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April 2010

Rail News: MOW

9th Annual MOW Survey: Passenger Railroads

by Angela Cotey, Associate editor

A Year Chock-full of Challenges

The recession has impacted many aspects of transit agencies' operations, and MOW is no exception. Of the 17 transit agencies that responded to this year's survey, many cited fewer resources — budget-wise and, in a few cases, workforce-wise — as being major obstacles to their infrastructure maintenance plans for 2010.

"A decrease in available operating and capital funds is the biggest challenge," Charlotte Area Transit System officials wrote in their survey. "Another challenge is keeping up with maintenance requirements and new capital projects with minimal staff."

Sixteen agencies provided budget amounts in this year's survey, and half plan to spend more on MOW compared with what they spent in 2009. Yet, figuring out how to fund this year's MOW programs is a challenge for all respondents. A few are relying on stimulus dollars to supplement their smaller-than-usual MOW budgets. Despite a "lack of adequate capital funding," particularly at the state level, Metra plans to complete station and bridge improvements this year in the Chicago area using stimulus funds.

Ditto for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, which is augmenting its capital budget with stimulus dollars while working to "adjust to a projected interruption or permanent decrease in state capital funding," according to the agency's survey.

No matter the funding sources or shortages, the respondents' programs call for plenty of work. Despite transitioning from one five-year capital program to another with uncertain funding levels, MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) is advancing some large-scale projects, such as the Culver Line Viaduct replacement.

"Critical MOW programs are proceeding in advance of funding approval; however, less critical items may ultimately be deferred," NYCT officials wrote.

The Regional Transportation District of Denver is one of the respondents that listed budget constraints as its biggest challenge this year, but the agency still expects to delve quite a bit deeper into its FasTracks rail expansion program.

With lots of work on their slates, some agencies are hiring a lot more workers. Dallas Area Rapid Transit, which is in the midst of a large-scale rail expansion program, plans to hire 12 additional track maintainers, eight "PA/facility" service mechanics, 16 traction power maintainers, eight signal maintainers, and six communication and control techs to help lend support this year.

Meanwhile, other respondents are focusing on training to meet new service start-up dates, providing support for testing new line sections, or prepping to open a new service and inspection facility while conducting routine maintenance activities.


2010 MOW Plans (by capital budget amount)

MTA New York City Transit

2010 MOW budget: $1.2 billion

2009 MOW budget: $1.6 billion

Reason for decrease: A major increase in MOW projects funded in 2009 was made possible because of stimulus funding.

Rail: Install 13.3 miles of elevated, subway and yard track, plus adjacent tracks, as well as 3 miles of continuous-welded rail. Projects include the Church Avenue Interlocking on the Culver Line in Brooklyn ($246.1 million); phase two of the Flushing Line CBTC signal modernization in Manhattan and Queens ($54.7 million); and phase one of a real-time train arrival information system installation ($80 million).

Ties: Install 41,700 wood ties and tie blocks, and 7,000 concrete ties.

Bridge projects: NYCT is replacing Brooklyn's Culver Line Viaduct (see page 60).

Station or facility projects: Improve automatic fare collection equipment, $95.7 million; conduct component work at various stations, $55.7 million; rehabilitate Smith/9th Street Station, $42.5 million, to begin in July; and make ADA improvements at Herald Square, 6th Avenue and Broadway Line stations, $13.8 million, to begin in October.

Regional Transportation District of Denver

2010 MOW budget: $612.5 million (FasTracks program)

2009 MOW budget: $250.2 million (FasTracks program)

Reason for increase: Ramping up FasTracks program, which requires progressively increasing capital expenditures. Peak investment activities projected to occur in 2013, then ramping down to completion by 2017.

Rail: Significant trackwork to begin in 2011.

Ties: Install concrete ties as part of West Corridor and Denver Union Station projects beginning in 2011.

Bridge projects: 6th Ave. in the city of Lakewood, $10.4 million, to begin in June; CML in Denver, $7 million, to begin in March; Sheridan in Denver, $3.9 million, began in January; South Platte in Denver, $3.6 million, to begin in March; and Decatur in Denver, $1.9 million, to begin in July.

