News Releases

12/15/2016: NCDOT Educating NC Law Enforcement About Railroad Safety

NCDOT Educating NC Law Enforcement About Railroad Safety

Posted 12/15/2016 11:18:47 AM

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Transportation is partnering with the North Carolina Justice Academy to educate law enforcement officers around the state about rail safety. “State rail officials work tirelessly to improve railroad safety and the safety of the communities along the tracks,” Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson said. “We also want our law enforcement officers to protect themselves and help prevent tragedies on or near railroad property.” Each year, officers attend mandatory continuing education and training to maintain law enforcement certification. Part of the training in 2017 will include a nine-minute training video produced by the department’s BeRailSafe railroad safety outreach program. The video outlines three key issue areas for law enforcement officers: Identifying and using the railroads’ blue emergency notification sign; Enforcing trespassing laws on railroad property; and Staying safe when working on or near the railroad tracks. Railroads are private property, and anyone on railroad property or right-of-way without permission from the railroad company is trespassing. Railroad tracks are an industrial environment that is not safe for walking, biking or taking shortcuts. The only safe and legal place to cross the railroad in a vehicle or on foot is at an authorized railroad crossing. With 30 railroad companies and more than 5,000 miles of railroad tracks, North Carolina is one of the fastest growing rail states in the southeast. BeRailSafe provides free training for all first responders, including police, firefighters and 911 operators around the state to mitigate rail environment dangers and minimize risks on this expanding network. The North Carolina Justice Academy prepares training materials for the two commissions that oversee the training of law enforcement officers throughout the state. In 2017, more than 30,000 police officers and sheriff’s deputies will watch the BeRailSafe training video, enhancing their knowledge of railroad safety best practices. The safety message in the video is not only for law enforcement. North Carolinians are also encouraged to watch the video on NCDOT’s YouTube channel.
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12/12/2016: NCDOT Celebrates Groundbreaking of Railroad Improvement Project

NCDOT Celebrates Groundbreaking of Railroad Improvement Project

Posted 12/12/2016 12:49:31 AM

COFIELD, N.C. – The N.C. Department of Transportation hosted a groundbreaking ceremony Monday, celebrating a significant investment in railway and railroad crossing improvements. “This project is a great example of what North Carolina is doing to increase freight capacity, improve efficiency, and enhance safety on railroads in the state,” Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson said. “It is also a major step toward fulfilling Governor Pat McCrory’s goal of leveraging our infrastructure to create economic development opportunities.” The North Carolina & Virginia Railroad, or NCVA, serves multiple customers and is located in Northampton, Bertie, and Hertford counties, as well as Southampton County, Virginia. The railroad interchanges with CSX Transportation, Inc. at Boykins, Virginia, and runs 52 miles to its largest customer, the Nucor Steel plate mill at Cofield, North Carolina. The railroad is operating at 10 mph over much of its line and is only able to load cars to 270,000 pounds gross weight. This project will allow NCVA to ship rail cars loaded to 286,000 pounds gross weight. State officials noted that increasing freight rail capacity will help reduce the amount of goods that need to be shipped by truck on U.S. 158 and other area roadways. The ceremony, held at Nucor Steel in Hertford County, highlighted how the improvements support industries in the region. “More than 60 percent of the Nucor plant’s annual production ships by rail, which means the upgrading of this line is critical to their operations and their continued ability to compete in today’s global market and support the economy of this area,” continued Tennyson. “Thanks to this project, NCVA will be able to ship heavier loaded rail cars at faster speeds, which is key to serving industries based here and opening the door to new economic opportunities for this region.” Tennyson was joined at the groundbreaking by U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, along with officials from NCVA, Genesee & Wyoming and Nucor Corporation. The $11.6 million project is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2019. The N.C. Department of Transportation secured half of the funding through a federal grant from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program. The balance of the cost is covered by an investment of $3 million from NCVA and $2.8 million of state funds. ***NCDOT***
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11/4/2016: Rail Improvement Program Receives $10 Million Funding Boost

