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Railfan Hot Rail NewsEdited by the Railfan & Railroad staff
We solicit your contributions to this column. If you have original news items
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DC Streetcar official opening delayed, no date set
January 17th, 2015

While the outgoing mayor of Washington, D.C., proclaimed the opening day for the new DC Streetcar would be January 19, the acting director of the District DOT says otherwise according to a report in the Washington Times. According to director Leif Dormsjo, no opening date has been set, and Federal safety certifications have not yet been completed. The 2.4-mile DC Streetcar is the first new trolley route in the nation's capital since the old D.C. Transit ran its last car in 1962.

—Railfan & Railroad

EMD's bump GE's from East Penn
January 5th, 2015

For more than a decade, General Electric diesel locomotives were the norm on East Penn's former Reading & Columbia branch. That ended with the recent delivery of GMTX GP38-3 number 2801 in fresh blue and yellow paint. The former C&O GP38 was rebuilt and repainted at Metro East Industries in East St. Louis, Ill. General Electric U23B number 2204 (Ex-Conrail) and B30-7 number 7874 (Ex-Southern Pacific) remained on the property on Jan. 1, 2015. East Penn runs the remnants of this former Reading Line between Sinking Springs and Stevens, Pa.

—Photo by Michael Burkhart

DC Streetcar opens January 19
January 3rd, 2015

The last streetcar operated in Washington in 1962, replaced by buses and supported by the new Metro subway rapid transit. According to a report in Washingtonian Magazine, the 2.5 mile streetcar route along H Street and Benning Road will open to the public on January 19. Groundbreaking took place in 2009, and construction began soon after. The proposed route was approved after a bill was passed overturning federal laws passed in 1888 and 1889 preventing the installation of overhead wires. Washington, D.C.'s streetcar system collected current from a conduit between the rails, similar to systems in New York City. Streetcar testing began in 2014, and continued through the year.

—Railfan & Railroad

Central of Georgia No. 509 could move to Savannah
January 3rd, 2015

Central of Georgia 2-8-0 No. 509 has been a fixture of Central City Park in Macon, Ga., since 1956. A plaque dedicates the display to Benny Scott, the first black fireman to work for the railroad, and a member of the crew of 509's final run. Time has taken its toll on the outdoor display, and Macon-Bibb County officials are interested in seeing the locomotive restored and preserved for future generations to enjoy. In 2011, an 30-year lease agreement was signed with the Hartwell Railroad Co. In exchange for a nominal fee, the company offered to rebuild the engine for possible local excursion service. Aside from some asbestos abatement, no visible restoration work has taken place in three years. The agreement was cancelled, and around the same time the Georgia State Railroad Museum in Savannah was approached about the future of No. 509.
A private donor in Savannah has pledged $70,000 towards the locomotive's restoration as added encouragement for county officials to reach an agreement with the museum. According to a report in the Macon Telegraph, museum director Terry Koller estimates it would take about $250,000 to complete a cosmetic restoration of the historic steam engine, and up to $2 million for a full operational rebuild.
Once the new agreement is reached with GSRM, No. 509 could be moved to Savannah by March.

—Railfan & Railroad

Steam locomotive moved to Colfax Railroad Museum
January 1st, 2015

The Colfax Railroad Museum has taken delivery of Coronet Phosphate No. 5, a 1911 Porter 2-6-2T that was in the private collection of Don Lind of Annandale, Minn. The steam locomotive was delivered to Colfax, Wis., on Tuesday, January 30, after the museum raised $20,000 for truck transportation. According to a WQOW-TV report, volunteers are planning a cosmetic restoration over the next few years to complement their collection of historic rolling stock already on site. The elderly "Prairie" type  steamlocomotive worked in Florida before it was retired and became part of the private collection.

—Railfan & Railroad

Amtrak's Texas Eagle moves to TRE rails
December 31st, 2014

Amtrak's Texas Eagle will be taking a new route between Dallas and Fort Worth beginning in February. According to a report from WFAA-TV, the train will use the tracks operated by Trinity Rail Express, bypassing the congested Union Pacific route. Transportation officials are also looking to increase track capacity that would help expand TRE commuter service in the region.

—Railfan & Railroad

Vermonter route change begins December 29
December 27th, 2014

Effective December 29, 2014, the Vermonter will operate on a more direct route between Springfield, Mass., and Brattleboro, Vt., following recent track improvements. Amtrak's Vermonter will add service at Northampton and Greenfield. A third stop, at Holyoke, Mass., will be added in the spring of 2015, after station and platform work is completed.

Effective December 29, 2014, the Vermonter schedules will change. As a result of the route changes and additional stops, Amtrak service will be discontinued at Amherst, and the last day of service will be December 28, 2014. Passengers may instead make reservations to travel to and from the Northampton station, located approximately six miles southwest of Amherst.

Adirondack Scenic Railroad receives grant to build maintenance facility
December 19th, 2014

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the Adirondack Railway Preservation Society (ARPS), the nonprofit operator of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad will receive $791,000 in state funding.

Since the Adirondack Scenic Railroad lost its lease agreement at the repair facility in Rome on the Griffiths Business and Development Park, it has been maintaining their fleet of 21 passenger cars and 8 locomotives outside in the rail yard at Utica, as well as in a small one-stall shop in Thendara, just south of Old Forge. The facility will allow the Railroad to better maintain their equipment to supporting a growing tourism attraction, as well as begin a contract work program, repairing rail equipment for other operators.

The repair facility will measure 220 feet long by 75 feet wide, with two tracks in the building, an inspection pit and room to repair a variety of equipment. The railroad is currently looking at land to purchase for the project in the vicinity of Union Station, north of the railroad tracks.

—Railfan & Railroad via ARPS

Indiana Rail Road founder and CEO Thomas Hobak to retire, Peter Mills announced as successor
December 2nd, 2014

Indiana Rail Road (INRD) Company Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas G. Hoback has announced on December 1 that he will retire effective June 30, 2015, from the helm of the regional railroad he has rebuilt from a broken-down branch line, once given up for dead, into an industry leader. He will continue to serve as a director on the Indianapolis-based railroad’s board while pursuing other business and philanthropic interests.

Hoback also announced that the INRD Board of Directors has appointed Peter Mills to assume the position formerly held by Hoback effective July 1. Mills, who is vice president of finance operations for CSX Transportation, has served on the INRD board for 10 years. He will resign from CSX on June 30 after a 26-year career and relocate to Indianapolis.

See the full release here

— Indiana Rail Road

Buffalo-area Amtrak service restoration continues
November 21st, 2014

Modified Empire Service schedules and Lake Shore Limited trains operate this Friday, normal Saturday service planned.

Amtrak service through Buffalo, N.Y., is continuing to be restored, with modified Empire Service schedules west of Albany-Rensselaer, N.Y., to and from Syracuse/Buffalo/Niagara Falls on Friday, Nov. 21. Full Empire Service schedules are expected on Saturday, Nov. 22.

In addition to New York-City-Toronto, Ont., Canada, Maple Leaf service restored on Thursday, Nov. 20, full New York/Boston-Chicago Lake Shore Limited service via Buffalo and Cleveland resumes this Friday, Nov. 21.

All trains in the affected area will operate subject to delay following the very heavy snowfall and resulting rail traffic congestion due to temporary railroad closures. Amtrak service north and south of Albany-Rensselaer has continued to operate during this period. Amtrak thanks CSX railroad for its work to restore service for the start of the very busy Thanksgiving holiday travel season.


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