2005 in rail transport

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Years in rail transport

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


January events[edit]

February events[edit]

March events[edit]

  • United States March 2 – Citing disputes in paid leave policies, around 200 BNSF Railway dispatchers walk off the job for nearly three hours, causing traffic delays over the entire system from Chicago to the Pacific coast.[4]
  • Canada March 14 – Canadian Pacific Railway purchases 35 new Green Goat hybrid locomotives, becoming the first railroad to order this type of locomotive.[5]

April events[edit]

May events[edit]

  • Iran May 3 – The Iranian president Mohammad Khatami leads the ceremony inaugurating passenger rail service between Mashhad and Bafq, Iran.[11]
  • United States May 26 – Genesee and Wyoming (G&W) announce that they have agreed to purchase the railroad operations of Rail Management Corporation (RMC). G&W will pay US$243 million in cash and assume $1.7 million in company debt to gain control of 14 short line railroads from RMC across the southeastern United States, as of June 1, 2005. G&W already controls 24 other railroads in North America, South America and Australia.[12][13]

June events[edit]

  • United States June 1 – Joseph H. Boardman, former Commissioner of New York State Department of Transportation, begins his duties as Administrator for the United States Federal Railroad Administration (a division of the USDOT).[14]
  • France June 2 – Railroad workers across France go on strike to demand better wages and jobs. The strike, which began at 18:00 GMT on Wednesday, is expected to last through 6:00 GMT Friday. Nearly 40% of all TGV schedules are dropped for the duration of the strike.[15]
  • India June 4 – Lalu Prasad, India's Railway Minister, presents his Rs.532 billion (US$12 billion) budget for Indian Railways for 2005–06. The network of more than 9,000 passenger trains will not increase passenger fares, will add 46 new trains, increase frequencies on 10 others and plans to inaugurate new high speed train service between New Delhi and Kolkata and another between New Delhi and Chennai.[16]
  • Switzerland June 22 – The entire network of the Swiss Federal Railways shuts down due to a power failure in its overhead wire system. The power failure is also affecting international transit through Switzerland as such intercity trains use the same system. Initial reports indicate that the power failure started with a voltage drop in Ticino (in the St. Gotthard region) that then spread to the entire system.[17][18]

July events[edit]

August events[edit]

  • Argentina August 4 – Argentinian railroad workers across the country (except for the subway operators in Buenos Aires) go on strike for 24 hours demanding higher wages. The strike comes after 100 days of failed negotiations between the railroads and the engine driver unions; if an agreement cannot be reached within a week, the unions have threatened a subsequent 36-hour strike. The railroad employees strike coincides with a 72-hour health care workers strike that is still occurring.[19]
  • Brazil August 15 – All America Latina Logistica SA (ALL) of Brazil announces that it has formed a partnership with Besco Engineering and Services Private Limited of India to build new railroad cars in Brazil. The new enterprise, to be named Santa Fe Vagoes SA, will be located in Brazil and 40% owned by ALL.[20]
  • China August 24 – Chinese railroad workers in Tibet laid rails on the Tanggula Mountain Pass in Tibet at 5,072 m (16,640 ft) above sea level, surpassing the altitude of the highest Peruvian railway by 255 m (837 ft). This section of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway is now the highest railway in the world. The railway also includes the highest railway station in the world at Lhasa, 5,068 m (16,627 ft) above sea level. The railway is expected to open later in 2005.[21]
  • Norway August 27 – The first section of the Asker Line, from Asker to Sandvika, is opened.[22]

September events[edit]

  • United States September 2 – In a letter to the governors of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, BNSF Railway (headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas) pledges a contribution of US$1 million, and offers rail transportation to aid in relief efforts for the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. The monetary contribution would come from the Bulington Northern Santa Fe Foundation as a donation to the American Red Cross relief efforts, while the transportation assistance is currently being organized by the Association of American Railroads, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Railroad Administration and the other railroads that serve the area. The letter also states that repairs to the Bayou Boeuf bridge are now complete and BNSF's mainline was reopened as originally planned at 6:00 PM Central Time on September 1.[23]
  • Indonesia September 6 – Indonesian transport officials at a meeting in Bandar Lampung announce plans to build a trans-Sumatran railway to connect Banda Aceh to Bakauheni, a distance of 2,151 km (1,337 mi). A Feasibility Study performed after the 2004 tsunami by SNCF, the national rail carrier of France, showed that such a line could be built. Construction is expected to commence in seven stages; the first stage would connect Banda Aceh to Besitang (484 km / 301 miles). (Indonesia Relief)
  • Nigeria September 13 – The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), the national rail carrier of Nigeria, announces that it has laid off 5,980 of its nearly 12,000 employees, answering a call from the Nigerian government to downsize. The government first asked NRC for a 50% reduction in the last quarter of 2003; NRC waited until there was sufficient funds from the government for severance packages for the affected employees. In all, the government released nearly N2.1 billion (US$16 million) to NRC for severance pay. Some of NRC's layoff criteria included fraud, excessive absenteeism, employees who had worked for more than 33 years, or who were aged 50–60, and employees with a history of disciplinary actions. (AllAfrica)
  • Japan September 20 – Japanese officials announce the government's intentions to pay former World War II prisoners of war involved in the construction of the Death Railway between Thailand and Burma. Compensation amounts have not been announced; some estimates place the number of construction survivors at 1,800, most now aged in their 80s and 90s. The compensation for laborers who have died either during construction or afterward would be sent to their next of kin.[24]
  • Netherlands September 29 – Sixty years after World War II, Nederlandse Spoorwegen issues a statement formally apologizing for transporting Jewish people to Nazi concentration camps in Germany and Poland during the war. Aad Veenman [nl], the railway's chief executive stated "On behalf of the company and from the bottom of my heart, I sincerely apologise for what happened during the war." The railway made the decision to issue the formal apology after the largest Dutch Jewish organization, Centraal Joods Overleg, proposed an awareness campaign to take place at the railway's stations nationwide. Reaction among the survivors is mixed.[25]