Rail Improvement Program Receives $10 Million Funding Boost

Posted 11/4/2016 12:56:48 PM

RALEIGH – The Rail Division of the N.C. Department of Transportation has awarded an additional $10 million for the Freight Rail and Rail Crossing Safety Improvement program for fiscal year 2017. State officials accelerated the project selection process because several of the ranked projects involve railroads damaged by flooding from Hurricane Matthew. “These investments will enhance safety and improve rail infrastructure connections to economic development opportunities,” Rail Director Paul Worley said. “Both of these priorities satisfy goals outlined in Governor McCrory’s 25-Year Vision for Transportation in North Carolina.” The Freight Rail and Rail Crossing Safety Improvement program was established by legislation signed into law by Governor McCrory in 2013. The newly-approved funding brings the total program amount to $13.75 million for the year. Four shortline improvement projects were selected for funding, with half of the cost coming from state funds and the other half from private investment: $1.7 million to upgrade bridges in Wake, Nash, Wilson and Beaufort counties and to replace more than 10,000 crossties over 31 miles of track in Wake, Johnston, Nash and Wilson counties. Other elements of this project include rail roadbed and crosstie replacement to accommodate heavier railcars in key areas; $7.3 million to return a section of railroad to service in Columbus County between Chadbourn and Whiteville, as well as other track upgrades from Chadbourn to Tabor City and into South Carolina to connect the line to the national rail system; $725,000 to replace five culverts and harden the railroad over 29 miles in Currituck, Camden and Pasquotank counties; and $393,594 to build a new truck/train transload facility in Hoke County, and to replace crossties and harden the railroad for eight miles in Cumberland and Hoke counties. Officials also approved $1 million for a safety improvement project in Salisbury. The project will accelerate the elimination of a highway/rail at-grade crossing at Henderson Grove Church Road by developing the right-of-way plans for a more efficient access roadway to Julian Road. ***NCDOT***
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8/25/2016: N.C. Railways to Benefit from Grant for Safety Technology

N.C. Railways to Benefit from Grant for Safety Technology

Posted 8/25/2016 2:09:21 PM

Raleigh – The state will soon be able to purchase new equipment needed to meet a nationwide mandate on rail safety standards, thanks to a federal grant awarded to the N.C. Department of Transportation last week. “The safe movement of passengers and freight on our rail system is our top priority,” said Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson. “These funds will help us ensure that we have the technology to prevent crashes and save lives.” North Carolina is one of only six states to receive funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration to assist with the implementation of Positive Train Control systems. Positive Train Control uses global positioning systems and other technology to monitor and control train movements in order to prevent collisions, derailments, incursions into work zones, and trains going onto the wrong tracks. Last year, Congress extended the deadline to comply with Positive Train Control requirements until December 2018. “North Carolina has been on the leading edge of efforts to achieve compliance with federal mandates,” said state Rail Director Paul Worley. “As new equipment comes online, this funding will help us enhance our state’s rail network and meet the goals outlined in Governor McCrory’s 25-Year Vision for transportation in North Carolina for improving passenger rail.” The state is making additional investments in rail safety, such as a series of rail and highway construction projects known as the Piedmont Improvement Program. This initiative includes constructing 12 bridges to separate traffic from trains, eliminating more than two dozen railroad crossings and adding 31 miles of passing track. The state will receive $771,070 to equip five converted Cab Control Units with Interoperable Electronic Train Management Systems. The grant will also pay for system tests on the Piedmont corridor or within any adjacent rail territory of the state’s rail partners, Norfolk Southern Corporation and Amtrak. Thirty jurisdictions from across the nation applied for funding, but only 11 projects received a grant. *** NCDOT ***  
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7/12/2016: Transportation Officials Hold Ribbon Cutting for Durham Rail Project

Transportation Officials Hold Ribbon Cutting for Durham Rail Project

Posted 7/12/2016 8:22:36 AM

RALEIGH – State transportation officials gathered in Durham July 12 to celebrate the completion of a railroad construction project designed to enhance rail safety and efficiency. “To help fulfill Governor McCrory’s 25-Year Vision, our Rail Division is working to enhance rail safety and connectivity across the state,” said N.C. Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson. “These projects will modernize railroad track, roads and bridges along the corridor between Raleigh and Charlotte.” The project is funded through a grant from the Federal Railroad Administration and was completed in partnership with the North Carolina Railroad Company and Norfolk Southern Railway. Construction on the Hopson Road grade separation and passing track project began in 2013 and was the first Piedmont Improvement Program project to break ground. It was designed to improve road safety and speed up train travel along the Charlotte-Raleigh corridor by eliminating railroad crossings at Hopson Road and Church Street. A bridge wide enough to accommodate any future widening of Hopson Road was also built to carry train tracks over the road, replacing the existing street level crossing. The project also constructed a new 3.3-mile passing track between McCrimmon Parkway in Morrisville and I-40 in Durham.  The improvements will help provide schedule reliability for passenger service as the addition of a second track will allow passenger trains to pass slower freight trains. The new bridge over Hopson Road will reduce the risk of automobile/train collisions, improve safety for automobile and rail passengers and reduce automobile and train traffic congestion. “This project is a result of long-term vision and collaboration among all the partners involved,” said Scott Saylor, President of the North Carolina Railroad Company. “The Hopson Road grade separation and new passing track will have an immediate and significant impact on both rail and highway safety, as well as increased efficiencies for our freight and passenger rail providers.” Delivery of the $27 million project is a partnership effort. NCDOT constructed the railroad bridge, road realignment and grading work for the parallel track. Norfolk Southern built the additional track line, and the North Carolina Railroad Company purchased the land for railroad improvements. ***NCDOT*** U-4716ABC  
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Durham/Morrisville Railroad Improvements and Grade Separation
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