William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

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.

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The United Transportation Union has reported the death of two crew members, believed to be an engineer and conductor, in the rear-end collision of two CSX Transportation trains near Mineral Springs, N. C., in the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday.

A report by the Associated Press said two other crew members were injured.

The AP quoted CSX as saying that the collision occurred at 3:54 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on northbound tracks and involved one train enroute to Hamlet, N.C., from New Orleans, and another bound for Charlotte, N.C., from Georgia.
Wednesday, 25 May 2011 06:54

Hotstart appoints new CEO, sales director

Hotstart, Inc. on Tuesday said Terry Judge has been named the company’s chief executive officer; Judge assumed the CEO position on March 18. He previously served as director of Sales and Marketing. Judge joined the company in2001.

Judge succeeds Rick Robinson, who retired in March after 23 years as company CEO.

Spokane, Wash.-based HOTSTART also said Trond Liaboe will replace Judge as director of Sales and Marketing. Liaboe previously served as International Market Manager and has been with the company since 2002.
Wednesday, 25 May 2011 07:30

NS sponsors

Norfolk Southern, aided by its giant pink ambulating public safety ambassador “Brainy,” will participate in the fifth annual Zombie Walk Friday in Memphis. This year’s parade is being held in support of the Mid-South Food Bank.

ns_logo.jpgReferring to the allusion to zombies, NS Vice President Safety and Environmental David Julian said, “It’s important to understand that most all train-car collisions and trespass injuries and deaths are preventable. By paying attention to our surroundings and to the warning signs and signals—maintaining situational awareness—we can keep ourselves and our families safe from harm.”

“Everyone can benefit by thinking smart at highway-rail crossings and staying well away from railroad property and equipment,” said Cynthia Ham, principal and chief public relations officer for archer>malmo, the Memphis marketing communications agency that administers Norfolk Southern’s “Train Your Brain” public safety awareness campaign.

Brainy’s participation in the Zombie Walk was the brainchild of Bruce Downs, an engineer in NS’ real estate department in Atlanta. Norfolk Southern launched Brainy and the campaign to “Train Your Brain” in 2007 in Memphis and so far has taken the message to high-traffic corridors in North Carolina, Indiana, and Ohio.

U.S. freight carload traffic slipped 2.6% in the week ending May 7, 2011, measured against the comparable week in 2010, the Association of American Railroads reported Thursday, while U.S. intermodal volume surged 11.2% in the same period.

aar_logo.jpgAAR said six of the 20 carload commodity groups it measures posted increases from the comparable week in 2010, with grain, up 19.9%, and metals and products, up 13.1%, leading the pact. Declining groups were led by primary forest products, down 19.5%, nonmetallic minerals, down 16.3%, and waste and nonferrous scrap, down 13.7%.

By contrast, Canadian freight carload traffic rose 3.3% for the week compared with a year ago, while intermodal also gained, up 8.7%. Mexican freight carload traffic also rose, up 8.4%, and intermodal advanced 28.7%, for the week ending May 7 compared with one year ago.

Combined North American freight carload volume for the first 18 weeks of 2011 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was up 3.1% compared with the similar period in 2010, while intermodal also rose, up 8.1%.

Friday, 13 May 2011 04:40

GE to open Texas locomotive plant

GE Transportation said Friday that it intends to open a new 900,000 square foot locomotive manufacturing facility in Fort Worth, Tex., “to meet accelerating global demand.” GE said it will invest up to $96 million in the new plant and will create more than 500 new high-tech manufacturing jobs.

ge_transport.jpgAt the same time, GE Transportation also will expand its manufacturing workforce at its Erie, Pa., plant by hiring an additional 250 workers.

“GE Transportation is experiencing strong U.S. and global growth because of its technical leadership and we need to increase our manufacturing capacity and flexibility,” said GE Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt. “This new state-of-the-art plant in Fort Worth, Texas will produce the world’s most advanced locomotives and transportation products, expand our service and repair capability, and create hundreds of new high-tech manufacturing jobs.”

“We are excited to expand our operational footprint in the United States to better serve our customers,” added Lorenzo Simonelli, President and CEO of GE Transportation. “We see robust growth in the U.S. and around the globe. A new site will help us to effectively respond to the cyclical demand in the transportation industry and to strengthen our overall position.”

The State of Texas will commit up to $4.2 million in incentives toward the projectthrough the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF). GE Transportation said its new manufacturing site in the U.S. will complement its existing manufacturing operations in North America. The company noted it has recalled approximately 800 production workers at its Erie manufacturing facility since late 2010 and announced 450 new jobs since April (including those announced Friday). GE Transportation operates at more than 50 GE and customer facilities in the United States.

Friday, 13 May 2011 05:32

Amsted Rail acquires Holland

Amsted Rail said Thursday it has acquired Holland, L.P.’s Hollube® Wear Eliminator product line. Final agreement is scheduled to occur Friday, May 27. After that date, all orders and shipments will be initiated through Amsted Rail Customer Service, located in Granite City, Ill.

amstedrail_120.jpg“This acquisition is strategically important because it provides our customers the option to include key wear prevention components as part of their Amsted Rail Truck and End-of-Car System purchases,” said Brad Myers, Amsted vice president of Sales & Marketing.

