Archive for the ‘Railroad News’ Category

Corridor Capital Talks Hoosier State Upgrades

July 22, 2014

The company that will take over management of the Chicago-Indianapolis Hoosier State is talking about making major improvements in the route, including the addition of Wi-Fi and a faster schedule.  However, food service is not necessarily among the plans.

Fritz Plous, the director of communications for Corridor Capital, spoke of his company’s plans to improve the Hoosier State during a town hall discussion in Crawfordsville, Ind.

In the short term, Corridor Capital needs to boost ridership, which is now about 85 passengers a day aboard the quad-weekly train.

“We need to see it at double that,” said Plous said, adding that such amenities Wi-Fi and information screens could draw more passengers.

“That’s the first step towards legitimacy: Get people a nice, new train,” Plous said. But, “the funding has to be there.”

Another priority will be reducing the current running time of 5 hours and 10 minutes from Indianapolis to Chicago to about two hours less. Plous did not provide any details as to how that could be accomplished on the train’s circuitous route.

“We won the beauty contest,” Plous said. “We don’t know what mojo made INDOT choose us.”

The Indiana Department of Transportation chose Corridor Capital from among four bidders to improve manage the Hoosier State.

Tim Maloney of the Hoosier Environmental Council said that Indiana has $2 billion in reserves and can afford to fund the train.

“We have the money,” he said. “But it depends on what our priorities are.”

Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton urged community members to lobby elected officials to boost the train.

“At the end of the day, you have to have some quality of life that attracts residents to your community,” Barton said. “We all recognize that. Once a line is gone, it’s going to be difficult to get it back.”

 

NS Steam Specials Suspended Until 2015

July 18, 2014

Last weekend’s Detroit Arrow excursion between Detroit and Fort Wayne, Ind., will be the last steam trip for 2014 on Norfolk Southern.

NS acknowledged this week that a lack of road crews and an increase in freight traffic led it to suspend further steam trips for the rest of the year.

The railroad expects to resume operating steam trips in spring 2015.

Some of the steam locomotives that have pulled steam trains on NS will continue to see action, though.

Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum’s Southern Railway 2-8-2 No. 4501 is expected to be back in action next month after a rebuilding. It or the Southern 2-8-0 No. 630 will lead Summerville (Ga.) Steam Specials Oct. 4, 11, 18, 19, 25, 26, and Nov. 1. Details and tickets are available at the museum’s Web site, www.tvrail.com.

Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society’s Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 will return to Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Sept. 6-7 and Sept. 13 and 14. Rebuilding work continues on Norfolk & Western Class J No. 611. The 4-8-4’s engine and tender were separated last weekend at the North Carolina Transportation Museum .

The engine was placed inside the roundhouse for the next phase of work, which includes ultrasonic testing of the boiler shell. The locomotive is expected to be ready for the main line in spring 2015.

Norfolk Southern Buys 3 Susie Q SD70Ms

July 18, 2014

The latest used locomotives to join the Norfolk Southern motive power fleet are three former New York, Susquehanna & Western SD70Ms.

Built in 1995, the locomotives wear the Susie Q’s yellow-and-black paint livery. The locomotives also have seen service as lease units to CSX and on short line Indiana & Ohio.

Road numbers for the SD70Ms on NS will be 2797-2799, right below the recently acquired SD75Ms.

NS will perform renumbering and minor repairs to the SD70s at its shops in Altoona, Pa. NS does not expect to repaint the three units before placing them in service.

NKP 765 to Return to CVSR in September

July 17, 2014

It’s coming back. Nickel Plate Road No. 765 will pull a series of excursions on the Cuyahoga Scenic Railroad in September.

The Berkshire will be operating two-hour roundtrips with photo runbys on Sept. 6-7 and Sept. 13-14.
The Sept. 6-7 trains will depart at 9:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. Tickets range from $26 to $53 depending on the level of seating.

The Sept. 13 train will depart from Akron Northside Station at 11:45 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. Tickets range from $26 to $53.

On Sept. 14, the 765 will pull a series of one-hour round trips departing from Boston Mill at 10:15 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. Tickets range from $18 to $38.

The CVSR has leased open window passenger cars NKP 62 and 90 from the Midwest Railway Preservation Society.

For more information go to http://www.cvsr.com.

PUCO Approves 11 Grade Crossing Projects

July 12, 2014

Eleven grade crossing projects in seven counties won approval this week by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

Norfolk Southern will install mast-mounted flashing lights and roadway gates at six crossings in Lockland, Rice Township, Sandusky and Sharonville.

CSX will install mast-mounted flashing lights and gates at two crossings in Jackson Township and Trenton; and the Wheeling & Lake Erie will install mast-mounted flashing lights and gates at two crossings in Brimfield Township.

All work must be completed by April 9, 2015, except upgrades to the CSX crossing at Morganthaler Road in Trenton, which must be finished by January 9, 2016. All of the projects are being funded with federal funds.

PUCO also approved a petition filed by NS to close the Stores Road/Township Road 159 crossing in Brown Township. The crossing will be closed within 30 days.

