William Vantuono

William Vantuono

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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Long Island Rail Road trains still had limited access to New York’s Penn Station Monday following an Amtrak derailment in one of the four East River tunnels Sunday. Amtrak and LIRR work crews, augmented by crews from LIRR’s sister railroad Metro-North, were at work Monday removing passenger cars and assessing infrastructure damage.

LIRR on Monday said it anticipated significant adjustments to existing schedules, including train cancelations, to occur through Wednesday. On Tuesday, LIRR, re-evaluating the problem, said service disruptions could last through the week. About 20 eastbound morning trains were canceled Monday morning, with passengers urged to consider New York City Transit E and 7 subway service as an option.

Amtrak train 254, completing its scheduled run Sunday from Albany, N.Y., to New York’s Penn Station, derailed as it headed under the East River to Sunnyside Yard in Queens, damaging both catenary and the third rail. The derailment also was expected to affect Amtrak service between New York and Boston, as well as New Jersey Transit, which also services trains in Sunnyside Yard.

Wabtec Corp. said Monday it has signed a US$21 million contract with mining company Rio Tinto to provide electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) braking equipment for a portion of the company’s freight cars and locomotives in Australia. The equipment will be delivered in 2011-12.

wabtec_logo.jpgUnder the contract, Wabtec will provide about 3,600 carsets of ECP equipment so that Rio Tinto can retrofit its fleet of iron ore cars, most of which currently use Wabtec’s standard pneumatic brakes. In addition, Rio Tinto will install ECP brakes on six locomotives initially, with potential for more in the future.

“The advantages of electronic braking – including significantly shorter stopping distances – have been proven in commercial use by railroads around the world,” said Albert J. Neupaver, Wabtec’s president and chief executive officer. “Rio Tinto’s investment in this technology is a further demonstration that heavy-haul railroads can deploy ECP to reduce cycle times and improve train handling, and we are pleased to be part of the project.”

Wabtec said that with standard pneumatic brake equipment, the brakes are applied and released throughout the train sequentially, one car after another. ECP equipment uses an electronic signal to apply and release the brakes simultaneously in every car.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011 04:16

Bombardier shows "Last Mile

Bombardier Transportation Tuesday said it was premiering a TRAXX AC locomotive with a supplementary diesel motor at the Transport Logistic trade fair, which begins today in Munich, Germany, and runs through Friday.

bombardier_logo.jpgDescribed as a “Last Mile Diesel,” the design removes the need to change locomotives in shunting areas of a rail network. The technology offers increased flexibility, for example at stations where a system change takes place, at terminals, at ports, or on construction sites. In general, the so-called last mile in those areas generally are not electrified, and until now shunting locomotives have had to replace electric locomotives in these areas to close the gap, Bombardier said.

Åke Wennberg, president of Locomotives and Equipment division, Bombardier Transportation, said: “Our Last Mile locomotive offers real innovation, giving rise to whole new possibilities in rail freight transportation. I am certain that this new product will impress our customers.”

The first five locomotives of this type were already ordered by the leasing firm Railpool at the end of last year. “This fulfills a long-held wish for us, the market has been waiting for this opportunity. We are convinced by this solution,” said Dr. Walter Breinl, managing director of Railpool GmbH.

Three of these five locomotives will be leased by the Swiss private rail firm BLS Cargo. “The Last Mile Locomotive enables us to develop new markets for BLS Cargo,” said Dr. Dirk Stahl, CEO of BLS Cargo. “We can offer customers in Switzerland, Germany and Austria innovative and above all efficient rail logistics solutions.”
Harrisburg, Pa.-based TransCore said Tuesday it has readied “a next generation multiprotocol radio frequency identification (RFID) rail reader, and a field processor unit, the Train Recording Unit (TRU™).”  Both are designed to support the rail market’s transition to updated automatic equipment identification (AEI) technology, used throughout the industry to monitor rail car assets.

TransCore says railroads have been instrumental in driving all aspects of AEI product development since the original design in the early ’90s, including TransCore’s new products announced Tuesday. TransCore says it has a long-standing relationship with railroads around the world, with systems in place in 25 countries.

