More Thursday morning rail news:
Bill funding major MBTA projects goes to Massachusetts governor
A late-night compromise allowed Massachusetts legislators to pass a $16.5 billion transportation bond bill which would fund several major rail projects. State House News Service reports the bill sent to Gov. Charlie Baker includes funding for a connector for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Red and Blue lines, extension of commuter rail service to the state’s South Coast, and train modernization, along with highway and bridge projects. It also requires the MBTA to implement a low-income fare program.
Union Pacific project replaces Englewood yard retarder in about eight hours
Union Pacific closed 2020 with a challenging infrastructure project, installing a new master retarder for the hump at Houston’s Englewood Yard in about eight hours — about half the time usually needed for such a project — on Dec. 29. The project, which requires a shutdown of the yard that processes about 2,700 cars a day, saw the new retarder pre-built so it could be installed in one piece, instead of the usual three sections, and a test run to ensure six side-boom tractors and two track hoes would move the 283,000-pound retarder into place. “A lot of teamwork went into making this happen by thinking outside the box,” Glen Ivy, UP’s director-signal maintenance, engineering, said in an article detailing the project on UP’s website. The new retarder is part of a project seeking to increase the number of cars the yard can process.
San Jose trail bridge, replacement for wooden railroad structure, finally opens
A new bridge for pedestrians and bicyclists has opened in the Willow Glen neighborhood of San Jose, Calif., the final chapter in a lengthy and ultimately unsuccessful battle to preserve a former wooden railroad bridge on the same spot. The San Jose Mercury News reports the new bridge, which opened Tuesday, connects two significant pathways, the Three Creeks and Los Gatos Creek trails. It replaces a 99-year-old former Union Pacific bridge that was the subject of a seven-year-legal battle that ended in May 2020, allowing the city to tear down the bridge the following month [see “Digest: Builders file plan to dissolve partnership …,” Trains News Wire, June 24, 2020] and replace it with a prefabricated steel structure that had long been awaiting use.