Digest: San Francisco Muni could spend 'tens of millions' to redo part of two-year-old tunnel project

News Wire Digest second section for Nov. 20: Short line group hails approval of new STB members; fire destroys former NYO&W shops
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More Friday morning rail news:

San Francisco Muni may have to spend millions to redo part of tunnel project

Just two years after completing a $52 million tunnel project, San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency will be forced to redo part of the project because of potential stability problems in the track used by Muni light rail lines. KQED-TV reports the work on the Twin Peaks Tunnel could cost tens of millions of dollars. The project included seismic retrofitting of the 2-mile tunnel and rebuilding of the track structure, but that instead of replacing the rock ballast, as was specified in the contract, the existing ballast was reused. “As a result,” Julie Kirschbaum, Muni’s director of transit told board members, “we now have ballast that is really more mud than rock and needs to be addressed.”

ASLRRA hails vote confirming two STB members, filling out full five-person board
The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association is applauding a Wednesday vote by the Senate confirming the appointments of Robert Primus and Michelle Schultz to the Surface Transportation Board, which will give the board its full complement of five members. “The board regularly deals with important issues for short line railroads and we look forward to working with both new members to maintain and enhance the ability of small business short line freight railroads to play a key role in a strong and vibrant freight rail system,” ASLRRA President Chuck Baker said in a statement. “By all accounts, both Ms. Schultz and Mr. Primus are well-qualified for this important position, hard-working, and in public service for all of the right reasons — we welcome their addition to the board.” The board has been operating short-handed for some time; the two new members join Chair Ann D. Begeman, on the board since 2011; vice chair Martin J. Oberman, serving since January 2019, and member Patrick J. Fuchs, who also joined the board in January 2019.

Fire destroys former Middletown, N.Y., shops of NYO&W
A fire of unknown origin destroyed the former shop building of the New York, Ontario & Western Railway in Middletown, N.Y., on Thursday. The Middletown Fire Department reported a call came in just after 11 a.m. reporting the fire at the complex along Midland Avenue. The shops were abandoned, along with the entire railroad, in 1957; since then the building had been adapted for other uses, most recently including a soundstage. — Alexander D. Mitchell IV

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