Union Pacific to Upgrade Missouri Line


Union Pacific Railroad plans to spend $9 million to improve the  line between Sedalia and Pleasant Hill, Mo.

The project, which began May 15 and is scheduled to be completed by June’s end, includes replacing 60,500 ties and installing 22,300 tons of rock ballast. Crews also will renew the surfaces at 80 road crossings and install more than one mile of rail in various curves.

The project is one of about 1,500 the Class I will complete across its network this year to improve train operating efficiency, reduce motorist wait times at crossings and boost safety.

UP’s 2014 engineering plan includes a $1.7 billion budget for infrastructure replacement and $680 million spending plan for capacity work and commercial facilities. To learn more about UP’s planned maintenance-of-way work this year — as well as work planned by other Class Is, regionals, short lines and passenger railroads — follow this link to access the 2014 MOW Spending Report in Progressive Railroading’s April issue.


Mexico Says “No Mas” To Printed Invoices


It was not an April Fool’s joke when printed invoices became outlawed in Mexico as of April 1. The move was designed to force the nation’s businesses, both large and small, to adopt electronic invoicing techniques. 

The brazen move has already led to some drastic changes in how people do business in that nation. First, it practically destroyed the once-popular criminal act of people creating fake invoices. Tax dodgers were especially enamored with that type of nefarious behavior. In a recent article in The Economist, a person who ran a printing press for that illegal purpose expressed frustration that the Mexican government has robbed him of his livelihood.

By requiring electronic invoicing for all business and personal transactions within Mexico, that nation’s government stands to gain millions in what had been lost tax revenue. Now, buyers and sellers are being forced to electronically register invoices with tax authorities, ensuring the government will get a cut of the sale.

While Chile was the first Latin American nation to introduce e-invoicing to its business communities ten years ago, Mexico is the first country requiring e-invoicing for all transactions, both business and personal.

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A Final Toast For Metro North’s Bar Cars


New York Times sort of summed it up on May 10, 2014: Since before World War II, when rail was king and Prohibition was dead, the rolling saloon has been a national staple — its contents relied upon to make the strangers less strange, the commutes less interminable. But over the years, the bar cars began to disappear: Chicago, one of the last holdouts, abandoned its bar service in 2008.

We wrote about bar cars before then even more about bar cars

Connecticut can and cannot afford, it’s well known that this is a service that more than pays for itself. In the 1960s, the bankrupt New Haven had exactly one line of black ink on its ledgers:  commuter bar cars!  I can’t think of any reason why the economics of this are any different today.

The commuter bar cars were a post-war phenomenon. The New Haven began operating them in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Supposedly Wilfred Duprey, the NH’s dining car department superintendent, got the idea after observing the crowds of drinkers in grill cars employed on special excursion trains. However, in the early 1930s the New Haven operated what was known as a “breakfast bar car” for commuters. This car operated on morning trains running between Stamford and GCT. It may have actually served as the inspiration for the evening commuter bar cars. Regardless, it was the alcoholic beverages served in the commuter bar cars that kept the NH’s dining car service marginally profitable through the end, which is something that no other “modern” railroad was able to do.

Quote from Marc J. Frattasio Feb 18

The Cloud IS the Way… Really?


We’ve been tracking and writing about cloud based systems since the first issue of ec-bp.com. Of course back then in 2003 we referred to is as SaaS or even just ‘online applications.’ Since that time the world has mostly overcome its apprehensions about putting corporate data and processes outside the firewall. Even so, Cloud speculation and operations continue to be big news. To this I say – Whoop-de-doo!


Four Private Companies Are Bidding On Operating AMTRAK Routes


The Indiana Department of Transportation has received four proposals to provide services for the Hoosier State Amtrak route between Chicago and Indianapolis.

Bidders include:

Iowa Pacific Holdings Inc., which operates specialty passenger railroads including the Pullman Rail Journeys between Chicago and New Orleans. It also operates the Saratoga & North Creek Railroad in New York’s Adirondack Region.

Corridor Capital LLC of Los Angeles;

Railmark Holdings Inc. of Wixom, Michigan; and

a partnership between Herzog Transit Services Inc. of Irving, Texas, and Passenger Transportation Specialists Inc. of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Amtrak previously submitted its own proposal for 2014-2015, INDOT said.

INDOT hopes to select a finalist by this summer and begin negotiations that could lead to a public-private partnership, agency spokesman Will Wingfield said. The state transportation department asked last month for proposals for services including operating the train route in its entirety or providing services such as Wi-Fi or food and beverage. The agency did not divulge the contents of the proposals.

The Hoosier State operates four days each week. Another Amtrak train operates on the same route three days per week and proceeds on from Indianapolis.

INDOT and seven local governments are paying a $2.7 million subsidy to Amtrak to keep the Hoosier State running through this fall. That subsidy came about after federal support of certain Amtrak routes of less than 750 miles ended.


Birth Of The Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad


Head on over to Gino’s Rail Museum as soon as possible. I am honored to
host photos of the start of The Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad in
April of 1971. The CMO of the current operation was just a youngster when
he and his mom rode the equipment being moved between Oneonta and
Cooperstown. The former DO Line tourist railroad was relocating from the
former Ulster and Delaware Railroad between Mickle Bridge and Oneonta.
Chris captured the equipment getting ready to leave the old U&D Station in
Oneonta, the ride along the D&H, the stop at Cooperstown Junction and the
ride through Portlandville, Milford and it’s destination at Cooperstown.
Wait ’till you see the ceremony that was held for the start of the new

Feds issue another crude-by-rail emergency order, advisory to enhance safety


The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) yesterday issued an emergency order requiring all railroads operating trains containing large amounts of Bakken crude oil to notify State Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs) about the operation of those trains through their states.

The order requires that each train carrying more than 1 million gallons of Bakken crude, or about 35 tank cars, in a particular state provide the SERC notification regarding the expected movement of such trains and the affected counties. The notification must include estimated volumes of Bakken crude, frequencies of anticipated train traffic and the planned routes. The order also requires that railroads provide the SERCs contact information for at least one responsible party and help the commissions share the information with appropriate emergency responders in affected communities.

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With help from Penney Vanderbilt