Digest: Portland, Ore., decreases transit distancing

News Wire Digest for July 27: In latest filing, Metra says UP 'escalation' led to STB request; Minnesota museum cancels tourist train season
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Monday morning rail news:

Portland's TriMet decreases distancing rule

Portland-area transit agency TriMet has increased the passenger limits on trains and buses as of Sunday, decreasing required spacing between passengers to 3 feet under guidance from the Oregon Health Authority and Gov. Kate Brown. The new limits increase bus capacity to 19, or as many as 24 if families or couples are riding, and to 35 to 35 on WES commuter rail. TriMet’s release does not indicate capacity limits for MAX light rail, saying only that riders should “spread out as much as possible for wait for the next train if they cannot keep at least 3 feet from each other.”

In latest filing, Metra says UP plan triggered request to STB
As promised in an earlier letter, Metra on Friday filed its opposition to Union Pacific’s request to Surface Transportation Board to hold proceedings in abeyance regarding the dispute between the freight railroad and commuter operator. Metra’s response says the UP request “ignores UP’s June 30, 2020, notice to Metra that UP would begin dismantling the three services known as the UP North, UP West and UP Northwest … on Aug. 31, 2020,” and that its contention the matter should be left to a lawsuit currently pending in federal court “belies the uncertainty of when the District Court will resolve the matter pending before it.” Metra also argues that UP “ignores its role in escalating the proceeding” with that June 30 letter and that “Metra had no choice but to ask this Board to take expeditious action to stop UP from ceasing providing essential elements of the transportation services it currently provides.”

Minnesota museum's Osceola & St. Croix Valley cancels season
The Minnesota Transportation Museum’s Osceola & St. Croix Valley Railway has cancelled its 2020 operating season, bowing to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The St. Croix 360 website reports the museum’s board made the decision earlier this month, with museum chairman Brian Voss saying, “The pandemic is unprecedented, and overwhelmingly we felt that we must put the health and safety of our passengers and volunteers first and foremost.” The museum in St. Paul, Minn., has reopened for visitors, thanks to open areas that allow for considerable distancing.





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