Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Train strikes, kills man in Phillipsburg

Following items are from lehighvalleylive.com on 9-22-08.

Train strikes, kills man in Phillipsburg

by Express-Times staff

Monday September 22, 2008, 11:09 AM

The engineer of a Norfolk Southern train saw a man on the tracks in Phillipsburg late Sunday night but was unable to stop in time to avoid striking him, police Chief Ed Mirenda said this morning.

The man was killed just before midnight between Stockton and Hanover streets. Police are not releasing his identity until his next of kin are notified, Mirenda said.

The chief had no information about why the man was on the train tracks. He said a news release with more information will be issued later today.

Man struck and killed by train in Phillipsburg was an Easton resident

by Tom Quigley

Monday September 22, 2008, 5:17 PM

Police today identified a man struck and killed by an Norfolk Southern train in Phillipsburg on Sunday night as Easton resident Thomas Houlihan. He was 35.

Houlihan, of the 400 block of Northampton Street, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said they responded to the tracks between Stockton Street and Hanover Street about 11:57 p.m.

"The incident is under investigation and pending results of an autopsy," Phillipsburg Police Detective Sgt. Robert Stettner said in a statement issued this afternoon.

It is routine procedure to conduct toxicology tests to determine if alcohol or other drugs contributed to the death.

Members of the Warren County Prosecutor's Office , Phillipsburg Fire Department and the Phillipsburg emergency squad responded to assist police.

This is the third time in less than a year that someone's been killed or seriously injured by a Norfolk Southern train in Phillipsburg.

NJ Transit pictures

Following pictures are of NJ transit trains taken in August of this year.

First picture was taken at the Bound Brook train station. The others were all taken at Egan's crossing, a private grade crossing between Bound Brook and Somerville that provides access to the Egan-Davis Standard company plant. Note the new bilevel coaches in second picture.

Arkansas Shortlines

Received the following from Kermit Geary, Jr. Pictures, text, and captions are his.

Spent the day travelling across Arkansas checking on some shortlines that I haven't seen for a while...and some new ones that have started up in recent years.

East Camden & Highland switching at Highland Industrial Park

Warren & Saline River at Warren, AR

Arkansas Midland at McGhee, AR

Arkansas Midland at Lexa, AR

Prescott & North Western RR, Arkansas

Received the following from Kermit Geary, Jr. Pictures, text, and captions are his.

A true survivor in today's shortline scene is the tiny Prescott & North Western Railroad located in Prescott, Arkansas. The railroad started out as a lumber carrier of Potlatch Industries, carrying log trains from the woods to the mill at Prescott. When Potlatch closed the Ozan Mill in Prescott, the railroad continued to soldier on, serving its only customer...a Firestone Tire plant. Still on the roster are the three GE 70-Ton locomotives that the Railroad had dieselized with in the 1950's. A recently acquired EMD sw-1200 is on the property but seldom sees service as the 70-tonners are more fuel efficient!!!

Enjoy the photos of their operations as seen today, 9-10-2008

SW-1200 # 26

Leaving Firestone Plant

at shop

Making interchange with UP in Prescott, AR

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Norfolk Southern and BLET Reach New Agreement

Received the following via email.

September 16, 2008

Norfolk Southern and BLET Reach New Agreement

NORFOLK, VA. – Norfolk Southern Railway Company and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) have reached a new agreement that will continue to link engineer compensation to company performance through 2014. The BLET has participated in such a bonus program since 1996.

The new agreement covers approximately 5,000 engineers and provides each engineer the opportunity for an annual bonus payment based on company financial and service performance metrics and, for the first time, his or her work availability in the previous year.

Other highlights of the agreement include annual wage increases totaling 19 percent from 2009 through 2014, enhancements to the BLET’s 401k plan, increased incentive pay for weekend/holiday work, reduced employee costs for the BLET disability plan, and increased pay for engineers who assist in training new engineers. The annual wage increases average approximately 3.2 percent per year. Eligible engineers will receive up to two lump-sum payments: a signing bonus of $1,200 by Dec. 1, 2008, and a lump-sum bonus payment of $3,500 by Jan. 1, 2009.

BLET General Chairman Ray Wallace said, “The BLET has enjoyed a strong partnership with Norfolk Southern over the years. This agreement ensures that Norfolk Southern’s success will continue to be financially beneficial to our members.”

