Digest: Program in Canada to reduce wildlife killed by trains shows promising results

News Wire Digest second section for Jan. 5: Agency chosen to oversee operations of California's Valley Link commuter line; Mexico to speed up construction of Maya Train project
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More Tuesday morning rail news:

Effort to reduce wildlife deaths along rail line in Canadian park shows promising results

A pilot project to reduce wildlife deaths along Canadian Pacific’s route through Banff National Park is showing promising results two years into a five-year project. The CBC reports the project, which cut 38 kilometers (23.6 miles) of trails off of or parallel to the rail line, seeks to give wildlife escape routes from the rail line and alternative pathways through the area. Trail cameras are showing wildlife using the paths rather than the rail line, or to escape from trains. Bill Hunt, resource conservation manager for Parks Canada, says sample sizes are still small but show wildlife using the parallel trails or those that allow escape: “We’re seeing camera images showing wildlife coming off the railway, sometimes under duress leaving the railway tracks, so that’s encouraging to see.” The project builds on prior studies, including one funded by CP and Parks Canada from 2010 to 2015 that focused on grizzly bears struck by trains.

San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission to manage operations of Valley Link commuter line
The San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission, which owns and operates the Altamont Corridor Express commuter rail service and oversees Amtrak’s San Joaquins, will add management of the coming Valley Link commuter line to its responsibilities. The Pleasanton Weekly reports the Tri-Valley/San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority, which is building and will own Valley Link, voted at its December meeting to approve an agreement with the ACE agency to oversee operations. The Tri-Valley/San Joaquin agency cited SJRRC’s experience and safety record as a factor in the decision. Valley Link will connect a planned ACE station in North Lathrop, Calif., to Bay Area Rapid Transit at BART’s Dublin/Pleasanton Station.

Mexican government plans effort to speed up Maya Train construction
The Mexican government will add second and third work shifts on sections of the Maya Train project under construction in an effort to make up for delays caused by weather and the COVID-19 pandemic. BNamericas reports the plan was revealed in a video from the Fonatur tourism board that was shown at the Monday press conference of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, but that it did not address the December ruling by a judge in Campeche, Mexico, that halted work on one section over environmental concerns [see “Digest: Amtrak, Metra propose schedule …,” Trains News Wire, Dec. 9, 2020]. Construction has begun on four sections of the project; work has yet to begin on four others.

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