Digest: San Diego transit agency seeks STB ruling on coastal maintenance work

News Wire Digest for Sept. 15: CN derails 60 cars of potash train in British Columbia; BART gets $1.2 billion grant to increase Transbay Tube capacity
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Trespassers walking along the bluffs in Del Mar, Calif., scramble away from the tracks as an Amtrak Pacific Surfliner approaches on Jan. 4, 2020. Plans by the North County Transit District, owner of the right-of-way, to fence off the tracks are being opposed by the city of Del Mar — one reason the district has asked the Surface Transportation Board for an order asserting its right to maintain the route.
TRAINS: David Lassen

Tuesday morning rail news:

San Diego-area agency seeks STB order protecting maintenance work on eroding coastal bluffs
The North County Transit District, which operates the San Diego-area Coaster commuter trains, has petitioned the Surface Transportation Board for an order to keep the city of Del Mar and the California Coastal Commission from regulating maintenance and right-of-way work along the route used by the Coaster and Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner. The district, which owns the former Santa Fe route, says Del Mar has attempted to review the district’s emergency work to stabilize erosion issues with the right-of-way along Del Mar's bluffs, based on state and federal coastal management regulations. It also says the city seeks “sweeping mitigation requirements” including relocation of the route, which would require a multi-billion dollar underground tunnel. Del Mar’s city council has voted to oppose proposed safety fencing along the right-of-way, which has significant trespassing problems, and the transit district says it is concerned a challenge to the fencing project under those coastal management rules is forthcoming. The district cites an “irreconcilable conflict” between rail and coastal-use regulations in its request to the STB, made on Aug. 28. No response has yet been filed. The full 168-page filing is available on the STB website.


CN derails 60 cars of potash train in British Columbia
A Canadian National derailment Monday near Hope, British Columbia, sent at least 60 cars of potash off the tracks, with some of the material spilling into an adjacent creek. The CBC reports there were no injuries and no hazardous materials were involved. Environmental experts and third-party contractors are on the scene to deal with cleanup. The railroad said the cause is under investigation. Global News has drone footage showing the extent of the damage.

BART gets $1.2 billion grant for Transbay capacity project
Bay Area Rapid Transit has received a $1.2 billion grant from the Federal Transit Adminstration for its Transbay Corridor Core Capacity program to increase the number of trains that can operate through the Transbay Tube connecting San Francisco and the East Bay. In a press release, BART General Manager called the news “a huge day for BART and anyone who needs to get across the Bay during commute hours.” The program includes adding 252 railcars to the BART fleet; modernization of the train control system to allow more trains per hour through the tube; a new rail yard for the additional equipment; and five new electrical substations to power the longer and more frequent trains.
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