Station or facility projects: Jeffco, city of Golden, $17.5 million, to begin in April; Oak, city of Lakewood, $3.5 million, began in February; Federal, city of Denver, $2.7 million, to begin in November; Denver Federal, city of Lakewood, $1.6 million, to begin in March; Red Rocks, city of Golden, $1.4 million, began in February; Garrison, city of Lakewood, $1.1 million, to begin in September; and Lamar, city of Lakewood, $1.1 million, to begin in July.


2010 MOW budget: $441.7 million

2009 MOW budget: $449.1 million

Rail: Rehabilitate 36.7 miles. Projects include a New York Division concrete tie replacement ($39 million), Mid-Atlantic track surfacing ($7.5 million), New England concrete tie replacement ($3.5 million) and Michigan rail renewal ($3.4 million).

Ties: Install 162,141 ties, including 112,453 concrete and 49,688 wood.

Bridge projects: Construct a new Niantic River Bridge, estimated at $100 million, during the next several years, and replace the U.S. Route 1 bridge in Banford, Conn., estimated to cost $3 million (project began in 2009).

Station or facility projects: Upgrade Union Station MARC platforms ($5 million); replace New York Penn Station escalator ($4.3 million); and improve Harrisburg Station ($2.2 million).

Chicago Transit Authority

2010 MOW budget: $172 million

2009 MOW budget: $97.6 million

Reason for increase: Annual expenditures remain about the same. The difference in budgets reflects discrete annual funding of multi-year projects.

Rail: Replace 3 miles. CTA is continuing a program to eliminate and prevent slow zones by replacing deteriorated wood ties with concrete ties, which will restore normal train speeds and reduce travel time. Since summer 2007, about 200,000 feet of slow zones have been removed. At its peak, slow zones existed on 22.3 percent — or 263,526 feet — of CTA's rail system. As of March 5, slow zones occupied 5.6 percent of the system, or 66,152 feet of track.

Ties: Install 7,000 wood ties.

Bridge projects: No bridge projects planned, but CTA will continue priority repair work on elevated steel structures.

Station or facility projects: As part of the ongoing Loop signal project, CTA is replacing the signal and train control systems along the two busiest Loop junctions of Van Buren/Wabash and Lake/Wells. The new systems will help improve reliability by regulating train movement, speed and intervals at the junctions. The project began in 2007 and is expected to be complete later this year. Also this year, CTA expects to complete the Red Line Cermak-Chinatown Station rehabilitation project, which includes constructing a new secondary entrance at Archer Avenue and rebuilding the main station house on Cermak to feature an elevator, making the station accessible and more convenient to use. Finally, pending the appropriation of funding, CTA plans to upgrade the traction power system on the Red and Brown lines. The project includes constructing three new substations, which will help increase reliability and enable the authority to operate more transit service along the corridors as needed.

Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corp. (Metra)

2010 MOW budget: $147 million

2009 MOW budget: $248 million

Reason for decrease: Metra continues to struggle to obtain adequate capital funds, particularly at the state level. However, the agency has been able to carry out MOW work with the $140.8 million it received in stimulus funds.

Rail: Surface: 160 miles system-wide.

Ties: Install about 50,000 wood ties.

Bridge projects: Metra is using $35.3 million in stimulus dollars to replace 22 bridges along the Union Pacific North line in Chicago. Work is scheduled to begin in spring and be complete by 2011. The agency also will use $5.1 million in stimulus funds to rehab several bridges along the Metra Electric line. Work on the 59th, 60th, 73rd and 76th street bridges will begin in spring and be completed by year's end.

Station or facility projects: Metra is constructing a new Lovana S. Jones/Bronzeville Station along the Rock Island line. It will feature heated ramps, stairways, eight-car platforms, heated platform shelters, bicycle racks, benches, and audio and visual information systems. Scheduled to be complete in 2011, the project is being funded with $4.9 million in federal dollars and $6.8 million in stimulus money. This spring, Metra will begin reconstructing Winnetka Station on the UP North line. Scheduled to be complete by 2010's end, the nearly $5 million project includes restoring the street-level depot, pedestrian bridge and six stairways; installing new elevators and vestibules; and replacing the platforms and platform shelters. In addition, Metra will replace platform tactile surfaces at the Joliet and Lockport stations along the Heritage Corridor ($900,000 and $1.3 million, respectively), and replace platforms at Golf Station on the Milwaukee North line ($300,000).

