Saturday rail news in brief:
Maryland official negotiating to keep Purple Line contractors at work
Maryland Secretary of Transportation Greg Slater says he is in daily negotiations with the contractors building the troubled Purple Line light rail project, trying to keep them quitting in the midst of the project. Slater revealed the negotiations in a video conference this week with Montgomery County, Md., officials, the Washington Post reports, but provided few details. The construction consortium gave notice earlier this month that it planned to quit the project because it is more than two years behind schedule and the state has refused to pay for cost overruns [see “UP closes Little Rock locomotive shop …” News Wire Digest, May 3, 2020]. The $2 billion, 16-mile light rail line will link Bethesda and New Carrollton, Md.
First new Twin Cities light rail vehicles arrive
The first two trainsets for the Southwest expansion of Minneapolis-St. Paul’s light rail Green Line have arrived in the Twin Cities, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports. The Siemens S70 low-floor cars, built in Sacramento, Calif., are the first of 27 to be built under a $118 million contract awarded in 2016. After assembly is completed on site, they will begin extensive testing prior to the Southwest line’s opening in 2023.
GO Transit adds Lakeshore East trains on May 25
GO Transit will increase service on its Lakeshore East line between Toronto and Oshawa, Ontario, as of Monday, restoring service on 30-minute headways during the morning and evening rush hours. Inbound trains will operate every 30 minutes beginning at 5:10 a.m. until 7:40 a.m.; afternoon service from Toronto Union Station will be at 30-minute intervals between 3:15 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. While many trains on the route will operate with fewer cars while ridership is lower because of the COVID-19 outbreak, many rush-hour trips on the Lakeshore lines will continue to operate with 12-car trainsets to promote social distancing.