BLET General Chairman Cole Davis added, “Engineers are an integral part of Norfolk Southern operations. The financial package in this agreement ensures that our members are compensated for their contributions to the company’s performance.”

BLET General Chairman Willard Knight concluded, “This agreement recognizes and rewards the hard work that our members perform each day to improve Norfolk Southern’s prosperity.”

Norfolk Southern Vice President Labor Relations Harold Mobley said, “Reaching a long term agreement that links engineer compensation to our corporate goals will allow all of us to continue to focus on the railroad’s safety, operating efficiency, and customer service.”

Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) is one of the nation’s premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway subsidiary operates approximately 21,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serving every major container port in the eastern United States and providing superior connections to western rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is North America’s largest rail carrier of metals and automotive products.


Norfolk Southern contacts:
(Media) Susan Terpay, 757-823-5204 (susan.terpay@nscorp.com)
(Investors) Leanne Marilley, 757-629-2861 (leanne.marilley@nscorp.com)

Warning!! Railroad oriented Porno

Received the following from Kermit Geary, Jr. Picture and text are his.

On UP at Texarkana, TX 9-9-2008.

A rainy day in Tx & Ar...

Received the following from Kermit Geary, Jr. Pictures, text, and captions are his.

On every trip, a little rain must fall.....in this case it was a LOT of rain....Streets were flooded and roads were closed in Eastern TX today.

Thanks to Digital being soooooo forgiving in bad weather, I offer the following for your enjoyment.

TNER/NEKM/CORP 3860 at Nash, TX

TNER 2166 at Nash, TX

Gateway Eastern 2000 at Texarkana, TX as KCS yard engine

WAMX (Arkansas Southern) 3809 at Nashville, AR

Old friends never die, they just fade away

Received the following from Kermit Geary, Jr. Pictures, text, and captons are his.

After chasing the DRGW 3154 down in Colorado a number of years ago...Shot it coupled to the 3155 and a GP-30!!!...it was nice to see the paint still survives even tho the number didn't...

A SP SD-40-3!! R built at Mountaintop, PA...gotta check my files and see if I have it being delivered!!!

Another old friend...a ex-BRC GP-38 still in BRC paint!

All taken in Texarkana, TX today...9-9-2008

UP 1900, ex DRGW 3154

SP 8681!!!!!!!

LLPX 2228 ex BRC

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Southern Living is wonderful

Received the following text, pictures, and captions from Kermit Geary, Jr.

Finally a sunny day in Louisiana! Spent the day along the Speedway between Tremont and Gibsland LA. Saw more NS junk than KCS!!!! Oh Well, sign of the times, I guess.

A pair of "snakes"(at least that is what the locals call 'em) A pair of Belles at West Gibsland, LA

New power for Louisiana & NorthWestern at Gibsland. LA (ex Utah Central)

YUM..Catfish!!!! Best place to eat anywhere in the Northern Louisiana area!!

Electrified Railroading....Texas Style

Received the following text, pictures, and captions from Kermit Geary, Jr.

A very obscure rail operation in Eastern Texas is this semi-captive mine to power plant operation between Tatum & Dirgin, TX. Access points are scarce. Power used to be some E25B's built in the 1970's, now replaced by E60C's from Mexico. There is a sister operation in the Winfield TX area with NO access points to shoot from!!!

Texas Utilities 3311 west of Dirgin, TX

Texas Utilities 3312 & train leaving mine loadout at Tatum, TX

Texas Utilities 3312 roster shot

control car on Texas Utilities Train at Tatum, TX

Texas Meanderings

Received the following text and pictures from Kermit Geary, Jr.

After leaving the Texas Utilities operations, headed North towards another T-U facility near Winnfield, TX.

Found a couple of fairly rare RS4TC's switching the big Pilgrims Pride feed mill in Pittsburg, TX, and also the UP local working the yard.

At Winnfield, TX, found an ex Iowa Interstate unit now owned by GMTX on the UP branch.

Finally ended the day with a UP hotshot blasting through Mount Pleasant, TX on the old SSWofTexas!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Manville sounds the alert after death of 19-year-old

The following article appeared in the Star-Ledger on 9-7-08.

On track for safety

Manville sounds the alert after death of 19-year-old

Star-Ledger Staff

The railroad tracks running through Manville have always been part of life in the small town.
Tragically, deaths along the tracks -- including the deaths of three teenagers within the past few years -- have too often also been a part of the community's rhythm.

