Sunday, July 26, 2015

Man Fatally Struck by MBTA Train | NECN

Man Fatally Struck by MBTA Train | NECN

A man in his 30s is dead after being struck by an MBTA train around 2 p.m. Saturday, according to Transit Police.

The man was with two other people trying to cross the tracks at Brockton Station when he was hit by a Middleborough Line train.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

The train involved was a test train meant to check the conditions of the tracks.

Transit police and and the Plymouth County District Attorney's Office are
investigating the incident. Foul play is not suspected.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Irving Ends Rail Shipping of Crude Oil Through Maine

(SOURCE:  Portland Press Herald - By Tom Bell)

Irving Oil has stopped shipping crude oil on railroads through Maine and has no plans to revive the practice.

The Canadian company, which operates an oil refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick, confirmed the policy change in a June 30 email to the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting.

The change means there will be no more oil shipments though New Hampshire and southern and central Maine on Pan Am Railways. In addition, there will be no more oil shipments on the Eastern Maine Railway, which connects with Pan Am at Mattawamkeag and continues through Washington County to the Canadian border.

The cutback is because of global oil-supply-and-demand issues and is not related to the fallout from the Lac-Megantic rail disaster, Mark Sherman, Irving’s chief operating officer, told the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting. The U.S. demand for Canadian-produced petroleum products has declined in the wake of an oversupply of oil from domestic and Mideast sources.

In 2012, Maine railroads shipped 5.2 million barrels of crude oil, but shipments declined sharply after the July 6, 2013 accident in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, when an unattended 74-car freight train carrying Bakken crude oil rolled and derailed, resulting in a fire and explosion that killed 47 people.

The railroad involved in the disaster, the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, never carried oil again and went bankrupt. Its successor, the Central Maine & Quebec Railway, also has never carried oil because of political opposition in Lac-Megantic.

Pan Am, whose trains travel through Portland, carried just 15,545 barrels of oil in all of 2014, according to records the company filed with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. In 2015, Pan Am has carried 37,128 barrels. All those shipments occurred in February, the last month the railroad delivered oil to the Irving refinery, according to the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting.

An official with Pan Am could not immediately be reached for comment.

John Giles, CEO of Central Maine & Quebec Railway, had been seeking an agreement with Lac-Megantic officials to restart oil train shipments through the Canadian town. On Tuesday, Giles said the railroad does not need to carry oil to be profitable.

“I was never counting on moving crude oil in the first place,” Giles said.

Giles said his railroad spent $10 million to upgrade the rail line last year and is spending $6 million this year, with about half of that investment in Maine.

An investigation after the Lac-Megantic accident found that the tank-car labels understated the flammability of the oil. Twenty-five companies have offered a total of $431 million (Canadian) to settle lawsuits arising out of the disaster. Irving Oil’s contribution is $75 million. The settlement is being considered by U.S. and Canadian courts.

Providence & Worcester Rail Yard in Line for $450K from State

(SOURCE: -By Lisa Eckelbecker - Telegram & Gazette Staff )

BOSTON - State grants worth more than $2 million will go to industrial railroad projects in Massachusetts, including a grant of almost $456,000 to Providence and Worcester Railroad Co. in Worcester.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation said it awarded five grants as part of the state's Industrial Rail Access Program, which gives money to businesses and municipalities to boost economic growth by improving rail networks.

In Worcester, the state grant will go toward work at the Providence and Worcester Southbridge Street railroad yard, the state reported. The railroad is a freight carrier.

Catania Spagna Corp. of Ayer, which processes and sells oils, was awarded $500,000 for rail siding track expansion and unloading improvements in Ayer, DOT said in a news release.

The state reported other grants were awarded to Borden & Remington Corp. of Fall River, $383,910; Pioneer Valley Railroad of Westfield, $175,045; and the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority and Fore River Railroad Corp. of Quincy, $500,000.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

VT Rail System Allowed to Use Herbicides Starting July


After a one-year hiatus, the Vermont Rail System can once again spray herbicides on the 2.5-mile track running through Montpelier.

The Times Argus reports the railroad was to work with the state and public to seek alternative methods during the hiatus after the Vermont Pesticide Advisory Council refused to allow the herbicide last year.

Residents said they want the railroad to use alternative methods to clear the track, citing safety concerns.

Though officials with the city's Tree Board say discussions with the railroad on possible alternatives never happened, the council approved the railroad's permit in April. The permit was issued in May; spraying can occur in July.

Mayor John Hollar says he'll work with the railroad to find alternatives and see if the city can or should do anything.

POSTCARD VIEW: Head-on Collision at West Brookfield, MA on the Boston & Albany - 1907