trains

The administration of Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is recommending a Chinese company be awarded a contract to build new subway cars for the MBTA.  The railcars will be assembled at a new factory that is to be built in Springfield.

Gov. Patrick made the announcement Tuesday standing in front of an empty 40- acre lot on Springfield’s east side,  where the CNR Changchun Railway Vehicles Co. has said it will build a $50 million factory creating over 250 new construction and manufacturing jobs.

Sam Churchill / Creative Commons

Many cities across the country are bringing back the streetcar. Providence, Rhode Island just received $13 million in federal TIGER grant funding to build a streetcar system. Could a Connecticut city be far behind?

DanTD / Creative Commons

A transit report says crime has risen since last year on Metro-North Railroad, but officials of the commuter line insist riders are safe.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

Amtrak has announced the inaugural class of its brand-new writers residency program. Out of a crop of some 16,000 applications, the railroad service has picked just 24 writers to ride the rails on a long-distance train — and to write while they do so.

Jim Maurer / Creative Commons

Commuters on Metro-North's New Haven Line can expect more trains during the off-peak hours and on weekends. 

Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Creative Commons

Four of 28 people who sued the Metro-North Railroad in federal court after being injured in a Bridgeport train crash last year have settled with the commuter railroad.

Lawyers in the case say the four passengers reached agreements with Metro-North on Friday and are the first plaintiffs in the lawsuit to settle. Terms weren't disclosed. Metro-North previously settled with several others injured in the crash who didn't go to court.

Paul Kimo McGregor / Creative Commons

Metro-North Railroad is launching a pilot program to offer its broadest tryout yet of bicycle racks on trains.

Judd Everhart, spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Transportation, said Metro-North will install two racks apiece on 50 cars by November.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced a milestone agreement today in the effort to bring high- speed passenger rail service to western Massachusetts.

Governor Patrick arrived in Greenfield onboard a train from North Adams to announce a tentative agreement to have the state purchase the rail line between East Northfield on the Vermont border and Springfield.  The 49-mile stretch is nearing the completion of a major restoration that will return passenger rail service to communities along the Connecticut River.

Strike Averted On Nation's Largest Commuter Rail Line

Jul 17, 2014

A tentative agreement has headed off a strike at the nation's largest commuter railroad.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who became personally involved in talks between the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and unions representing Long Island Rail Road workers, announced Thursday that a deal had been reached, three days ahead of a planned strike.

The 5,400 LIRR employees had been working without a contract since 2010.

"This is a compromise by both parties after four long years," Cuomo said.

Israeli Defense Forces / Creative Commons

Once again, violence has escalated in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine. Rockets are now reaching northern Israel and that government is responding with barrages of its own rocket attacks on Palestinian targets. We talk with a local professor who recently returned from the region and studies this on-going conflict.

WalkingGeek / Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy, Senator Richard Blumenthal and other leaders met in New York City on Monday to discuss the latest problem for Connecticut rail travel. The 118-year-old Walk Bridge in Norwalk has gotten stuck in the open position twice in recent days, leading to major Metro-North and Amtrak delays.

Sean Marshall / Creative Commons

Metro-North customers can expect residual delays on the New Haven Line Thursday morning because of mechanical problems with a bridge in Norwalk.

KHON2 News / youtube.com

Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words. A train almost took out Senator Richard Blumenthal last week -- and yes, that really was a press conference about rail safety.

This hour, it’s The Wheelhouse, our weekly news roundtable. And Wednesday’s bearing down on us like a southbound Acela. 

How to Avoid Delays as Metro-North Gets Fixed

Apr 21, 2014
Metropolitan Transportation Authority/Kevin Ortiz

The past year was a bad one for Metro-North. A derailment and collision in Bridgeport injured at least 50 people, and another derailment in the Bronx killed four. Even Governor Dannel Malloy said on WNPR’s Where We Live that the railroad “couldn’t have had a worse year.” 

J.P. Chan / Metropolitan Transportation Authority

A newspaper reports that federal inspectors found more than 7,100 defects and deficiencies in the Metro-North Railroad over the last decade, but records show regulators launched an investigation only after two high-profile accidents last year. 

PhillipC / Creative Commons

The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a series of recommendations to improve what they describe as the "poor safety culture" at Metro-North.

New Management, New Plan for Metro-North

Mar 4, 2014
Connor Harris / Creative Commons

Metro-North's new president, Joseph Giulietti, sent a letter to Connecticut's Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker, outlining intended operational  improvements.