“The sale of the Hollube® Wear Eliminator product line will enable our organization to concentrate its efforts on engineered solutions involving our growing load securement and product protection product lines,” said Holland, L.P. Group Vice President Leonard O’Kray.

ConnectLAX, a joint venture of Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) and STV, Inc., said Friday it has been awarded a contract by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to provide environmental and preliminary design services for an extension of the Metro Green Line light rail to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

parsonslogo.gifThe Green Line LAX Extension will link the planned Metro station at Century and Aviation, about 1.5 miles from the airport, with the central terminal area of LAX, by one of three alternatives: an above-ground LRT extension; an underground LRT extension; or an automated people mover (APV) link.stv.jpg 

ConnectLAX will prepare the alternatives analysis, final environmental impact statement/environmental impact report (EIS/EIR), and conceptual engineering to support the final EIS/EIR. The contract includes two phases, one for for environmental approval, and the second including preliminary design of the alternative chosen for the extension. Completion of the EIS/EIR is scheduled for late 2012.

The Green Line LAX Extension is one of the capital projects being funded by Measure R, a program of transportation improvements totaling $40billion over 30 years funded by a one-half cent sales tax approved by Los Angeles County voters in November 2008.
Bombardier Transportation said Monday it has signed a contract with Saudi Arabian construction company Saudi Binladin Group,to design, build, operate, and maintain an INNOVIA APM 300 automated people mover system for the King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) Development Project in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The total value of the contract is $96 million.

bombardier_logo.jpgSaudi Binladin Group is the contractor responsible for the design and construction of the KAIA Development Project, and was awarded its contract by the Saudi Arabian General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) in 2011. KAIA is expanding its existing passenger facilities with an additional Passenger Terminal Building to meet the requirements of rising passenger volumes.

The INNOVIA APM 300 system will serve as the backbone for the smooth transportation of passengers between terminal areas at KAIA, Bombardier says. Completion of the system is scheduled for the start of 2014. Bombardier's recently established wholly-owned subsidiary in Saudi Arabia will act as subcontractor to Saudi Binladin Group, leading the project to design and supply all of the system-wide Electrical and Mechanical (E&M) elements for the 1.5-kilometer (0.9-mile), dual-guideway automated people mover (APM) system, including 10 INNOVIA APM 300 cars with BOMBARDIER CITYFLO 650 automatic train control technology for driverless operation as well as providing project management, systems engineering and integration, testing, and commissioning.

Bombardier says it also will provide operation and maintenance services for four years followed by a two-year discretionary option to extend to 2020. Much of the technology will be supplied from Bombardier’s facility in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Serge Van Themsche, vice president for Europe, Middle East, Africa & Brazil, Systems division of Bombardier Transportation, said, “We are honored to add the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah to our list of prestigious airports served by a Bombardier INNOVIA transit system. Our new generation INNOVIA APM 300 system will delight airport passengers with its sleek design and exceptional ride quality, and support the airport operator with its highly reliable service.”

Officials in Gaston County, N.C., and Patriot Rail Corp. subsidiary Piedmont & Northern Railway seek to re-establish freight service linking Gastonia and Mount Holly, N.C., by this autumn on a local short line, though they believe actual resumption may not be achieved until January. 

patriot_rail_corp._logo.jpg

Boca Raton, Fla.-based Patriot Rail has created a subsidiary, Piedmont & Northern Railway, to operate the line. P&N Assistant General Manager Bill Bartosh says the company is making progress upgrading the line. “We have several customers we’re working with between Ranlo and Mount Holly,” he said. “A lot of people are taking a wait-and-see approach. But the reality is sinking in that the line will soon be open.”

The 13-mile P&N interchanges with CSX at Mount Holly, N.C., and with Norfolk Southern at Gastonia. The right-of-way was purchased in 1991 by the North Carolina Deparatment of Transportation. Gaston County acquired a $5 million state grant to help reopen and restore the line, and the state signed a five-year contract last year with Patriot Rail to operate the line. 

 

Monday, 16 May 2011 11:30

FOX Business Special: American Icon

FOX Business Network reporter Dagen McDowell on Tuesday, May 17, got a behind-the-scenes look at Union Pacific and the business of freight railroading—something most people rarely see or understand—as a part of the network’s American Icon series.

McDowell spent the day at UP’s Omaha headquarters, speaking with top executives about rail industry issues as well as the company’s future. Union Pacific senior staff members interviewed included Chairman and CEO Jim Young, Executive Vice President and CFO Robert M. Knight, Operations Executive Vice President Lance M. Fritz, Marketing and Sales Executive Vice President Jack Koraleski, and Car and Locomotive Engineering General Director Michael Iden.

View all the segments by accessing these links:

FBN’s Dagen McDowell with an inside look at America’s largest railroad.

Union Pacific’s Lindsay Lanoha and Matt Bosch explains why they went to work for a railroad.

FBN’s Dagen McDowell with Union Pacific's Mike Iden, on the Genset locomotive an how it operates.

Union Pacific Operation EVP Lance Fritz on managing and moving trains through a network and rail yard.

Commodity Prices and Union Pacific.

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