More layoffs at Jacksonville-based CSX brings total dismissals to 1,000, as originally projected

By Drew Dixon, The Florida Times-Union, April 25, 2017

Jacksonville-based CSX Corp. finalized the company’s layoffs Tuesday with the termination of 200 workers, bringing the complete tally of layoffs to 1,000, which the company originally projected in February.

The workers were given notice Tuesday at the Jacksonville headquarter operations and other field locations of the company. It brings an end to an awkward layoff process over the past two turbulent months for the railway giant.

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CSX CEO plans changes to coal train operations

By JIM ROSS, The State Journal, April 25, 2017

Coal shippers along CSX lines in West Virginia and elsewhere may see a different business approach as new CSX CEO Hunter Harrison reshapes the company’s business practices.

Speaking last week to investment consultants following release of the quarterly earnings report, Harrison said there are inefficiencies in the CSX coal transportation system that need to be changed.

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Harrison to serve CSX as president in addition to CEO

From Progressive Railroading Magazine, April 24, 2017

n addition to serving as CSX Corp.‘s chief executive officer, E. Hunter Harrison will serve as president of the Class I, according to a proxy statement hedge fund Mantle Ridge LP filed last week with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Mantle Ridge, now a CSX shareholder, helped negotiate Harrison’s hiring as CSX CEO earlier this year.

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Roanoke, Virginia: Ex-U.S. attorney Fishwick challenges railroad management

By Jeff Sturgeon, The Roanoke Times, April 25, 2017

John Fishwick no longer relies on Justice Department press releases to speak out the way he did as U.S. attorney.

He has his own Facebook page.

And citizen Fishwick, free from the strictures of public service, has used it to criticize corporate America.

Fishwick, who resigned three and a half months ago as the Western District of Virginia’s top federal prosecutor, says he sees a debacle of corporate waste unfolding at CSX railroad. Speaking out as a CSX shareholder, he registered a Facebook page to rally shareholders against a proposed CEO pay plan that he likens to a scourge of the American Old West.

The page is titled “Stop the CSX Train Robbery.”

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CSX and NS: It takes two to make a duel

By Tony Hatch, Progressive Railroading Magazine, April 2017

Everybody’s talking about CSX and Hunter Harrison. And why not? Hunter’s track record at the Illinois Central, CN and CP speak (volumes) for itself, which is why shareholders have flocked to CSX.

While we await full news on the so-called “Hunterization Plan” for CSX, we’ll get only hints from the quarterly results and the annual meeting — look for a full-scale meeting on targets and forecasts in late summer or early fall. But we should remember that in the battle for freight rail pre-eminence in the southern and eastern United States, as well as in the duel for the winning philosophy for railway management (and long-term ROI) — indeed, for the whole soul of the “Railroad Renaissance” — there are two participants. And in post-Staggers history, Norfolk Southern isn’t used to being the “other guy.” So, with honor challenged must come a response.

NS CEO Squires draws down on the latest threat. It has been a (pleasant) surprise to see NS CEO Jim Squires out in public in early spring making the case for his railroad at Southwest Association of Rail Shippers (SWARS), where he gave perhaps the best speech of his career (to date). As he did in the quarterly earnings call, Squires noted that NS had gotten beyond its mostly self-imposed service challenges of 2014, and in the face of the changing traffic mix (the secular devastation of coal, as well as the impact of the 2015-16 “freight recession”), still had produced its best operating ratio (OR) ever (68.9, down 360bps). The railroad is well on its way to realigning resources and selling off non-core coal (and other) lines. And NS is continuing to reinvent itself from a rail/customer service perspective, with five points of focus:

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By Monique Garcia, Ray Long, Hal Dardick, Chicago Tribune, April 25, 2017

A new report issued Monday by a court-appointed watchdog charged with looking into patronage hiring at the Illinois Department of Transportation details how top Democrats clouted relatives and friends into positions under former Gov. Pat Quinn, even as many of those hired had little or no experience.

