Digest: Huron Central, preparing for shutdown, notifies employees of layoffs

News Wire Digest third section for Nov. 4: German court approves longest rail/roadway tunnel; Bombardier announces predictive maintenance program for signals
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More Wednesday midday rail news:

Huron Central gives employees notice of job termination, still hopes for government support

Huron Central Railway, the 179-mile Genesee & Wyoming short line between Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury, Ontario, has given employees formal notice that their jobs will be terminated with the end of railway operations on Dec. 18. SooToday.com says 43 employees will be affected, and quotes G&W spokesman Michael Williams as saying the notice “is a fulfillment of our obligations as an employer” in light of previously announced plans to shut the railroad down. The railroad said earlier this year it would cease operations without $40 million in government funding to rehabilitate the route [see “Digest: Maryland proposes cuts …,” Trains News Wire, Sept. 2, 2020]. The line moves more than 12,000 carloads of year, mostly for the timber and steel industries. G&W is still hoping government support can be found to end the shutdown; if not, other companies have reportedly expressed interest in taking over operations.

German court approves construction of 11.2-mile rail and roadway tunnel, world's longest
A German court has approved construction of the world’s longest combined rail and road tunnel, an 11.2-mile submerged tube under the Baltic Sea that will connect northern Germany to Denmark. German news site The Local.de reports the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link will reduce travel times to 10 minutes in place of the current one-hour ferry ride. The four-lane road and double-track railway line is estimated to cost 7.1 billion Euros ($8.32 million) has been slowed by legal efforts from environmentalists and ferry companies, but is projected to open in 2029.

Bombardier announces predictive maintenance program for signals
Bombardier Transportation has announced a new predictive maintenance program for signal systems. EBI Sense is a subscription-based service combining Internet of Things, cloud computing, and machine learning to predict failures and schedule maintenance. The system was developed by Bombardier’s Rail Control Solutions Services Team in Sweden. “The launch of our innovative, cloud-native, predictive maintenance service for signaling is a transformative step towards realizing the benefits of digitalization for railway performance,” Richard Hunter, president of Rail Control Solutions, said in a press release. More information is available at Bombardier’s website.

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