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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A reduced expansion plan for Interstate 5 in San Diego could free up nearly $800 million to be redirected to light rail transit (LRT) expansion, as well as pedestrian and bicycle improvements, according to the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG).

SANDAG has approved the redistribution plan, following a decision by the California Department of Transportation expand I-5 by only four lanes instead of six. SANDAG had originally budgeted for a six-lane expansion in the metropolitan transportation organization’s 40-year regional transportation plan.

Almost $600 million would be directed toward smart-growth developments and railroad at-grade separation projects. SANDAG also would accelerate some LRT projects, including the Mid-City LRT route running from downtown to San Diego State University along El Cajon Boulevard.

The "Safe Routes to Transit" program would receive about $200 million, with much of the money used to establish safe biking and pedestrian routes.

Progress Rail Services plans to locate a locomotive manufacturing facility in Sete Lagoas in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, to serve the South American diesel-electric market.

progress_rail_services_cat_logo.jpgProgress Rail, a subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc., said in an announcement Monday that it will operate the facility through its subsidiary, MGE Equipamentos e Servicos Ferroviarios Ltda. (MGE). The project could create up to 600 jobs at full capacity.

The company said it will make a “significant investment to reopen and modernize the existing manufacturing plant.”

The facility will assemble and manufacture Electro-Motive Diesel-branded locomotives in the 12,000 square-meter space. Electro-Motive Diesel Inc. is a subsidiary of Progress Rail Services.

“We are proud to announce the opening of this state-of-the-art facility, which will allow us to produce locomotives locally for our Brazilian customers, and also continue to provide quality products to our customers around the world,” said Billy Ainsworth, president and chief executive officer of Progress Rail Services.
Monday, 25 July 2011 11:39

Intermodal helps drive CN earnings up

CN Monday reported second-quarter results, saying its net income increased from the year-earlier quarter to C$538 million, with earnings per share rising 4% to C$1.18. Excluding a deferred income tax expense, adjusted diluted EPS for the second quarter of 2011 rose to C$1.26.


Revenue for the second quarter was up 8% to C$2.2 billion as carloadings increased 4% and revenue ton-miles rose 5%. Operating income increased 8% to C$874 million. CN’s operating ratio, 61.3%, was essentially in line with the operating ratio of 61.2% for second-quarter 2010.

Claude Mongeau, president and chief executive officer, said: “CN delivered a solid second-quarter performance as a result of continued improvements in freight volumes and strong operational execution. CN railroaders responded quickly and effectively to a series of weather challenges including floods, forest fires, and mudslides. Their tireless efforts and dedication helped to protect the integrity of our network, the reliability of the supply chain we serve, and our service to customers.”

Mongeau said that intermodal—CN’s largest revenue segment—was “a bright spot,” benefiting principally from higher import volumes over the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert and increased domestic retail shipments. Total intermodal volumes rose 10% and intermodal revenue increased 14%.

“Intermodal was one of the first areas where we applied our new end-to-end supply chain collaboration approach,” Mongeau said. “This approach is really starting to pay off, and we hope to enjoy gains in other segments of our business where we have brought forward a similar focus on innovation and service excellence.”

CIT Rail, which owns more than 100,000 railcars leased to approximately 500 customers in North America, has announced orders for 5,000 new tank cars and hoppers from “multiple manufacturers.”

Deliveries are scheduled throughout 2012. The orders include an option for an additional 1,750 railcars that was part of an order for 3,500 cars earlier this year. The company said the new orders respond to increasing demand as the the economic recovery continues.

“It is important that we maintain a young, modern fleet of high-quality railcars that enable carriers and shippers to maximize loading efficiencies while transporting goods,” said George Cashman, president of CIT Rail. “These orders reinforce our commitment to the rail transportation industry and will allow us to capitalize on growth opportunities within the market.”
Tuesday, 26 July 2011 06:46


Fairport, N.Y.-based RailComm says ithas been chosen to provide its Track Warrant Control (TWC) System for Chile’s Empresa de los Ferrocarriles del Estado (EFE). RailComm’s Domain Operations Controller (DOC®) train control system will be used for dispatching and train management.

railcomm_logo.jpgEFE will have two dispatch centers in Santiago City and Concepcion City for the monitor and control of trains within 2,000 kilometers of the rail system.

