November 2021 Editorial Lineup
Changes in the works at Chicago's crucial Belt Railway
In operation since 1882, the Belt Railway Co. of Chicago (BRC) continues to be a key cog in the Windy City. The largest U.S. intermediate switching terminal railroad — which manages 300 miles of switching tracks and 28 miles of mainlines — interchanges with every railroad serving the Chicago rail hub. Its massive Clearing Yards spans 5.5 miles and covers 786 acres.
To keep pace with its vital and yet evolving role, the BRC is taking on some necessary infrastructure improvements and implementing some needed operational changes in 2021. For example, the railroad is installing new switch components, retarders and ties, replacing the 100-year-old Holland Road bridge on the Kenton Line and embracing a more decentralized management approach.
To learn more about the changes and why they're required, Managing Editor Jeff Stagl holds court with BRC President Mike Grace, Transportation Department Superintendent Terry Hartwig, Mechanical Department Superintendent Adam Brock and other departmental managers.
2021 Railroad Innovator Award:
CN's Jean-Jacques Ruest
In June, Progressive Railroading and RailTrends® named CN President and Chief Executive Officer Jean-Jacques Ruest the 2021 recipient of the Railroad Innovator Award, which recognizes an individual's outstanding achievement in the rail industry. "JJ has a calming, 'I have seen it all before' presence," says independent transportation analyst Tony Hatch, who is a program consultant for the annual RailTrends conference. "He represents the chain that took CN from a crown corporation to the private sector — and from precision scheduled railroading and Hunter Harrison to PSR 2.0 to the digital scheduled railroad." This month, we'll talk with Hatch and other observers about Ruest's accomplishments and approach to leading a 21st century railroad.
As ever, railroads want fasteners and fastening systems that keep track components clamped tight for years, as well as require no or minimal maintenance, and are affordable. As ever, suppliers are trying to meet those demands by enhancing their product lines or developing new options. We'll check in with fastener and fastening system suppliers to gauge the state of product-improvement efforts.
Ditching & Draining
Water can be hazardous to railroads, causing track damage and emergency situations when flooding occurs. Proper drainage ensures safe operation. This month, suppliers offer information on products, services and technology designed to help keep roadbeds clear of water.
How's business in the North American rail-car repair segment? Have repair shops been seeing more work coming their way in 2021? If so, where's it coming from? If not: What rail industry issues or economic factors seem to be preventing it? Did shops adjust this year's plans accordingly? How are they preparing for 2022? For answers, we'll reach out to a sampling of rail-car repair shop officials.
Note: All editorial topics are subject to change without notice.
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