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sniffing around on the notion that there is a museum in Boston that it might operate. Thanks to Fred Cole and Don Gamble for the information.


MARC/Amtrak Aberdeen Station The federal government is attempting to cut down on defense expenses by eliminating bases and camps and consolidating opera- tions. The Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Ab- erdeen, Md., is to grow larger as other oper- ations are slimmed down or eliminated. The railway station at Aberdeen is becoming busier, and both the State of Maryland and the City of Aberdeen want to upgrade the Amtrak-owned station and the neighbor- hood around it as increasing numbers of Ab- erdeen employees are using the facility. The financial woes facing all levels of govern- ment are delaying attempts to improve the station. The number of worthy transit ori- ented projects that have been delayed be- cause of the Great Recession must total into the hundreds across the U.S. Thanks to Ted Hudson for the news.


Washington Metrorail Rail Cracks Twice a week, all parts of the Washington Metrorail rapid transit systems are walked by track walkers, and every three months a track inspection machine makes the rounds. There were reports of 19 cracked rails in 2009, 33 in 2010, 49 in 2011, and in the first month of 2012 there were seven cracks re- ported. The Washington Metrorail system is no longer new; parts of it — particularly the Red Line — have been in service since the 1970s and are not getting any younger. The reasons for the cracks do not appear


to be associated with flaws in the rails them- selves, but more likely are related to a lack of maintenance, water leaks into tunnels, the stress of sharp changes in temperature that the area is known for, and particularly, the intense use of the system. Moreover, in recent years the trains have been operated manually rather than by the automated sys- tem. Manual operation, especially when braking, is evidently hard on the rails. The National Transportation Safety


Board is investigating the cracked rails and Metrorail itself has been taking aggressive steps in rail replacement in recent years. Some 15 miles of new rail were installed in the 205-mile rapid transit system in 2011. When all is checked out it will be likely that more money needs to be spent on mainte- nance owing to the temperature extremes and intense use of each line. Thanks to Richard Bushman for the information. Reading this makes me think that the


frugal times for transit in recent years are apt to have a negative impact on the main- tenance health of transit facilities and equipment. As I write this I have recently read bad news that Congress is considering major reductions in federal aid to transit. Is something out of kilter here?


Corporations Seek Fed Help In Detroit A number of corporations are hoping to es- tablish a 3.3-mile light rail line in the down- town section of the Motor City and they have already pledged $84 million towards the to- tal $137 million of the project. It is hoped the federal government can be convinced to kick in $40 million in grant money. A meeting at Mayor Dave Bing’s office in early June brought in Transportation Secretary Ray La- Hood, Federal Transit Administrator Peter


Rogoff, Michigan governor Rick Snyder and the business leaders behind the project. The 3.3-mile line along Woodward Av-


enue from downton to the New Center is a scaled-back proposal after Snyder and Bing rejected a more ambitious project as being out of the financial reach of cash-strapped Detroit. Among the businesses assisting in financing the line are Penske Corp., Quick- en Loans, Compuware, the Detroit Medical Center, Wayne State University and the Henry Ford Health System. The Kresge Foundation is providing most of the money, kicking in $35 million. M-1 Rail, which will operate the line, feels


that 80 per cent of the operating costs can be covered by fares, advertising, naming rights, and corporate sponsorships in the line’s first decade (2015-2025). It seems the corporate world thinks Detroit has a bright future.


Flashes It takes forever, it seems, to build a new rail line, but over time the job gets done. Progress has been made on the tunneling in Manhattan for the extension of the 7 Line subway from Times Square to the Javits Convention Center. The first tunneling phase of the Second Avenue subway has been completed. NEW YORK will be the better for both projects. The 7 Line extension should open for revenue service by 2015, and the second Avenue line may be open for rev- enue service by 2017 or, perhaps, earlier. Thanks to Mike Breza for the news. For a city its size, ATLANTA was quick


to develop a rapid transit system but slow to develop a plan to expand the service using the Beltway rail line that encircles the city. In riding the Atlanta subway, I was im- pressed by the quality of the rolling stock to produce a very comfortable ride. The year 2014 is scheduled to witness the


opening of the CENTRAL CORRIDOR LIGHT RAIL line that will link downtown Minneapolis with downtown St. Paul’s Union Depot. It is a $957 million undertak- ing. Another Minnesota light rail line is un- der very serious consideration; the South- west line would link Minneapolis downtown with Eden Prairie. Thanks to Phil Staats for the news. The ST. LOUIS METROLINK is the on-


ly interstate light rapid transit service in the U.S. There are plans to expand the 46 mile system with up to eight possible corri- dors serviced. Plans are now in hand to ex- pand light rail service between Forest Park and University City. The proposed line would be 2.2 miles in length and $43 million in cost. It is not cheap to build a rail line. I don’t know how to bring the construction cost down, but if it was to be less costly there is a good chance that the U.S. would see more light rail and streetcar service. Expect to see a great deal of action along


the Red Line of the CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY. Mayor Rahm Emanuel sees the Red Line between 95th and the Dan Ryan Expressway and Howard Street in the north as the backbone of the public trans- portation system of Chicago. Stations will be upgraded substantially and extensive work will be carried out on the signal system to make the service safer and faster. Within the next decade the entire rapid transit car fleet will be replaced. Many customers hope that the car design with the bowling alley seats will be discarded. Thanks to Al Kreig for the news.


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