Friday, November 11, 2011

November 13, 2011 weekly rail news

Fun stuff:

Planning, funding, and construction:

  • The Central Corridor is now considered 1/3 complete. The CCLRT Twitter feed suggested that there will only be one more year of heavy construction. Portions of University Avenue on the west end of Saint Paul are getting ready to reopen to 4-lane traffic, and the Washington Avenue Bridge is expected to close this coming weekend in order to switch traffic from the north side to the south side.

  • Four stations along the Central Corridor are being renamed:

    • 29th Avenue station → Prospect Park station
    • Rice Street station → Capitol/Rice Street station
    • Capitol East station → Robert Street station
    • 4th & Cedar station → Central station

    Most of those seem pretty reasonable, but it seems that a lot of people are scratching their heads over the "Central" station in downtown Saint Paul.

  • The city of Ramsey is holding a celebration on Wednesday to promote the forthcoming Northstar station that will be built there next year. Construction is scheduled to begin in March, and the station is expected to open in December.

  • John Mica has said that he no longer wants to forcibly take over Amtrak's Northeast Corridor and put it in private hands.

  • The Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously approved a transportation funding bill on Wednesday, an action that was seen by some as a good sign of bipartisanship (especially following Tuesday's election where a number of Republican overreaches were turned back by voters). However, the bill included frustrating elements such as allowing bike/ped funding to be raided if the states desire, and an override to the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act for the proposed $690 million Stillwater Bridge.

  • The board of Chicago's Metra commuter rail agency has voted to increase fares by 25 percent.

  • Out east, the planned Greenbrier Express luxury train from Washington, D.C. to White Sulphur Springs, WV is reportedly being put on hold. There is some concern about the cars meeting FRA regulations. Workers who were reconfiguring heritage rail cars for the service have been laid off, though a team of engineers who were designing the cars have been retained.

  • Grenada Railway ended their bid to abandon and scrap their line between Grenada and Canton, Mississippi (famous for being the line where Casey Jones met his end).


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