December 2005 in rail transport

2004, 2005, 2006

2004 in rail transport
2005 in rail transport
2006 in rail transport

This article lists events related to rail transport that occurred in December 2005.


December events

1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

December 1 - December 3

December 1
  • United Kingdom - The National Railway Museum in York, England, announces a £3.5 million project to make the museum's archives more available to the public. The project, which will begin in 2006 led by a company called Search Engine, aims to increase public accessibility of the museum's archive, including 1.5 million photographic negatives and more than 3 km of railway reports; of special note in the collection is the notebook of John Urpeth Rastrick in which he kept details of the equipment participating in the Rainhill Trials. Work is expected to be completed by Autumn 2007.[1]
  • Australia - Unionized railway workers in Australia are locked out of the Port Augusta, Broken Hill and Parkes stations in response to rolling strikes around the country against Pacific National. Work contract negotiations between the union and the railroad broke down in November, which prompted a 48-hour work stoppage. The railroad and the union agreed to return to the negotiations on the condition that both sides would cease their work stoppage actions.[2]
December 2
  • United States - Canadian National Railway (CN) files suit against the town of Orr, Minnesota, claiming that the municipal speed limit that the town imposed would impede interstate commerce. The city ordinance requires all trains passing through the town to slow to no more than 30 mph (48 km/h). However, due to the length of the trains that pass on the line through the town, the ordinance has the side effect of blocking several level crossings for a long time, causing delays in street traffic, not only in Orr, but also in the neighboring communities of Virginia, Mountain Iron and International Falls.[3]
  • United States Canada - Schnabel car CEBX 800, the largest such car on North American rails, departs Duluth, Minnesota, in a special Canadian Pacific Railway train bound for Long Lake in northern Alberta. The car is carrying what has been called the largest single-car freight load ever carried in North America, an enormous "hydro cracker" reactor built in pieces in Dubai and Japan. The 1.5 million pound load was offloaded from the ship Stellaprima in Duluth on November 23.[4][5][6][7]

