News Wire Digest Second Section for Wednesday, Feb. 12

South Shore double track project advances, R&N sues over contract renewal, and more
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A South Shore commuter train eases through trackwork in Michigan City, Ind., in August 2018. The project to double track the South Shore between Gary and Michigan City will advance after receiving a favorable government rating.
TRAINS: David Lassen

More rail news for your Wednesday morning:

— The South Shore Line plan to double-track its line between Gary, Ind., and Michigan City was among projects receiving a favorable rating from the Federal Transit Administration on Monday, allowing the project to advance to the engineering phase. FTA gave the project a “medium high” ranking, the Times of Northwest Indiana reports, which will allow the Northern Indiana Commuter Transporatation District to begin final engineering and position itself for a federal grant that would fund 38% of the project’s estimated $416 capital cost.

— The Reading & Northern filed suit Tuesday over a decision by the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority to extend the contract of its existing rail operator, the Delaware Lackawanna, for five years. The railroad contends the extension came without prior public notice and in executive session, rather than a public hearing, in violation of the state’s Sunshine Act. The railroad is seeking to reverse the decision and said it would drop the suit “if the PNRRA would embark on a good faith bid process,” Reading & Northern president Wayne Michel said in a press release. (More information now available at the Wilkes-Barre Citizens' Voice.)

— Last week’s derailment of a Canadian Pacific train near Guernsey, Saskatchewan, spilled an estimated 1.2 million liters (317,000 gallons) of oil, the CBC reports — less than the 1.5 million liters spilled in a December derailment, but five times the amount of a 2016 pipeline accident. That accident led to a government edict slowing trains carrying hazardous materials to 25 mph, 20 mph in urban areas [see “Canadian government orders speed restrictions for trains with hazardous materials,” Trains News Wire, Feb. 6, 2020], which in turn led to a Canadian National Railway embargo [see “CN issues embargo on hazardous materials,” Trains News Wire, Feb. 10, 2020].

— R.J. Corman will file to abandon 41 miles of the former Tennessee Railroad between Oneida and Devonia, Tenn., the Oneida Independent Herald reports, ending 130 years of service. Norfolk Southern last used the line regularly in 2004, then sold it to National Coal Co. in 2006. That company used it sporadically before liquidating its assets; R.J. Corman bought the line in 2010.

— Updated at 1:30 p.m. CST with link to article on Reading & Northern suit.
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