The plan follows a terrible year for the railroad in 2013, including a derailment and collision in Bridgeport that injured 76 people and a derailment in The Bronx, New York, in which four people were killed.

Susan Sermoneta / Creative Commons

In an unusual move, a Metro-North conductor left a note on passengers' seats Monday morning apologizing for an express train on Friday that never came.

Michael Shaw said he put 500 copies of his written apology on seats after telling passengers at the New Haven, West Haven, Milford, and Stratford stations to wait for an express train that was later canceled. In his note, he said he was "shocked and furious."

NTSB Issues Safety Recommendations To Metro-North

Feb 19, 2014

A federal agency has issued safety recommendations following December’s fatal Metro-North commuter train derailment in the Bronx. The recommendations come in the form of a letter to Metro-North’s president.

@CTRailCommuters

Over 100 people attended a forum in Fairfield on Tuesday night intended for Metro-North commuters to talk about problems plaguing the rail service. Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker attended the event at the Pequot Library and took questions.

Patrick Cashin / MTA

Governor Dannel Malloy met on Monday with Joseph Giulietti, the new president of Metro-North Railroad, and Thomas Prendergast, chairman and chief executive of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Malloy said Connecticut and the MTA agreed to establish an independent review before work is done on Metro-North's power or electrical lines, in order to avoid outages like what happened last September.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

With an increasing number of angry rail commuters, and calls by some state legislators for federal intervention, Governor Dannel Malloy opened the door on Monday to the possibility of putting the operation of Metro-North’s New Haven line out for bid.

Office of Governor Dannel Malloy

Work on a $10 million project to upgrade the power supply for Metro North’s New Haven Line begins on Monday. The upgrade is aimed at preventing the kind of catastrophic power failure that took place in New York last fall, seriously disrupting service. 

Governor Dannel Malloy announced the project Sunday at Union Station in New Haven. “Transportation is the backbone of our economy here in Connecticut,” he said. “As governor, I’ve been clear that we need to invest in bringing our highways and mass transit systems into the 21st century after years of under-investment.”

Marc A. Hermann / MTA

Governor Dannel Malloy called Thursday night's Metro-North maintenance failure "totally avoidable." The outage brought the entire network of commuter trains to a halt for just under two hours in frigid temperatures. 

WNPR/CPTV

U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Charles Schumer said over the weekend they had been informed by the Federal Railroad Administration that it would begin procedures this year to establish a rule regarding installation of video cameras on trains.

The devices could be installed in train cars to record unsafe behavior by drivers. Outward-facing cameras would scan the tracks. The National Transportation Safety Board has been urging the railroad administration to increase the use of safety cameras for several years.

Tragedy at Tariffville: The Railroad Wreck of 1878

Jan 10, 2014
The Connecticut Historical Society, 2004.27.2

The year 2013 was not a great one for the Metro-North Commuter Railroad, with a collision, a major power outage, and, most recently a fatal derailment making the six o’clock news around the country. What this series of mishaps actually points out, however, is that when one considers the number of freight, passenger and commuter trains running in this country, rail travel is still a pretty safe way to get around. This was not the case a century or more ago, when railroad accidents and disasters were frequent and deadly.

Wikimedia Commons

A group in Connecticut would like to see passenger service restored to the Housatonic Railroad and Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty seems willing to explore the idea. The 90-mile-long Housatonic Railroad was chartered prior to the dawn of the Civil War and runs from Massachusetts to Danbury. Currently, it serves only freight trains. Its last passenger train ran in 1971.

Patrick Cashin / MTA

Metro-North President Howard Permut is stepping down. The New York Times reports that he announced his retirement Monday afternoon. 

A dozen oil tanker rail cars burst into flames after two trains collided in eastern North Dakota on Monday.

No one was hurt during the derailment or fire, but thick black smoke was rolling off the wreckage after five explosions rocked the town of Casselton, about 10 miles west of Fargo.

The collision occurred after a westbound train carrying soybeans derailed, and an eastbound train hauling crude oil ran into it, Cecily Fong, the public information officer with the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services, tells Reuters.

J.P. Chan / MTA

Connecticut’s Congressional Delegation is applauding Thursday’s announcement by the Federal Railroad Administration that it’s conducting an analysis of every aspect of the Metro-North Commuter Railroad. 

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