Four months after high school senior Kevin Seit, 19, was struck and killed by a train while walking along the tracks, school officials, police and others are joining together to raise awareness about rail safety.

Police from Norfolk Southern Corp. and CSX Transportation, which own rail lines in Manville, in July stepped up enforcement of no-trespassing rules, issuing written warnings or tickets to more than 40 people. The Manville Business & Professional Association last month began distributing fliers aimed at keeping people off the tracks.

Manville High School sent awareness brochures home with student report cards in June, and on Sept. 12, the school and Operation Lifesaver, a non-profit organization that works to prevent rail fatalities, will hold assemblies for students.

"After we had another death on the railroad tracks of one of our students, I think it was a town outcry: 'What can we do?" said Manville High School Principal Mary McLoughlin, who said she has seen kids trying to jump on a train just a block from the high school, and yelled at them to get away.

"I think because it's so much easier to get to other parts of town by walking along the tracks, it's almost that the geography of the town makes it conducive for kids to walk on. Everybody's done it for all time. But parents need to tell their children that this is not safe," she said.

"Kids think they're invincible, they don't realize that fooling around can really injure themselves," McLoughlin said. "I hope this will make a difference."

The Federal Railroad Administration does not keep railroad casualty statistics by town, according to a spokesman. But looking county by county, between 2005 and May 2008, Somerset County had six trespassing casualties, the fifth most in New Jersey, according to administration statistics.

In 2007, New Jersey overall had 17 rail trespassing fatalities, placing the state ninth highest in that grim statistic, according to the administration.

Norfolk Southern supports raising awareness, but is blunt about the casualties being the result of trespassing. "We want to prevent any incident in which people are trespassing on our property. Just stay off the tracks. It's the law, for one thing, and the consequences of being struck by a train are serious," said Rudy Husband, spokesman for Norfolk Southern.

At Operation Lifesaver, the non-profit group that works to prevent railroad trespassing and grade crossing deaths, state coordinator Todd Hirt said his organization has given safety presentations around the state, including in Belmar, Point Pleasant and Allenhurst. The group is also hoping to do a presentation in Hillsborough this year; a teenage boy was struck and killed by a train there this summer as well.

"Our message is always the same. We're always alerting people to the danger, saying to only cross at public crossings," Hirt said. "We like to think it does make a difference."

He said the group wanted to do a presentation in Manville in 2002, but was not able to get into the schools.

McLoughlin was not principal in 2002, and said she could not answer the question of why the assembly was not held then. But she said the program is welcome now.

"I think we should have ongoing education. Had we done it five or six years ago, we'd have to do it again," she said. "There are going to be different kids in and out of the high school, and I think we should incorporate it in middle school. I think any time is a good time to educate."

Kevin Seit's mother, Dorothy, said her family is still struggling to cope with her son's death. The teenager, who was about a month shy of graduating from Manville High School, was walking to meet his mother, for a ride to his after-school job, when he was killed.

It is believed he was wearing an iPod at the time, and did not hear the approaching train. Police said it has been determined his death was accidental.

Some other deaths along the Manville tracks have been determined to be suicides, however, or have been alcohol-related, according to Manville Lt. John Crater.

Dorothy Seit spoke bitterly about the need for better fencing along the tracks -- she said there were holes that were fixed just after her son's death -- and more enforcement, which she said was rare before her boy died. She said trains also sound their horns loudly and more often now than before the accident.

She said education might help, but she wished it had started long ago.

"It's too little too late for us. But if it can prevent or help anyone, I think it would be a good thing," she said. "They should have done something a long time ago, and I'm sure they know that."

Norfolk Southern Whistle-Stop Train Delivers Safety Training

Received the following via email.

September 9, 2008

Norfolk Southern Whistle-Stop Train Delivers Safety Training to Emergency Responders in Georgia, Carolinas, and Virginia

NORFOLK, VA. -- A special train will travel to Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia Sept. 15-19 to provide emergency preparedness training to first responders as part of the 2008 Norfolk Southern TRANSCAER Whistle-Stop Tour.

TRANSCAER (Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response) is a nationwide program that assists communities in preparing for and responding to a possible hazardous material transportation incident.