December 4 - December 10

December 4
  • Pakistan India - Pakistan Railway Minister Mian Shamim Haider announces that the so far single track mainline connecting Pakistan and India is now complete and that trains will begin operating in revenue service in January. The route currently connects Khokarapar and Monabao, and work has begun to double track sections of the line between Sheikhupura and Lahore and later between Lahore and Gujranwala.[8]
December 5
  • China - Construction begins on the Iron Silk Road, a high speed passenger rail connection between China and mainland Europe. The $5 billion project is expected to be completed in 2010. The proposed route will travel from China through Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Turkey where it will connect with the rest of the European rail network. A second proposed route would connect through Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine and Poland. The southern route is favored for an eventual connection to the Persian Gulf, but political instability may hamper that expansion.[9]
  • Kenya - The signing of the Kenya-Uganda Railways concession is delayed. This marks the second time the concession agreement was delayed; the first time it was due to technicalities cited by one of the investors. The latest delay is attributed to the President Mwai Kibaki's dissolution of his cabinet in Kenya. Since Kenya's Transport Minister is one of the signatories, a new date cannot be set until a new cabinet is in place. The concessioner, Rift Valley Railways Consortium, is now expected to take control of the railways in early April 2006.[10]
December 6
  • Mexico - Kansas City Southern Industries (KCSI), owner of both Kansas City Southern Railroad (KCS) and Grupo Transportación Ferroviaria Mexicana (TFM), renames TFM to Kansas City Southern de Mexico, S.A. de C.V. (KCSM). Marketing and administrative duties for the two railroads will be combined, a move that will directly affect the management team of TFM; some of the management has already been combined, such as the intermodal and automotive business for both railroads now managed by vice president Michael J. Smith. Javier Rion, TFM's current CEO, will step down within three months.[11]
  • United Kingdom - London, England's Docklands Light Railway extension to London City Airport opens. With the difference in fares between the railway connection (£2.80) and a comparable black cab ride into London (as much as £15), DLR executives anticipate more passengers will choose to travel by rail as awareness increases. Cab drivers are also anticipating a shift in ridership as a large number of business travelers using the airport had been using cabs to get there.[12]
  • United Arab Emirates - General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, announces that studies will begin on connecting all of the emirates in the United Arab Emirates by rail for both passenger and intermodal freight transport. The 700 km (430 mi) proposed route would connect Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah with Ruwais and Ghowaifat. Officials hope to create a public-private partnership in order to build and operate the proposed railway. The project is part of a wider plan and a requirement of the Gulf Cooperation Council's plan to connect all Arab states by rail.[13][14]
  • Slovenia - Railway officials in Slovenia officially open the newly upgraded border crossing with Croatia at Dobova. It is the nation's first rail crossing to comply with the strict European Union Schengen treaty border crossing security standards; the five other compliant border crossings include Ljubljana International Airport, the port of Koper and road crossings in Jelšane, Gruškovje and Obrežje.[15]
December 7
  • Russia - Officials in St. Petersburg, Russia, announce that United States-based East Group will begin building railroad rolling stock at a new plant just outside the city in 2006. A second plant in nearby Tikhvin is expected to begin production in 2009, with a total volume over 10,000 railroad cars per year.[16]
  • Canada - Following two derailments on the former BC Rail mainline in British Columbia, Canadian Transport Minister Jean Lapierre orders Canadian National Railway (CN), the current operator of the line, to limit trains operated there to no more than 80 railroad cars. Eleven derailments have occurred on the line in 2005, the most recent occurred on December 5 when several empty cars derailed near Squamish and fell from the roadbed in Cheakamus Canyon. CN acknowledged that the number of derailments on this line was high for 2005, but maintains that its railroad is one of the safest in North America.[17]
  • China - QJ 7081 pulls the world's last regularly scheduled passenger train behind a steam locomotive on a mainline railroad when it pulls a train between Daban and Chabuga, China.
December 8
  • United States - Florida East Coast Railway announces its estimate for the costs of damage due to Hurricane Wilma two months earlier. The railroad estimates recovery costs to reach between $2.5 and $3 million.[18]
  • China QJ 6988 pulls the world's last regularly scheduled steam locomotive powered freight train on a mainline railroad when it pulls a train between Daban and Chabuga, China.

December 11 - December 17

December 11
  • Switzerland - All trains in Switzerland become non-smoking, but the transport law does not force this, so legally the SBB-CFF-FFS cannot fine you for smoking, but, they can fine you 25 swiss francs for cleaning costs, but many people just tell smokers on the train to stop smoking.
December 12
December 13
  • Australia - Victoria Premier Steve Bracks announces that Melbourne, Australia's Spencer Street Station is now officially renamed Southern Cross Station. A key feature of the new station's facade is a 16 tonne, 30 metre long glass door bearing the station's name. The construction, which has run in excess of $700 million, is expected to be completed in time for the Commonwealth Games.[22]
  • China - The China Railway Engineering Corporation announces that construction to upgrade the last 200 km (120 mi) section of track between Beijing and Shanghai (China's busiest passenger rail corridor) for high speed train service is now complete. Train speeds along the line can now be increased from 160 km/h (100 mph) to 200 km/h (124 mph). The travel time for a round trip between the two cities is projected to decrease from 13.5 hours to 7 hours.[23]
  • Greece - Organismós Sidirodrómon Elládas (the Hellenic Railway Organization) workers in Greece begin a strike action that stops all cross-border rail traffic between Sofia and Thessaloniki. The strike is expected to last through Wednesday and Thursday and is expected to disrupt international rail travel between Greece and neighbors Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro and Turkey.[24]
December 14
  • Jordan - Jordanian Transport Minister Saoud Nseirat responds to comments made on Monday, December 12, by Israeli Transport Minister Maer Shitrit. Shitrit had announced his intentions to propose a new railway to connect Haifa, Israel, to Irbid, Jordan, passing through King Hussein Bridge and Jenin, a project that could cost as much as $300 million. Nseirat responded to Shitrit's comments with a denial, stating that there have not been any discussions between the two nations on such a project and no plans for such a connection have been proposed by anyone in the Jordanian government. Shitrit plans to make his formal proposal at a conference for Mediterranean transport ministers in Marrakesh on December 20.[25]
  • United States - The driver of a trash truck is killed when the truck he is driving is struck by Amtrak's eastbound California Zephyr near Green River, Utah. Initial investigations indicate that the truck driver was trying to beat the train across the track at a level crossing that is protected only by warning signs. After impact, the train's momentum pushed the truck for nearly half a mile before the train came to a stop. The front axle of the lead locomotive derailed while the rest of the train remained on the track; only five people on the train suffered minor injuries when the trains brakes were applied, one was taken to a nearby hospital for observation. After the initial investigation was complete, the locomotive was rerailed and continued on its journey to Chicago with the rest of the train. The United States Federal Railroad Administration has opened an investigation into the accident.[26]