Says company Executive Vice President Operations George McGraw, “Railroads across North America move more than approximately 1.7 billion tons of freight a year and need the latest technology to enhance visibility and security for shipment tracking and providing chain of custody of shipments. More crucial is that this technology is interoperable with their current investment in AEI technology and can transition to newer technology without rendering the current systems obsolete.”

Transcore says the TRU captures AEI tag data and other data “to report an accurate standing order train consist to railroad management systems. It is the key component used to implement AEI reader systems at main line rail locations in North America. The TRU records detailed information about trains, uses the information to create ‘clean consists,’ and then transmits consist reports to one or more host computer systems. A train clean consist report is a train listing in standing order, where orientation of tagged equipment is provided, location of untagged equipment is provided, and car count is accurate. The TRU accommodates and accurately filters data from normal operating procedures such as changes in speed and direction. It also incorporates intelligence to handle both single and multi-track locations.”

TransCore's Multiprotocol Rail Reader (MPRR) interfaces directly to the TRU wayside AEI controller “to provide a complete railroad AEI reader system to the North American railroads,” Transcore says. ”MPRRsd are quickly and easily installed, tested, and maintained by TransCore personnel. The MPRR is a fully integrated, self-contained 902 to 928 MHz wireless RFID reader that is specifically designed for rail applications. It is a replacement for TransCore’s AI1200 Reader/AR2200 RF module systems, and can read current AAR format and the new SeGo protocol tags. The MPRR provides flexibility by offering a real-time clock; expanded tag read buffering; programmable RF output power; programmable frequency range from 860.00 to 930.00 MHz in 250-kHz programmable frequency steps; and system integrity checking. It employs advanced multiplexing techniques that improve reader performance at higher train speeds when compared to legacy products. In addition, this unique multiplexing mode provides the capability for one reader to manage up to four antennas.”

New features of the Train Recording Unit include the ability to update tags remotely without taking railcars out of service and to replace obsolete and unreliable systems that are no longer manufactured or supported. The technology is said to be more cost-effective, as a single TRU controller can handle train processing on two tracks vs. just one. The TRU is the first to comply with AAR Recommended Practice RP-9203, for improved train reporting accuracy in both single and multi-track environments. It offers accurate handling of high value, specialty cars, is easily updated with new car profiles for accurate standing order train consists, and provides S918A train and maintenance reporting. It offers reduced maintenance costs through automated integrated self diagnostics, automated maintenance reporting, and extensive remote access and support features. The TRU is a networkable device that allows existing sites to be easily upgraded to use today’s network IP communications strategies. Built rugged for high reliability in the rail environment, it complies with AREMA 11.5.1 Class C environmental specifications.
Fairport, N.Y.-based RailComm said Tuesday it and ERB Technologies have been chosen to provide a Yard Automation System at Kumba Iron Ore’s Sishen South Mine in South Africa. ERB Technologies is based in Midrand, South Africa.

railcomm_logo.jpgThe automation system will be composed of RailComm’s DOC® (Domain Operations Controller) server-based central control system and four associated outdoor-rated control panels. Additionally, the system will utilize RailComm RADiANT™ data radios to communicate between the office system, the control panels, and a network of power switches.

The power switches will be controlled by the RailComm Universal Switch Controller, which provides customers with the ability to utilize any power switch machine on the market. The RailComm Yard Automation System has been designed to increase yard safety and improve yard dwell time and yard throughput.
Officials at Alstom Transport Tuesday detailed the company’s preparations to handle anticipated U.S. rail infrastructure upgrading, including $3 million in investments to its 150,000 square foot rail signaling manufacturing facility in West Henrietta, N.Y., allowing a potential addition of 200 jobs.

alstom_logo.jpgAlstom made the announcement during an event at its Rochester, N.Y., facility that included remarks from U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary John Porcari, New York State Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald, regional labor leaders, and a representative of the Apollo Alliance, a national coalition of labor, business, and community leaders that support investments in public transit and other infrastructure.