The DOC System will interface with EFE’s existing software systems and will be able to be toggled between Spanish and English, with the Spanish language included in all track warrant and track bulletin forms, as well as in the Graphical User Interface.
Tuesday, 26 July 2011 07:04

Wabtec backlog hits record $1.51 billion

Wabtec Corp. has reported second-quarter results, including sales of $479 million, 28% more than the year-ago quarter, and a backlog of undelivered orders totaling $1.5 billion. The company also increased its full-year guidance excluding a previously announced charge for a court ruling that Wabtec is planning to appeal.

wabtec_logo.jpgExcluding special items, earnings per diluted share were a record 94 cents, 45% higher than in the 2010 quarter, and income from operations was a record $72 million, or 15% of sales compared with 13.3% a year ago.

Based on second-quarter results and the outlook for the rest of the year, Wabtec increased its 2011 guidance for earnings per share to between $3.45 and $3.55 excluding special items, with revenue expected to be up about 20%.

Albert J. Neupaver, Wabtec’s president and chief executive officer, commented, “The company's second-quarter operating performance was strong,as we continued to execute our growth strategies and benefited from favorable market conditions, particularly in the freight rail sector. Based on our performance to date and our record backlog, we are optimistic about our outlook for the balance of the year. Longer-term, we are well positioned to take advantage of growth opportunities in our core markets around the world.”
Tuesday, 26 July 2011 11:11

NS notches 2Q earnings record

Norfolk Southern Tuesday reported record second-quarter net income of $557 million, 42% higher than the $392 million notched during the same quarter in 2010. Diluted earnings per share were a record $1.56, up 50% compared with $1.04 per diluted share earned in the same period a year ago. NS said the results reflect favorable, non-recurring income tax-related benefits totaling $63 million, or $0.18 per share.

ns_logo.jpgThe company’s operating ratio improved to 69.5%, a second-quarter record, compared with 69.8% during the second quarter of 2010. Operating revenue increased 18% to $2.9 billion, also a second-quarter record.

“Norfolk Southern delivered excellent financial results in the second quarter, setting all-time records for net income and earnings per share, as well as second-quarter records for revenues, operating income, and operating ratio,” said Chairman, President, and CEO Wick Moorman. “We’re seeing opportunities in the global economy, and we are moving forward with initiatives to drive business growth, productivity, and efficiency across our company.”

General merchandise revenue, at $1.4 billion, was up 12% from the year-ago quarter, while coal revenue rose 28% to $893 million compared with the year-ago period. Intermodal revenue of $540 million was up 20% from a year ago.

Railway operating expenses for the quarter were $2.0 billion, 17% higher compared with the same period of 2010, which NS attributed primarily to increased fuel expenses and compensation and benefits costs.
Wednesday, 27 July 2011 04:03

Flooding bogs down CP 2Q profitability

Flooding kept Canadian Pacific from joining its Class I brethren in setting record-breaking second-quarter results, with CP Wednesday reporting its second-quarter net income fell to C$128 million (US$135.7 million), or 75 Canadian cents per share. That still beat analyst expectations by two cents, but was 23% lower than the C$166 million, or 98 Canadian cents a share, posted in the second quarter of 2010.

cp_logo_2009.jpgRevenue rose slightly to C$1.26 billion, up from C$1.23 billion in 2010, but the improvement was limited by the impact of flooding on operations. CP said it recorded nearly 90 separate outages on its tracks during the three-month period ended June 30.

"We rerouted and detoured traffic over other railways and incurred significantly higher operating costs to ensure delivery of our customers' shipments," said President and CEO Fred Green in a release.

CP said operating expenses rose to C$1.03 billion from C$960.1 million a year earlier, prompted largely by increased fuel prices.
Wednesday, 27 July 2011 09:33

China crash mars stellar HSR safety record

The collision of two high speed rail trains near Wenzhou, China, on July 23 has triggered doubt, both domestically and internationally, not of HSR’s viability but of China’s expertise to implement its HSR plans, in part because HSR for decades has operated nearly flawlessly in Europe and in Japan.

At least 43 were killed, and more than 200 seriously injured, when one HSR train reportedly lost power, attributed by Chinese railway officials to a lightning strike, which then disabled safety devices. The first train was then hit by a second HSR consist following the first train. The incident occurred roughly 860 miles south of Beijing.

Many rail industry observers have expressed outright skepticism about China’s explanation of the HSR incident. “I’ve never heard of lightning doing that, but if it did, everything else would stop, too,” Vukan R. Vuchic, professor of City and Regional Planning, University of Pennsylvania, told The New York Times. “And the signal system should keep trains at a safe distance.”

China’s aggressive push for HSR has been criticized on several levels, with its reliability and safety questioned from the onset when power problems plagued the debut of Beijing-Shanghai service in June. Corruption forced the government to fire at least three high-ranking railway officials, including Railways Minister Liu Zhijun in February.

