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Railfan Hot Rail NewsEdited by the Railfan & Railroad staff
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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

Philadelphia trains and transit operate on modified schedule for Winter Storm Juno
January 26th, 2015

The winter storm moving into the region tonight is expected to bring snowy conditions that could impact SEPTA services on all modes of travel throughout the transit system. If the forecasts prove true, service disruptions are possible Tuesday morning. SEPTA is urging customers to plan ahead, and if possible, delay their morning commutes.

SEPTA will have additional personnel on-hand as of 8:00 p.m. Monday at the SEPTA Headquarters Command Center, and also in the field to monitor conditions. Personnel at bus depots and rail yards will take measures to address vehicle equipment concerns that come with this kind of weather. Track inspectors and maintenance crews, as well as signal maintainers and power crews, will be staged at various locations throughout the system to be available to address issues quickly. By deploying extra staff, SEPTA will be in the best possible position to quickly identify problems and take corrective action to minimize the impact to our riders. Crews will also run pilot vehicles on all trolley routes and the Norristown High Speed Line overnight to keep the lines clear and ready for morning service.

Commuter rail trains will operate on a Saturday schedule. Wilmington/Newark Line service will be enhanced with service to Newark and Churchmans Crossing Stations. The Cynwyd Line will not operate. Passengers won't be able to connect to NJ Transit at the Trenton Transit Center as NJ Transit service is suspended until Thursday, January 28.

Market Frankford and Broad Street rapid transit trains will operate every 20 minutes, all night. This will keep additional buses off potentially hazardous roads, and help with efforts to continue service on these vital transit arteries. Also, trains that are not being used for this overnight service will be stored in subway tunnels -out of the elements, and prepped for Tuesday morning's commute.

For more details and information, visit septa.org.

—Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority

New Jersey Transit could resume light rail on Wednesday, commuter rail on Thursday
January 26th, 2015

As the expected storm begins in the area, here are a few things to keep in mind when traveling on NJ Transit. System-wide cross-honoring is in effect from January 26 though January 28 on rail, light rail, bus and private bus carriers. The last trip on all NJ Transit modes of service will be those leaving from major stations/terminals at 8:00 p.m. and scheduled to arrive to its final destination at 10:00 p.m. on January 26. Rail service will make all local stops on its last trip. Trains will continue to run up and down tracks after the service suspension to make sure tracks and overhead wires remain clear of ice and snow.

Light Rail service MAY resume on Wednesday, January 28, depending on the condition of the roads and equipment. Commuter Rail service MAY resume on Thursday, January 29, depending on the condition of the tracks, equipment and infrastructure. Crowds will be monitored closely at New York Penn Station and Hoboken Terminal so that service adjustments can be made as necessary.

NJ Transit has prepped for the storm by testing and conducting maintenance as necessary to rail cars and buses. Over 750 rail switches, switch heaters and overhead wires have been inspected. Crews are ready with snow plows and salts spreaders. Visit njtransit.com for the latest news and service updates.

—NJ Transit

Maryland prepares for Winter Storm Juno
January 26th, 2015

With a mix of rain, snow and sleet forecast for the Maryland Transit Administration service area over the next 24 hours, the MTA has in place a comprehensive plan to keep the trains, subways, buses and light rail vehicles moving through inclement weather.

After the light precipitation that hit the Baltimore region early Monday morning, the MTA reported no weather related issues in its Metro Subway, Light Rail, MARC Train transportation services as of noon Monday.

Salt crews survey and address Light Rail and Metro Subway walkways and stairs. “Snow trains” run on Light Rail and Metro Subway tracks during the night to assure rail viability (and third-rail operation as well) by the time passenger-bearing cars begin their morning run.

Tree trimming crews are placed on standby to address any issues that may arise – or fall – on our tree-lined rail rights-of-way. Responsibility for maintenance of way for the MARC Camden and Brunswick lines lies with CSX, which owns the tracks. Responsibility for the Penn Line is Amtrak’s.

We advise our passengers to please allow extra time to travel and to listen to MTA Transit Team Reports and visit our website at www.mta.maryland.gov.  Customers can also call the MTA Transit Information Contact Center Monday through Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at (410) 539-5000.

—Maryland Transit Administration

Modified Amtrak service in the Northeast for January 27
January 26th, 2015

Due to the severe winter storm that is impacting the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak has suspended Northeast Regional and Acela Express service between New York and Boston on Tuesday, January 27.

In addition, Empire Service (New York – Albany-Rensselaer, N.Y.), Amtrak Downeaster (Brunswick, Maine – Boston), Vermonter (Washington – St. Albans, Vt.) and the Springfield line (New Haven, Conn. – Springfield, Mass.), are all suspended, as well as Lake Shore Limited service between New York and Albany-Rensselaer, N.Y., and Boston and Albany-Rensselaer, N.Y., only.

Acela Express and Northeast Regional trains between New York and Washington, and Keystone Service (New York – Harrisburg, Pa.) will operate at reduced frequencies.

Passengers holding reservations that require modification are being accommodated on other trains and proactively notified by Amtrak Customer Service. A range of tools, including Amtrak.com, smartphone apps and 1-800-USA-RAIL, are available to assist in travel planning. This information is correct as of the above time and date. Information is subject to change as conditions warrant.


MTA services in New York and Connecticut suspended at 11:00 p.m.
January 26th, 2015

As Winter Storm Juno buffets the region, Metro-North Railroad's last trains on all lines will depart beginning at 9 PM before the railroad suspends service at 11:00 p.m. This will allow customers to safely reach their final destinations, either northbound or southbound before the worst of the storm reaches the area. Metro-North urges its customers not wait until the last train to get home. Customers needing to travel are encouraged to do so as soon as possible and not wait until the last minute. Customers should expect crowded conditions.

Long Island Rail Road service will be suspended system-wide starting at 11:00 p.m. LIRR station waiting rooms will remain open around-the-clock now through Friday afternoon, January 30, to provide shelter for customers waiting for trains during cold and inclement weather.  Platforms and stairways will continue to be cleared and salted.

Extra locomotive engineers and signal maintainers are being called in. LIRR is taking steps to ensure that switches – the interlocking tracks that allow rail traffic controllers to route trains from one track to another – are working throughout the storm. The railroad is activating switch heaters, lubricating the switches, and treating them with anti-freeze agents. Rail Traffic Controllers will activate the switches to keep them from freezing shut. In addition, track workers will be positioned in critical locations to be able to respond if any difficulties do crop up at switches.

The Hudson Rail Link, Haverstraw-Ossining Ferry, and Newburgh Beacon Ferry will also be suspended. Grand Central Terminal will close to the public at midnight until further notice.
See full details, including a list of the last trains to operate before system-wide suspension, at http://alert.mta.info/status/3 .

—Metropolitan Transporation Authority


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