“As gas prices rise and families look for environmentally friendly transportation alternatives, President Obama is committed to making sure our freight and passenger rail networks move people and goods more quickly and efficiently than ever before,” said DOT Deputy Secretary Porcari. “Thanks to companies like Alstom, American workers are building the rail lines and equipment that will allow us to compete and win in the global economy.”

Guillaume Mehlman, Alstom Transport’s managing director in North America, said, “Alstom has seen first-hand how federal and state investments in rail transportation projects help companies like ours create good jobs. We are expanding our facility in Rochester and hiring several hundred people in order to meet additional demand created by such investments. We applaud federal, state, and local policy makers who see the linkage between investing in the nation’s rail transportation system and creating good jobs.”

New Jersey Transit Corp. unveiled the ALP45-DP, its first dual-powered locomotive, noting it also is the first of its kind in North America, at Newark-Penn Station Wednesday, immediately following its Board of Directors meeting. The locomotive was on static display on Track A (as seen below).

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NJT says its has ordered 26 dual-powered locomotives from Bombardier Transportation. It did not disclose whether it still plans to exercise an option for an additional 10 units.

The single-cab locomotives, which can operate in both electrified (catenary) and non-electrified territory, will give NJT added flexibility within its rail network. One strong possibility is direct service to New York-Penn Station from all stations on its North Jersey Coast Line; at present, only municipalities under wire on the NJCL are served in such a manner. NJT could also use the Bombardier dual-power locomotives for services on its Hoboken Division, which also include a mix of electrified and non-electrified right-of-way.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011 06:08

NS increases aid to severe-weather states

Norfolk Southern said Wednesday it is increasing its support of relief efforts in southeastern states hard hit by recent severe storms and (for some) resultant flooding.

ns_logo.jpgNS last month announced support for Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee in the form of $100,000 to the American Red Cross in each of the three states, free rail transportation for movement of certain critical response supplies, and zero-interest loans for employees who suffered property damage. On Wednesday, NS said it will make the same contributions for Virginia.

“The damaging storms did not spare our headquarters state, and we want our employees, neighbors, and business partners to know that we stand with them in recovery and rebuilding,” NS Chairman, President, and CEO Wick Moorman said.

NS employs 8,300 railroaders in Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee, and operates over 4,450 miles of railroad there.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011 06:11

Harsco lands Saudi Arabia order

Harsco Corp. on Tuesday said it has received an order from Saudi Arabia for railway track maintenance and related equipment valued at close to $15 million.

harsco_logo1.jpgThe order, one of Harsco's first and by far its largest from Saudi Arabia for railway track maintenance equipment, will support the Kingdom's new North-South Railway system project, a $2 billion, 2,300-kilometer (1,400-mile) rail line.

The railway will link Saudi Arabia's phosphate and bauxite reserves in the north with its processing facilities in Jubail on the Persian Gulf, while also providing a new rail route for freight and passenger traffic. The North-South line is also expected to spur additional infrastructure development of adjacent cities and towns along the route.

Harsco Infrastructure operates in Saudi Arabia through a joint venture partnership with the Jeddah-based Al-Baroom Group, a well-established construction sector company in Saudi Arabia.
Englewood, Colo.-based CH2M HILL, a global full-service consulting, design, construction, and operations firm, announced Wednesday that it has signed a definitive purchase agreement to acquire Booz Allen Hamilton’s State & Local Government Transportation Consulting (S&L Transportation) business.

Booz Allen Hamilton is divesting its State & Local Government Transportation Consulting business in order to better align its contract portfolio with the company’s federal government business. The closing of the transaction, currently expected during this year’s third calendar quarter, is subject to customary closing conditions, CH2M HILL said.

“We are excited to welcome the transit and rail professionals from Booz Allen Hamilton’s S&L Transportation business to the CH2M HILL family,” said Transportation President Garry Higdem. “Their long track record of supporting top-tier U.S. and Canadian transit agencies with a wide range of management and consulting services blends perfectly with CH2M HILL’s transit and rail planning, design, construction, program management, and operations capabilities. This combined services portfolio creates a strong value proposition for our clients around the world.”

