Digest: Transit agencies, Amtrak create regional 'mask force'

News Wire Digest third section for Nov. 18: Wilmington, N.C., holds virtual open house for line relocation project; Nebraska complaint over blocked BNSF crossing dismissed
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MTA chairman Patrick J. Foye discusses the creation of a regional 'Mask Force' to encourage mask use on trains and transit at New York's Fulton Transit Center on Tuesday.
Marc A. Hermann, MTA

Still more Wednesday morning rail news:

Transit agencies combine with Amtrak to form regional 'Mask Force'

A group of transit agencies in New York and Philadelphia areas have joined with Amtrak to create a regional ‘Mask Force’ to encourage mask compliance on public transit. New York’s MTA, NJ Transit, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority are part of the group, which plans to distribute millions of free masks to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The MTA launched its Mask Force in July, and more than 650 people have volunteered for the effort, distributing more than 300,000 masks. “Wearing a mask is the single most important thing all our customers and employees can do to combat the spread of COVID-19 — and it’s the law here in New York,” MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye said in a press release. “I’m proud to stand with my partners across the region and thank them for doing everything they can to protect the riding public.”

Wilmington, N.C., holds virtual open on house on CSX line relocation
The city of Wilmington, N.C., is holding a virtual open house to gain public comment on a proposed rail relocation project. The project would relocate a CSX line and create the possibility of using the existing route for a light rail system [see “Wilmington, N.C., plans studies for possible $1 billion relocation of CSX line,” Trains News Wire, Jan. 20, 2020]. The open house, available here, provides preliminary options for the new route and other information, and is available until Dec. 15. Background information is available here.

Nebraska commission dismisses complaint against BNSF over blocked grade crossing
Nebraska regulators have dismissed a complaint against BNSF Railway over blocked grade crossings in the Grand Island, Neb., area, after the railroad said it would stage trains west of the location that led to complaints. KHGI-TV and KWNB-TV report the state’s Public Service Commission is unhappy with the railroad’s initial response to the issue. Complaints over trains blocking the North Road crossing in Grand Island led the railroad to suggest the crossing should be closed. The stations quote Commission chair Mary Ridder as saying the agency appreciated BNSF’s efforts to find a solution “but we are dismayed that BNSF failed to listen to the concerns of the community and only worked to find a solution once confronted with a formal complaint.”

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