San Francisco cable cars may remain sidelined until there's a COVID-19 vaccine

News Wire Digest for July 10: CN to pay $16.6 million in fines for Canadian wildfire; EU sets new date to rule on Alstom-Bombardier deal
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Friday morning rail news in brief:

San Francisco cable cars face extended shutdown

San Francisco’s cable cars, a symbol of the city far beyond their significance as a form of transit, are likely to remain out of service until a coronavirus vaccine becomes available. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Jeffrey Tumlin, director of transportation for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, said the cable cars, shut down in mid-March, will remain sidelined because of safety concerns for operators. “The cable cars require  the operator to have the most direct interaction with passengers, and we have no way to protect our operators on cable cars,” Tumlin told the newspaper.

CN to pay $16.6 million over British Columbia wildfire
Canadian National has been ordered to pay more than $16 million (Canadian) in fines for starting a 2015 wildfire near Lytton, British Columbia, after its appeal of the fine levied in 2018 was turned down. Kelowna, B.C., news site Castanet reports that CN had accepted responsibility for the fire, which started when rail-cutting work ignited a grass fire, which eventually burned about 2,400 hectares (approximate 5,900 acres). But the railroad sought to have the fines for fire control costs and damaged resources reduced from $16.04 million to $7.99 million. But British Columbia’s Forest Appeals Commission upheld the original fine, which — with adjustments because of amended documents — is now $16,619,782.70.

EU sets new deadline on Alstom-Bombardier deal
European Union regulators have set a new deadline of July 31 to decide on Alstom’s proposed purchase of Bombardier’s rail division, which would create the world’s second-largest rail supplier. Thompson Reuters reports the European Commission posted the new deadline on its website today. It will now weigh information from customers and competitors based on the offer Alstom made Thursday to sell some assets to address competition concerns [see “Appropriations bill would require Amtrak to maintain service …” News Wire Digest, July 9, 2020]. It could accept the deal, add more conditions, or order a further investigation.


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