Canada sets new speed limits on trains carrying dangerous goods

(Reuters) – Canada on Sunday announced new measures to lower speed limits in trains hauling dangerous goods like diesel, gasoline and chemicals to reduce the risk of derailment, effective immediately.

Trains carrying 20 or more cars with dangerous goods will be limited to 35 miles per hour (56 kph) in metropolitan areas and to 40 mph outside metropolitan areas with no track signals, Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau said https://www.canada.ca/en/transport-canada/news/2020/02/minister-of-transport-updates-ministerial-order-to-reduce-the-risks-of-derailment-of-trains-transporting-dangerous-goods.html in a statement.

Last week, Garneau announced a temporary speed limit after a Canadian Pacific Railway train hauling oil derailed and caught on fire near Guernsey, Saskatchewan, the second such derailment in the area in two months.

For higher risk trains, including those with any combination of 80 or more cars containing dangerous goods, the speed limit will be 30 mph for urban areas and 25 mph for areas with no track signals, the statement added.

Canada’s biggest railway, Canadian National Railway Co, said in a separate statement it supported the decision taken by Canada’s Transport Minister.

(Reporting by Mekhla Raina in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin)

New York commuters endure start of ‘summer of hell’

Commuters wait for track announcements at New York's Pennsylvania Station which began track repairs causing massive disruptions to commuters in New York City, U.S., July 10, 2017.

By Barbara Goldberg and Gabriella Borter

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York City commuters endured the start to a “summer of hell” on Monday, when track repairs at the nation’s busiest rail hub caused rerouted trains, packed platforms and lengthy delays for tourists, financiers and the working class in the U.S. business capital.

Thousands of riders were funneled into chaotic train depots, but the more apocalyptic warnings proved overstated as other commuters sailed into midtown Manhattan with relative ease, in part because of a substantial public awareness campaign.

State Governor Andrew Cuomo had predicted the partial shutdown at New York’s Pennsylvania Station would cause a “summer of hell” for the 600,000 who ride the train in and out of the station beneath Madison Square Garden.

The national passenger rail corporation Amtrak and regional commuter train operators New Jersey Transit Corp and the Long Island Rail Road all converge on Penn Station. All three canceled some services, rerouted others, and warned travelers to expect delays throughout the duration of the repairs, which began on Monday and are scheduled to be done Sept. 1.

“Welcome to hell,” read the front page of Monday’s New York Post.

The upgrades created disruptions which are expected to cost Manhattan employers about $14.5 million for each hour that commuters are delayed, according to an estimate by the Partnership for New York City.

Rerouted trains dumped masses of passengers at transfer stations such as Hoboken, New Jersey, as many sought alternate routes into the city, including buses, ferries and cars.

“Compared to Europe, I feel like we’re living in the Third World,” said Mark Van Wagner, an artist and art dealer who takes the Long Island Rail Road from Bellport, New York.

The commuter crunch highlights lagging investment in U.S. infrastructure, and especially in New York City, which is dependent on mass transit.

Getting into the city had already been problematic for those who live in the suburbs and in some cases made worse by service interruptions in the city’s creaky subway system.

Even so, Amtrak reported most of its trains ran on time or close to it, and travelers heeded the increased public service announcements and Amtrak representatives who were posted in Penn Station.

While congestion and delays were evident at some points, those on unaffected trains reported a relatively smooth ride.

“I didn’t feel any change. I’ve been using LIRR for the past 11 years and it’s been good,” said Tamer Seoud, chief financial officer for the non-profit Lutheran Social Services of New York.

NJ Transit workers use tape on placards as people arrive to the Hoboken Terminal in New Jersey, U.S., July 10, 2017.

NJ Transit workers use tape on placards as people arrive to the Hoboken Terminal in New Jersey, U.S., July 10, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

At Hoboken station, transit workers bellowed instructions such as “tickets out!” and “this way to 39th street ferry!”

“The plans we put into effect seemed to be working,” New Jersey Transit spokesman Charles Ingoglia said. “And most importantly, our customers seemed to have done their homework and made their choices quickly this morning and got about their business.”

Social media users made a meme of the summer of hell, with J.H. Swanson (@jh_swanson) predicting it would be followed by the “autumn of purgatory.”

Arielle K. (@NYCMermaid1121) tweeted her summer of hell survival kit: “water, oatmeal pack, phone charger & Xanax.”

 

(Additional reporting by Andrew Hofstetter and Amy Tennery; Writing by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Jonathan Oatis)

 

Ahead of storm, U.S. planes, trains and trucks diverted, canceled

Cars are seen along Deerfield beach near Coral Springs while Hurricane Matthew approaches in Florida

By Nick Carey

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Hundreds of flights have been canceled, Florida airports are being shuttered and train services suspended as Hurricane Matthew heads toward the U.S. southeastern coast, with passengers and goods likely to be stranded or delayed through Saturday.

Atlanta-based Delta Airlines said 130 flights were canceled on Thursday after the airline halted operations at southern Florida airports including Miami. A further 150 will be canceled on Friday as Florida airports further north such as Orlando are affected. Additional cancellations are expected for Georgia and South Carolina on Saturday, the airline said.

A spokeswoman for Chicago-based United Airlines said the company canceled 180 flights from Wednesday through Saturday affecting Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Orlando and Jacksonville.

“This is a very fluid situation, so we are ready to change and cancel more flights as needed,” she said.

American Airlines has canceled flights in southern Florida starting Thursday afternoon, which should resume by midday on  Friday. The airline said Orlando flights will cease late on Thursday afternoon, with a reduced service resuming Saturday morning. Jacksonville flights will cease on Friday morning and  reduced service will resume on Saturday.

Southwest Airlines Co said it had canceled 60 flights for Thursday due to the hurricane.

A FedEx spokeswoman said the package delivery company is implementing unspecified contingency plans but warned of potential service delays or disruptions.

“Contingency plans are being implemented to ensure that shipments arrive at their final destinations as quickly as conditions permit,” said Glenn Zaccara, a spokesman for rival United Parcel Service Inc.

Operations on No. 3 U.S. railroad CSX Corp’s main Florida line from Auburndale into Jacksonville would cease late on Thursday afternoon, spokeswoman Melanie Cost said.

Services from Florida into Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina would be curtailed until after the storm passes, she added.

No. 4 U.S. railroad Norfolk Southern Corp is moving equipment away from Southeast coastal areas and transferring shipments inland to secured rail yards. Traffic en route to affected regions is being held at yards throughout the Norfolk Southern system to alleviate congestion in those areas.

Miami-based trucking and logistics company Ryder System Inc will close its headquarters during the storm, spokesman David Bruce said. But he added that Ryder is “repositioning rental trucks to the affected areas and working to ensure an uninterrupted fuel supply for our customers in the days after the storm passes.”

(Reporting By Nick Carey; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)