Mexico's new Copper Canyon train chases upscale clientele

CHIHUAHUA, Mexico — The morning sun lights the glowing cliff walls of Las Barrancas del Cobre, viewed through panoramic windows on the newly refurbished Chepe Express as it winds through Mexico’s scenic Sierra Madre mountains. The Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacífico, better known as the Chepe, has served locals and attracted tourists to the Copper Canyon since 1961, but this luxury train is aimed at upmarket travelers.

Missteps lead California high speed rail to crisis

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – “A new statewide train system, over 700 miles in length, capable of travel at speeds up to 200 mph,” reads a 2005 brochure published by the California High Speed Rail Authority. The system will “carry as many as 68 million passengers annually by 2020.” Those dreams are stalled somewhere in the arid San Joaquin Valley between the oil derricks of Bakersfield and the cattle ranches of Merced.

2019 to be a boom year for transit projects

First of two parts: Following 2018’s introduction of new streetcar lines in Milwaukee, El Paso, and Oklahoma City, among other projects, 2019 will see another round of significant new projects and extensions of current systems. This year, at least 10 rail transit lines are expected to open across North America..An additional 28 projects are currently or planned to be under construction in 2019. Of these 38 systems, 29 are in the U.S., seven in Canada, and two in Mexico.

What a New Governor Means for Renewable Energy in Maine

Short days and frequent snows can make Maine winters seem gloomy. But for renewable energy companies and supporters, the gloom has persisted for the last eight years under a governor openly hostile to solar and wind energy. With the 2018 election, a pro-environment Democratic governor and Democratic majorities in both chambers of the state legislature were swept into power. “One of the more frustrating things over the last eight years has been the inability to have a conversation around a share

Talk aside, action on Gateway tunnel still stalled

NEW YORK — Partisan political bickering hasn’t helped the aging Hudson River tunnels that carry 200,000 Amtrak riders and NJ Transit commuters to, from, and through Manhattan each day. Last week, two of the protagonists, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-New York) and President Donald Trump lowered their swords at a White House lunch, offering some hope the stalled Gateway Tunnels project to construct new river crossings could find a way forward. It's a slim hope at best.

Restore wolves or slaughter deer to save Japanese forests?

From the peak of Mt. Rausu, a clear view of the Shiretoko Peninsula opens from the Okhotsk Sea on the west to the Pacific Ocean on the east. Below, a dense green boreal forest of conifers, maples, and birch hides hundreds of brown bears and 590,000 sika deer. Japanese wolves once roamed this wilderness but their primeval howls fell silent here, and throughout Japan, more than a hundred years ago.

Massachusetts Gas Explosions Draw Scrutiny of Natural Gas Safety and Climate Risks

A quiet, sunny afternoon in New England quickly turned to chaos and tragedy as a series of 80 fires and explosions erupted across three communities in the Merrimack Valley north of Boston on September 13. Extreme overpressure in a Columbia Gas distribution system caused uncontrollable natural gas venting over a wide area, and the resulting blasts killed one and injured more than two dozen.

Hundreds of Seals Have Died in Maine

Since July 1, more than 460 dead seals have washed up on beaches and islands in Maine, New Hampshire, and northern Massachusetts. Another 137 coughing, sneezing, and sick seals have stranded themselves, overwhelming marine animal rescuers. In an announcement last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) declared the mass die-off an unusual mortality event (UME)—adding to the three other UMEs currently affecting right, humpback, and minke whales in the same waters.

Can the Red Wolf Survive Extinction a Second Time?

In 1980, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed the last 14 pure red wolves from the wild with plans to breed them in captivity and repopulate the landscape. Seven years later, four males and four females were released on the Albermarle Peninsula in North Carolina. After reaching a peak population of about 130 animals by 2006, gunshot and vehicular collisions have cut their numbers to just two dozen. The USFWS is now poised to abandon efforts to save them, this time with no plan for how, when, or where to reunite red wolves with their natural habitat.

Coral Reefs Lost to Kīlauea Eruption

When searing black lava from fissure 8 slid into the Pacific Ocean at Kapoho Bay on June 3, it had been five weeks since the collapse of the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater, along the eastern rift zone of the Kīlauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island. Toxic, acid-laden steam billowed high above boiling waves. Within 36 hours, the bay became paved over by lava, creating a new coastline almost a mile out and destroying shallow-water coral reefs and tidepools.