“The Whistle-Stop Tour brings emergency preparedness training to response organizations and educates communities near major rail routes about rail equipment, chemical transportation, and the importance of planning for potential hazardous material transportation emergencies,” said Chuck Wehrmeister, Norfolk Southern’s vice president safety and environmental.

The tour kicks off in Austell, Ga., and makes stops in Greenville, S.C., Charlotte, N.C., Greensboro, N.C., and Roanoke, Va. More than 1,200 emergency responders are expected to participate in the training programs taught by chemical and rail transportation experts.

At each location, state and local emergency planning committees, emergency responders, and government officials can participate in hands-on drills and training sessions. Railroad training tank cars, specialized emergency response vehicles, and over-the-road tank trucks will be on display. More than 250 participants are expected at each stop.

This is the ninth TRANSCAER train Norfolk Southern has sponsored since 1994. More information, including local contacts, tour times, and program information, is available at www.transcaer.org. TRANSCAER members include volunteer representatives from the chemical manufacturing, transportation and distribution industries, and government. TRANSCAER sponsors include the Association of American Railroads, American Chemistry Council, The Chlorine Institute, Chemical Educational Foundation, CHEMTREC®, National Tank Truck Carriers Inc., U.S. Department of Energy (Environmental Management Office), and the Renewable Fuels Association.

The schedule for the 2008 TRANSCAER Whistle-Stop Tour will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. as follows:

· Sept. 15 - Austell, Ga., NS Intermodal Facility, 6000 Westside Rd.
· Sept. 16 - Greenville, S.C., Amtrak Station, 1120 W. Washington St.
· Sept. 17 - Charlotte, N.C., NS Coach Yard, North Tryon St. near Amtrak Station
· Sept. 18 - Greensboro, N.C., NS Intermodal Facility, 1105 Meritt Dr.
· Sept. 19 - Roanoke, Va., NS South Yard, Reserve Ave.

The following companies and organizations are participating in the tour: Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health, DuPont, Firefighters Education and Training Foundation, BASF, Hepaco Inc., Hulcher Services, Olin Corp., Operation Lifesaver of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, Operation Respond Institute, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Potash Corporation, SWS First Response, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Environmental Services, HMHTTC, National Foam, SRS Emergency Services, CHEMTREC, and Renewable Fuels Association.

Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) is one of the nation’s premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway subsidiary operates approximately 21,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serving every major container port in the eastern United States and providing superior connections to western rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is North America’s largest rail carrier of metals and automotive products.


Norfolk Southern contact:
(Media) Robin Chapman, 757-629-2713 (robin.chapman@nscorp.com)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Weekly Rail Carloading Report - Week 36, 2008

There is an interesting report available on the web that is "A Weekly Report of North American Rail Freight Traffic by Major Railroad and Commodity." It is currently showing data for week 36 of 2008. Take a look.


Here is an example of the information available on this web site. This graph shows Total Traffic for 2007-2008 vs. 2006-2007. There are more graphs and tables on the web site showing data by railroad and by commodity.

Note: This web site has new tables and graphs every Thursday. So, if I am late or miss a week with this blog posting, you can check for new data on Thursdays.

Norfolk Southern CFO Squires to Address Dahlman Rose Global Transportation Conference

Received the following via email. This guy gets around. See posting below.

September 3, 2008

Norfolk Southern CFO Squires to Address Dahlman Rose Global Transportation Conference

NORFOLK, VA. - James A. Squires, executive vice president finance and chief financial officer for Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC), will address the First Annual Global Transportation Conference presented by Dahlman Rose & Company at 1:30 p.m. (EDT) on Thursday, Sept. 11, in New York City.

The presentation will provide highlights of Norfolk Southern’s current business and growth initiatives. Interested investors can listen via a simultaneous webcast at http://www.wsw.com/webcast/dahlman2/nsc/. After the webcast, the presentation will be posted at www.nscorp.com.

Norfolk Southern Corporation is one of the nation’s premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway subsidiary operates approximately 21,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serving every major container port in the eastern United States and providing superior connections to western rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is North America’s largest rail carrier of metals and automotive products.


Norfolk Southern contacts:
(Media) Frank Brown, 757-629-2710 (fsbrown@nscorp.com)
(Investors) Leanne Marilley, 757-629-2861 (leanne.marilley@nscorp.com)

Norfolk Southern CFO Squires to Address NYSE Euronext Investment Conference in Tokyo

Received the following via email.