December 18 - December 24

December 20
  • United States - New York City Subway workers walk off their jobs in a strike called by the Transport Workers Union at 3:00 AM local time. It is a move that may be in violation of a previous court ruling that makes subway worker strikes illegal, and MTA lawyers have asked the courts to review the strike action as one that may be in contempt of court with that ruling. Fines for such a ruling of contempt could include two days pay for each striking employee per day that the strike continues. The union claims that MTA should be able to afford the health care benefit and pension levels sought by the union due to a budget surplus of nearly $1 billion. While the strike is in progress, the city of New York has implemented emergency statutes that include restricting private vehicles carrying less than four occupants from entering the city between 5:00 AM and 11:00 AM local time.[27]
December 21
  • Russia - The roof of a train station in Russia's Ryazan region, about 350 km (220 mi) east of Moscow, collapses. Eleven people are injured, two of them seriously, and one other person is killed in the accident. Initial reports indicate that as many as 50 people could have been buried under the rubble. No official cause has been announced, but investigators suspect that the weight of the recently fallen snow on the roof probably played a major role in the incident.[28]
  • Japan - Seibu Railway shareholders vote to remove control of the railroad from Kokudo Corporation and Yoshiaki Tsutsumi who received a prison sentence in October for insider trading. The reorganization, which is expected to be completed in March 2006, will create Seibu Holdings, Inc., to act as a holding company for both the railway and Prince Hotels. The largest shareholder will be United States-based Cerberus Group with a 29.9% share of the new company.[29]
  • United States - The state of Nevada adds McKeen motor car number 70, currently displayed at the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City, to its Nevada State Register of Historic Places. The car, built in 1910, was used in passenger service on the Virginia and Truckee Railroad between Virginia City, Carson City and Minden; in 1995 the car was donated to the Nevada State Railroad Museum.[30]
December 22
  • Canada - Jean Pelletier is fired from the chairmanship of Via Rail for a second time by Canada's federal cabinet. The government had tried to fire him in April 2004, but a federal court ruled that dismissal did not follow due process and ordered him reinstated in November 2005. Although he was reinstated, the government appealed the court ruling and kept him off the payroll. Pelletier has filed suit in Quebec Superior Court alleging wrongful dismissal; Transport Minister Jean Lapierre issued a written statement noting that the recent dismissal is effective immediately and that Pelletier will not receive compensation due to his suit against the government.[31]
  • United States - Amtrak's northbound State House, bound for Chicago from St. Louis, is involved in two separate level crossing accidents near Joliet. The first collision occurred about 8:45 AM Central Time, in Braidwood, when a passenger car was driven into the side of the train; the driver of the car survived with only minor injuries. Two hours later, the train, which had remained on the tracks, was allowed to continue its journey toward Chicago, but collided with a tractor pulling a wagonload of grain just ten minutes later; the tractor driver was taken to a local hospital, but did not receive life-threatening injuries. None of the train's passengers or crew sustained injuries in either incident, and the train was allowed to continue to Chicago, where it arrived 5 hours and 40 minutes late.[32][33]
December 24
  • Estonia - The government of Estonia imposes fines of 958,000 ($1.14 million) on Baltic Rail Service (BRS) which took over operations of the rail network there in 2000. The government alleges that BRS has failed to fulfill its obligations as laid out in the privatisation agreement. BRS investors, a mix of American and Estonian interests, are given one month to comply with the agreement or pay the fine.[34]

