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40Oil trains create 'virtual' pipeline with sometimes undisclosed routes [w/video]

The Wall Street Journal has a story on issues surrounding the "virtual pipeline," and it's hard to know where to begin sorting out what's what. The easy part is defining our terms: a virtual pipeline is the mile-long, or longer, hookup of railroad tanker cars that carry oil from places like North Dakota to refineries throughout the country. The issue in the Journal piece is that the oil trains aren't bound by the same safety regimen as traditional pipelines, and that their routes are often state

42180,000 new vehicles are sitting, derailed by lack of transport trains

If you're planning on buying a new car in the next month or so, you might want to pick from what's on the lot, because there could be a long wait for new vehicles from the factory. Locomotives continue to be in short supply in North America, and that's causing major delays for automakers trying to move assembled cars.

11In Detail: Austin Transportation Infrastructure

Austin, TX has always been known for great live music and delicious southern food. But as the town grows, it's becoming known for its smart transportation strategy. In this week's episode, we went to Austin to see what all the buzz about.

AddFTA awards $117 million for projects to reduce oil dependence

The Federal Transit Authority has awarded $117 million to 46 transit projects across the nation. The projects were selected from 266 applications to the competitive 2011 Sustainability Initiative. Criteria for choosing these projects included their ability to reduce U.S. dependence on oil and to promote green technologies.

31BMW DesignworksUSA gets on track with San Francisco BART contract

BMW: Bus, Metro, Walk. That was the tongue-in-cheek acronym we used to refer to public transport back in Montreal where this blogger grew up, but it's San Francisco that's about to have its underground mass transit system overhauled by BMW.

AddHigh-Speed Rail on PRI's The Takeaway

Amid congressional budget cuts and gubernatorial backlash, President Obama's goal to give 80% of Americans access to high-speed rail by 2035 is at risk of, ahem, never leaving the station. That was the topic of discussion on this morning's edition of The Takeaway, a nationally syndicated public radio news show. Joining hosts John Hockenberry and Celeste Headlee was Andrea Bernstein, director of Transportation Nation, a public radio reporting project.

16Pininfarina contracted to overhaul Eurostar chunnel train

Unless you've got access to a continent-gobbling exotic GT and an immunity to speeding tickets, everyone who's ever traveled Europe knows that the preferred way of getting around the Old World is via train. (Heck, even us car-crazed nuts here at Autoblog take the train for European auto shows.) But for one high-speed train service, the experience is about to get a little bit more... automotive.

AddStagecoach grows better than expected

Bus and rail company Stagecoach has reported better than expected growth since May 1st. According to the company, Stagecoach's UK bus business was up 9.3 percent, while rail revenues rose nine percent. The company said that the increases were due to people switching to public transport because of the rising cost of private motoring. The company is pleased with the figures, because high fuel prices and inflation in the UK could have hurt their financial results. Virgin Rail, a company in which St

AddHonda attacks another part of life-cycle emissions with new rail car

While the fuel efficiency of new vehicles is clearly an important issue today, it's certainly not the only area where emissions and fuel consumption can be reduced. Carmakers are scrambling to reduce all their energy use to save money. The latest effort from Honda is the new Auto-Max rail car. Honda worked with Greenbrier companies to develop the Auto-Max and has now deployed 400 of them. Honda is shipping 82 percent of its vehicles by rail and the new rail cars can hold up to 22 vehicles compar

AddHarvard professor predicts railroads will return to prominence in the U.S.

John R. Stilgoe, Robert and Lois Orchard Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Graduate School of Design, predicts that trains will once again play a key role in shaping American life. Based on an analysis of real estate investment patterns along railroad corridors, Stilgoe predicts that trains will make an important comeback, and not only for long distances but also back for freight, mail and express packages.

AddGreen train technology needed to keep air clean

Railway operator BNSF Railway Co. is considering building a new railway hub at the Southern California Logistics Airport, which is projected to remove hundreds of trucks off the road thanks to rail's massive freight capabilities. The rail hub would process approximately 50,000 freights cars in the first year. Whether air quality will increase or not in the High Desert with the opening though has turned out to be a topic of hot debate.

AddModular AutoTram concept as flexible as a bus

The AutoTram is a new streetcar concept from the Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems IVI in Dresden, Germany which combines the flexibility of bus transport, needing no rails or overhead power lines, with the passenger carrying capacity of trams. This makes the system between 30 and 50 percent cheaper than conventional railway systems.

AddJapanese dual-mode vehicles runs right off (and on) the rails

Japan's Hokkaido Railway Co. (JR Hokkaido) has announced a new minibus based vehicle which has the capacity to run on both road and rail. The so called dual mode vehicle (DMV), which has been in development since 2002, can switch from steel-wheeled rail mode to rubber-wheeled highway mode in 10-15 seconds, a transition which is designed to take place at rail stations. A trial service using the vehicle will begin in April 2007 on the Senmo Line between Hamakoshimizu and Mokoto stations in Hokkaid

3Corners like it's on rails: Unimog dual-mode road-railer

We here at Autoblog love the Mercedes Unimog, despite its decidedly low-speed nature. It has to do with all that versatility - whether it's running a front-mounted snowblower, spinning a mower deck, or hoisting a lift platform, the 'mog has a way to get the job done. It's like a four-wheeled version of the Leatherman multi-purpose tool. And now, it can get all of those jobs done on railroad tracks as well, as DCX has announced a production version of the Unimog Road-Railer at the Innotrans show

6The art of the 75-minute rebuild

Anyone who's ever taken some time to observe professional Top Fuel drag racing has probably marveled at the teams' ability to rebuild an engine between rounds. In less time that it takes most of us to TiVo through a week's worth of The Daily Show, the crews in charge of engine maintenance are able to swap out the parts required to keep these ticking time bombs together for another five seconds.

AddTrains to solve gas crisis?

Paul Weyrich, after commemorating the 50th anniversary of the National Defense Interstate Highway System, points to one possible solution to the current high gas prices: rail travel. Before the Interstate, major long-distance travel was done by railcar. The railroads crisscrossed the nation, hauling freight as well as people. Few Americans used cars even for travel within their towns, and buses had their own problems.

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