October events[edit]

  • United States October 6 – Amtrak announces that the City of New Orleans and Crescent passenger trains will again serve New Orleans Union Station beginning on Sunday October 9. Before Hurricane Katrina made landfall, Amtrak suspended City of New Orleans service south of Memphis, Tennessee, and suspended Crescent service south of Atlanta, Georgia, in anticipation of damage to the tracks and signal systems surrounding New Orleans. The first departure from New Orleans will be the northbound Crescent at 7:20 AM, followed by the northbound City of New Orleans at 1:45 PM; the first corresponding southbound trains are scheduled to arrive in New Orleans later that afternoon. Amtrak's announcement did not mention service restoration on the transcontinental Sunset Limited.[26]
  • Kenya Uganda October 14 – The concession for operation of the Kenya-Uganda Railways is awarded to Rift Valley Railways Consortium (RVRC), headquartered in South Africa. In announcing the bid, officials state that Rift Valley was selected over RITES Ltd. of India, the only other bidder, by a factor of two to one. The new operator is expected to begin management of the combined railway on March 30, 2006. RVRC will not be expected to take up the railways 20.9 billion shilling (US$282 million) debt, but will repay the Kenyan government 3 billion shillings ($40.5 million) that was spent to subsidize the railway for the last three years.[27]
  • China October 15 – Chinese officials announce the completion of the Qingzang railway connecting Xining, Qinghai Province, to Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region. The line's construction, which has been criticized by some who say the new railway will dilute Tibetan culture, had to overcome technical challenges that included building a railway on top of permafrost and boring tunnels through solid ice while construction workers breathed bottled oxygen.[28]
  • United Kingdom October 17 – British railway ministers announce that Scottish Ministers will soon take control of railway administration within Scotland. The powers will include decisions over operations and infrastructure (such as tracks and stations) as well as oversight of the First ScotRail franchise. The British government will also supply a multi-million pound grant to fund the Scottish rail operations, money that is needed in order to move the Edinburgh station improvement project forward, for example. British ministers will retain train driver licensing as well as other safety obligations.[29]
  • Sweden October 24 – World's first biogas train makes maiden voyage.
  • United States October 31 – Rapid transit workers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, go on strike. SEPTA, the fifth largest transit agency in the United States, is forced to temporarily close several lines due to a lack of trained employees. Union negotiators walked out of contract negotiations minutes before the midnight deadline when they failed to come to a conclusion; disputes were centered around employee pay and benefits agreements. All operators on the City, Victory, and Frontier Divisions walked off the job. SEPTA services on the regional rail division continue according to contingency plans, and all bus, trolley, and subway lines are suspended until the conclusion of the work stoppage.[30]

November events[edit]

  • China November 1 – Government officials in China announce plans to privatise the nation's rail network into separate corporations that could be listed on international stock markets. The strategy is to raise money for improvements and expansions to the network, which would increase the amount of track by about 27,000 km (17,000 mi). The plan could lead to partial or complete foreign ownership of some railway lines, but some investors have already raised concerns over the network's regulatory system, especially in regard to the newly independent railways' abilities to raise prices to cover costs. (BBC News)
  • United States November 4 – The United States Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announces a requirement for increased and more detailed inspections of around 90,000 miles (140,000 km) of track that use continuous welded rail. The inspections are to detect and repair potential problems that involve loose or missing bolts, detectable problems in the rail and other potential hazards. In making the announcement, the FRA and NTSB cite inadequate track inspections as the cause of three major derailments since 2002, including a Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) derailment in January 2002 near Minot, North Dakota, that released a cloud of anhydrous ammonia, and an Amtrak derailment in 2004 near Flora, Mississippi, in which a passenger died. CP disputes inadequate inspections as the cause of the 2002 accident. (AP/Newsday) (FRA)
  • France November 23 – Railroad workers across France return to work from a strike action. The labour unions involved in the strike report that they are pleased with concessions agreed to during negotiations on Tuesday and French President Jacques Chirac offered his personal guarantee that SNCF would not be privatised. The strike, the sixth by French rail workers in 2005, suspended one third of all TGV trains across the country. (IHT)

December events[edit]

The 45th Street R station closed during the 2005 New York City transit strike

Accidents and attacks[edit]

Aerial view of the Graniteville accident's aftermath.
Investigation at the scene of the Amagasaki rail crash.
Smoke and confusion in the London Underground after the bomb blast.


January deaths[edit]

February deaths[edit]

March deaths[edit]

April deaths[edit]

May deaths[edit]

August deaths[edit]

November deaths[edit]

Industry awards[edit]


Awards presented by Japan Railfan Club

North America[edit]

2005 E. H. Harriman Awards
Group Gold medal Silver medal Bronze medal
A Norfolk Southern Railway BNSF Railway CSX Transportation
B Canadian Pacific's U.S. subsidiary (formerly Soo Line Railroad) Kansas City Southern Railway Metra
C Florida East Coast Railway Pan Am Railways Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railroad
S&T Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis Conrail Belt Railway of Chicago
Awards presented by Railway Age magazine

United Kingdom[edit]

Train Operator of the Year


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