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.
Jack L. Hadley, at one time the owner of the Kiamichi Railroad Co. operating in Oklahoma and Texas, died Oct. 30 at his home in Latrobe, Pa. He was 85. Hadley was an executive for the railroads of Jones & Laughlin Steel and later LTV Steel before becoming a short line owner in 1987. Within one year, Hadley tripled the number of employees at Hugo, Okla.-based Kiamichi Railroad and was serving 100 businesses along the line, stretching from Medill, Okla., to Paris, Tex. Hadley then acquired the adjoining Chaparral Railroad Co., and also began operating the South Orient Railroad in Texas.
Hadley sold the properties in 1995; the Kiamichi Railroad, which also extends into Arkansas, currently is owned by Jacksonville, Fla.-based RailAmerica. Hadley started his career in labor relations before moving to Jones & Laughlin, where he focused on the company’s rail operations, including the Monongahela Connecting Railroad in Pittsburgh, the Aliquippa and Southern Railroad in Aliquippa, Pa., and the Cuyahoga Valley Railroad in Cleveland.
The Greenbrier Cos. Thursday reported net earnings of $12.6 million, or 42 cents per diluted share, in its fiscal fourth quarter ended Aug. 31, compared with earnings of $7.7 million, or 33 cents per diluted share, in its comparable 2010 quarter. Fourth-quarter revenue was a record $442.7 million, up from $178.8 million in the fiscal fourth quarter of 2010, Lake Oswego, Ore.-based Greenbrier said. Results for the quarter include a loss on extinguishment of debt of $5.7 million pre-tax, $3.4 million after-tax, for costs associated with the repayment in full of a $72 million term loan. Excluding these charges, net earnings were $16.0 million, or $.52 per diluted share, the company said.
The company also noted its backlog continues to grow, and now is measured at 14,500 units valued at $1.23 billion. New railcar deliveries in the fiscal fourth quarter of 2011 were a record 4,000 units, compared with 700 units in the fourth quarter of 2010. Total new railcar deliveries were 9,400 units in fiscal 2011,compared with 2,500 units in fiscal 2010. William A. Furman, president and chief executive officer, said, “We ended the quarter and the year with strong operating momentum, particularly in our manufacturing segment where we successfully executed at high production volumes. We continue to see strength in our end markets across each of our business segments and our new railcar backlog continued to grow in our fourth quarter. These factors give us good visibility and confidence that we can support higher new railcar production levels in fiscal 2012.
“We believe our industry fundamentals are sound, and that several forces are driving new railcar demand that are uncoupled from the more uncertain economic and political environments. Among these forces are stronger railroad balance sheets, truck traffic diversion to rail, replacement demand, and a growing strength in the U.S. energy market, which will continue to create increased demand for covered hopper cars and tank cars,” Furman said.
Willis Edward Bell, 93, of Port Charlotte, Fla., died Monday, Oct. 31, 2011. Bell was the Chief Signal Engineer of the Erie Lackawanna Railway and later the Chief Engineer for Communications and Signals at the United States Railway Association. He completed his career as a Project Manager at Gibbs and Hill, Inc., in Washington D.C., designing and implementing the signaling and train control system for the WMATA Metrorail rapid transit system. Bell and his wife Lois, who predeceased him, retired to Port Charlotte in 1983.
Bell graduated from the Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1943 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. He served as a 1st Lieutenant in the Signal Corps of the United States Army during World War II.
Bill is survived by his four children—Thomas E. Bell of Houston, Tex.; Craig W. Bell of Indianapolis; Susan A. Miner of Atkinson, N.H., and Barbara Mills of Glenville, Pa.—five grandchildren, and a brother, Frank Donald Bell of Allison Park, Pa.