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…
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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…
THESE STORIES AND MORE, PLUS A FULL CALENDAR OF UPCOMING EVENTS!
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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