With Railway Age since 1992, Bill Vantuono has broadened and deepened the magazine's coverage of the technological revolution that is so swiftly changing the industry. He has also strengthened Railway Age's leadership position in industry affairs with the conferences he conducts on operating passenger trains on freight railroads and communications-based train control.
Bellevue, Wash., has released drafts of a proposed agreement between Sound Transit and the city to finance a $300 million light rail transit tunnel through the municipality’s downtown. Bellevue’s City Council has the option of passing the agreement, asking for more time, or taking no action at all at its next meeting, set for Monday night. Some council members have made clear their desire for more time to evaluate the proposal. Under the agreement with Sound Transit, Bellevue would be responsible for as much as $160 million of the tunnel's projected cost. Of that, $100 million of that would come in 2014 or 2015 through actions such as donation of land and utility improvements, leaving Sound Transit to commence construction with its share of funding. If tunneling costs are less than anticipated, Bellevue would pocket any savings. Bellevue has said it welcomes light rail transit, part of Sound Transit's East Link project, a 22-mile extension linking Seattle with Redmond, Wash. But Bellevue has expressed concern that LRT could disrupt businesses and generate safety concerns. Sound Transit has noted that tunneling drives up the cost of LRT construction.
The document includes several options for both parties to terminate the agreement if future disputes arise. The city reportedly gets an out if Sound Transit refuses to adopt the city's requested design changes. Sound Transit reportedly can opt out if Bellevue does not grant a number of permitting changes by the end of 2012. Sound Transit is expected to act on the agreement at its Oct. 27 meeting.
Milestone Equipment Corp. and Scrap Metal Services LLC on Monday announced the acquisition of 7,300 intermodal dry van trailers.** The heavy-duty dry van trailers are operated under leases throughout North America in rail intermodal service. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Tiburon, Calif.-based Milestone Equipment and Burnham, Ill.-based Scrap Metal Services said they have created a new joint venture, Scrapstone Intermodal Services, LLC for this transaction as well as for future intermodal opportunities. In a statement, Milestone’s President and founder Robert Thull said, “Milestone is now the largest domestic intermodal container and intermodal trailer equipment lessor. We are committed to continued rapid growth and investment in intermodal equipment to provide flexible operating leases to our customers.” Scrap Metal Services CEO Jeffry K. Gertler said, “This acquisition allows Scrap Metal Services to expand its role in the intermodal marketplace, a market segment that we believe will experience considerable growth over the next several years.”
**Editor's Note: The original report stated the intermodal equipment was purchased from GE Capital. An amended statement issued Tuesday by Milestone Equipment Corp. noted the attribution was in error.
Wilmerding, Pa.-based Wabtec Corp. Tuesday reported record third-quarter earnings of $46.6 million, or 96 cents per diluted share, 33% higher than the comparable quarter in 2010. Sales also set a record at $499 million, also up 33% from a year ago, which Wabtec attributed to strong growth in its Freight Group. Per-share earnings beat Wall Street consensus analyst estimates of 87 cents per share.
Wabtec’s backlog at the end of the third quarter was $1.5 billion, 38% higher than at the beginning of the year. Albert J. Neupaver, Wabtec’s president and chief executive officer, said: “Wabtec continued to perform at a high level in the third quarter and we expect to finish the year strongly. We are executing our growth strategies well, benefiting from favorable market conditions in the freight rail sector, and beginning to see a ramp-up in positive train control activities. We remain optimistic about our outlook for the balance of the year, and believe we are well positioned over the longer term to take advantage of growth opportunities in our core markets around the world.”
Neupaver’s optimism was backed by Steve Barger, an analystwith KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., who noted, “On the back of this strongperformance, [Wabtec] increased its 2011 guidance to $3.65-$3.70 from$3.45-$3.55, and increased the top-line expectations to 25% growth (from theprevious guidance of 20%). We estimate this implies 4Q11 results of $0.90-$0.95and revenue of around $450 million.”