Swinomish Tribe says “No More Oil Trains on Our Land”

A Native American tribe says too many trains, some of which carry volatile Bakken crude, are crossing its reservation and it’s suing the rail company to stop them.

The Swinomish Indian

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Puget Sound & Pacific improving railroad crossings at entrances to Olympic Gateway Plaza in Aberdeen

A construction project to improve six railroad crossings at the East Wishkah Street/Olympic Highway/U.S. 12 entrances to the Olympic Gateway Plaza in Aberdeen is planned for Monday, July 21

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$125 Million BNSF Capital Program Planned in Washington to Expand Rail Capacity

FORT WORTH, TX - BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) plans to invest an estimated $125 million on maintenance and rail capacity improvement and expansion projects in Washington this year.

BNSF's 2013 capacity enhancement projects in Washington include construction of two receiving and departure tracks nearly 7,000 feet long at BNSF's Delta yard in Everett, expanding BNSF's automotive distribution facility at Orillia to support growth in new automobile traffic, as well as signal upgrades for federally mandated positive train control (PTC).

BNSFBNSF will also continue a significant track maintenance program in Washington, which will include nearly 2,800 miles of track surfacing and undercutting work, the replacement of about 175 miles of rail and 110,000 railroad ties.

"BNSF's capital investments in Washington will help ensure our network is prepared for growing demand for freight rail," said Matthew K. Rose, chairman and chief executive officer. "We are focused on investing to meet our customers' expectations and on expanding capacity where growth is occurring. Given the importance of a low cost supply chain to the U.S. economy, our privately funded rail infrastructure is well positioned to help Washington compete in global markets."

Rail companies host Hazardous Material Awareness training in Aberdeen

ABERDEEN, Wash. - Puget Sound & Pacific Railroad and BNSF Railway hosted HazMat training for local first responders, Justin Piper with BNSF said "About 99.998% of all hazmat is shipped on the rails without incident." Piper detailed some of the types of hazardous materials we might see on Grays Harbor rail.  He said they're transporting more and more crude oil nationwide "5 years ago BNSF transported less than 10,000 carloads of petroleum crude oil, last year we transported over 60,000. It is the most transported hazardous material today."
Aberdeen Fire Chief Tom Hubbard said "If there's a railroad incident, there's a number that gets called right away. They can identify exactly what that product is, where the train is, what the situation is, and they will start mobilizing state federal railroad resources that will respond immediately."
Don Seil with PS-n-P added "First responders is our main concern, making sure that they're educated on what types of equipment we have and how to go about the response."
The group also toured a couple of cars that you might have seen parked near the Rotary Log Pavilion yesterday.

Agreements secure $590 million in federal passenger rail funding for Washington state

OLYMPIA – Agreements have been signed that guarantee Washington state will get $590 million in federal stimulus money to improve the Amtrak Cascades rail corridor from Portland to Seattle, Gov. Chris Gregoire said today.

 

One agreement was signed between the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) that commits FRA to allocate 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) money to Washington’s passenger rail projects. The $590 million initially was awarded in early 2010, and this new agreement guarantees the money.

 

Separately, Amtrak, BNSF Railway and WSDOT signed an agreement that outlines how rail investments will be made based on service outcomes and passenger rail performance benchmarks on rail lines shared by freight and passenger rail, such as on-time performance, faster travel times and frequency of service.