MTA Long Island Rail Road

2010 MOW budget: $125.2 million

2009 MOW budget: $192.9 million

Reason for decrease: 2010 is a transition year for LIRR, as the agency wrapped up its 2005-2009 capital program and is awaiting approval of the 2010-2014 capital program.

Rail: LIRR "Force Account" teams perform cyclical renewals systemwide. In 2010, the agency will spend $67.9 million to install 42,283 wood ties and 9 wood switches; rehabilitate 15 grade crossings, surface 103 miles of track, install 49 surface interlocking switches, complete 1,200 field welds, install 8.8 miles of continuous-welded rail and add 6,600 hand ties. Significant track projects will take place on the Montauk Line (16 miles, excluding about 5 miles of direct fixation, $12 million), Port Washington Branch (12 miles, $7 million), Port Jefferson Branch (5.4 miles, $4 million) and Far Rockaway Line (5 miles, $3 million).

Ties: Install 48,883 mechanized and hand ties.

Bridge projects: As part of its 2005-2009 capital program, LIRR is rehabbing 15 bridges, 1 large viaduct, culverts and drainage structures. Typical work includes replacing the bridge or viaduct bearings; rehabilitating, repairing or replacing structural steel or concrete elements, such as girders, floor beams, columns, abutment and/or retaining walls and culverts; waterproofing the bridge/viaduct deck; and total structure replacement. Design contracts for 8 bridges and the viaduct have been let between 2008 and 2010. Construction contracts for bridge replacements and retaining wall rehab were awarded in 2009. In March 2008, LIRR awarded a design-build contract for the first phase of the Atlantic Avenue Viaduct rehabilitation; a phase two design-build contract was awarded in 2009.

Station or facility projects: LIRR plans to launch an escalator replacement program at the Merrick, Bellmore and Massapequa Park stations on the Babylon Branch ($5.8 million, construction began in the first quarter); install new elevators and complete associated platform improvements at Queens Village Station on the Hempstead Branch ($8.5 million, to begin in 2011); install new elevators and complete associated platform improvements at Flushing-Main Street Station on the Port Washington Branch ($8.5 million, to begin in 2011); and install a new elevator at Flatbush Avenue Terminal in Brooklyn ($3 million, to begin in 2011). LIRR also plans to begin the design phase for the Port Washington Yard reconfiguration project, which calls for extending two existing yard tracks, realigning track and installing new switches, upgrading the pedestrian overpass, and building employee accommodations. Design budget is $2 million.

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority

2010 MOW budget: $120 million ($86.8 million federal, $33.3 million from the Infrastructure Safety and Renewal Program)

2009 MOW budget: $56.9 million ($23.8 million, $33.1 million from the Infrastructure Safety and Renewal Program)

Reason for increase: Additional federal stimulus funding was factored in.

Rail: Rehab 4.25 miles. Significant projects include installing ties and surfacing along 30 miles of the Media/Elwyn commuter-rail line ($5.4 million), installing 0.5 miles of new street track along Rail Route 15 ($3.5 million) and renewing 0.75 miles of street track along Rail Route 10 ($2 million).

Ties: Install 37,000 wood ties.

Bridge projects: Rehab Regional Rail bridges 13.04, 18.87, 20.25 and Mainline bridge 8.38 ($7.6 million, funded under stimulus program); repair bridge 7.63 on the R7 Chestnut Hill East Line and bridge 4.06A on the R6 Cynwyd Line ($200,000 combined value).

