Digest: Report describes 'toxic workplace' at DC Metro rail center

News Wire Digest third section for Sept. 8: Midwest & Bluegrass Rail acquires four short lines; PATCO to reopen stations, increase train frequency
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Tuesday afternoon rail news:

Report describes DC Metro's 'toxic workplace'

The DC Metro rail operations center is a “toxic workplace” with bullying, sexual and racial harassment, and managers who tell employees to ignore authorities and operating procedures, according to a report obtained by the Washington Post. The 50-page document by the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission details issues which persist despite repeated calls for reform, and which result in a culture “antithetical to safety and other standards.” The transit agency has 45 days to begin addressing issues identified by the commission. Already this year, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has replaced the head of the facility [see “DC Metro replaces head of rail operations center,” News Wire Digest, June 24, 2020] following an earlier, highly critical report by the commission looking into a December 2019 fire [see “Safety agency critical of DC Metro after fire …,” News Wire Digest, May 13, 2020].

Midwest & Bluegrass Rail buys four short lines from Indiana Boxcar Corp.
Short line and rail management company Midwest & Bluegrass Rail has acquired four railroads from Indiana Boxcar Corp. The company, formed in 2019, has finalized purchase of the Camp Chase Railway, with operates 15 miles of trackage in the Columbus, Ohio, area; the Cheaspeake & Indiana Railroad, with 28 miles in northwest Indiana; Vermillion Valley Railroad, a 6-mile line connecting Danville, Ill., and Olin, Ind.; and Youngstown & Southeastern Railroad, with almost 40 miles of track in the Youngstown, Ohio, area. “Midwest & Bluegrass Rail is proud to welcome this group of four shortline railroads to our expanding footprint,” Chief Commercial Officer Dustin Shaver, said in a press release. “The hard work of former owner and President Powell Felix, as well as the dedicated railroaders in the field, have led to a strong culture of safety and service. We are excited to continue this good work with the team members, and usher in even more opportunities forcustomers and communities along the rail lines.” Indiana Boxcar Corp. will continue to offer locomotive and freight car leasing.

PATCO to reopen stations, increase train service
PATCO, the Port Authority Transit Corp. offering commuter rail service between Lindenwold, N.J., and Philadelphia, will reopen four stations and increase service on Monday, Sept. 14. The reopening of the Ashland, Westmont, City Hall and 12th-13th Street stations, closed since March 28 as part of the agency’s COVID-19 response, means all stations will be open 24 hours a day, with the exception of two (9th-10th and Locust Street) which are closed daily between 12:07 a.m. and 4 a.m. Weekday service will be increased to every 5 to 10 minutes during peak periods, with weekend trains remaining at their current levels: every 20 minutes on Saturdays and every 30 minutes on Sundays. For more information, visit the PATCO website.

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