September 5, 2008

Norfolk Southern CFO Squires to Address NYSE Euronext Investment Conference in Tokyo

NORFOLK, VA. – James A. Squires, executive vice president finance and chief financial officer for Norfolk Southern Corporation, will address the NYSE Euronext Investment Conference in Tokyo at 11 a.m., Monday, Sept. 8 (10 p.m. EDT, Sunday, Sept. 7, in the U.S.).

Squires will provide highlights of Norfolk Southern’s current business and growth initiatives. After the presentation, it will be posted at www.nscorp.com.

Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) is one of the nation’s premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway subsidiary operates approximately 21,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serving every major container port in the eastern United States and providing superior connections to western rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is North America’s largest rail carrier of metals and automotive products.


Norfolk Southern contacts:
(Media) Frank Brown, 757-629-2710 (fsbrown@nscorp.com)
(Investors) Leanne Marilley, 757-629-2861 (leanne.marilley@nscorp.com)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Steamtown Exhibit on DL&W's Scranton Station

Following item is from the Steamtown National Historic Site (Scranton, PA) web site.
For more information, visit www.nps.gov/stea.

100 Years: The DL&W Railroad`s Scranton Passenger Station

Date: Everyday from 8/18/2008 to 12/31/2008
Time: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Location: Changing Exhibits Gallery

Steamtown National Historic Site, downtown Scranton, welcomes a new exhibit, “100 Years: The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad`s Scranton Passenger Station” on Monday, August 18. The exhibit illustrates the key role that this prominent Scranton landmark played in the life of the everyday man, through archival photographs, news stories and advertisements. The exhibit was conceived, designed and produced by Interpretation & Education Division personnel at Steamtown NHS, in partnership with the Lackawanna County Library System, the Lackawanna Heritage Valley, Lackawanna Historical Society, the Radisson Lackawanna Station hotel, and the Scranton Times-Tribune. It will be on display at the park’s Changing Exhibit’s Gallery through December; an abridged exhibit is also on display along the first floor halls at the hotel.

Included with the Park Entrance Fee

Bomb scare spurs search of train in N.J.

Following article appeared in the Daily Record (NJ) on 8-6-08.

Bomb scare spurs search of train in N.J.

NORTH BERGEN (AP) -- A suspicious package found aboard a CSX train car Friday night contained some type of electronic device that bomb squad members doused with a water cannon, authorities said. However, it was not immediately clear what type of device it was or whether it was capable of causing any damage, officials said.

The train had been stopped in North Bergen, in the area of West Side Avenue and 57th Street, at about 5:30 p.m. after a Florida woman reported that a Federal Express package containing a bomb might be aboard the train.

The car containing the suspicious package was detached at the scene and, while the rest of the train continued on to a nearby train depot, bomb squads started searching the detached car for the parcel. Officials told The Jersey Journal of Jersey City that the woman called CSX on Friday morning to tell them about the package, which she believed was sent by her ex-boyfriend. She later admitted her call was a hoax, but authorities continued to search for the package she referred to and found it shortly after the search began.

No injuries were reported in the incident.

Union Pacific Boo Boo - I'd hate to be the dispatcher/router!

Received the following pictures and text via email. This happened in June 2008.

Because of all the flooding in the Midwest the UP rerouted this double stack train through the Detroit-Windsor tunnel. This was not a good idea.

Lackawanna RailFest 2008

Lackawanna RailFest 2008 was held on Labor Day weekend at the Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, PA. There was lots of railroad equipment to see, shops were open for tours, and there were steam powered excursions.

We received the following pictures, captions and text from Kermit Geary, Jr.

Another RailFest is now history in Scranton! Well attended and with much to see and do in the Steamtown facility, this annual event should be a must see for all. And with the Festival de Italiano in downtown Scranton, plenty of good eats were also available!! Unfortunately, the weather on Saturday left a lot to be desired, but Sunday was crystal clear....As a famous railroad editor put ..."that's why there is a turd in Sa'turd'ay..and a Sun in 'Sun'day!!!!! Enjoy these cloudy shots taken on Saturday!

