Quinn to chair House's Railroad Subcommittee

WASHINGTON, March 8 -- Congressman Jack Quinn (R-NY) has been named Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads by committee Chairman Don Young (R-AK).

In the Senate, Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR) was named chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee's Surface Transportation Committee.

"I'm both pleased and excited that Congressman Quinn will serve as Chairman of the Railroad Subcommittee in the 107th Congress," said BLE President Edward Dubroski, "not only because he is the sone of a locomotive engineer, but because of his proven leadership on rail issues.

"One example of Congressman Quinn's interest in rail issues is his long-standing concern for the welfare of widows of railroad workers, and his untiring efforts to have labor and management provide needed relief, which we expect to be enacted into law this year. The BLE has been proud to endorse Jack Quinn's reelection efforts throughout the 1990s, and we eagerly look forward to working with him in the new Congress."

CP breakup fuels rail merger talks

TORONTO, February 14 -- Canadian Pacific Ltd., which helped create modern Canada with a national railway connecting East with West, said it intends to divide itself into five separate companies, all of which will be publicly traded.

Chairman David O'Brien also announced he will step down after the restructuring is completed in the fall of 2001.

O'Brien acknowledged that CP Rail has played an important role in Canada's history. However, it will be up to shareholders and the federal government to decide whether an independent CP Rail or the other companies remain Canadian-owned. There are currently no laws preventing the sale of CP Rail to a foreign company, he said.

Speculation by transportation analysts was that CP Rail, one of the smallest of the major railroads remaining in North America, would be ripe for plucking by one of the others. Union Pacific, a longtime ally, is commonly mentioned as a potential suitor, as is Canadian National.

Ten killed in U.K. rail collision

LONDON, March 7 -- Britain's troubled rail industry was cleared of blame for a fatal train crash in northern England that occurred on March 1. A government report said the collision was beyond the control of either of the train drivers involved.

Ten people were killed in the March 1 crash, including both locomotive drivers, when a Land Rover towing a trailer ploughed off the motorway near Selby in Yorkshire.

Both locomotive drivers were members of the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen, the BLE's sister organization in the U.K.

The government report added that there was no evidence that there were any errors by the railways staff or faults with either the signaling equipment, trains or track involved.

The findings, though expected, were a rare piece of good news for an industry under heavy fire for a series of rail crashes. The most recent crash was the fourth fatal rail accident in three and a half years, and the British rail industry as a whole has been accused of putting profit before safety.

Amtrak unveils high speed plan for California

LOS ANGELES, March 7 -- Hoping to capitalize on dissatisfaction with the congestion that plagues California's highways and airports, Amtrak unveiled a $10.1-billion high-speed-rail plan.

The plan calls for curves in tracks to be straightened, signals modernized, new sidings added and tunnels drilled beneath some cities.

All this would be done to boost speed, with top speeds jumping from the current 79 mph in most places to 90 mph, 110 mph and 125 mph.

Little retires; Boyd new UTU leader

CLEVELAND, February 6 -- Byron A. Boyd Jr. has replaced Charles L. Little as international president of the United Transportation Union in the wake of Little's unexpected resignation and retirement.

Little attributed his decision to resign and retire to health considerations. Under a provision of the UTU Constitution, a retiring International President is replaced by the union's second-in-command, the Assistant President. Boyd, 54, has held the UTU's No. 2 position since 1995.

2001 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers