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Railfan Hot Rail NewsEdited by the Railfan & Railroad staff
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Claremont & Concord to become part of Genesee & Wyoming
August 10th, 2015

Genesee & Wyoming Industries adds a few more miles to its growing international short line empire with the announcement of the intention to purchase New Hampshire operation Claremont & Concord. A former Boston & Maine branch dating back to 1848 and known for its fleet of Alco switchers, the railroad will be acquired by GWI subsidiary New England Central, which connects at White River Junction, Vermont. Current operations are centered around White River Junction and West Lebanon. There has been no definite timetable announced regarding when the acquisition and integration would be completed.

—Railfan & Railroad

CP Chairman Resigns in Boardroom Gaffe
July 23rd, 2015

According to a report published in the Wall Street Journal, Chairman Gary Colter announced his resignation from Canadian Pacific’s board of directors on July 21 following “disagreements relating to corporate goverance matters” according to president Keith Creel. Company director Andrew F. Reardon has succeeded Colter as chairman.

According to to railroad officials, Colter “caused the company to issue a press release” announcing the departure of director Stepehen Tobias on June 29 though he had not notified the chairman of his plans until July 3. The release made the announcement even though the board took no official action on Tobias’ offer to resign.

The announced resignation date is important because it determines whether CP is considered an American or Canadian company in the eyes of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). According to a release, CP is no longer eligible for the SEC’s Foreign Private Issuer Exemption and will become a U.S. Issuer in 2016.

Colter had chaired the board for about a year following the 2012 boardroom coup spearheaded by activist investor William Ackerman, whose hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management is the railroad’s largest shareholder.

—Railfan & Railroad

D&H South End Sale Approved by STB
May 18th, 2015

On May 15, the Surface Transportation Board approved Norfolk Southern's petition to acquire 267 miles of the old Delaware & Hudson Freight Main Line between Sunbury, Pa., and Schenectady, N.Y., including the Voorheesville running Track from owner Canadian Pacfic. Trackage rights from Schenectady to Mechanicille would allow NS to reach the new intermodal yard located there, and the connection with Pan Am Southern and the Patriot Corridor route to Boston. According to the STB notice, the transaction will benefit shippers and increase operating efficiency since NS is now the principal user of this route.

One item of interest was the potential for NS to acquire the trackage rights formerly assigned to D&H down the Hudson Line to access the Long Island interchange at Fresh Pond, N.Y. The STB responded in its explanation that those trackage rights were granted as a result of the 1999 Conrail break-up, and are not related to this most recent acquisition by NS.

Also of note was short line Saratoga & North Creek's petition to have the contractual barrier struck down to allow interchange with Norfolk Southern as well as D&H (CP) at Saratoga Yard. Because the request was related to potential future traffic and not current carloads, SNC's request was denied. The STB decision also stressed that while the overall footprint of D&H will be reduced by this line sale, "Delaware & Hudson will continue to exist as a common carrier, separate from Norfolk Southern," and remain a subsidiary of Canaidan Pacific.

The D&H is one of America's oldest transportation companies, dating back to the 1823 creation of the Delaware & Hudson Canal Co. The decision will be made effective on June 14, 2015.

—Railfan & Railroad

Allentown & Auburn May 2 photo freight postponed
April 20th, 2015

The Auburn & Allentown photo freight originally scheduled for May 2 has been postponed.

—Railfan & Railroad

N&W 611 joins the 21st Century Steam Program
April 16th, 2015

One of the most anticipated events in steam restoration became a reality when Norfolk Southern Corp. announced that Norfolk & Western no. 611 would return for a series of steam excursions starting May 30. "Sixty-five years after the Class J 611 was built at N&W’s shops in Roanoke and placed into service for the first time May 29, 1950, the locomotive is scheduled to return under steam May 30, fulfilling the dreams of its Virginia Museum of Transportation owners and rail enthusiasts worldwide," according to a release.

The Virginia Museum of Transportation is joining the 21st Century Steam Program this year, along with Forth Worth Railway Historical Society (operators of the Nickel Plate 765) and the Tennesee Valley Railroad Museum (operators of Southern 4501). The 611 will debut on a private excursion on May 30, and then operate three public trips during the weekend of June 6, June 13, and July 4.

After a study launched in 2013 by VMT determined N&W 611 was an excellent candidate for restoration, more than $3 million in donations were raised to fund the project. Rebuilding work took place at the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, N.C. Additional funds will be raised to establish a repair and storage facility on the VMT campus in Roanoke.

For the complete schedule of steam excursions, please visit nscorp.com.

—Railfan & Railroad via Norfolk Southern Corp.

House passes $8B Amtrak funding bill
March 4th, 2015

The House passed legislation Wednesday to authorize nearly $8 billion in funding for Amtrak. Record ridership in recent years was one of the reasons touted for increased funding, which passed a House vote 316-101, according to a report posted today to TheHill.com.

—Railfan & Railroad

Jim Squires to replace Wick Moorman as NS CEO this June
March 2nd, 2015

Norfolk Southern announced today their board's decision to name James A. Squires as chief executive officer, succeeding Charles W. "Wick" Moorman effective June 1, 2015, as part of the company's planned succession process. Squires and Moorman will be working together to effect a smooth transition of leadership. Squires joined the railroad's law department in 1992 serving in several positions before he was named vice president law in 2003 and later senior vice president law in 2004. In 2006 he was named senior vice president financial planning, executive vice president finance in 2007, and executive vice president administration in 2012. Squires was named president in 2013, an office he will continue to hold while working through the transition process.