House Speaker Mike Madigan‘s office successfully pushed a former bricklayer for a job that included “maintaining relationships” with minority road contractors, though the man eventually resigned after being arrested for allegedly “physically assaulting” a then-state lawmaker. Cicero Rep. Lisa Hernandez sent in the resume of a bank manager who was put on the state payroll to inspect roads. And a daughter of 30th Ward Chicago Ald. Ariel Reboyras ended up in another state job after complaints at a different agency.

The final findings are the result of an inquiry that began in 2014 after a federal judge assigned a lawyer to dig into hiring at the agency — an order that came just two weeks before Election Day, as Quinn went on to lose to Republican Bruce Rauner. The judge’s move followed an earlier report that year by then-state Executive Inspector General Ricardo Meza, which found improper hiring began under ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich but accelerated under Quinn.

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How not to regulate railroads

April 26, 2017

How not to regulate the railroad industry By Michael J. Rush, Real Clear Policy, April 20,2017 Recently released federal data show the nation’s freight rail industry is safer than ever, fueled largely by private spending that enables research, innovation, and the implementation of new safety technology. So it’s a good time for federal policymakers to […]

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San Francisco Bay: BART passengers robbed by 40 to 60 youths in Oakland

April 25, 2017

By Harry Harris, The Mercury News, April 25, 2017 OAKLAND — Investigators on Monday were reviewing videotape from the Oakland Coliseum BART station, where a mob of 40 to 60 youths robbed train passengers Saturday night, punching some of them. At least seven people on a Dublin-bound train and the platform were targeted, and two […]

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New Orleans public transit revamp still being shaped

April 25, 2017

By Richard Rainey, NOLA.com, April 24, 2017 With plans underway to craft a long-term, comprehensive strategy to grow public transit in and around New Orleans, one transit advocacy group hopes to keep the process on the right track and headed in the right direction. Ride New Orleans repeated its call last week to have wait times and travel distances reduced […]

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South Florida: Tri-Rail to start service between Palm Beach County and Brightline’s Miami station late this year

April 25, 2017

By Jennifer Sorentrue, Palm Beach Post, April 24, 2017 Palm Beach County residents will be able to ride Tri–Rail trains to All Aboard Florida’s Brightline station in downtown Miami by the end of the year. A Tri-Rail spokeswoman said Monday the agency plans to launch service between Palm Beach County and the new rail station, […]

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Central Florida: SunRail explores other transit modes for proposed $250M airport link

April 25, 2017

By Veronica Brezina, Staff Writer, Orlando Business Journal, April 24, 2017 A future 5.5-mile passenger train route set to connect to Orlando International Airport’s Intermodal Terminal Facility may not be in the same commuter passenger trains that now transport people between Orange and Volusia counties. The Florida Department of Transportation is working on plans that […]

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Celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday With Fairmont Hotels & Resorts’ & VIA Rail Canada’s Great Canadian Railway Adventure

April 25, 2017

A press release from Fairmont Hotels & Resorts: TORONTO, April 24, 2017 /CNW/ — In honor of Canada’s 150th birthday, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has partnered with VIA Rail Canada to launch The Great Canadian Railway Adventure. Inspired by both brands’ unique Canadian heritage, the 20-day luxury train trip invites travelers to experience the best of Canada—from […]

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Middle Tennessee RTA picks firm for Music City Star TOD project

April 25, 2017

From Progressive Railroading Magazine The Regional Transportation Authority of Middle Tennessee‘s (RTA) board has awarded Pennrose Properties exclusive rights of negotiation for a transit-oriented development project at the Music City Star’s Donelson Station in Nashville. The project will include a mixed-use development aimed at promoting ridership, according to an RTA press release. “The vision presented […]

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Vermont: Blittersdorf spends $5M on rail cars, envisioning commuter train

April 25, 2017

By Mike Polhamus, VTDigger.com A recent state Transportation Agency report says a commuter rail service out of Burlington would cost up to $360 million, but one of the state’s energy magnates says he will prove he can do it for far less. David Blittersdorf, founder of AllEarth Renewables, has already spent roughly $5 million to […]

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