Gov. Malloy announces Walk Bridge replacement

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) has a plan to close a $188 million funding gap for the design and replacement of the New Haven’s 118-year-old Walk Bridge in Norwalk, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced late last week.

Built in 1896, the Walk Bridge is the oldest movable bridge along the New Haven Line/Northeast Corridor in Connecticut. The bridge will be replaced with a more resilient vertical lift bridge that opens for marine traffic from one side with a counterweight system and will significantly enhance the safety and reliability of commuter and intercity passenger service along the Northeast Corridor, ConnDOT officials said.

The bridge malfunctioned in two separate incidents within a two-week period over the summer, Malloy and ConnDOT officials said in a press release.

Walk Bridge in Connecticut
Walk Bridge in Connecticut

“Since the malfunctions we saw last summer, we have carried out the repairs and procedures necessary to minimize the risk for failure in the short-term and have aggressively pursued the funding necessary to implement a realistic finance plan that will bring us all the way from design to a full replacement as soon as possible,” said Malloy.

See our story on the malfunctions.

The federal government recently awarded ConnDOT $161 million for infrastructure hardening purposes. In all, this project will be funded with 34 percent state funds and 66 percent federal funds.

Walk Bridge in Connecticut
Walk Bridge in Connecticut

“For decades, the Walk Bridge was allowed to decay and deteriorate, as both the state and federal government kicked the can down the road and ignored glaring warning signs,” said U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal in a press release. “Here, and with other major transportation investments, Gov. Malloy is to be commended for recognizing that we must invest now in our rail and transportation infrastructure, or pay later with cascading failures, intolerable traffic congestion, and diminished opportunities for economic development.” 

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DC Streetcar set to begin pre-revenue operations

the District Department of Transportation is scheduled to begin the pre-revenue operations phase of the DC Streetcar in Washington, D.C.

The pre-revenue operations is actual service simulated along the corridor without passengers and is part of the process of certifying the streetcar’s safety. During this phase, all streetcar vehicles will run their projected hours with projected headways, DC Streetcar officials said in a press release.

Five streetcar vehicles have been tested and drivers trained during the summer on the H Street and Benning Road line. Passenger revenue service will begin once the safety certification process is completed. Eventually, the DC Streetcar will serve 37 miles of lines.

Old DC Streetcar
Old DC Streetcar

A couple of interesting WebSites are:

Global Rail News

and DC Streetcar

Older DC Streetcar
Older DC Streetcar

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Some Mail Distributed in New Jersey Could be Moved by Rail

 Some mail distributed in New Jersey could be moved by rail, Inspector General report says

There are opportunities to economically and effectively use rail to transport some standard mail and packages handled by the New Jersey network distribution center (NDC) and consolidation/deconsolidation facility (CDF), according to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).

Last year, the USPS spent more than $3.4 billion on highway contract routes (HCRs) and only about $43 million on rail, an OIG report states. The trucking industry is facing challenges in attracting qualified drivers due to driver age, pay and work demands, while rail could provide such benefits as improved service, lower costs and a smaller carbon footprint, according to the report.

“We estimate the Postal Service could save about $10.8 million annually by using some rail for transportation associated with the New Jersey NDC and CDF,” OIG officials said in the report. “Rail could accommodate some volume and still meet service standards, but would require expanded transit times.  It would also require moving some periodicals through the existing Surface Transfer Center network, which may add costs.”

The OIG recommends that New Jersey management conduct a cost/benefit analysis of transportation associated with the NDC and CDF to determine if rail is more cost-effective than HCR in certain cases and test whether some HCR transportation can be converted to rail. In addition, management should consider moving periodicals through the established Surface Transfer Center network and changing operating plans to accommodate rail if it’s economical and meets service standards, OIG officials said.

According to the OIG, USPS predominantly uses HCRs to distribute most mail because:

. management has experienced significant service issues with rail in the past and prefers the control and flexibility in mail departure and arrival
provided by HCRs;

. the routes have the shortest transit times and provide added assurance that all mail will meet service standards;

. rail has not been fully assessed as an alternative transportation mode based on economic value; and

MailCarStamp

. management does not believe rail is a viable option to meet service standards or fit within the package services mail operational flow.

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Metro-North wraps up Cos Cob switching complex restoration ahead of schedule

MTA Metro-North Railroad has completed a project to rebuild a switching control house in Cos Cob, Conn., four months ahead of schedule.

The project’s completion means that a nine-mile section of the New Haven Line between Port Chester, N.Y. and Stamford, Conn., is fully operational for the first time since May 10, when a fire destroyed the previous control house, Metro-North officials said in a press release.