Gary Schulman, a senior vice president with Booz Allen Hamilton’s S&L Transportation business, said, "We are excited about the possibilities that joining CH2M HILL presents for our employees as well as our clients. Their culture of ethics, diversity, and inclusivity—combined with their highly integrated business platform and focus on sustainability—makes this an ideal fit for our talented professionals.”
Wednesday, 11 May 2011 15:07

M&ET gets R.J. Corman Railpower GenSet

R.J. Corman Railpower has begun delivery of five RP20BD GenSet locomotives to short line Modesto & Empire Traction Company. Funded through California’s Carl Moyer Program dollars distributed by the San Joaquin Valley Air Quality Management District, these five locomotives “will immediately assist M&ET’s growing business by providing eco-friendly switching functions and unrivaled reliability and performance,” says R.J. Corman Railpower Vice President Dave Malay.

 

M&ET currently operates seven Railpower GenSets, achieving reductions in diesel fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions of up to 45% and nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulates by 80%-90% per locomotive, according to Malay. “Since the beginning of the M&ET-Railpower relationship, both groups have worked hard in partnership to develop customer-friendly options for the GenSet locomotives,” he says. “M&ET is truly a pioneer in the green locomotive movement, as well as a respected contributor toward the evolution of the RP Series GenSets. We are excited to continue our partnershipwith the delivery of this order,”

R.J. Corman Railpower will deliver the remaining four RP20BDs later this year, providing on-site training, remote diagnostics, and field support.

Harsco Corp. said Wednesday its Harsco Rail unit has received a significant four-year extension of its contract services program in the U.K. under an award from Network Rail estimated at more than $50 million over its duration.

harsco_logo1.jpgHarsco will continue as the exclusive contract services provider to Network Rail for railway switch grinding throughout the U.K. rail system. Under the program, Harsco Rail will operate and maintain a dedicated fleet of up to five switch grinding units that perform regular rail grinding of complex switch and crossing trackwork across the U.K.

The company said it has been providing railway track maintenance services to Network Rail and its predecessor, Railtrack, since 1997.
The Greenbrier Cos. Wednesday said it appointed Mark Eitzen vice president and general manager of the company’s Gunderson LLC manufacturing plant in Portland, Ore., effective April 15.

greenbrier_cos._logo.jpgEitzen, who joined Greenbrier in 1999, has been general manager of Gunderson's Marine operation for the past five years. He now has responsibility for Gunderson’s Marine and Rail operations, which currently employ about 900 personnel on Portland's Willamette River waterfront. He will continue reporting to Alejandro Centurion, president of Greenbrier's manufacturing operations in North America.

Owen Whitehall, who earlier held the position of general manager for Gunderson Rail Operations, will continue to head Global Sourcing for Greenbrier, reporting to Centurion. Whitehall also will work to develop and expand new lines of business for Gunderson and for Greenbrier’s manufacturing segment, capitalizing on Gunderson's expertise in heavily engineered products and metal fabrication, and work to streamline certain shared services among Greenbrier’s various business units. He will maintain offices at Gunderson with staff located there, and also at Greenbrier’s corporate offices in Lake Oswego, Ore.

The company said Greg Saxton, senior vice president and chief engineer at Gunderson, will continue to have responsibility for railcar engineering at Greenbrier for its combined North American business segments including Manufacturing, Leasing, and Rail Services.
Wednesday, 04 May 2011 19:57

For NYCT

New York City Transit broke new ground in North American rapid transit when it procured a radio-frequency-based Communications-Based Train Control system on the Canarsie “L” line. The innovation apparently hasn’t stopped with CBTC, because the L was recently the scene of a unique dining experience. Though not approved (or for that matter, appreciated by) the New York MTA, the event, as reported by The New York Times, was typical of the many unusual and offbeat things that make the Big Apple’s subway system unique in the world.

