Digest: Evacuation lifted around KCS derailment as cleanup continues

News Wire Digest for Nov. 3: NJ Transit opening up more cars on commuter trains; construction firm joins West Lake Corridor project
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The last of the evacuation orders at the site of a Kansas City Southern derailment in Mauriceville, Texas, have been lifted, and schools are reopening today.
Orange County Office of Emergency Management

Tuesday morning rail news:

Evacuation lifted around KCS derailment; cleanup continues

The remaining evacuation area around last week’s Kansas City Southern derailment in Mauriceville, Texas, was lifted Monday night, and local elementary and middle schools will return to class today. KBMT-TV reports that only three houses had remained inside the evacuation area before two railcars of hazardous material — ethylene oxide, a flammable gas used in production of a wide range of chemicals — were removed on Monday. Roads in the immediate area of the derailment remain closed while cleanup continues.

NJ Transit opens more cars to accommodate distancing
NJ Transit is opening more cars on its commuter trains to ensure social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. NJ.com reports that all cars are now open during weekday morning and evening peak periods, and unoccupied cars will be opened any time capacity of an off-peak train reaches 50%. NJ Transit spokeswoman Lisa Torbic told the news site that the 50% capacity rule “applies each time that percentage is reached and there are closed cars to be opened, regardless of crew size.” Cars are generally kept closed during off-peak periods to reflect both lower ridership and smaller crew sizes.

Construction firm IEA joins West Lake Corridor project
Infrastructure and Energy Alternatives, a construction company with renewable energy and specialty civil expertise, has joined the project to build the South Shore Line’s West Lake Corridor extension project. IEA, through subsidiary Ragnar Benson, will have an approximate 30% interest in a joint venture with F.H. Paschen in the $550 million contract to build the 8-mile spur connecting Dyer, Ind., to the existing South Shore main line at Hammond, Ind. “After an extensive design/build procurement, the F.H. Paschen-Ragnar Benson Joint Venture was determined to be the best value proposer for the project, Mike Noland, president of South Shore’s parent agency, the Northern Indiana Commuter Transit District, said in a press release. “Through spending extensive time with their team, we have a high degree of confidence that they will be a true partner to complete this project on-time and within budget.” Groundbreaking on the project was held Oct. 28 [see “Digest: Groundbreaking hales significance of South Shore extension,” Trains News Wire, Oct. 28, 2020].



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