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Rail News: Communication and Signal

FRA issues grants totaling $14.1 million to railroads, high-speed rail corridors and researchers

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has been busy of late issuing grants to help railroads fund infrastructure projects and support rail-related research projects.

The FRA recently issued two grants totaling more than $4.3 million to Portland & Western Railroad Inc. (P&W) to upgrade track and bridges. Owned by Genesee & Wyoming Inc., the 444-mile short line will use proceeds from a $3.96 million grant to replace a one-half mile wooden bridge approach to an existing steel bridge over the Willamette River near Albany, Ore. The railroad will provide $989,428 in matching funds for the project.

P&W also will use proceeds from a $369,386 grant to strengthen bridges, replace crossties and track turnouts, add ballast and resurface track between Willamina and Whiteson, Ore. The short line will provide $92,347 in matching funds.

The FRA also issued a $420,527 grant to the Sumpter Valley Railroad to improve equipment and infrastructure for its tourist train operations near Sumpter, Ore. The railroad will rebuild several locomotives and track machines, upgrade mechanical shop facilities, redesign a wye track, acquire a narrow-gauge vintage diesel locomotive, and purchase and refurbish a vintage business car.

The FRA is sponsoring research, too. The agency issued a $250,000 grant to the Railroad Research Foundation to support the Association of American Railroads subsidary’s ongoing efforts to quantify the number of rail-related suicides, identify underlying causes, and develop prevention and mitigation strategies. Railroads do not have to report suicides to the FRA.

Finally, the FRA issued grants totaling $9.2 million to 17 federally designated high-speed rail corridors. The corridors in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin will share the proceeds to help fund the installation of install warning lights, gates and other devices at grade crossings. The grant program is jointly coordinated by the FRA and Federal Highway Administration.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/27/2007