December 25 - December 31

December 26
  • Japan - Takeshi Kakiuchi officially resigns from the presidency of West Japan Railway Company (JR West) in a move that is intended to take responsibility for the Amagasaki rail crash that occurred on April 25, 2005. Kakiuchi's successor will be Masao Yamazaki, who had previously served as the railway's vice president, based in Osaka. In June 2005, another of JR West's advisers, Masataka Ide, also resigned for his own responsibility in the accident. While Kakiuchi's resignation comes a day after another serious accident, this one on JR East, officials at the railway have not made any explicit connection between the recent accident and this resignation.[35]
December 28
  • China - Construction begins in Guiyang on southwest China's largest railway hub. The project, which is receiving joint funding by the Ministry of Railways and Guizhou Province, is centered at Guiyang Southern Station and will connect rail lines from the province with those of Sichuan, Hunan and Yunnan provinces and Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. The station is currently exceeding capacity at more than 10,000 railroad cars of freight and passengers daily; this project, expected to be completed in Summer 2008, aims to increase the station's capacity to more than 20,000 cars daily.[36]
December 29
  • Spain - Bombardier Transportation and Patentes Talgo are awarded a 655 million ($786 million) contract to build 30 new AVE S-102 trainsets for RENFE, the national rail carrier of Spain. This order is intended to augment the railroad's original order for 16 trainsets from the two manufacturing companies in 2001, many of which are currently in revenue service. In test runs in December 2004, the S-102 design achieved a new Spanish rail speed record of 364 km/h (226 mph). The new trains are expected to be delivered beginning in August 2008.[37]
December 31
  • United Kingdom - Beginning at noon, local time, guards and ticket agents on the London Underground begin walking off the job at the beginning of a 24-hour strike action. Although 23 of the system's 275 stations had closed, all trains were still operating as normal late into the afternoon. The subway train drivers have not joined the strike, but some refused to take their trains on the line for safety reasons. Transport for London, the city's bus operator, opened as many as 40 new lines to help ease the strain on the subway system for holiday travelers.[38]