We would like to add to The Times’ coverage of this event by clearly stating that, in our opinion, it would not have gone off with such precision and success without the smooth train operation afforded by the Canarsie line’s state-of-the-art CBTC system from Siemens. In full ATO (Automatic Train Operation) mode, the L’s CBTC system as deployed on the Kawasaki Railcar USA R143 cars provides far smoother, more-consistent acceleration and braking profiles than manual operation. So, a hearty toast (non-alcoholic, of course) off to the railway supply industry and the engineering consultants that support it for making CBTC feasible and affordable, and fine dining on the L train just another typical day on New York’s subways. Read on.

—William C. Vantuono, Editor

Aboard the L Train, Luncheon is Served

By Melana Ryzik

Published in The New York Times, May 3, 2011

Photo courtesy of The New York Times

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In the era of pop-up restaurants and speakeasies, flash mobs and social stunts, it was perhaps inevitable that a formal luncheon for a dozen people would be staged aboard the Brooklyn-bound L train. Inevitable, but still impressive.

“So, is there a dining car?” one of the guests asked, as the group descended into the subway station at 14th Street and Eighth Avenue on Sunday, shortly after 1 p.m.In fact, there was. Within moments, a car of the waiting train was transformed into a traveling bistro, complete with tables, linens, fine silverware and a bow-tied maître d’hôtel. “Is this your first time dining on the second car of the L train?” he asked, as guests filed in.

They had been lured by the promise of a clandestine dining experience. (“Please go to the North East Corner of 8th Ave and 14th St,” read the instructions e-mailed early that morning. “There will be a tall slender woman there with jet black hair who is holding an umbrella. Please just go up and introduce yourself. Her name is Michele and she is quite lovely, but no matter how hard you press she won’t tell you about the adventure you are going on.”)

The event was the work of several supper clubs, and the menu they devised was luxurious: caviar, foie gras and filet mignon, and for dessert, a pyramid of chocolate panna cotta, dusted with gold leaf. All of it was accessible with a MetroCard swipe (Michele handed out single-ride passes) and orchestrated with clockwork precision. The six-course extravaganza took only a half-hour.

It wasn’t rush hour, so seating was easy. The tables (lap-width black planks, with holes cut to fit water glasses) were tied to the subway railings with twine. Tucking in behind them felt something like being buckled into a roller coaster. At 1:30 p.m., a few minutes ahead of schedule, the train lurched off.

“Remember, if you see anything, say something,” said the maître d’hôtel (actually an auctioneer who gave his name only as C. K.). He added, “This train will be making all local stops.” Assistants decorated the tables with sprigs of lavender and offered water, sparkling or still.

At the next stop, Sixth Avenue and 14th Street, the chefs and main organizers, Daniel Castaño and Michael J. Cirino, of the supper club A Razor, A Shiny Knife, hopped on, joined by gloved waiters with trays. They presented the first course, an amuse-bouche of fluke crudo with bone marrow mayonnaise and trout roe, served in porcelain spoons borrowed from the pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini.

“We might mention that we really love the slow food movement,” said another bowtied host, Jonathan Cristaldi, “but today we’re not really about slow food. So eat quickly.”

Because of a few no-shows, there was room for walk-ups (or rather, passengers). “We’ll show you to your table right now,” C. K told Nicolas and Ana Brandstader, a brother and sister from Buenos Aires heading to Williamsburg who stopped and went wide-eyed as helpers rigged up another plank.

Paul Smith, a CUNY professor, encountered the meal on his way home to the East Village and was invited to join. “I had this fantastic lunch,” he said, “very exquisite. And then I thought, am I going to get arrested?”

There was no sign of the police or even a conductor, but officials at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, reached on Monday, were not amused. “A dinner party on the L train?” said Charles F. Seaton, a spokesman for the authority. “No. Subway trains are for riding, not for holding parties.”

In deference to the authority’s rules, the hosts did not offer alcohol. This did not assuage Mr. Seaton. “No beverages at all with open containers,” he said.

(Editor’s comment: Sorry Charles Seaton, but even though we know you must follow official MTA policy, you're being a REAL party pooper!)

At Third Avenue came foie gras en brioche, with pots of homemade port-and-raisin jelly. Guests scrambled for knives and salt cellars that slid around the tables. As the subway rumbled, water refills sometimes missed the mark, and C. K. got on his knees to stabilize the tables and proffer wet wipes. Other riders gawked or — this is New York, after all — continued staring ahead and listening to their iPods.

