Posts Tagged ‘Indiana’

INDOT Taking Applications for Grade Crossing Projects

May 9, 2018

Applications are being accepted by the Indiana Department of Transportation for the LocalTrax matching grant program for grade crossing separations, closures and other safety enhancements at railroad intersections with local roads.

The program has $125 million in state matching funds for eligible projects. The deadline for applications is Aug. 31 with awards expected to be awarded soon thereafter.

Local Trax requires local governments to provide 20 percent of funding for land acquisition and construction. The state will provide the remaining 80 percent.

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Motorists Vent About Blocked Crossings

April 19, 2018

What began as a lighthearted action to deal with delays at railroad grade crossings in Indianapolis has evolved into full-fledged venting.

A Facebook page titled “Damn Train” is being used by residents of the east side of the city to log instances in which they are stopped by a train.

Most of the complaints have focused on a CSX crossing on East New York Street east of Interstate 65 and 70 on the east side of downtown. The page has 393 likes.

Among the comments: “Caught by damn train. 3rd time this week!” “The middle of rush hour and the train is stopped across the tracks? Is this a joke??” “It’s so slow it’s going backward.”

The Indianapolis Star reported that a CSX spokesman said the company is aware of the issue of trains stopping on the New York Street crossing and was seeking to address it.

South Shore to Start PTC Testing

April 5, 2018

The South Shore commuter line in Indiana will begin live testing of its positive train control system next week.

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, which oversees the commuter service between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana, said PTC testing will be conducted throughout its entire network.

South Shore trains are using Interoperable Train Management System software and hardware designed by Wabtec of Wilmerding, Pennsylvania.

Last December, the South Shore told the Federal Railroad Administration that it had equipped just 19 of its 73 locomotives and cab cars with PTC equipment.

It also said at the time that it had not completed testing sufficient to qualify for an FRA extension beyond the federal Dec. 31, 2018, deadline for PTC installation.

INDOT Starts Railroad Safety Project Fund

April 4, 2018

The Indiana Department of Transportation is making available $125 million in grants for “high-priority” railroad safety projects.

The grants are being channel through a new program, Local Trax, which will provide state matching funds for Indiana cities, towns and counties interested in pursuing grade separations, crossing closures and other safety enhancements at railroad grade crossings.

Grant applications will be accepted by INDOT between May and August. A local government agency must agree to provide 20 percent of the funding for the project with the state providing the other 80 percent.

INDOT plans to conduct public hearings throughout the state this month to answer questions about the new program.

Funding for Local Trax was appropriated in the state’s long-term road funding legislation signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb last year.

South Shore to Hike Fares 5%

March 28, 2018

The South Shore Line wants to raise fares by 5 percent to help cover the cost of installation of positive train control.

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transit District, which oversees the South Shore rail commuter route between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana, said fares will rise on July 1.

The fares from downtown Chicago to Michigan City, Indiana, would increase from $9.75 to $10.25. The Chicago-South Bend fare would rise from $13.50 to $14.25.

The South Shore is paying for PTC installation through a $100 million bond, but South Shore President Michael Noland said the carrier believes that 11 additional employees will be needed to operate the system.

Five public hearings will be held in April regarding the fare increase.

Indiana Short Line Gets $10M TIGER Grant

March 9, 2018

A federal TIGER grant of $10 million has been awarded to a railroad bridge project in southwest Indiana.

The grant will be used to rebuild the approaches to a bridge over the Maunie River in Posey County that is used by the Evansville Western Railway.

The grant application said the timber supports for the approaches are in “dire need of replacement.”

The bridge is on the former Louisville & Nashville line that connected Evansville, Indiana, with St. Louis.

The bridge was built in 1926. The E&W serves farmers, refiners, coal miners, and river ports.

Indy Light Rail Ban Repeal Appears to be Dead

March 7, 2018

The effort in the Indiana General Assembly to repeal a law that prohibits development of a light rail system in Greater Indianapolis has a hit a chuckhole.

A suburban senator who opposes light rail in the region has introduced an amendment to the legislation that would repeal the 2014 light rail ban to water it down.

Mike Delph of Carmel wants to require Indianapolis officials to prove that public transit money isn’t needed to fill potholes.

Specifically, his amendment would prohibit spending money on a light rail project until officials have “substantially remedied the pothole problem” and developed and implemented an “acceptable written plan” to remedy potholes during future winter seasons.

Some news media reports have said the amendment has been the bill’s death knell.

The Senate sponsor of the light rail repeal bill declined to bring the legislation to the Senate floor on Monday, the deadline for the chamber to consider legislation.

The bill’s House sponsor said he might seek to revive the bill later in the session, but the prospects for that are uncertain.

The bill had passed the House 95-0. Backers have said repealing the light rail ban is necessarily to try to entice Amazon to locate its second headquarters in Indianapolis.

The city is on a list of 20 finalists for the second headquarters. Amazon has said that public transit will be a factor in its decision as to where to locate the headquarters.

South Shore Gets into Car Storage Business

February 27, 2018

The Chicago South Shore & South Bend is looking to capture a greater share of the car storage market and is using its connections in Chicago to get it.

The South Shore said it will store empty or loaded freight cars, a service it said is the result of investments in track capacity.

The Michigan City, Indiana, carrier cited its connections with six Class 1 railroads and several regional and switching lines.

“The need for railcar storage capacity located close to Chicago fluctuates based on ebbs and flows of storage space in the industry,” said CSS President Todd Bjornstad. “We are offering this because we believe South Shore’s easy access to multiple Chicago railroads gives third-party customers a chance to take advantage of our strategic location.”

Since January, CSS has offered interchange service daily except Saturday with short- or long-term rates – daily, weekly, monthly, or annually – based on how long cars might sit in storage.

Bjornstad said shippers and railroads require temporary car storage for a variety of reasons.

“In some cases, car-leasing companies have equipment coming off lease for which new lessees have not been secured. Or, some customer-owned fleets might require off-site storage during a plant’s scheduled maintenance outage.”

Ports of Indiana Cargo up 5% in 2017

February 15, 2018

The Ports of Indiana reported this week that in 2017 it handled 11.8 million tons in 2017, a 5 percent increase over 2016 and the second-highest annual shipment total in the organization’s 57-year history.

In a news release, the ports said it was the fourth consecutive year it has handled more than 10 million tons of cargo.

Among the major cargo category increases were minerals, up 28 percent; limestone, up 26 percent; steel, fertilizer and ethanol, each up 14 percent; and coal, up 9 percent.

Shipments of heavy lift and project cargoes, which includes such things as turbines, laboratory equipment and mega storage tanks, increased by 27 percent.

“The arrival of world-class companies like Metro Ports and POSCO Steel in 2017, combined with unprecedented shipping levels at Mount Vernon and the development of major expansions at Jeffersonville and Burns Harbor, have the Ports of Indiana well positioned to help drive long-term future growth of Indiana businesses and our state economy,” said CEO Rich Cooper in a statement.

South Shore Leases Track from CN in Gary

January 30, 2018

The Chicago South Shore & South Bend has leased five miles of track from Canadian National to enhance its interchange of traffic with the Class 1 carrier.

The track is located in Gary, Indiana, and will enable the South Shore to provide a higher frequency of service said the railroad’s owner, Anacostia Rail Holdings, in a news release.

“We see this as part of our longstanding commitment to customers by ensuring efficient interchange with all our Chicago-area connections,” said Eric Jakubowski, vice president and chief commercial officer for Anacostia Rail in a statement. “Gary has long been a great place for us to do business and this lease will make it possible for us to do an even better job.”

The South Shore has 127 routes miles between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana, and is one of six railroads operated by Anacostia.