Archive for the ‘Other News’ Category

STB Asked to OK Sale of Rail Line to NS

June 3, 2023

Norfolk Southern has filed with the U.S. Surface Transportation Board an application for regulatory approval of its proposed purchase of the Cincinnati Southern Railway from the City of Cincinnati.

The line runs between Cincinnati and Chattanooga, Tennessee, and is presently leased by NS from the city. NS and the city have agreed on a purchase price of $1.62 billion for the 338-mile line.

The sale has been approved by the City of Cincinnati and the governing board of the CSR, but still needs approval from the voters of Cincinnati. The earliest the latter could occur is this November.

The CSR route hosts about 30 NS trains a day and is a key artery for the Class 1 railroad between the Midwest and Southeast.

The lease of the CSR that NS holds will expire on Dec. 31, 2026, but has a 25-year renewal option. NS is paying the city about $25 million annually to lease the line.

The railroad and city began discussing a sale of the after their failure to agree to terms for an extension of the lease.

Cincinnati officials have said they will place the proceeds of the sale into an infrastructure fund to be known as the “Building Our Future Trust Fund.”

Officials expect that the fund will generate annual interest payment of $88 million a year. Of that amount, $56 million would go to the City, with the remainder reinvested.

The CSR board is expected to decide next month whether to put on the November ballot the question of voter approval of sale of the line to NS.

NTSB Eyes Defective Defect Detector in May 10 NS Derailment in New Castle, Pennsylvania

June 2, 2023

Federal investigators are eyeing a defect detector failure that may led to a May 10 derailment on North Southern’s Youngstown Line in New Castle, Pennsylvania.

A preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board has determined that a detector found a critical alert several miles before the train reached New Castle, but that alert was not received by the crew aboard the train or the NS network operations center in Atlanta.

Instead, the train continued to travel for between 15 to 34 miles before derailing.

Had the alarm been received the crew would have been required to stop their train immediately.

The NTSB said the defect occurred on the 164th car of train 14M, which was en route from Conway Yard near Pittsburgh to Buffalo, New York.

The report said signal maintainers working on the track two days before the derailment removed and reinstalled components of the defect detector but did so incorrectly.

That led the detector to transmit inaccurate data to the Atlanta Center regarding the defect.

The component parts in question has since been reinstalled and tested to determine they are working properly.

Nine cars of the 14M derailed in the late night incident, cars 165 through 172. The train was traveling 28 miles per hour at the time of the derailment.

Investigators recovered a burned-off bearing from the wreckage.

No one was injured in the derailment and just one car in the train was carrying a hazardous substance.

Trolleys May be Scrapped

May 31, 2023

A large collection of dormant trolley cars in Pennsylvania might wind up being scrapped.

The cars are part of the collection of Vintage Electric Streetcar of Windber, Pennsylvania.

The cars, which are scattered around a 20-acre site, have already been sold to a salvage company, which is holding off on cutting them up in hopes that some might be sold and thus saved.

The collection has been described as the largest private collection of trolley cars and has been dubbed by some as “the trolley graveyard.”

Among the cars at the site are PCC cars that once ran in Philadelphia, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Boston, and Kansas City, Missouri.

The cars have been described as ranging from nearly roadworthy to unsalvageable.

Interested parties who wish to obtain one or more of the cars and/or their parts should contact Bill Pollman at (617) 828-7308.

N&W 611 Ends Activities at Strasburg

May 31, 2023

Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 No. 611 will be headed home to Virginia soon after ending its activities at the Strasburg Rail Road.

The Class J locomotive pulled excursions over the Memorial Day weekend to conclude a two-year stay in Pennsylvania.

During its time on the Strasburg, shop forces there performed maintenance and inspection chores for the steamer, which was built by N&W in Roanoke, Virginia.

Although no details have been released about the 611’s return to the Virginia Transportation Museum, it presumably will travel over the NS Lurgan District and H Line.

Officials have said discussions are underway about operating the 611 in Virginia.

NORM Begins 2023 Season

May 31, 2023

The Northern Ohio Railway Museum has launched its 2023 season.