Under the river and out to Brooklyn, where, at the Lorimer Street stop, the soup got on: purée of ramps, poured warm from a silver teapot, over black garlic, morels and a prosciutto crisp. Among the guests was Helena De Pereda, who is helping open a members-only club in SoHo and was considering hiring A Razor, A Shiny Knife for events. “They wanted to impress me,” she said. “They got the job.”

Like some counterparts in the underground dining scene, Mr. Cirino and Mr. Castaño aim for a punk theatricality. Halfway to the last stop, in Canarsie, Mr. Cristaldi, who performs as Jonny Cigar and hosts an itinerant wine saloon, began reading aloud from a copy of “The Great Gatsby” that he pulled from the pocket of his bespoke suit. The subway luncheon was his idea.

Naturally, it was heavily documented; at times the photographers outnumbered the staff. Mike Lee, of the dining club Studiofeast, the chef in charge of the entree, arrived at Morgan Avenue with a video camera strapped to his forehead. His runners carried boards with precisely plated cubes of filet mignon, swipes of mashed potatoes and pickled asparagus tips.

Mr. Lee had drawn a map of the Morgan Avenue platform, complete with the benches he used as work stations, and clocked dry runs of assembling his dish. Like the others, it was cooked at an apartment along the L route. Timing was crucial, but waiting for the right train was torture. “It was 50 minutes of sitting around and 10 minutes of sheer terror,” Mr. Lee said.

In a final flourish, the last two courses — a gooey spoonful of St. André cheese and the dessert — were finished aboard the moving train. As the L rose above ground and the car filled with sunlight, Mr. Cirino added a raspberry coulis from a whipped cream dispenser to the panna cotta; plates were quickly spooned clean. The Argentines gloated over their good fortune. “You expect crazy things to happen in the subway, like people getting naked, but this ... ” Mr. Brandstader said, trailing off.

With the dirty dishes packed away and the tables stacked, the organizers took stock at a beer garden in Williamsburg. The whole event involved more than 50 people and the cost to the hosts was about $1,600, Mr. Cirino estimated, not including donated supplies (Mast Brothers chocolate for the desserts) and prep space (courtesy of the Brooklyn Kitchen).

Tickets were $100, but the money was refunded as a sort of good-will adventure gesture. “We wanted to challenge ourselves,” Mr. Cirino said. “We raised the bar,” Mr. Castaño added. Coming from a crew whose idea of a meal out is recreating a 20-course Thomas Keller-Grant Achatz feast and serving it in three cities, this is high praise. Over lagers and sausage they toasted a future filled with sizzling hot pots.

“Next year,” Mr. Lee said, “we do shabu shabu. What could go wrong?”

U.S. freight carload traffic for the week ending April 30 was “flat” compared with the same week in 2010, but U.S. intermodal traffic advanced 7.8% compared with the same period, the Association of American Railroads said Thursday.

aar_logo.jpgAAR said nine of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases from the comparable week in 2010, led by metallic ores, up 22.1%. Primary forest products, down 23.5%, led the declining groups.

Canadian freight carload traffic rose 5.4% from last year, while Canadian intermodal volume rose 3.1%. Mexican freight carload traffic also rose, up 15.1% compared with the same week in 2010, while intermodal soared 38%.

Combined North American freight carload volume for the first 17 weeks of 2011 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was up 3.3% compared with the same point last year, with intermodal up 7.9% compared with last year.
FreightCar America, Inc. on Thursday reported first-quarter revenue of $72.2 million and a net loss of $1.3 million. Fourth-quarter 2010 revenue was $51.0 million and the net loss was $3.5 million. The company generated revenue of $19.5 million and a net loss of $3.3 million in the first quarter of 2010.

freightcar_america_logo.jpgFreightCar America received orders for 4,027 cars in the first quarter of 2011, compared to 331 in the fourth quarter of 2010 and 3,656 in the first quarter of 2010. Manufacturing backlog was 5,206 units on March 31, 2011 compared to 2,054 units on December 31, 2010 and 3,600 units on March 31, 2010.