  1. ^ Culture24 (December 1, 2005), Search Engine project to open up National Railway Museum archives. Retrieved December 7, 2009.
  2. ^ The Transcontinental (December 7, 2005), Railway workers locked out. Retrieved December 7, 2005.
  3. ^ Duluth News Tribune, reprinted by Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (December 2, 2005), CN sues over municipal rail speed limits. Retrieved December 2, 2005.
  4. ^ Duluth Seaway Port Authority (November 23, 2005), Record setting cargo loading update. Retrieved December 6, 2005.
  5. ^ Duluth Shipping News, Photos. Retrieved December 6, 2005.
  6. ^ Passi, Peter; Duluth News Tribune (November 24, 2005), Latest lift breaks port records. Retrieved December 6, 2005.
  7. ^ forum contributors (December 2, 2005), Schnabel car leaving Duluth. Retrieved December 6, 2005.
  8. ^ Kashar World News (December 5, 2005), Khokarapar-Monabao Railway track completed. Retrieved December 5, 2005.
  9. ^ Page, Jeremy; The Australian (December 6, 2005), Beijing backs plan for silk railroad link to Europe. Retrieved December 5, 2005.
  10. ^ Joseph, Olanyo; Daily Monitor (December 5, 2005), Signing of railway deal put off again. Retrieved December 5, 2005.
  11. ^ Heaster, Randolph; Kansas City Star (December 6, 2005), Kansas City Southern railroad has new name. Retrieved December 6, 2005.
  12. ^ Times Online (December 6, 2005), Docklands Light Railway reaches City airport. Retrieved December 7, 2005.
  13. ^ WAM (December 6, 2005), Study on Emirates Railway project given a go-ahead. Retrieved December 7, 2005.
  14. ^ TradeArabia (December 7, 2005), UAE mulls country-wide railway network. Retrieved December 7, 2005.
  15. ^ Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, Upgraded Slovenia-Croatia Railroad Border Crossing Opens. Retrieved December 13, 2005.
  16. ^ RIA Novosti (December 7, 2005), U.S. East Group to produce railroad cars outside St. Petersburg. Retrieved December 7, 2005.
  17. ^ CBC News (December 7, 2005), Long trains banned on Whistler-Squamish line. Retrieved December 12, 2005.
  18. ^ "Arrivals & Departures". Trains Magazine 66 (3): p 11. March 2006. ISSN 0041-0934. 
  19. ^ Norfolk Southern Railway (reprinted by Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, December 13, 2005), Norfolk Southern's 'Best Friend' visits stock exchange for opening bell ceremony. Retrieved December 14, 2005.
  20. ^ Roanoke Times (reprinted by Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, December 13, 2005), NS rings in 175th anniversary. Retrieved December 14, 2005.
  21. ^ Norfolk Southern Railway, Norfolk Southern's "Best Friend" Visits Stock Exchange. Retrieved December 14, 2005.
  22. ^ Murphy, Mathew; The Age (December 14, 2005), Time's up at last for railway landmark. Retrieved December 13, 2005.
  23. ^ Xinhua (December 14, 2005), Beijing-Shanghai railway trip to be shortened to 7 hours. Retrieved December 13, 2005.
  24. ^ Sofia News Agency (December 13, 2005), Protest Blocks Sofia-Thessaloniki Railway. Retrieved December 13, 2005.
  25. ^ (December 14, 2005), Jordan denies reports on a railway project with Israel. Retrieved December 15, 2005.
  26. ^ Associated Press (reprinted by December 15, 2005), Denver-Bound Amtrak Train Crashes Into Semitrailer, Killing Driver. Retrieved December 15, 2005.
  27. ^ CBS News (December 20, 2005), NYC Transit Workers On Strike. Retrieved December 20, 2005.
  28. ^ MosNews (December 21, 2005), Roof Collapse at Russian Railway Station Kills One, Injures 11. Retrieved December 22, 2005.
  29. ^ The Japan Times (December 22, 2005), Seibu Railway shareholders OK reorganizing plan. Retrieved December 22, 2005.
  30. ^ Associated Press (reprinted by Las Vegas Sun December 22, 2005), Nevada town, railroad car, added to state register. Retrieved December 22, 2005.
  31. ^ Clark, Campbell; Globe and Mail (December 23, 2005), Liberals fire Pelletier from railway - Again. Retrieved December 23, 2005.
  32. ^ Associated Press (reprinted by Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, December 22, 2005), Amtrak train in separate accidents involving vehicles. Retrieved December 27, 2005.
  33. ^ Trains NewsWire (December 22, 2005), Illinois’ Amtrak State House train in two grade-crossing accidents on same trip. Retrieved December 27, 2005.
  34. ^ The Baltic Times (December 24, 2005), Estonian demands fine from Estonian Railway owner. Retrieved December 24, 2005.
  35. ^ Yamaguchi, Mari; Associated Press (reprinted by ABC News, December 26, 2005), President of West Japan Railway to Resign. Retrieved December 27, 2005.
  36. ^ CRI Online (December 29, 2005), Building of Railway Hub in SW China Started. Retrieved December 29, 2005.
  37. ^ Bombardier (December 29, 2005), Bombardier Receives 243 Million Euros Order In Spain For 30 Additional Very High-Speed Trains. Retrieved December 30, 2005.
  38. ^ Leeman, Sue; Globe and Mail (December 31, 2005), Strike shuts some London tube stations. Retrieved December 31, 2005.

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