The museum, located near Seville, will operate trolley cars on the second and fourth Saturday of the month through Sept. 23.

Among the cars in the collection that will operate this summer is a former Shaker Heights Rapid center-door car built by G.C. Kuhlman Car Company in 1914.

Car 12 is one of 201 such cars built for the Cleveland Railway Company, a predecessor of today’s Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority.

The car will run every hour on the hour between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., weather permitting.

All day trolley tickets are $5 for adults and teens, $2 for children 6-12 and free for children 5 and under.

Tours of the NORM collection will be offered every hour on the half hour and take about thirty minutes. Admission is free but donations are accepted.

More information is available at or the museum’s Facebook page.

Class 1 Employment Rose in April

May 31, 2023

U.S. Class 1 railroads employed 121,391 workers in April, a 0.6 percent increase from March’s level and a 5.09 percent increase compared with April 2022.

Data released by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board found that five of six employment categories registered increases between March and April.

This included transportation (train and engine), up 0.99 percent to 51,556 employees; maintenance of equipment and stores, up 0.7 percent to 18,030; maintenance of way and structures, up 0.35 percent to 28,715; transportation (other than train and engine), up 0.25 percent to 4,891; and executives, officials and staff assistants, up 0.15 percent to 8,159.

Seeing declines was professional and administrative, which fell 0.31 percent to 10,040.

On a year-over-year comparison, all categories posted gains.

Transportation (train and engine) rose 7.39 percent; executives, officials and staff assistants, 7.31 percent; transportation (other than train and engine), 4.22 percent; professional and administrative, 4.67 percent; maintenance of equipment and stores, 3.58 percent; and maintenance of way and structures, 1.8 percent.

Richards Reappointed CEO of SEPTA

May 31, 2023

Leslie Richards has been reappointed as general manager and CEO of Philadelphia-based Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.

She has been given a new four-year contract that will extend her appointment through January 2027.

Richards began as SEPTA’s general manager and CEO in January 2020. Previously she had served as the head of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

SEPTA noted in a news release that Richards once served as a member of the SEPTA governing board.

NTSB Sets Hearings in East Palestine

May 29, 2023

A two-day hearing has been set for June 22-23 in East Palestine to take testimony as part of the investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board of a Feb. 3 Norfolk Southern derailment in the town located near the Ohio-Pennsylvania border.

The hearings, to be held at East Palestine High School, will begin at 9 a.m.

In a news release, NTSB officials said the hearings will focus on hazard communications and emergency responder preparedness for the initial emergency response; the circumstances that led to the decision to vent and burn five rail tank cars carrying vinyl chloride; freight car bearing failure modes and wayside detection systems; and tank car derailment damage, crashworthiness, and hazardous materials package information.

The hearings are open to the public but only NTSB board members, investigators, scheduled witnesses and parties to the hearing will be allowed to participate.

Steamtown to Host Rail Festival on June 17

May 29, 2023

A rail festival has been set for June 17 at Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Admission to the museum that day will be free and there will be no charge to ride short excursions being operated that day.

The event hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A complimentary shuttle service will operate between Steamtown and Scranton Iron Furnaces.

In conjunction with the rail festival the Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum will hold its Arts on Fire event

Activities planned for the rail festival include short train rides, the Scranton Limited yard shuttle and the Caboose Hop experience, cab tours of Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4012 and Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 No. 2317, tours of Mattes Street Tower, and demonstrations in the locomotive shop, and “Ring of Fire” demonstrations.

N&W 611 Excursions to run Memorial Day Weekend

May 23, 2023

Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 No. 611 recently pulled a series of excursions on the Strasburg Rail Road in Pennsylvania.

These included 45-minutes trips and an in-cab experience in which participants could ride in the cab of the J-class locomotive and either help fire or operate it as a member of the crew.

Additional in-cab experiences and excursions are planned for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Those will be the final evens involving the 611 at the Strasburg Rail Road before it departs for its home base in Virginia.

The 611 has been in Pennsylvania since 2021. A posting on Facebook said additional announcements about upcoming events involving the locomotive are pending. The 611 is owned by the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke.