About $500 million worth of investment in housing, office, industrial and retail space has occurred along the alignment of an 18-mile extension of the light rail network in Portland, Oregon. Nearly 7,000 housing units are underway as well. The extension is a part of a major improvement in transit services to the "Westside" area of Portland. The famous chipmaker Intel is responding by offering free transit passes to all its 11 000 Portland-area employees. Intel has also found $120,000 for flood relief to China, which has seen two rail lines blocked by the flood. (August 21st 1998, thanks Alan Reekie)

The Federal Railroad Administration is releasing two million dollars to repair flood damage to a West Virginia Rail line. (August 18th 1998)

The Ohio Rail Development Commission says Amtrak service is being expanded in Northern Ohio. (August 18th 1998)

Adtranz will provide Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) with propulsion control systems for 21 light rail vehicles. (August 12th 1998)

The Florida Overland Express could attract 8,3 million riders per year by 2010, consultants KPGM Peat Marwick and SYSTRA, say. The study was financed by the private FOX consortium and the Florida DOT. But Wilbur Smith Associates Inc. thinks about 5 million is a more realistic number. (August 10th 1998)

Norfolk Southern will temporarily cut service to several cities and postpone the $10 billion breakup of Conrail because the industry can't handle any more chaos, The Wall Street Journal reports. (July 29th 1998)

Oregon light rail has recieved vitamins in the form of a 26-Million-dollar pot money approved by a US Senate committee. (July 23rd 1998)

The United States Congress has committed $621 million to Amtrak for the fiscal year 1999. (July 8th 1998)

An airport link in Orlando, Fla., will be partly ($20m) financed by Universal Studios because it will link their theme park with downtown. In the first phase, which if approved by authorities will be started next year, it will join Orlando with its northern suburbs. Phase two would be an extension to the airport. (July 7th 1998)

Amtrak ridership in the Northeast increased for the 13th consecutive month in May, growing 6.8 percent over May 1997, and broke the million mark for the third straight month. (June 29th 1998)

Seven people were treated at a hospital after inhaling chlorine fumes that spilled from a derailed CSX freight in Virginia on Saturday the 20th. Residents living within a one-mile radius of the accident were either evacuated or told to stay inside their homes after 30 freight cars jumped the tracks, spilling several chemicals. Early Monday, 100 people could still not return to their homes. The cause of the accident is still unknown. (June 22nd/23rd 1998)

An Amtrak train derailed after it hit a truck and killed the truck driver at a grade crossing in Virginia on Thursday the 18th. The train was on its way to New York. (June 22nd 1998)

Seattle transit has ordered 38 bi-level commuter railcars from Bombardier for US $75 million. The coaches will be similar to the GO-Transit trains in Toronto. (June 15th 1998)

Three people died in Indiana when a commuter train, moving at 75 mph or 120 km/h, collided with a truck at a grade crossing on Thursday morning at 4:35 am. A coil the truck was carrying cut through the first train car, killing three people. (June 18th 1998)

The crash in Germany has prompted U.S. officials to reassess the safety of new Amtrak trains scheduled to go into service late next year, bringing 150-mph speeds on the run from Washington to New York and Boston. US passenger trains have higher crash-worthiness standards than European ones since US passenger trains share tracks with freights much heavier than those in Europe, the Washington Post writes. (June 8th 1998)

BNSF is now offering public rate retrieval on it's website. (May 19th 1998)

Amtrak's Talgo service in Washington state will be speeded up by 25 minutes starting May 17th, and a third round trip will be added between Seattle and Portland. The lowest one-way adult fare between Portland and Seattle will be $16. The Spanish-built Talgo trains are employ passive tilt, ie they swing to the side in curves. Photo Pat & David Othen (May 16th 1998)

The California High Speed Rail Project has hired a team which will be responsible for telling the world about the merits of a line from the San Francisco area to Los Angeles and San Diego. (May 19th 1998)

The New York MTA is going to buy 192 new rail cars for the Long Island Rail Road and MetroNorth. The new trains will replace old ones but will also meet growing demand. (May 5th 1998)

Ridership on Amtrak rose 6.4 percent in the first six months of the fiscal year, the US national passenger railroad says. (May 5th 1998)

