Posted on

Possible Alternate NJ TRANSIT Rail Service To Penn Station New York On Monday, September 10

Ridgewood Train Station

file photo by ArtChick

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ,  NJ TRANSIT is continuing to work closely with Amtrak and the Federal Railroad Administration on the investigation into Friday night’s incident in the Hudson River Tunnels. At NJ TRANSIT, the safety of our commuters and employees remains our highest priority. We assure our customers that, once the Amtrak repairs are complete and all the necessary safety inspections are made, rail service through the tunnels will remain completely safe.

Continue reading Possible Alternate NJ TRANSIT Rail Service To Penn Station New York On Monday, September 10

Posted on

NTSB: Preliminary Report on Investigation of Hoboken Train Accident Released

Hoboken Train Station Crash

 10/13/2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ,  The National Transportation Safety Board released Thursday its preliminary report on the investigation of the Sept. 29, 2016, accident involving New Jersey Transit train 1614 at the Hoboken Terminal, Hoboken, New Jersey.

One person died and 110 more were injured when the 400-foot long train, which consisted of a controlling passenger car (cab car), three passenger cars and one locomotive at the rear, failed to stop, overrode a bumping post, and struck a wall of the terminal.

The preliminary report details factual information gained to date in the investigation.  It does not contain analysis and does not state probable cause.  The information contained within the preliminary report is subject to change as data is validated.

The NTSB investigator-in-charge formed the following technical groups to gather information and evidence for the investigation:

Operations
Human Performance
Survival Factors
Signal Systems
Track and Engineering
Mechanical/Equipment
Event/Video Data Recorders

Both the engineer and conductor were interviewed by NTSB investigators.  The emergency response to the accident is being reviewed by investigators as are records for operations, signal systems, mechanical equipment and track and engineering.  Investigators inspected the track structure, signal system and mechanical equipment involved in the accident.

Investigators tested the signal and train control system; the accident route was duplicated with signal alignment and functioned as designed.  The signal system was restored to service with the exception of the damaged signal at the end of track 5, the track upon which the accident happened.

NTSB investigators found the cab car’s electrical communication network – necessary for brake, signal, and propulsion control – was destroyed in the accident.  Conversely, accident damage to the cab car’s air brake system was minor and was repaired for testing.  The train brakes functioned as designed during a friction brake test using the rear locomotive to apply the brakes.

Parties to the investigation include the Federal Railroad Administration, New Jersey Transit, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers – Transportation Division and Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen.

Posted on

NJ TRANSIT Don’t Play Pokemon Go on the Train tacks

Pokémon Go
August 27,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ,  NJ TRANSIT has announced its support of a joint letter released by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Association of American Railroads (AAR) urging safe behaviors in or near railroad tracks, stations and rail yard facilities in light of the popular Pokemon Go game.

Last week, the national railroad organizations sent the letter to John Hanke, chief executive officer for Niantic Labs, Inc., the maker of Pokemon Go. In it, they recommend that the Niantic Labs team consider ways to promote safety, particularly by avoiding the placement of Pokemon and virtual points of interest in the game on or near railroad tracks.

 “The public needs to be aware that NJ TRANSIT is an active system, with buses, trains and light rail vehicles moving constantly,’’ said Interim Executive Director Dennis Martin. “With a 24-7 transportation operation, a distracted pedestrian could unintentionally find themselves in harm’s way.’’

There have been no instances of anyone being injured on or near the NJ TRANSIT system as a result of playing this game, but NJ TRANSIT urges all game players to use extreme caution. NJ TRANSIT has been involved in an active campaign to increase the public’s awareness of potential risks while playing on or near the system. Social media tweets urging players to not get lured into danger and an increased safety campaign, such as posters reminding the public to “look up from their phones’’ were put into place soon after the game’s release earlier this summer.

“Safety is the No. 1 priority here at NJ TRANSIT for our customers and personnel,’’ said NJ TRANSIT”s Chief, Office of System Safety Gardner Tabon. “If you are going to play Pokemon Go, we want you to catch them all, but do so safely when around trains and buses.’’

Posted on

Rep. Scott Garrett hosts a forum between local officials, rail industry ,emergency management coordinators and officials from the Federal Railroad Administration

Scott Garrett

August 12,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Bergenfield NJ,  Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ-05) today called on Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Regional Administrator Les Fiorenzo to address the concerns brought up by local officials and emergency management coordinators at a July 25th forum held by the Congressman in Bergenfield. With oil trains travelling in areas of Bergen County, Rep. Garrett has led numerous efforts to ensure that residents know that their families and their property are safe when a freight train travels through our communities.

Rep. Garrett brought in high-ranking federal regulators and representatives from the rail industry so local elected officials and emergency management coordinators could hear directly from them about efforts to ensure the safe movement of goods on our nation’s rail network. The forum included presentations from FRA Regional Director Fiorenzo and CSX representatives to explain the resources available in New Jersey communities, such as crisis management exercises and emergency management coordinator training.

Local officials were also given an opportunity to express concerns directly to the FRA  Regional Administrator—the federal regulator directly overseeing northern New Jersey. Some of those concerns have already been remedied or moved to the top of the FRA’s priority list thanks to the discussion at the forum. The goal of the forum was to create an open and transparent line of communication between federal and local officials.

