Archive for February, 2013

Due to delays and defects, Boston MBTA may have to cancel a railcar order with Hyundai Rotem. The root causes are no surprise:

Hyundai Rotem made a bold entrance into the US market a decade ago with attractive promises, well-placed connections, and prices that beat experienced competitors.

Some in the industry considered it a risky bet, given that Hyundai Rotem had yet to open an assembly plant on American soil, a requirement under federal law, or demonstrate experience negotiating the stricter safety standards and other requirements that have bedeviled several large international corporations trying to break into the US transit and passenger rail market.

“North America is the most difficult market. It is the graveyard of car builders,” said Jonathan Klein, a global transportation consultant and former executive and chief mechanical officer at multiple large rail and transit agencies.


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FRA Train Horn Tax

This could set a bad precedent. An FRA train horn tax does not encourage people to live near rail lines:

The city of Vancouver is asking residents of its east end if they support paying to silence train horns in their neighborhood.

City officials, working with neighborhood leaders, floated the proposal as a way to pay for the required railroad crossing improvements that come with a “quiet zone.” It would create a Local Improvement District, in which each household would pay based on how close it sits to the railroad crossings between Southeast 139th Avenue and Southeast 164th Avenue.

The proposed district includes 467 properties in the East Old Evergreen Highway neighborhood, between the Columbia River and state Highway 14. Households would contribute based on a three-tiered system. Tier 1 homes — those closest to the tracks — would pay $177 per year; Tier 2 homes would pay $124 per year; and Tier 3 homes would chip in $53 annually for 20 years.

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