Four Conrail trains have derailed in the past three weeks. Twenty-one people were injured on April 13, when an Amtrak train hit a derailed Conrail freight car that had tumbled into its path in Freedom, Philadelphia, injuring 20 passengers and one crew member aboard the Amtrak train. (May 5th 1998)

The FBI is investigating a derailment in Alaska on April 27th which caused damages of $20 000. The derailment was caused by a thrown switch. "We're convinced it was caused by someone tampering with the switch," railroad spokesman Scott Banks said. (May 5th 1998)

The Providence and Worcester Railroad has acquired the 17-mile Connecticut Central Railroad. P&W is a regional freight railroad operating over 530 miles in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York. (May 5th 1998)

Genesee & Wyoming, a short line operator with railways in the US and Australia, reported record operating revenues for the first quarter ended March 31, 1998 of $37,7 million, a 56,6 percent increase over the first quarter of 1997. The company's Australia Southern Railroad started operations on November 8th. (May 5th 1998)

CSX has sold a 51 mile rail line in Michigan to RailAmerica. (May 5th 1998)

Canadian National has formed a marketing alliance with Illinois Central, which it is buying, and Kansas City Southern, in order to take advantage of the growing north-south traffic flows resulting from the North American Free Trade Agreement. Under terms of the marketing alliance, the companies will coordinate sales and marketing, operations, fleets, and information systems, but not for traffic movements where any two of them provide the only direct rail service. Interchange will happen in Jackson, Mississippi, and Springfield, Illinois (see map). In Jackson, there will be joint operation of yards, terminals, transload and intermodal facilities. This deal is not subject to Surface Transportation Board approval. CN's purchase of IC is, however. (May 4th 1998)

Kansas City Southern and Norfolk Southern have opened a joint intermodal facility in Port Arthur, Texas, to service the Port Arthur/Beaumont/ Houston Texas Gulf Coast region. (May 4th 1998)

Illinois Central reports record first quarter operating income. (May 4th 1998)

A light rail system to the JFK Airport in New York will be designed, built, operated and maintained by a consortium led by Bombardier and Skanska USA. The railway will be mostly elevated and cover 14 km, have ten stations and be served by 32 vehicles. It will cost US$930 million. More here. (May 4th 1998)

Bombardier will maintain 150 vehicles for the Southern California Regional Rail Authority for three years for US$36 million. (May 4th 1998)

Miami Airport has a new railway station. "The Tri-Rail commuter railroad station is an excellent example of how well-planned transportation facilities can improve the quality of life in a community,'' said U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater at the opening ceremony. The Department has payed two-thirds of the cost of the link. (April 11th 1998)

US DOT has granted $2.28 million towards improving grade-crossing safety in North Carolina in preparation for higher speed.

Editor's note: The press release gives a somewhat flat impression. Phrases such as "the use of four-quadrant gates ... was shown to reduce violations from 43 per week at Sugar Creek Road in Charlotte to one per week" raise questions about the fate of these 52 drivers per year. Ketchup? (April 11th 1998)

UPRR's embargo on shipments to Mexico will be partially lifted after Easter. (April 11th 1998)

The US Senate has approved Amtrak funding to the tune of $1.023 billion for next year. Congress and the Administration (the President) still have to okay the money. (April 8th 1998)

CSX's new intermodal terminal in Chicago, covering 132 acres, will be ready by September. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on March 31st. The terminal creates 200 new jobs. (April 8th 1998)

Guilford Rail's two new New England intermodal terminals operated will be served by Norfolk Southern's intermodal trains, which connect 34 terminals. Guilford is a regional railroad with operations in New England and Canada. (April 8th 1998)

North American Van Lines has been sold to an investment firm for $200 million. The former subsidiary of Norfolk Southern has been a loss-maker. (April 8th 1998)

Dozens of runaway freight cars from the Norfolk Southern railway collided with a stopped train in Lynchburg, Virginia on Tuesday the 31st, starting fires and forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people from their homes and a nearby school. A car with acetone caught fire, as did diesel from a locomotive. The fire destroyed a nearby county storage building. (April 8th 1998)