—Railfan & Railroad via Norfolk Southern

Striking CP Rail employees could be ordered back to work
February 16th, 2015

The Canadian government is drafting legislation ordering more than 3,000 striking Canadian Pacific employees back to work according to CBC reports. The strike began as talks between CP and the Teamsters Canadian Rail Conference broke down leading up to Friday's negotiation deadline.  Agence Métropolitaine de Transport (AMT) commuter rail service in Montreal was cancelled monday due to a lack of operating crews, leaving thousands scrambling for alternatives. Last week, CP announced a plan to use "qualified management employees" to operate a reduced level of freight service across the network in the event of a strike, though there has been no word on how much of this plan has been implemented at this time.

—Railfan & Railroad

New England takes the brunt of Winer Storm Juno, rail service resumes elsewhere
January 27th, 2015

As Winter Storm Juno bears down on the New England region, all Boston MBTA light rail, rapid transit, and commuter rail service remains suspended for Tuesday, January 27. A statewide travel ban remains in effect.

Connecticut's Shore Line East commuter rail remains suspended indefinitely while the statewide travel ban remains in effect.

Metro-North will resume service Tuesday, January 27, operating a Sunday schedule on the Hudson and Harlem Lines beginning at approximately 11:00 a.m.; and on the New Haven Line starting at 1:00 p.m. Metro-North will operate a regular schedule on Wednesday, January 28.

The Long Island Rail Road is expected to begin operating trains on its electrified branches on a Sunday schedule around noontime on Tuesday, January 27.  While snow removal efforts continue, train service will remain suspended on the following branches: Montauk Branch east of Babylon; Oyster Bay Branch; Port Jefferson Branch east of Huntington; Greenport to Ronkonkoma.

New York City Subway service has resumed as the travel ban is lifted throughout the region.

NJ Transit rail service is resuming in part across the region on Tuesday, January 27. Atlantic City Line service is operating on a weekend schedule. Northeast Corridor service will begin operating at approximately10 a.m. on a weekend schedule beginning with train FROM Trenton at 10:19 a.m. and train FROM New York at 10:15 a.m. Raritan Valley Line trains are operating on a weekend schedule. Service will begin operating with the 10:14 a.m. train TO Newark. Newark Light Rail and River Line have returned to service. The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail has returned to service and operating on a weekend schedule.

In Philadelphia, SEPTA commuter rail is operating on a Saturday schedule for Tuesday, January 27, with the exception of the Cynwyd Line which remains suspended. On the Market-Frankford and Brad Street rapid transit lines, all trains are making all stops. Surface and subway trolley lines as well as the Norristown High Speed Line are operating unaffected.

In Baltimore and Washington, D.C., MARC commuter rail is operating at near full service levels. Light rail lines are also running on or close to schedule.

Due to the severe winter storm in the Northeast region, the Amtrak operating plan for Tuesday, January 27 includes suspended service north of New York and trains operating south of New York on a reduced schedule with impacts to Virginia service.

Northeast Regional and Acela Express services are operating on a reduced schedule between New York and Washington as is the Keystone Service (New York-Harrisburg, Pa.). Most Virginia trains are in service, but will not operate north of New York. Passengers are encouraged to confirm train status before traveling to the station.

Northeast Regional and Acela Express service remains suspended between New York and Boston. Also suspended today is Empire Service (New York-Albany-Rensselaer, N.Y.), Downeaster (Brunswick, Maine – Boston), Vermonter (Washingto-St. Albans, Vt.) and the Springfield Line (New Haven, Conn.-Springfield, Mass.). The Lake Shore Limited (Chicago-New York/Boston) will not operate between New York and Albany-Rensselaer, N.Y., and Boston and Albany-Rensselaer, N.Y.

In addition, Virginia service Train 84 (Richmond, Va.-New York) and Train 93 (Boston-Richmond, Va.) are suspended today. Train 174 (Norfolk, Va.-Boston) and Train 125 (Boston-Norfolk, Va.) will operate only to/from Philadelphia and Train 95 (Boston-Newport News, Va.) will originate in Washington. All other Virginia service will originate or terminate in New York.

Amtrak is monitoring the weather situation and has pre-positioned extra crews, maintenance equipment and materials in designated locations along the Northeast Corridor so that service can be restored as soon as possible once the storm passes. Amtrak anticipates issuing an updated service alert later today with information regarding the operating plan for Wednesday, January 28.

—Railfan & Railroad Magazine via various sources

CSX braces for Winter Storm Juno
January 26th, 2015

CSX is preparing for a severe winter storm that is expected to hit the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions Monday night, packing heavy snowfall and blizzard-like conditions in some areas.  Winter contingency plans are in effect, with maintenance and snow removal  equipment positioned for rapid response, switch heaters prepared, and other actions to maintain operations as long as it is safe to do so. CSX is monitoring the storm’s movement and will provide further updates as more information is available.

—CSX Transportation


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