Visiting diesels sun themselves before the show starts

CP 2317 on table

Amtrak 75 leaves turntable after taking a spin....by Troy Rogers
CN 3254 takes a spin on the turntable

CN 3254 leaving Turntable at start of day
Private Car "Hickory Creek" on display

3254 enters roundhouse at end of day

Norfolk Southern Says NTSB's Finding On 2006 Train Accident Is Erroneous

Received the following via email.

August 29, 2008

Norfolk Southern Says NTSB’s Finding On 2006 Train Accident Is Erroneous

Railroad Submits Petition for Reconsideration of July 25, 2008, Accident Report

NORFOLK, VA. – In a formal petition filed today with the National Transportation Safety Board, Norfolk Southern Railway Company presented documentation and analysis, including new evidence, clearly establishing good cause for the NTSB to reexamine and amend its conclusion regarding the cause of an Oct. 20, 2006, derailment in New Brighton, Pa. The NTSB’s assertion that the accident was caused by an “inadequate rail inspection and maintenance program” is contrary to both the new and previously available evidence provided to the agency during its original investigation.

The immediate cause of the New Brighton accident was a rail fracture that occurred when an eastbound freight train passed over the track. As a result, 23 rail cars loaded with ethanol derailed, and many caught on fire. There were no injuries to the train crew or public. Norfolk Southern’s response to the derailment, including addressing the needs of nearby residents, was deemed appropriate by the NTSB.

The main focus of the NTSB’s investigation was an Aug. 1, 2006, ultrasonic rail inspection. The NTSB claims that one of the 24 ultrasonic signals was interrupted and, as a result, a defect in the rail was not discovered. The NTSB concludes that the rail defect would have been discovered if the ultrasonic signal had not been interrupted.

Countering that conclusion, Norfolk Southern’s rail inspection contractor recently verified that the operator of the inspection vehicle, having observed a possible defect on an adjacent rail, immediately conducted a second ultrasonic test. This second test ensured that all 24 ultrasonic signals were being continuously sent. This data produced by the operator’s second test was provided to the NTSB after it announced its determination of probable cause at a public meeting held on May 13, 2008, but before the issuance of its July 25, 2008, Accident Report.

The defect that ultimately led to the derailment was not detected by the ultrasonic test conducted nine weeks earlier, because despite the use of the best technology available the defect either did not exist or was too small to be detected.

“The NTSB’s findings and recommendations should be based upon the complete facts,” said Tim Drake, Norfolk Southern’s vice president engineering. “Based on the uncontroverted, scientifically-proven evidence Norfolk Southern has furnished, the NTSB lacks a factual basis to determine that our track and maintenance program is inadequate, and we urge the Board to correct its erroneous conclusions.”

“We have provided irrefutable proof that the derailment was caused by a defect that could not have been detected by the advanced technologies used during the Aug. 1, 2006, track inspection,” said Drake. “Norfolk Southern has the lowest track-related accident rate among Class 1 railroads, and even the NTSB has recognized that we inspect our track for internal defects more frequently than required by the Federal Railroad Administration.”

A copy of Norfolk Southern’s Petition for Reconsideration and Modification will be provided upon request.

Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) is one of the nation’s premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway subsidiary operates approximately 21,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serving every major container port in the eastern United States and providing superior connections to western rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is North America’s largest rail carrier of metals and automotive products.


Norfolk Southern contacts:

Media: Rudy Husband, 610-567-3377, (rudy.husband@nscorp.com)
Investors: Leanne Marilley, 757-629-2861 (leanne.marilley@nscorp.com)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Norfolk Southern Service Alert Update - Hurricane Gustav

Received the following via email.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008 9:13 AM

Norfolk Southern Service Alert Update

Hurricane Gustav

Norfolk Southern trains are resuming operations between Hattiesburg, MS and New Orleans following the impact of Hurricane Gustav with local yard and customer switching operations expected to follow as inspections are completed and customer operations return to normal. Norfolk Southern is lifting its embargo of the New Orleans area effective 9/03/08.

The New Orleans gateway is open for interchange traffic between Norfolk Southern and connecting carriers; however some reroutes continue via the Memphis Gateway and will continue until connecting carriers resume operations over New Orleans.

Major East Coast high speed route proposed

Following is part of an article printed in the Times Herald of Newnan, GA on 8-23-08.

Major rail line with Atlanta stop proposed

By Winston Skinner
The Times-Herald

More railroad lines are likely to be part of the travel pattern of Americans in the future.

