FRA to hold telephone hearings on Texas Central

News Wire Digest for May 4: NEARS cancels spring conference; Mexico awards contract for Maya Train project
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Monday morning rail news:

— Today through Wednesday, the Federal Railroad Administration will conduct public hearings by phone on its proposed safety and operating standards — the “Notice of Particular Applicability” for the Texas Central high speed rail project [see “Passenger,” June 2020 Trains]. Those rules essentially would adopt the standards of the Japan Central Railway’s Tokaido Shinkansen system; Texas Central’s proposed system would use Shinkansen equipment. The telephone hearings replace three hearings which were cancelled because of the COVID-19 outbreak; anyone can call in to comment, although there is a 2-minute time limit for individual comments, or can just listen. The hearings will be held today from 5-10 p.m. EDT, and Tuesday and Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. EDT; phone numbers, access codes, and additional information are available here.

— The North East Association of Rail Shippers has cancelled its spring conference, which had been scheduled for June 3-5 in Newport, R.I., because of the coronavirus pandemic. The event, which had already been postponed from April to June, was scratched after Rhode Island Gov. Gian Raimondo announced no events attracting 50 or more people would be allowed through summer 2020. NEARS’ next scheduled conference is Sept. 22-24 in Pittsburgh. Visit the NEARS website for more information.

— Mexico’s federal government has awarded a consortium controlled by billionaire businessman Carlos Slim an 18 billion peso ($753 million) contract for the Maya Train project in southeastern Mexico, the second contract for the $8 billion tourist train in southeastern Mexico. The Mexico Daily News reports the contract awarded last week to Slim’s company Cicsa and the Spanish firm FCC, in which Slim is the largest shareholder, is to build a 222-kilometer (138) section of the railroad between Escarcega and Calkini in the state of Campeche. The Maya Train is a 1,500-kilometer (932-mile) project connecting historic and tourist sites in five states. [See “Report: KCS interested in operating yet-to-be-built Mexican rail line,” Trains News Wire, Dec. 23, 2019.] it is scheduled for completion in 2023.


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