Immediately following the crash, the Ministry of Railways called for a two-month nationwide safety check and announced that three senior officials in the Shanghai Railway Bureau had been dismissed pending an investigation.

Manufacturers of HSR equipment, particularly from Japan, have alleged both privately and publicly that HSR equipment in China, produced by China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Corp. Ltd. (CSR), have liberally “borrowed” from proprietary designs of other, more established HSR equipment producers.

More openly, CSR has formed a partnership with General Electric Co. to develop HSR technology for global export, and had been considered a likely, even favored, bidder for California’s 700-mile HSR project. The Wenzhou accident could seriously damage any marketing push of Chinese HSR technology in California or elsewhere, one source knowledgeable of California’s efforts tells Railway Age.

As for safety, “If China is going to take HSR from international to global, then we will need a global body devoted to rail safety like the Flight Safety Foundation does for aviation,” Anthony Perl, director, Urban Studies Program, at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, told Railway Age.


 “In part, that’s because China’s visions for HSR far exceed that of even existing HSR mileage now in operation. “A rail analog to the Flight Safety Foundation” might be required “if HSR is to remain a safe mode while meeting much higher volumes of global mobility, Perl said.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011 10:42

Trinity 2Q earnings grow, as does backlog

Dallas-based Trinity Industries, Inc. Wednesday reported a second-quarter earnings of $30.0 million, or 37 cents per diluted share, up from $18.4 million, or 23 cents per diluted share, in the second quarter of 2010. Revenue of $710.5 million was up from $543.1 million for the year-ago period. Wall Street analysts expected 38 cents per diluted share, however, and shares of the company fell as much as 10% Wednesday afternoon on the New York Stock Exchange.

For the quarter, the Rail Group reported revenue of $280.7 million and an operating profit of $15.4 million, compared with revenue of $112.9 million and an operating loss of $2.7 million in the second quarter of 2010. The Rail Group shipped approximately 3,115 railcars and received orders for approximately 7,860 railcars during the second quarter. As of June 30, 2011, the Rail Group backlog grew to approximately $2.2 billion, representing approximately 27,240 railcars compared with a backlog of approximately $1.8 billion as of March 31, 2011, representing approximately 22,490 railcars.

“We continue to be encouraged by the level of demand for products in our railcar and barge businesses. This is reflected in their improving order backlogs,” said Timothy R. Wallace, Trinity's chairman, CEO, and president. “Subsequent to quarter end, we also announced a successful refinancing of a portion of our railcar leasing company’s debt, which is important for the growth of that business.”

Also encouraged is Steve Barger, director, Industrial Manufacturers, KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc. “Given the strength of Trinity's and the industry's second-quarter orders, our view that industry pricing is improving, and our general thesis that railcar manufacturers enjoy significant operating leverage as volume improves, we think investors should be buyers on weakness as we continue to think TRN is on the front end of accelerating EPS as the cycle improves,” Barger said in an analyst note Wednesday.
Thursday, 28 July 2011 04:45


TÜV Rheinland has appointed Suzanne Murtha as its business development manager for its Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) group. Murtha will develop and manage TÜV Rheinland’s North American consulting, assessment, analysis, verification, validation, testing, and certification of ITS components and systems.

tuv_logo.jpgA 15-year veteran of ITS, Murtha comes to TÜV Rheinland from Kapsch TrafficCom of Washington D.C., where she served as principal associate for government relations and business development.

Newtown, Conn.-based TUV Rheinland of North America, Inc. is part of TÜV Rheinland Group, headquartered in Cologne, Germany.
Thursday, 28 July 2011 04:57


Effective November 1, Michel P. Melaniphy will succeed William Millar as president of the American Public Transportation Association. APTA’s Board of Directors on Wednesday unanimously approved Melaniphy’s selection.

apta_logo.jpgAPTA says Melaniphy’s entire career has been in public transportation with 23 years of experience in the public and private sectors. Currently vice president, Public Sector, for Schaumburg, Ill.-based bus manufacturer Motor Coach Industries, Melaniphy has led public transit systems in North Carolina, Kansas, Ohio, and Texas.

Said APTA Chair Michael J. Scanlon, “Michael brings the ideal combination of tremendous energy and a proven track record in public transportation to lead the industry in these pivotal times. He not only understands—but has firsthand experience of—the critical role that public transportation plays in creating jobs and providing access to jobs necessary to move our economy forward.”

“It is an honor and privilege to be named APTA president,” said Melaniphy. “I believe fervently that public transportation is key to the economic vitality of our communities and our country. I am committed to working together with industry leaders, our stakeholders and elected officials so that we make the necessary transportation investments to grow our economy and ensure that Americans have access to quality public transportation.”

