U.S. Sugar steam locomotive powers cane train

News Wire Digest second section for May 29: California legislators want to stop high speed rail funding for two years; Port of Savannah opens first tracks of intermodal expansion project
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U.S. Sugar used its restored ex-Florida East Coast locomotive on a cane train this week to mark the end of the harvest season.
U.S. Sugar

More Friday morning rail news in brief:

U.S. Sugar uses steam locomotive on cane train, announces plans for 'Sugar Express'

Restored U.S. Sugar 4-6-2 No. 148, a former Florida East Coast locomotive built by Alco in 1920, hauled a train of harvested sugar cane to a U.S. Sugar mill on Wednesday to mark the end of the 2019-20 harvest. It was the first steam-powered cane train on the sugar company’s railroad in more than 50 years. The event to mark the end of a 239-day harvest coincides with U.S. Sugar’s announcement of plans for the “Sugar Express,” excursion and special-event operations to feature the locomotive. “U.S. Sugar’s restoration of Engine No. 148 has been a tremendous source of pride for our employees, who have worked tirelessly over the past 4 years to bring this steam engine back to life,” Bob Lawson, general manager for U.S. Sugar Railroad Operations, said in a press release. “We look forward to the day when we can host members of the public on excursions to share our rich history with railroad enthusiasts, Florida residents and children alike.” The locomotive was returned to operating condition in April thanks to a restoration that began when U.S. Sugar repurchased No. 148 in 2016. More information on the locomotive and its operations is available on the Sugar Express website and Facebook page.

State legislators want to stop funding for California high speed rail for two years
Two members of the California State Assembly have announced legislation which would halt funding for California’s high speed rail project for two years, shifting the funding to education. The bill by Assembly Education Committee Vice Chair Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) and Transportation Committee Vice Chair (R-Bakersfield) would shift some $3 billion to education and, according to a press release, allow the high speed rail project “to be reassessed in light of alternative emerging transportation technologies.” The bill would suspend the projects 25% share of cap-and-trade revenues for two years and reallocate $2.4 billion that has yet to be spent.

Port of Savannah begins use of 'Mega Rail' project
The Georgia Ports Authority has begun operation of nine of the 18 new tracks in its “Mason Mega Rail project,” which will double the rail capacity of the Port of Savannah, with the first two rail-mounted gantry cranes to begin operation in June. The expansion will raise the facility’s capacity to 2 million 20-foot equivalent container units annually, the Savannah Morning News reports. So far, 56,000 feet of a total 129,000 feet of new track has been installed. The port is served by Norfolk Southern and CSX Transportation.


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