Digest: NRC announces series of webcasts in place of January convention

News Wire Digest third section for Oct. 20: Nova Scotia builds new tunnel, bridge for long-dormant rail line; Austin, Texas, opens new downtown rail station
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Tuesday afternoon rail news:

NRC to hold 'First Look' webcasts in place of annual convention

The National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association will hold a series of webcasts in January to replace its annual NRC Conference, which had been scheduled for January 2021 in Hollywood, Fla., scrapped because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The “NRC First Look 2021” series will feature events including a fireside chat with a Class I railroad CEO on Jan. 6, a signals and communications panel on Jan. 13, a procurement panel on Jan. 21, and a Class I Chief Engineers panel on Jan. 27. Online registration will begin the week of Oct. 26; more information, including registration fees, is available here.

Nova Scotia builds new tunnel, bridge for rail line idle for nearly a decade
The government of Nova Scotia is paying $4.3 million for a new 300-foot railroad under a major highway — even though the tracks have not been used in nearly a decade. The CBC reports that the tunnel under Highway 101 near Windsor, N.S., is nearly finished, after completion earlier this year of a $3.17 million rail bridge over the highway in Falmouth, N.S. The hope — on the part of the government and the company that owns the idle rail line — is that a gypsum mine served by the line will resume production. "While the rail line is not active at the moment, it is still considered a viable line and has potential to be used in the future," Nova Scotia department of transportation spokesperson Megan Tonet told the CBC. Virginia businessman Bob Schmidt, who owns the Windsor & Hantsport Railway, said the railroad has been maintained for the last 10 years “with the full expectation and hope that the demand for gypsum would come back to the point that we'd be shipping it by rail to the port” in Hantsport.

Austin agency opens new commuter rail station ahead of schedule, under budget
Capital Metro of Austin, Texas, opened a new downtown rail station Monday, celebrating its completion ahead of schedule and under budget. KUT Radio reports the station was finished six months ahead of schedule and, at $37 million, was $3 million under budget. The new three-track station on the commuter-rail Red Line can handle up to four trains at one time. Work began in spring 2019; still to be completed are an adjacent public plaza, sidewalks, and a bikeway.

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