The restored control house allows train dispatchers to switch trains from one track to another by moving small segments of rail in a complex of switches. Metro-North was able to speed up the restoration by using equipment already built and ready for installation at another complex with an identical switch layout. The repurposed, modern equipment reduced the amount of complicated wiring damaged in the fire, Metro-North officials said.

Building a new control house would normally take 18 months of design, fabrication, installation and testing. Initially, Metro-North had expected to expedite that by using a retired switching complex. The railroad ultimately expedited the project further by repurposing the modern complex.

“Metro-North is to be commended on a very creative solution to a complex problem,” said Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker. “In addition, getting the job done ahead of time gives us more operating flexibility and improves reliability on the busiest rail line in the country.”

Pictured above is the old power station that used to supply electricity to run the trains. (Picture purchased from Charlie Gunn)
CosCobGreenTower
Photo by: Paul Pesante
Date: 7/9/2008
Notes: “GREEN” Tower at CP 229 at Cos Cob, CT. “GREEN” Tower used to control the interlocking plant at CP 229 in the good ol’ days of the New York, New Haven & Hartford, Penn Central, Conrail, then Metro-North until several years ago when the MNR Operations Control Center went online at GCT. The photographer is a railroad employee on railroad property with permission, and would like to remind everyone to keep railfanning legal and safe- Do not enter restricted areas!
This Signal Station was once referred to as “SS29”. Want to find out more on New Haven Signal Stations? Check out
If you are in South Norwalk, Connecticut, check out the SONO Switch Tower Museum to view the “Cos Cob Power Board” which is an “operating” exhibit.The Cos Cob Power Board was designed to switch and control the 11,000-volt power generated at the Cos Cob Power Station to the electrified tracks of the New Haven RR.
Inside the Signal Station (photo from MTA Metro North Railroad
Inside the Signal Station (photo from MTA Metro North Railroad

 

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AAR: U.S. railroads broke one-week-old intermodal volume record

For the week ending Sept. 20, U.S. railroads reported 279,777 intermodal loads, breaking the weekly volume record of 279,052 units they just set a week earlier, according to the Association of American Railroads. On a year-over-year basis, intermodal volume rose 6.4 percent.
U.S. roads also reported 302,178 weekly carloads, up 5 percent. Total combined traffic increased 5.7 percent to 581,955 units and nine of 10 of carload commodity groups posted gains, led by petroleum and petroleum products at 26.8 percent, grain at 23.2 percent and nonmetallic minerals at 10.8 percent.

For the week, Canadian railroads reported 85,453 carloads, down 0.2 percent, and 60,870 intermodal units, up 7 percent compared with the same week last year. Mexican railroads reported 13,459 carloads, up 4.8 percent, and 10,511 intermodal units, up 2.6 percent.

Through 2014’s first 38 weeks, U.S. railroads increased carloads 3.5 percent to 11,020,960 units and boosted intermodal volume 5.7 percent to 9,802,259 units compared with the same 2013 period. Canadian railroads reported a 1.4 percent increase in carloads to 3,015,371 units and a 7.1 percent gain in intermodal volume to 2,169,836 units, while Mexican railroads’ carloads ratcheted up 1.7 percent to 593,441 units and intermodal volume rose 4.3 percent to 396,140 units.

Through 38 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads handled 14,629,772 carloads, up 3 percent, and 12,368,235 containers and trailers, up 5.9 percent compared with the same 2013 period.

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Penguins downed the Utica Comets 4-2 in the first preseason game

Four different players scored for Wilkes-Barre/Scrantonand outshot the Comets 27-20 for the game.

Carter Bancks, who played for the Abbotsford Heat last season, scored the first Comets goal, early in the third period, with an assist from Bob Sanguinetti.
Carter Bancks
Carter Bancks
Rookie Brendan Gaunce scored the other Utica goal in the last few minutes, with Stefan Legien helping out.
Brendon Gaunce
Brendon Gaunce
Eric Hartzell and Matt Murray split time in goal for the Penguins. Jacob Markstrom went all the way for Utica.
Jacob Markstrom
Jacob Markstrom

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Slave Labor Plays A Prominent Role In World-Wide Supply Chain

According to Verite, a think tank whose mission is promoting the ethical treatment of laborers worldwide, at least one in three foreign workers who responded to their recently released survey on slave labor in the Malaysian electronics market toils in conditions of forced labor.

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The Verite report, released September 17, was the culmination of a two-year survey conducted in Malaysia. The report concluded that since many of the world’s most recognizable brands utilize components for their products manufactured in Malaysia, nearly every device on the market may have come in contact with modern-day slaves.
Read more: http://www.ec-bp.com/index.php/articles/industry-updates/10728-slave-labor-plays-prominent-role-in-worldwide-supply-chain#ixzz3EtX8Dmkf

 

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