“Our sales and order volume for our manufacturing segment for the first quarter of 2011 reflects modestly improving market conditions,” said President and CEO Ed Whalen. “While our backlog has improved quarter over quarter and sequentially and while our utilization of manufacturing capacity has improved, we are still affected by ongoing competitive pricing pressures and associated pressure on margins.”
Thursday, 05 May 2011 07:28

Siemens ships turbine parts by rail

Siemens Energy announced that it shipped 22 wind turbine nacelles and hubs from its new nacelle assembly facility in Hutchinson, Kans., Thursday.

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“Shipping the 87-metric-ton nacelles by train has significant efficiency and environmental benefits, including an up to 80% carbon footprint reduction compared to truck transportation over long distances,” said the company.

In addition to the hubs and nacelles—the structures atop a wind turbine tower that holds electricity generating components—Siemens Energy said it is also transporting towers and blades via rail to projects throughout the U.S.

The inaugural shipment of nacelles and hubs is headed to Puget Sound Energy’s Lower Snake River Wind Project near Pomeroy, Wash., where they will be combined with blades from Siemens’ Fort Madison, Iowa, manufacturing facility for installation.

Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory and City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr., in a move widely anticipated by pro-rail activists, have announced a revised construction plan for the Cincinnati Streetcar project that will use the $99 million in funding that has already been identified and secured.

Friday, 06 May 2011 05:45

ARI gets Indian Railways business

American Railcar Industries, Inc. said Thursday the Indian Railways Research Designs and Standards Organization (Indian Railways) has awarded ARI a global tender to design and develop certain railcars for service in India. The contract is valued at $9.6 million.

american_railcar_logo.jpgUnder the agreement, ARI will work with Indian Railways to assess the operating conditions for freight railcar traffic, design four new railcar types for heavier axle loads, and build six railcar prototypes in the U.S. ARI also will provide training to Indian Railways personnel on design, testing, manufacturing practices, quality assurance, and maintenance.

ARI will receive payment based upon the completion of certain design, manufacturing, and development activities. ARI said it “expects the contract to extend over several years, with almost half of the steps being completed within the first few years.”

“ARI is very excited about the opportunity to work with Indian Railways. We believe this agreement will assist in establishing ARI as a high-quality and dependable producer of freight railcars for use in the Indian market,” said President and CEO James Cowan. “We remain committed to identifying and seizing new opportunities both domestically and abroad. The economy and railcar market have been challenging over the last couple of years and ARI is responding to those challenges with an expanded market strategy.”

The construction of the ARI Indian Railways joint railcar manufacturing facility near Chandigarh, India, is under way. The joint venture Amtek Railcar Industries Private Ltd. , of which ARI has a 50% ownership, may utilize the railcar designs being developed under this agreement, or similar railcar designs, for the joint venture’s product offerings in India.
Friday, 06 May 2011 06:13

UIC to launch sustainability campaign

Paris-based International Union of Railways (Union Internationale des Chemin de Fer, or UIC) says it will officially launch its Declaration on Sustainable Mobility and Transport campaign May 11 in New York. UIC says it has signatures from 43 railways, representing more than 60% of the total passenger rail market around the world, in support of the campaign. UIC hopes to demonstrate rail’s commitment to be at the heart of sustainable transport systems.

uic_logo.jpgUIC has timed the event to coincide with the Unitied Nations Commission for Sustainable Development discussions (CSD19), which will include discussions on transport policy. UIC says it has been working closely with U.N. CSD officials and partner organizations, to provide information about the environmental, social and economic value of railways.

The UIC Declaration on Sustainable Mobility and Transport was launched last October and lists the most important sustainable development goals for the global railway sector. In signing the declaration, member railways are making a public commitment to work towards these objectives and provide progress reports.

UIC is also developing a reporting framework and set of indicators to track progress in implementing the goals of the Declaration. The results of this reporting process should be announced at the Rio +20 conference in June 2012.
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