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson Friday said he and U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) are proposing "another high speed rail line." Speaking to the Newnan Rotary Club at Newnan Country Club, Isakson said the proposed line would run from New York to Birmingham, with stops in Atlanta and Richmond.

Isakson -- who spent most of Friday in Newnan -- said the rail stop in Atlanta would remove an estimated 15 percent of the traffic on Interstate 85 north of Georgia's capital city.

Connecting major cities with high speed rail and smaller cities with light rail "makes sense," Isakson said.

Isakson said major changes are needed in the way railroads are financed in the United States. He said railroads need funding more like that used for highways and air travel. In those two instances, the government provides some basic infrastructure -- the road, the runway, air traffic control -- but the private sector provides the means of travel with the cost paid by users.

Isakson said he also has confidence that American ingenuity can develop new sources of energy that will go beyond helping to solve the current gasoline crisis. "Whatever we're doing now has got to be a bridge to the next source of energy," he said.

That new "source," he said, could be "a variety of sources."

He said reduced reliance on foreign oil will cause the price per barrel to drop some, but not to previous levels. "The day of $10, $20, $30 a barrel oil is over," he said.

Backers explore connecting Allentown, Pa., to NJ Transit

Following article is from the The Morning Call (Allentown, PA) dated 8-9-08.

NYC rail link study on track

This time it’s a $250,000 regional effort aimed at exploring an Allentown hookup with NJ Transit.

By Matt Assad
of The Morning Call

August 9, 2008

For decades, rail enthusiasts pushing for passenger train service into the Lehigh Valley have been brushed aside as history buffs letting their dreams mask the reality that America's golden age of rail travel is passed.

But recently, with $4-a-gallon gasoline and highways crowded with thousands of people commuting as long as three hours to work, some of the Lehigh Valley's most influential leaders appear ready to make a down payment on those dreams.

Paul Marin of Allentown, a former Wall Street money manager who moved to the area after witnessing the 9/11 attacks, is cobbling together $250,000 for a study of what it would take to extend the existing NJ Transit commuter line through the heart of the Valley.

Local rail stations would allow Valley commuters to trade the harrowing trek on Interstate 78 and the volatile cost of fuel for a more pleasant ride to work, advocates argue.

Quietly, the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. has set aside $100,000, and the Lehigh and Northampton county executives will recommend their boards split the rest of the cost.

Marin knows he'll be traveling a path littered with failed proposals, but what makes his effort different is that people are actually listening.

''Well, if it's a pipe dream, then I'm in good company with that dream,'' said Marin, who heads LVEDC's transportation committee and serves on the Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority board. ''This is real. This is the future.''

People like Rodale marketing director Dennis Bednarski are hoping he's right.

Bednarski worked for Rodale in Emmaus for 10 years before moving to the publishing company's Manhattan offices in February. So now, most days, he leaves his Lower Macungie Township home at 4:30 a.m. for Wescosville to catch a bus that won't arrive at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey until nearly 7 a.m. From there, he walks 11/2 miles to his office. He repeats the three-hour commute after work, arriving home at 8:30 p.m.

He's learned to live on less than six hours' sleep.

''It's a pretty long day, so I'm all for anything that could help shorten it,'' said Bednarski, 61. ''During the workweek, it's pretty much work, commute and sleep.''

Marin admits the time savings of rail service would be minimal until the system is electrified to allow for faster trains. But from the start, he argues, the commute would be more pleasant, more cost-efficient and more energy-conscious.

John Carrig, 59, of Palmer Township said his more-than-two-hour commute by bus from the William Penn Highway park-and-ride lot to Wall Street used to take 90 minutes.

But since he moved here five years ago to escape New Jersey property taxes, crowded highways have extended his commute. And it's become difficult to find a space in the overcrowded park-and-ride lot, where many people have to park on the grass and on the road's shoulder.

His 14-hour work-and-commute days have him wanting a better option. If there were a passenger train, ''I'd be on it the next day,'' he said.

Carrig and Bednarski are not alone. According to the U.S. Census, more than 20,000 residents leave the Valley to work in New Jersey or New York each day. Because that part of the Census hasn't been updated since 2000, the number is probably much higher.

The Valley's population has since grown by 50,000 people, many of them coming from New York and New Jersey in search of more house for their money. They built large, expensive homes on thousands of acres of former farmland, driving up home prices and bringing a 9 percent increase in population.

