Digest: New Mexico Rail Runner has zero miles of PTC operational as deadline looms

News Wire Digest second section for Aug. 24: NJ Transit supervisor gets five-year prison sentence for fraud; Twin Cities' Metro Transit plans increased light rail service
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More Monday morning rail news:

Rail Runner has no PTC-compliant route-miles, has missed deadline for safety report

Zero percent of the 95 miles operated by New Mexico’s Rail Runner Express are compliant for positive train control, making the commuter railroad the only one in the nation with no territory operating with PTC, the Albuquerque Journal reports. The parent Rio Metro Regional Transportation District has also missed the deadline to file a file a required PTC safety plan. Rio Metro director Terry Doyle told the newspaper that the delay reflects a lack of funding; the agency has relied on federal grants to fund the $60 million project, and that money has not yet been received. Earlier this month, a Federal Railroad Administration said Rail Runner and NJ Transit are in danger of missing the Dec. 31, 2020, date to have PTC fully operational [see “FRA says just two commuter lines remain at risk of missing PTC deadline,” Trains News Wire, Aug. 12, 2020].

NJ Transit supervisor sentenced to five years in $2.1 million fraud scheme
An NJ Transit supervisor who led an effort that stole $2.1 million from the transit agency has been sentenced to five years in prison. NJ.com reports that Richard E. Schade, a facilities supervisor was sentenced after pleading guilty to second-degree conspiracy to commit theft last September. He will also have to pay $200,000 restitution and is permanently disqualified from public-employment positions in New Jersey. He set up four fake companies and approved payments to them for various services at NJ Transit properties. Four other people were involved in the scheme; two are awaiting sentencing, one received probation, and the other was admitted to pretrial intervention.

Metro Transit to increase light rail service Sept. 12; commuter-train operation remains limited
Minneapolis-St. Paul’s Metro Transit says it will increase light rail service, with trains operating every 10 minutes most of the day, as part of service changes to begin Sept. 12. Numerous bus lines will return to the service levels offered before the COVID-19 pandemic. Northstar commuter trains will remain on their current limited schedule, while some express routes will remain suspended.


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