William Millar, APTA’s current president of 15 years, called Melaniphy an excellent choice. “I am delighted that someone with such broad-based experience as Michael Melaniphy will be following me at APTA,” he said.

Thursday, 28 July 2011 05:06

ARI notches second-quarter profit

St. Charles, Mo.-based American Railcar Industries late Wednesday reported a second-quarter profit of $569,000, or 3 cents per share, compared with a loss of $5.9 million, or 28 cents per share, in the second quarter of 2010.

american_railcar_logo.jpgARI’s railcar shipments nearly tripled in the second quarter, the company said. Railcar shipments for the second quarter that ended June 30 totaled 1,040, up from 370 railcars for the same time period a year ago.

Revenue of $111.9 million was up 83% compared with $61.2 million in the second quarter of last year.

In an analyst note Thursday, Steve Barger, director, Industrial Manufacturers, for KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., said, “While railcar deliveries in the quarter (1,040 units) fell short of our estimate (1,145 units), we believe this is greatly overshadowed by the solid operational results and strong order activity as the Company’s backlog expanded 43% from 1Q11 to 7,540 cars.”
Thursday, 28 July 2011 06:13

U.S. freight traffic makes

U.S. freight carload traffic for the week ending July 23, 2011 advanced 1.4% compared with the same week in 2010, the Association of American Railroads said Thursday. U.S. intermodal volume edged up 0.8% compared with the same week a year ago.

aar_logo.jpgAAR said 12 of the 20 carload commodity groups it measures posted increases from the comparable week in 2010, led by metallic ores, up 53.2%, iron and steel scrap, up 24.5%, and crushed stone, sand, and gravel, up 16.8%. Groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic included farm products excluding grain, down 13.5%, waste and nonferrous scrap, down 10.2%, and primary forest products, down 10.1%.

Canadian freight carload traffic rose 0.7% compared with the same week last year, while Canadian intermodal jumped 8.3%. Mexican freight carload traffic rose 15.2% for the week compared with 2010’s level, while intermodal soared 56.6%.

Combined North American freight carload volume for the first 29 weeks of 2011 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was up 2.5% compared with the first 29 weeks of 2010, while combined intermodal rose 6.6% compared with a year ago.

Thursday, 28 July 2011 06:46

For RailAmerica, a record second quarter

RailAmerica, Inc. second-quarter results include income from continuing operations of $8.7 million, or 17 cents per diluted share, compared with a loss from continuing operations of $4.2 million, or 8 cents per diluted share, in the second quarter of 2010. RailAmerica President and Chief Executive Officer John Giles called it “a record second quarter.”

railamerica.jpgTotal revenue increased 17% to $139.2 million from $119.5 million. Freight revenue increased 7% to $105.6 million, with average revenue per car up 11% and carloads down 3%. Non-freight revenue increased 59% to $33.6 million. Excluding acquisitions, non-freight revenue increased 21% versus second-quarter 2010.

Giles commented: “Our second-quarter financial performance was strong despite persistent weather challenges, low coal volumes, and fuel price pressures. By controlling costs and capitalizing on non-freight revenue and pricing opportunities, we increased operating income 16%, excluding the impact of 45G credits, asset sales, and impairments. On the strategic front, I continue to be optimistic about our growing pipeline of acquisition and industrial development opportunities.”

The Los Angeles Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority has awarded a $485.9 million design-build contract to Foothill Transit Constructors, a Kiewit Parsons joint venture.

Authority directors called the contract “a significant milestone” for the 11-5-mile light rail project, which will extend the Metro Gold Line from Union Station to the Los Angeles County line, along the Foothills of the San Gabriel and Pomona valleys. The work is expected to create nearly 7,000 jobs and $1 billion in economic output to the region during the four years of final design and construction.

The authority, an independent transportation planning and construction agency created in 1999 by the California State Legislature, said Los Angeles County’s Measure R half-cent sales tax increase will fully fund the contract.

The Metro Gold Line opened in 2003, connecting downtown Los Angeles and Pasadena, and now averages more than 39,000 boardings every weekday.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced an “innovative and pragmatic financing strategy” to fill a $$13.6 million funding gap that looms in the final three years of its 2010-2014 capital program.

new_york_mta_logo.jpgIn addition to ongoing savings expected to yield nearly $2 billion in savings by 2014, MTA proposed this bold new plan:

“Innovative federal loan: The MTA has applied for a $2.2 billion federal loan that benefits from low Treasury rates and utilizes longer maturity bonds that are appropriate for new infrastructure projects with long useful lives.

“MTA revenue bonds: The federal loan would be complemented by $4.7 billion in MTA revenue bonds.