But no one really tracks how many of those people drive all the way to eastern New Jersey or into New York City. That's precisely why a study is needed, Marin said.

In the past, rail advocates were told the Valley had too much sprawl for a rail line to be convenient, or there'd be too few riders to justify the cost.

But with the so-called ''New Jersey invasion'' since 2000, and the arrival of a national energy crisis, Marin said the time is now. Amtrak's nationwide passenger service is up 14 percent over last year, and the railroad reports that some of its routes have become so overcrowded that there aren't enough trains to handle the surge.

Valley leaders hope to join a $1.2 million systemwide study under way by NJ Transit. It includes looking at a $551 million project that would allow commuters to travel 88 miles from Andover, N.J., to Scranton, and extend track from the High Bridge station to Phillipsburg, just across the Delaware River from Easton.

Valley leaders are most interested in the 20-mile extension from High Bridge, just north of I-78, to Phillipsburg. From there, bringing passenger rail into the Valley would involve extending the track across the river, probably along the existing Norfolk Southern freight rail lines, into Easton, through Hellertown and Bethlehem and straight into Allentown.

In theory, advocates say, the line could help residents traveling east get to their destination without clogging highways, and in far less time. Ultimately, the rail line would draw more young professionals into the cities where it runs, and as more wealth moves into the cities, businesses would follow.

''We believe in it enough to put our money where our mouth is,'' said Phil Mitman, executive director of LVEDC and former mayor of Easton. ''Many things have changed in the last 12 years. Rail could be the key to rebuilding our urban cores.''

Northampton County Executive John Stoffa and Lehigh County Executive Don Cunningham agree it's worth studying. They say they'll ask their county council members and commissioners to chip in $75,000 each to begin the work.

But even Mitman admits that many of the barriers that have kept such proposals from being taken seriously are still there. Getting control of abandoned rail beds, or getting private freight carriers like Norfolk Southern to share their lines, is not a certainty and could take years.

Perhaps the biggest barrier is money. Early estimates for an effort to restore service from Lansdale to Quakertown start at $114 million.

But Marin says that's an argument for acting now. In his view, the energy crisis is causing a national shift in policy that will, in coming years, bring billions of federal dollars for passenger rail service and other options designed to reduce the nation's dependency on foreign oil.

In time, Marin said, a Valley line would become an important link for a passenger rail system connecting Boston, New York, Baltimore and Washington with important Pennsylvania regions such as the Valley, Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

''We didn't have money for a $1 trillion war or to bail out Bear Sterns, but yet we did,'' Marin said. ''Where there is political will, there is money, and unless we are in the front of the line for that money, we'll be left behind.''

Michael Kaiser, executive director of the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, who has been working on planning issues since 1964, said he welcomes a study but that the Planning Commission won't help pay for it. He questions whether passenger rail service is warranted, even if the money is there.

''We studied rail in the past and found that the Valley just doesn't have the density you need to sustain it,'' Kaiser said. ''I'm of the view that we should wait for NJ Transit to make its recommendation. If they decide to extend to Phillipsburg, then we should take a look.''

NJ Transit's recommendations could come by the end of the year. But by then, Marin believes, the train will have left the station.

Reporter Ben Slivnick contributed to this story.

My quest continues...

(Train sightings on 8- 26, 28, 30 -08.)
First picture is of NJT 4127 running between Lebanon and Annandale. Second picture is same train with a large bird flying between the camera and the nose of the locomotive. Look closely.

as I go in search of a place to photograph trains in peace and good sunlight. This is a journey that has introduced me to photographing trains that I have shunned in the past because there were passenger trains. Omigosh, say it ain't so! I always felt that photographing passenger trains was for the birds and this shot reinforces that view. It is a image of NJT's 5733 after it has departed from the Lebanon station last Wednesday. 5733's next stop will be Annadale.

On Thursday, my next stop would be Raritan to photograph NJT's 5435 with its consist of bilevel coaches. This train currently terminates at Raritan.

Needing to satisfy my hunger for shooting freight, I ventured up to Stanton Station on Saturday to hopefully catch NS 20G with its usual colorful consist of power. Motive power this day would be PRR 5413 (ex-CR 6722), BNSF 5424 and BNSF 5175.

Where will my travels take me in my quest for a good trackside location...