Saturday, October 22, 2011

October 22, 2011 weekly rail news

Fun stuff:
  • The Google Street View team put one of their trikes onto a flatbed car and scanned a Swiss railway. I'm hoping that they will do this on a lot more rail lines, but for now they seem to be most interested in capturing historic sites.

Planning, funding, and construction news:
  • The U.S. DOT handed out $928.5 million in transit grants split among more than 300 projects. Minnesota got four. Two are state-of-good repair projects for bus operations facilities: $7 million went to Rochester, and another $340,000 went to Albert Lea. Metro Transit got the other two: $2.6 million for bus stop improvements in downtown Saint Paul, and $600,000 for an alternatives analysis for bus or rail service in the Lake Street/Midtown Greenway corridor in Minneapolis.

  • Amtrak is apparently trying something new by leasing 100 miles of track from CSX in New York in order to upgrade it.

  • Amtrak is proclaiming that their Amtrak Thruway bus network has expanded in Wisconsin, with new(?) routes connecting to Empire Builder stations in Portage and Columbus (often listed as the "Madison" stop, even though it's nearly 30 miles away). Lamers Connect is providing the service. The Columbus connection links to Madison, Beaver Dam, Waupun, Fond du Lac, Oshkosh, Appleton and Green Bay, while the Portage connection links to Westfield, Stevens Point, Mosinee and Wausau.

  • Just because I've got a coworker visiting over there who snapped a shot of it, I'll mention that the first segment of the Namma Metro opened on October 20th in Bangalore, India.

  • Freight currently transported on flatbed trailers may soon move to special open containers which have vertical supports allowing them to be double-stacked. Canadian Pacific is trying them out.

  • The current going price for the Grenada Railway line facing abandonment in Mississippi is $21 million (supposedly the scrap value of the line).

  • Poking around on Google's LatLong blog after seeing their video on the Street View project, I saw that the company has published their spec for GTFS-realtime, which can provide trip updates, service alerts, and vehicle position data from transit providers.

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