Today, Garrett is following-up to get answers from the FRA on five specific concerns that were brought up during the forum:

  1. Concerns regarding idling trains in residential areas and the security of these trains;
  2. Obstructed grade crossing sightlines due to overgrown vegetation;
  3. Requirements and the processes for establishing quiet zones in residential communities;
  4. Reports of grade crossing malfunctions; and
  5. The damaged railroad crossing on Broadway Avenue in Norwood.

To read the entire letter, click here.

Posted on

National Association of Railroad Passengers calls on Federal Railroad Administration, NJ Transit to expedite Hudson River tunnel project

Ridgewood-Trainstation1_theridgewoodblog

June 4,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Mathews on Tuesday urged federal leaders to fast-track necessary approvals to replace the Hudson River rail tunnels.

If the tunnels aren’t replaced in time, the New York City region could face a “transportation meltdown,” Mathews wrote in a letter to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and New Jersey Transit.

Each day, the aging tunnels accommodate 100 trains carrying 24,000 Amtrak riders. Additionally, NJ Transit trains move 90,000 weekday passengers through the tunnels, which run between New York and New Jersey.

“Given the importance of these tunnels to the entire East Coast transportation system and to passenger rail, NARP strongly urges the government to proceed as expeditiously as possible, within the confines of applicable law, to begin desperately needed and long-overdue construction of new tunnels,” Mathews wrote.

He also advocated separating the Hudson tunnels project from Amtrak’s larger Gateway Program, which calls for a number of upgrades to improve capacity between New York City’s Penn Station and Newark, N.J. Separating the two projects would help ease the funding burden, simplify permitting and design, and “secure the widest possible agreement to proceed from elected and appointed officials throughout the region,” Mathews said.

Currently, Amtrak removes one of the tunnels from service each weekend for continuing maintenance, which results in slow, single-tracking operations. Until new ones are built, this will continue indefinitely, according to Mathews.

Additionally, the existing tubes will be removed from service for a full year for complete rehabilitation after the new ones are built.

“There is a real danger that if one of the current bores becomes permanently damaged or disabled, the throughput of trains would fall some 75 percent,” noted Mathews.

Posted on

Garret Demands Federal Railroad Administration share information on safety for trains carrying crude oil through district

Tanker Train

October 09,2015

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ , According Rep Scott Garrett  , “This week in Bergen County we saw a train derailment. While thankfully there were no injuries or environmental damage, it’s obvious that we need to know that the train lines carrying hazardous materials through our towns are safe and reliable. Today I requested that the Federal Railroad Administration share information about the safety condition of train tracks and infrastructure carrying crude oil through New Jersey’s Fifth District.”

Furthermore Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ-05) today called upon Sarah Feinberg, Acting Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), to share information about the safety condition of train tracks and infrastructure carrying crude oil through New Jersey’s Fifth District. The letter asks FRA to acquire the most recent inspection reports from CSX and Norfolk Southern Railway and establish a time for the Congressman and local officials to review the reports.

“Just this week in Bergen County we saw a train derailment,” said Garrett. “While thankfully there were no injuries or environmental damage, it’s obvious that we need to know that the train lines carrying hazardous materials through our towns are safe and reliable.”

Specifically, Garrett requested the following information for the time period covering January 1, 2013 to the present as it relates to rail infrastructure within the Fifth District of New Jersey:

All safety inspection reports currently in the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) possession
Any recommendations made to the rail industry to improve the condition of the rail infrastructure
Any findings of structurally deficient rail infrastructure
The schedule of future FRA safety inspections
Notices from the rail industry on scheduled maintenance and infrastructure upgrades

“We have a right to know if the rail infrastructure in our communities meets or exceeds safety standards and, if it does not, what action is being taken to address any deficiencies,” wrote Garrett in the letter. “This is information that my constituents should not have to wait long to receive.”

Posted on

More work needed to shore up Oradell Reservoir bridge

UWNJ_Oradell_Reservoir

JUNE 3, 2015, 11:16 PM    LAST UPDATED: WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3, 2015, 11:28 PM
BY SCOTT FALLON
STAFF WRITER |
THE RECORD

A small bridge over the Oradell Reservoir used by trains hauling millions of gallons of crude oil has deteriorated to the point that the rail company will soon replace the 86-year-old span’s entire deck, according to a federal government inspection report.

While federal officials have said the bridge is structurally sound, the report by the Federal Railroad Administration indicates the bridge is in worse condition than its owner, CSX Corp., acknowledged shortly after it was inspected in March.

The 25-foot bridge crosses the northeast corner of the reservoir, which supplies drinking water to 800,000 people. As many as 30 trains — each carrying up to 3 million gallons of volatile Bakken crude — cross the bridge each week along the CSX River Line on the way to refineries on the East Coast, prompting concerns from local officials, firefighters and water company executives.

The bridge was inspected by the Federal Railroad Administration on March 31, just a few days after The Record reported that government officials had no current reports on the bridge’s condition.

At that time, government officials said the bridge passed inspection and CSX executives said some railroad ties would be replaced “as a matter of routine maintenance.”

But the one-page inspection report — released to the newspaper this week, almost two months after it was requested under the federal Freedom of Information Act – reveals the bridge required serious attention. It states that the bridge deck showed enough deterioration that CSX had already determined to replace it. CSX also ordered trains to reduce speed from 40 mph to 25 mph on the span to “protect the railroad as well as the public for safe passage of trains,” according to the inspection report.

The Federal Railroad Administration employee who inspected the bridge declined to comment.

http://www.northjersey.com/news/more-work-needed-to-shore-up-oradell-reservoir-bridge-used-by-oil-trains-1.1348147