Rail & Labor News from RWU
Weekly Digest Number 49 - December 8, 2020
SOFA Alert! Three Switching Fatalities in 90 Days
The Switching Operations Fatality Analysis (SOFA) Working Group has published its most recent Safety Alert, reminding workers to remain vigilant in light of three switching fatalities in the 90 day period from August to November.
As a cross-industry collaboration for over 20 years, the SOFA Working Group has identified the Possible Contributing Factors for more than 210 switching operations fatalities since 1992. The SOFA Working Group reports its findings and emerging data trends with the goal of zero fatalities in the railroad industry.
The three fatalities occurred in Crossett, AR (August 13), Richmond, VA (October 11) and Tuscola, IL (November 11).

Union Pacific CEO says Precision Scheduled Railroading will unleash volume growth
Major operational changes that have reduced Union Pacific’s costs are helping the railroad land new merchandise traffic, CEO Lance Fritz told an investor conference this week. 
Precision Scheduled Railroading is now “building into our DNA, into our culture” and will continue once outgoing Chief Operating Officer Jim Vena hands the reins to Senior Vice President-Transportation Eric Gehringer in January, Fritz says. 

Coverup allegation in deadly B.C. train crash prompts calls for Trudeau, RCMP to intervene
Families of three rail workers killed in a crash in the Rockies of eastern B.C. almost two years ago are calling on the prime minister to intervene after a former Canadian Pacific Railway police officer alleged his superiors obstructed his investigation.

2021 OUTLOOK: The Second Great Railroad Revolution?
 I anticipate a brighter future and the end to a devastating pandemic. With a profound sense of relief, I look to a new Administration in Washington with an opportunity to set an example, reminding us that the bitter divisiveness, the refusal to deal with reality and the inability to speak the truth, all of which have permeated the national psyche, crippled our sense of national unity and provided a profoundly disturbing example of “The Illusion of Separation,” do not represent who we are as a nation.

UP and CN among the companies which have provided the latest round of funding for self-driving trucks
Self-driving trucks startup TuSimple has closed a $350 million funding round from a diverse consortium of strategic investors that include major U.S. corporations in rail, retail and freight, according to sources familiar with the deal. 

Amtrak names Stephen Gardner president; wins contract to operate Metrolink trains
Yesterday, Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn announced that Stephen Garner has been named president of the agency, effective today. Gardner’s appointment is part of a broader set of actions taken under Flynn’s leadership, working with the Board of Directors, to ensure that Amtrak is well positioned for success in fiscal year 2021 and beyond.

Opposition to proposed DC – Baltimore 311 mph maglev train
As a proposal for the world’s fastest bullet train between D.C. and Baltimore advances in a complex approval process, Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks made it clear she hopes to derail a train that floats, calling the Northeast Maglev “ridiculous” and an insult to her constituents.

NS highlights need for a more customer-focused service approach
As things have been upended on many fronts over the course of 2020, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many trends within the freight railroad sector that were already evident have been accelerated by the pandemic.

Definitive? CSX Acquiring Pan Am Railways
CSX announced Nov. 30 it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire Pan Am Railways, Inc., the 1,800-mile Class II in New England, expanding its reach in Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts, while adding Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine to its existing 23-state network.

Canadian Pacific in the news...
Bargaining Update: BMWED/SMART-MD Consultant, Cheiron, Provides NCCC With Healthcare Presentation
Cheiron’s presentation primarily demonstrated that railroad workers health and welfare benefits are on par with other comparable industry workers, that railroad workers and their dependents adequately navigate a complicated health and welfare system despite a lack of robust information available to them, that the railroads’ dangerous work environments contribute to the leading costs under the Plan, and that the best ways to control such costs are to create a better incentivized, more easily navigable health Plan.

MTA seeks federal help in saving New York City's subway
Every week, MTA's network — which includes New York City Transit (NYCT) subway service and the Metro-North and Long Island commuter railroads — is registering $200 million in revenue losses from missed fares, tolls and subsidies, as well as higher expenses related to keeping trains and buses running during a pandemic, Foye's letter explained. For the full year 2020, MTA leaders expect $4.2 billion in fare losses, $2.1 billion in reduced subsidies, $880 million in toll losses and $500 million in increased expenses.

Amtrak shows off video of new Acela high-speed trains; Service set for late 2021
Amtrak unveiled a new video Wednesday that showed off its brand-new Acela train cars performing speed tests near Pueblo, Colorado

Two face federal terror charge over train track interference in relation to pipeline construction
Federal authorities in Seattle have charged two people with a terrorist attack on train tracks, suggesting they were motivated by opposition to the construction of a natural gas pipeline across British Columbia when they interfered with the operation of a railroad in Washington state.

So What Is the Deal With The Governor And This New Gateway Project Report?
The entire New Jersey political class and Amtrak are condemning a report, backed by Gov. Cuomo, that suggests NY and NJ can apply his L-train fix to Amtrak's Hudson River tunnel

Korea Railroad to suspend services on 16 lines due to workers' industrial action
Korean Railway Workers' Union, an umbrella union to which KORAIL's union belongs, has failed to reach an agreement on shorter working hours and wage increases with the management of KORAIL in recent negotiations.

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