Station or facility projects: Spend $89.4 million in stimulus funds to rehab/construct the following stations: Fox Chase; Malvern; North Wales; Chestnut Hill East; Chestnut Hill West; Philmont; Langhorne; Morton/Folcroft/Clifton; Queen Lane; Allen Lane; Croydon; and Wayne. The agency also is rehabbing Primos Station on the R3 Media Line ($14 million, to begin in fourth-quarter 2010 and be complete in second-quarter 2012), 8th Street Station on the Broad Street Subway Ridge Spur ($3 million, began in fourth-quarter 2009 and will be complete in fourth-quarter 2010) and Ambler Station on the R5 Doylestown Line ($7 million, began in first-quarter 2009, to be complete in the third quarter).

MTA Metro-North Railroad

2010 MOW budget: $86 million

2009 MOW budget: $82 million

Reason for increase: 2010 budget includes a concrete tie job in Connecticut.

Rail: Rehabilitate 48 miles of track ($19.5 million); replace 17 miles of concrete ties ($14.3 million). Metro-North also will renew interlockings in New York City, Croton Harmon, Poughkeepsie, Southeast and Rye, N.Y. ($14.5 million), and in Milford, Conn. ($5.5 million).

Ties: Install 97,000 ties, including 47,000 concrete and 50,000 wood.

Bridge projects: Replace undergrade bridge at Sunnyside Avenue in Thornwood ($600,000); rehab undergrade bridges at Hamilton Avenue in White Plains ($400,000), Croton River bridge in Croton-on-Hudson ($500,000) and O&W Truss in Campbell Hall ($500,000); install new drainage system in Glenwood ($200,000); install new bridge timbers on Croton Falls Bridge in Croton Falls ($300,000).

Station or facility projects: Replace electrical substation roof systems in Ossining and the Woodlawn section of the Bronx to protect the electrical apparatus within the buildings. Metro-North also will over-coat 11 substations with a sealer to preserve the existing roofing systems and install new roofs at four locations with signal buildings. Total station/facility budget is $345,000.

Utah Transit Authority

2010 MOW budget: $9.8 million

2009 MOW budget: $10.6 million

Reason for decrease: Lower sales tax revenues.

Rail: Install 15 miles as part of the 44-mile Provo-to-Salt Lake City FrontRunner commuter-rail project.

Ties: Install 34,000 concrete ties as part of new construction.

Bridge projects: Build 20 new bridges included in FrontRunner project.

Station or facility projects: Construct 2 stations as part of FrontRunner project.

Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District

2010 MOW budget: $7.9 million

2009 MOW budget: $8 million

Rail: Rehabilitate 12.5 miles.

Ties: Install 7,500 wood ties.

Bridge projects: Replace Hobart Road bridge, $1.6 million, to begin in June; paint Grand Calumet River bridge, $500,000, to begin in June.

Station or facility projects: Complete platform repairs at Gary Metro Station, $500,000, and improve salt storage building in Michigan City, $125,000.

Miami-Dade Transit

2010 MOW budget: $7.5 million

2009 MOW budget: $6.3 million

Reason for increase: The agency will complete a mainline turnout replacement project, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Rail: Replace 1.5 miles; rehabilitate 2 miles. Projects include the 2.4-mile double-tracked Airport Link, a Metrorail extension from the existing Earlington Heights station to the Miami Intermodal Center at Miami International Airport, $534.8 million (being funded through a half-percent county-wide sales surtax, the Florida Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration).

Ties: Install 1,000 wood and 500 concrete ties.

Bridge projects: The Airport Link elevated guideway will cross over the existing Metrorail system, State Road 112 and the Miami River before entering Miami Central Station at the Miami Intermodal Center.

Station or facility projects: Construct a tri-level Metrorail station as part of the Airport Link project, $72.9 million, notice to proceed issued in April 2009.

Port Authority of Allegheny County

2010 MOW budget: $5.65 million

2009 MOW budget: $2 million

Reason for increase: The authority's capital program needs are prioritized through a capital planning process. More of the MOW capital needs were ranked higher in FY2010.

Rail: Replace 2.5 miles, rehabilitate 5 miles and install 2.5 miles. Projects include the 1.2-mile North Shore Connector light-rail extension ($538 million) and rail replacement in the Mt. Lebanon Tunnel ($5.4 million).

Ties: Install 250 wood ties.

