Federal grant to increase efficiency in Midwest rail network, untangle Chicago bottleneck

By Michael Brenneis Chicago has become a notorious rail bottleneck, responsible for delays that impede freight delivery, Amtrak, Metra passenger service, and even drivers trying to cross rail lines. Now, one of the worst tangles—the 75th Street corridor—is about to get a little better thanks

California’s new fee on hazardous railroad shipments being challenged by railroads

By Bill Holloway California’s new fee on rail deliveries of certain hazardous chemicals, including crude oil, is being challenged in federal court by BNSF and Union Pacific railroads. As noted in the LA Times, the new state regulation, set to take effect this year, requires railroad companies

Accommodating interregional travel: Insights and opportunities

By Mary Ebeling The Transportation Research Board Special Report 320, Interregional Travel: A New Perspective for Policy Making, offers important insights into interregional travel. This category, defined as trips between 100 and 500 miles, makes up approximately three-quarters of long distance

States seek more information and control over oil train shipments

By Bill Holloway As shipments of crude oil by rail have climbed dramatically in recent years, high profile derailments and explosions—the worst being the 2013 Lac-Megantic disaster—have put the issue high on the list of public concerns. As noted in a recent article by Daniel Vock in

MassDOT helps travelers make sense of regional bus, train, and ferry routes

By Bill Holloway Last month MassDOT announced the release of a comprehensive set of maps detailing privately operated bus, rail, and ferry routes throughout New England and connecting services to New York State. Recognizing that intercity travelers in New England often pass through multiple

Can passenger and freight rail coexist?

By Chris Spahr Amtrak is dealing with a steadily increasing problem of service delays. Systemwide on-time performance for fiscal year 2014 is currently at 73.2 percent.  In June, on-time performance was a dismal 69.7 percent, down 6.2 percent from June 2013. A law passed by Congress in 2008 sets

States to get more information about oil train traffic

By Bill Holloway USDOT recently issued an emergency order requiring that railroads moving large amounts of crude oil from the Bakken formation notify the states through which their trains travel. Railroads must notify each state’s emergency response commission of the route the trains will

Feds tell rail companies to fix rail delays for Upper Midwest farmers

By Robbie Webber The Surface Transportation Board ordered BNSF and Canadian Pacific Railway to report their plans by April 18 to ensure delivery of fertilizer shipments this spring. The board also ordered the railroads to provide weekly status reports on fertilizer delivery for the next six

Safety concerns spur calls for improved oversight of rail shipments

By Bill Holloway A series of high profile derailments and explosions involving trains hauling oil, most notably in Lac Mégantic, Quebec, have prompted calls for improved rail safety and new guidelines governing the testing and transport of oil. Concerns center on train speeds and track

House T&I Committee issues freight report

By Bill Holloway A new report from the Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation, Improving the Nation’s Freight Transportation System, recommends a series of steps for Congress to take in order to modernize the national freight transportation system to increase transportation efficiency and