PUCO also will conduct two public hearings in Gallon on July 15 to review CSX’s petition to close the County Road 8 crossing in Washington Township.

 

NS Acquires 16 ex-BNSF Locomotives

July 12, 2014

Norfolk Southern has acquired 16 used locomotives, including nine SD60Ms and seven SD75Ms.

All of the locomotives were previously used by BNSF but had been returned to the lessor when the leases expired.

The SD75Ms are former Santa Fe locomotives and represent a new locomotive model for NS. These units were built in 1994 and featured higher horsepower (4,300) than the 4,000 hp SD70Ms in the EMD catalogue at the time.

The SD60Ms were purchased new by Burlington Northern in 1989 and feature the distinctive three-piece windshield that was standard on early SD60Ms.

NS plans to renumber the SD60Ms to Nos. 6807-6815 while the SD75Ms will receive Nos. 2800-2806.

Allen Rider, the NS manager of locomotive engineering said all 16 locomotives will be sent to Altoona for repairs and minor modifications. The units will not be repainted prior to entering service although the SD60Ms will eventually be placed in NS’s SD60E rebuild program. That rebuilding will give the distinctive looking locomotive cabs of the units a limited life in the NS motive power fleet.

Amtrak 448/449 Canceled on Select July Dates

July 11, 2014

The Boston section of the Lake Shore Limited will not operate on select dates in July as CSX crews undertake a track rehabilitation program on the train’s route east of Albany-Rensselaer. Affected passengers will be bused to and from their destinations.

Eastbound No. 448 will not operates between July 12 and 16, and July 19 and 23. Westbound No. 449 will not operate between July 13 and 16, and July 20 and 23.

Stations affected include Pittsfield, Springfield, Worcester, Framingham and Boston South Station.  Amtrak will not operate buses to Boston Back Bay station during the service disruption and has instead referred passengers to MBTA service to Back Bay.

Indiana Rail Road Boosting Top Train Speeds

July 11, 2014

The Indiana Rail Road announced on Tuesday that it will increase the top speed for trains using a 6-mile stretch of track in Indianapolis.

Trains will now be able to travel 30 mph over a segment that had been mostly 10 mph since the formation of the INRD in 1986. The affected trackage is between West Street and Stop 11 Road.

In news release, the INRD said the faster speeds resulted from “investing millions of dollars in private capital on the north end of [INRD's] Indianapolis Subdivision this summer, and the results will greatly benefit the general public: faster, quieter-moving trains and smooth at-grade road crossings.”

The railroad said a train passing a grade crossing at 10 mph takes about six minutes. The higher speeds will cut that to two minutes.

Once a track rehabilitation project is complete, the mainline between Indianapolis and Bargersville will have a top speed of 30 mph, thanks to the installation of continuously-welded rail.

INRD also said it has rebuilt 10 road crossings in Indianapolis at West Street, Bluff Road, Southport Road, and at Troy, Epler, Sumner, Hanna, and Edgewood avenues. County Line Road and Stop 11 Road will be rebuilt by the end of August.

In Johnson County, the railroad has or soon will complete rebuilding of crossings at Smith Valley Road, County Road 144 in Bargersville, Peterman Road, State Road 44, and County Roads 250N, 100N and 100S.

The railroad said it will have spent $990,000 to rebuild the tracks and grade crossings in and near Indianapolis.

The INRD mainline to Indianapolis was once an Illinois Central route between Indiana’s capital city and Effingham, Ill.

3 More Viewliner Cars Released from Factory

July 10, 2014

Three more Amtrak Viewliner II cars were released on Tuesday from the CAF assembly plant in Elmira Heights, N.Y.

They included diner 68000 Albany, sleeper 62500 Portage River, and baggage-dormitory 69000. All were moved to Amtrak’s Albany/Rensselaer, N.Y. facility.

The ferry move was headed by P42DC No. 79 with Amcafe No. 48154 along as a as a rider car. GP38-3H No. 520 brought up the rear.

These are the first Viewliner II cars to be released since baggage car No. 61000 left the plant on May 16. Now, one of each car configuration is available for testing.

Indiana Short Line Railroad to Get Heavier Rail

July 9, 2014

Federal funds will be used to install heavier rail on the Madison Railroad in far Southern Indiana. The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration is awarding a $1.6 million grant to the city of Madison for the project.

The railroad’s 70-pound rail is insufficient for heavier cars, which has caused pricing issues and inhibited the ability of the shippers to receive certain shipments. The grant will allow the rail to be upgraded to 115-pound rail and expand the product line of Meese Orbitron Dunne, a rail-dependent plastics manufacturing company served by the Madison Railroad.

Owned by the City of Madison Port Authority, the Madison Railroad is a 26-mile shortline that operates a route that was once part of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The railroad today connects with CSX at North Vernon, Ind.

The Madison & Indianapolis Railroad ran its first train on Nov. 29, 1838. It was the first steam train to operate in Indiana.


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