Station or facility projects: Replace the rail-car maintenance building roof in Upper St. Clair, Pa. ($1.5 million, to begin in May); replace 850 feet of deteriorated concrete plinth in the subway ($750,000, to begin in May); purchase and install a wheel axle press at the South Hills Village Rail Center ($726,000, to begin in August); rehab the Mt. Washington tunnel fans, ($332,000, to begin in April); install wayside between car barriers at all ADA "key stations" located in the South Hills area of Pittsburgh ($275,000, to begin in May); repair the subway's dry stand pipe system from Wood Street Station to Steel Plaza Station, including new hangers and expansion joints ($250,000, to begin in August); replace the Operations Control Center roof ($185,000, to begin in May); rehab stairs at the South Hills Junction Station ($85,000, to begin in September); and replace the roof at Wood Street Station ($36,000, to begin in September).

Port Authority Transit Corp.

2010 MOW budget: $4.5 million

2009 MOW budget: $3.1 million

Reason for increase: Additional capital funding available.

Rail: Replace 3 miles. PATCO — which operates a rapid-transit line from Center City Philadelphia to Lindenwold, N.J. — will replace gauge worn rail on mainline and in subway, complete 480 flash-butt welds for various new rail sections for future rail replacement on mainline and in subway, replace diamond crossover/turnout in yard and finish track rehabilitation project on viaduct.

Ties: Spot replacement of wood ties.

Bridge projects: In summer, PATCO will begin a system-wide limited bridge rehabilitation contract for work such as structural repairs and painting.

Station or facility projects: PATCO will spend more than $6 million for 25 station/facility projects.

Trinity Railway Express

2010 MOW budget: $3.6 million

2009 MOW budget: $6.1 million

Rail: Install 0.5 miles as part of a $500,000 track replacement project in Dallas.

Ties: Install 3,000 wood ties.

Bridge projects: Rehabbed one open-deck timber trestle bridge at MP 703.52, replacing rail, ties and hardware (project completed in January), $59,000. TRE also is rehabbing one ballast deck pre-stress concrete bridge at MP 701.50 by installing curbs, and replacing rail, ties and hardware, to be completed in March, $113,000.

Station or facility projects: TRE is demolishing high ramps and extending platforms to accommodate 1 locomotive and 5 bi-level cab and coach cars at the South Irving, West Irving and Medical/Market Center stations ($3.5 million, to begin in December). The agency also will modify platforms at the South Irving, West Irving, Medical/Market Center and Union stations, adding a new portion of concrete platform with warning strips and pavers at the bottom of mini high ramps, removing and stockpiling the existing crushed stone, and installing a new extension for conductors to stand and assist passengers with disabilities, $95,000, to begin in June.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit

2010 MOW budget: $1.2 million

2009 MOW budget: $2.6 million

Rail: Rehabilitate 450 feet in Dallas, $125,000.

Ties: Install 300 wood and 100 concrete ties as part of routine maintenance.

Station or facility projects: By 2010's end, DART expects to open 16 rail stations and one service and inspection facility along the Green Line within the cities of Dallas, Farmers Branch and Carrollton.

Charlotte Area Transit System

2010 MOW budget: $610,000

2009 MOW budget: $433,000

Reason for increase: CATS is purchasing equipment and materials needed for additional maintenance requirements, as well as constructing an additional yard track.

Rail: Install 0.1 mile.

Ties: Install 151 concrete ties.

Sound Transit

2010 MOW budget: N/A (Sound Transit does not have a distinct MOW budget).

2009 MOW budget: N/A

Rail: Replace 6 miles of track, including between M Street and Lakewood (7 miles between 2009 and 2010), $34 million, and between D Street and M Street (1.4 miles between 2010 and 2012), $55 million civil construction plus $6 million in corridor signals.

Ties: Install concrete ties. (Number not available.)

Station or facility projects: Build single side-load platform at Edmonds Station, as well as complete parking improvements and bus transfer facilities, $4 million, construction to begin in summer; build layover track extension plus wayside power, sewer dump facilities, compressed air and yard lighting at Everett Layover, $2 million, construction to begin in March.


MOW ’10 Contents


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