Last updated: October 14. 2013 11:40PM - 558 Views

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Amtrak hits record

with passengers

Railroad officials say Amtrak carried a record number of passengers in the year ending Sept. 30 despite Northeast service that was temporarily knocked out by Superstorm Sandy.

The nation’s passenger railroad network carried 31.6 million riders during the 2013 federal budget year. Amtrak’s long-distance routes recorded their best ridership in 20 years with 4.8 million passengers.

Ridership for all of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington reached 11.4 million passengers, the second-best year for the corridor. That was despite service interruptions when Superstorm Sandy slammed into New York, New Jersey and Connecticut last October, flooding tunnels and tracks.

Ticket revenues also increased to a record $2.1 billion. Amtrak relies on federal subsidies for a small share of its operating expenses.

LNG facility awaits

export approval

Investors spent $1 billion building a facility in Pascagoula to import liquefied natural gas. But plans to bring natural gas into the United States collapsed when explorers began finding large quantities of natural gas in the United States.

Now, Kinder Morgan, the pipeline company that operates the facility, is trying to get approval from the U.S. Department of Energy to export natural gas to countries with which the United States doesn’t have free trade agreements.

Kinder Morgan Vice President Norman Holmes told the Southern States Energy Board Monday that approval could spark as much as $8 billion of investment at the plant.

Boardwalk cleanup

finishes end of Nov.

The teardown and cleanup from the massive Jersey shore boardwalk fire is progressing nicely, and the work should be done by the end of November.

Heavy equipment is hard at work tearing down and scooping up the charred remnants of a Sept. 12 fire that burned more than four blocks of boardwalk in Seaside Heights and Seaside Park. Michael Loundy, director of community improvements for Seaside Heights, estimated that about 15 percent of the work is complete.

Tourists, including some who came earlier this year to gawk at damage from Superstorm Sandy, now have new rubble to photograph. Skip Smith, of Northampton, Pa., was on the boardwalk Monday at the spot where public works crews made a last-ditch stand against the fire, ripping out a trench to serve as a fire break and prevent the flames from spreading. It worked and spared the remaining two-thirds of the iconic walkway that has hosted generations of vacationers and was featured in the MTV reality series “Jersey Shore.”

An investigation determined the fire started in wiring under the boardwalk in Seaside Park that had been damaged by exposure to storm water during last October’s superstorm.

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