A hearing on USA rail regulation was held least week by the Surface Transportation Board. Shippers asked for more competition and lower rates, and railways pointed out that healthy revenues are needed to finance sorely needed investemnts in additional capacity. (April 7th 1998)

Airlines are suing JFK airport in New York over a surcharge on passenger tickets, at $3 per ticket, which will go toward a rail link to the airport. (March 29th 1998)

The BART commuter train service in San Francisco is to be equipped with automatic wireless train control from signalling firm Harmon. The wireless system will replace the system with blocked track sections. (March 22nd 1998, more here)

A luxury buss service would build traffic to justify future rail service from Dulles to Washington DC, some politicians say. (March 22nd 1998, more here)

The Atlanta rapid transit company wants to build a maintenance hall in an industrial park. This would require displacing 91 businesses generating US$723,323 a year in property taxes for Fulton County and Atlanta. (March 22nd 1998, more here)

A SEPTA strike has still not been averted. Commuters have made alternate plans but the uncertainty caused by drawn-out labour negotiations is aggravating. (March 22nd 1998, more here)

Kansas City Southern had a good year last year. Stock went from $16 to $35, and some expect it to break $50 this year, Businessweek writes. KCS last year won the Mexican Ferrocarril del Noreste concession, which links up with KCS in Texas. (March 14th 1998, more here)

Private passenger service in the USA is being touted by Railway Service Corporation. They want to operate trains Philadelphia - Harrisburg, a route now operated by Amtrak. The entrepreneurs want Amtrak to continue maintaining track and signals, but require no other subsidy. Amtrak says more precise figures are needed in order to make a decision. (March 12th 1998, more here)

SEPTA trains may stand still starting Sunday the 15th due to a strike. SEPTA is training 100 managers to drive the trains in the event of a strike, and hiring up to 800 private guards from security companies with experience in labor disputes. Union representatives described this action as provocative. (March 12th 1998, more here and here)

A 70-mile commuter rail line is under consideration in Atlanta; it would link Athens with Atlanta. If all goes well, the 110 km line will be ready by 2002. A $250,000 study is half ready; this study builds on a DOT study from 1995. The line would use existing CSX tracks. (March 12th 1998, more here)

American DM&E wants to build 280 miles (~450 km) of track in Southwestern South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming, to access western coal reserves for movement to Midwestern utilities. Wyoming coal is cheaper and cleaner-burning, The Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad Corporation says. (March 2nd 1998, more here)

The FRA criticizes CSX for cultivating an atmosphere that fails to make a full commitment to safety in a review. The U.S. Federal Railroad Administration listed several definciencies, including crew management and hazardous materials operations. The FRA also targetted Union Pacific. (March 2nd 1998, more here)

Amtrak is spending $360m on capital upgrades. The money is coming from the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 which provides Amtrak with $2.2bn in a retroactive tax break. The money is being payed out in installments. (February 17th 1998, more here)

The Isreali Flexliners are being tested in North Carolina. This will be the last stop for the danish-built Flexliners' tour of North America. Photo Adtranz. (February 16th 1998, more here)

The BART extension to the San Francisco airport has come closer to reality with the award of two contracts totaling nearly $597 million and covering 90 per cent of the work on the $1.167 million construction project. (February 13th 1998, more here)

Carmaker Trinity of Dallas, Texas, is hiring 200 workers to solve a backlog of orders. The company has in the past three months received orders for more than 1500 railcars. Also see Rail Car America of San Francisco to hire 100 workers. (January 26th 1998, more here)

Amtrak ridership was up 7% in the last quarter of 97, revenue up 3,4%. The Northeast Corridor ridership was up 8%, revenue 3%. (January 23rd 1998, more here)

CSXT last week opened part of their double-track route linking the heartland of the Midwest with the industrial cities of the Northeast and Atlantic Coast. Also see CSX profits fall. (January 22nd 1998, more here)

Illinois Railnet is taking over 57 miles of track between Montgomery and Streator, Illinois, from the BNSF. BNSF has alos recently sold 5,5 miles of track in central California to West Isle Line. (January 8th 1998, more here)

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