Utah agency begins requiring face coverings

News Wire Digest second section for June 29: Western Maryland Scenic vacates Cumberland depot; Norfolk Southern may demolish tower near Horseshoe Curve
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More Monday morning rail news in brief:

Utah Transit Authority begins requiring face coverings

The Utah Transit Authority will begin requiring face coverings systemwide on all trains, light rail, and buses as of Wednesday, after beginning to enforce mask requirements in Salt Lake and Summit counties on Saturday. The authority announced it would provide masks for passengers who need them, with those masks initially available at UTA customer service locations and soon to be available on transit vehicles. The Salt Lake Tribune notes that the move follows a significant rise in COVID-19 cases in the Salt Lake area, leading to the mandatory face mask orders in the two counties and a order by Gov. Gary Herbert requiring masks in all state facilities.

Western Maryland Scenic vacates Cumberland station
As part of what it calls “survival mode” to weather the COVID-19 pandemic, the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad has moved its offices out of the Cumberland, Md., station, relocating its shop complex in Ridgeley, W.Va. The railroad, which estimates it will lose $650,000 in revenue this year because of the pandemic, says in a press release that this allows it allows the railroad to save on rent and a per-passenger usage fee at the Cumberland station, owned by the State of Maryland, and decreases costs of meeting Rail Heritage Alliance protocols for addressing the coronavirus, including social distancing, cleaning, and disinfecting. The railroad will continue to stop at county-owned platforms at Cumberland and Frostburg, Md. The Western Maryland Scenic projects reopening on Oct. 1 for fall foliage excursions and anticipates operating its “Polar Express” trains beginning in November. For more information, visit the railroad website.

NS may demolish tower near Horseshoe Curve
Norfolk Southern is looking to demolish MG Tower, an interlocking facility west of Horseshoe Curve, the Altoona (Pa.) Mirror reports. NS spokesman Jeff DeGraff told the paper in an email that it has requested bids for demolition of the structure and will evaluate its next move based on the submitted bids. The company is looking to demolish the tower “based on safety concerns of having and needing to concern deteriorating buildings,” DeGraff wrote. The tower dates to World War II and is not a candidate for preservation because of its inaccessibility.


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