!
The fourth generation of leadership took charge at Wm. K. Walthers Inc., in September when Phil Walthers handed off to daughter Stacey Walthers Naffah. Managing the company into model railroading’s future prompted Naffah to take the helm. Like her grandfather, Naffah is operating a hobby business at a time when technology competes for the world’s leisure time. She believes the answer may be to get the next generation of model railroaders involved by meeting them on their own turf.
One Final Ride
Thousands waving American flags and snapping photos on their cellphones lined rights-of-way from Spring to College Station, TX, on a cold gray day to bid farewell to the nation’s 41st president as he took one last ride on the rails. A 13-car Union Pacific train that had been 10 years in planning and headed by his namesake locomotive carried the body of George H.W. Bush to his final resting place, next to his wife of 73 years, Barbara, on Dec. 6 at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
State of the Hobby: Readers rate the state of model railroading good based on value, selection and quality…
Steam returns to the Alamo City with the restoration of the Texas Transportation Museum’s 1925 Baldwin 0-4-0…
Project layout: Scenery and technology bring to life the Northwest Tarrant & Pacific HO-scale shelf layout.
BONUS WEB COVERAGE: Learn more behind the making of Main Street in Downtown Norwood on the Cowcatcher’s project layout, the Northwest Tarrant & Pacific Railroad…
THESE STORIES AND MORE, PLUS A FULL CALENDAR OF UPCOMING EVENTS!
Cowcatcher Tracks NewsletterSign up for our new monthly newsletter! If you subscribe to the print edition, you will receive Cowcatcher Tracks automatically. If you're not a print edition subscriber, sign up by clicking the logo above or clicking here!
Locomotives and rolling stock once again dominated new offerings announced by manufacturers at the NMRA National Train Show. Among them were ScaleTrains.com’s new SD40-T2 Tunnel Motor locomotives that feature see-through radiator grilles.
Walthers Layout Control System Switch Machine
Don’t Miss an Issue
Article & Photo Submissions
We encourage readers to submit articles and photos. For details, visit our guide here .
Railroad in Focus