“Manageable debt level: Existing capital funds—protected by ongoing MTA cost-cutting—would be used to repay the federal and MTA debt, creating no additional burden on the operating budget. In addition, during the period this debt would be issued, the MTA will be repaying $6.2 billion of existing debt.

“Ongoing local partnerships: In addition, ongoing support from the State, City, and Port Authority add another $1.7 billion.

“Asset sales and other resources will provide an additional $.89 billion. Along with federal grants ($4.1 billion), these sources provide the $13.6 billion needed to fully fund the remainder of the MTA Capital Program.”

The survival plan for the capital program was revealed as TA announced its preliminary new budget for 2011-2015.

jay-walder-nymta.jpg“We recognize that there’s no appetite for new taxes in New York today, and that makes it all the more important that we find ways to make these investments as efficiently and effectively as possible,” said Chairman MTA Chairman and CEO Jay H. Walder (pictured at left). “At the same time, we continue to pursue innovative and pragmatic ways to move investments forward with our federal, state, and local partners, because we can't afford to eliminate or defer any of these critical projects.”

The plan is preliminary; the MTA board will vote on a final budget in December.

“By keeping our focus on making every dollar count, this financial plan brings stability back to the MTA’s finances,” said Walder.

The 2012-2015 Financial Plan relies on four key components: a continued focus on cost cutting; a three-year zero wage increase initiative that reflects new fiscal realities; continued implementation of biennial 7.5 % fare/toll increases in 2013 and 2015; and continued receipt of dedicated taxes and subsidies.

The plan builds on $525 million in recurring savings achieved in 2010, with savings targets increasing in each year of the plan and reaching $799 million by 2015. Savings of $623 million in 2011 are being achieved by pursuing better ways of doing business including: rebinding health care contracts; rationalizing and consolidating IT functions; overhauling procurement practices; and improving inventory management.
McKeesport, Pa.-based Maglev, Inc., the frontrunner expected to land any maglev project serving Pittsburgh International Airport, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as it attempts to reorganize and await a $28 million federal grant.

Maglev, Inc. has sought to develop a 54-mile, $5.25 billion electromagnetic magnetic levitation train line linking the airport, downtown Pittsburgh, and Monroeville and Greensburg, Pa.

"It's just part of the economy being down, “company President Fred Gurney said in explaining the move. “We've got the money out there, but the funds aren't being released. If we were shutting down entirely, we'd have done it long ago; we believe in what we're trying to do."

The bankruptcy filing reportedly indicates the company has $50,000 or less in assets.
Friday, 29 July 2011 06:00

COASTER and Amtrak

An agreement between Amtrak and the North County Transit District will allow California COASTER customers to supplement monthly passes with a COASTER-Rail2Rail-UPGRADE. The upgrade opens access to Amtrak California Pacific Surfliner trains between the Oceanside Transit Center and San Diego.

The upgrade is available for $80 and more than doubles the number of trains available to COASTER monthly pass holders each day.

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner trains serve Oceanside, Solana Beach, and San Diego stations.

“We are proud to be able to expand service options this year, and the COASTER-Rail2Rail-UPGRADE is just another example of this,” said NCTD Executive Director Matthew Tucker. “This new bonus option will allow our regular commuters the increased flexibility they’ve been seeking. With the upgrade, they have more opportunities to travel during midday, stay at the office later in the evenings or take more weekend excursions.”

The COASTER’ s current (spring) schedule offers 22 weekday trains and 24 on Fridays, but the COASTER-Rail2Rail-UPGRADE will more than double that schedule to open up access to 24 more trains each weekday and 26 more on Fridays.The upgrade will also add 24 more trains to the COASTER’s typical weekend schedule of 22 trains, for a total of 46 weekend train options.

Amtrak's 350-mile Pacific Surfliner route links San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo in southern California.

GATX Rail earned a profit $56.7 million in the second quarter of 2011, compared with $29.4 million to second-quarter 2010. GATX Corp. said the improvement in Rail segment profit was driven by higher lease income and increased asset remarketing activity, partially offset by higher maintenance expense in Europe.

gatx_logo.jpgRail segment profit was $108.3 million for the year to date, compared with $78.7 million in the same period of 2010.

On June 30, GATX Rail’s wholly owned North American fleet totaledapproximately 109,000 cars, and fleet utilization was 98.2% compared with 97.8% at the end of the first quarter and 96.5% at June 30, 2010.

Rail’s European wholly owned tank car fleet totaled approximately 21,000 cars and utilization was 95.7%, compared with 95.8% at the end of the first quarter and 94.4% on June 30, 2010.
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