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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Responding to news reports that highlighted potential terrorist interest in, and threats to, North American railroads outlined by documents and other media seized by U.S. Special Forces in Pakistan, the Association of American Railroads assured the public that measures have been taken, and will continue to be taken, to increase railroad security since Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorist attacks occurred in New York, Washington, D.C., and on board a jet plane that eventually crashed in Pennsylvania.

aar_logo.jpg“Because enhanced security has become a long-term necessity, the Board of Directors of the Association of American Railroads (AAR) — made up of the CEOs of North America’s major freight railroads and Amtrak — has established the mandate to ensure that the railroads would be more secure each day,” AAR notes. “Using CIA and national intelligence community best practices, five critical action teams — with the active involvement of some 150 railroad industry, security and intelligence personnel — were established to scrutinize different aspects of the railroad system: hazardous materials; operations; infrastructure; information technology and communications; [and] military movements.”

AAR adds, “The railroad sector maintains communication links with the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and state and local law enforcement to enable immediate response.”

“The railroad security plan is a living document, because the risk assessment process is a continuous one. As conditions warrant, that plan is updated, revised and strengthened to ensure the security of the railroads and their continued service to the nation,” AAR says.

Bombardier Transportation said Monday it has signed a framework agreement with Siemens AG to become a partner to develop and supply important components of up to 300 ICx high speed trains for Germany’s Deutsche Bahn (DB). Bombardier said the first call-off for 130 trains is worth an estimated 1.3 billion euros, or $1.8 billion, to Bombardier.

deutsche_bahn_logo.jpgDB is planning to place an additional call-off with Siemens for a further 90 trains. The combined order volume of 220 trains would be worth approximately $3 billion to Bombardier. The framework agreement between Siemens and DB AG also includes an option for up to 80 additional trains that could be ordered at any time until the year 2030.

Together with Bombardier, Siemens has developed a flexible vehicle concept which allows the ICx to be adapted to the individual requirements of various transport situations. Bombardier will supply Siemens with, among other components, all the body shells as well as trailer bogies of the new ICx fleet. Bombardier also will carry out the final assembly of all end coaches and of some intermediate coaches.siemens_logo.jpg

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Stéphane Rambaud-Measson, president of the Passengers division of Bombardier Transportation, said, “We are proud to have received the order from Siemens to contribute significantly to the design and production for the ICx project. The technical solutions developed and produced by Bombardier will make a significant contribution to this key Deutsche Bahn project. The ICx will have a decisive influence on the future of long-distance travel in Germany and will be a showcase project.”

Oliver Schmidt, vice president, Sales North, of the Passengers division, said, “We are delighted to be playing a decisive role in a big project in our home market here in Germany. We will be developing and producing key technological aspects of the ICx project from our sites in Görlitz, Hennigsdorf, and Siegen. This includes the aerodynamics, the innovative body shell and the Bombardier FLEXX Eco bogie. With these items, we’re contributing massively to the cost-effectiveness of the trains and to the comfort of the passengers.”

The steel body shells for the new high speed trains are optimised in terms of aerodynamics and weight, enabling significant reductions in energy consumption. They are being developed in the Bombardier factory in Hennigsdorf and are being manufactured in Görlitz. Project management takes place at both sites. Hennigsdorf is responsible for the final assembly of all ICx end coaches.

Bombardier said it will also carry out the final assembly of one intermediate coach per train at this site. The FLEXX Eco trailer bogies reduce vehicle weight, energy consumption and noise emission. They are being supplied from the Bombardier site in Siegen. The production of the ICx will start in the summer of 2013.

Bombardier Transportation said Monday its technology offerings are helping India’s Delhi Metro Rail Corp. (DMRC) to become the first railway project in the world to receive valuable carbon credits for regenerative braking.

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The company’s MOVIA metro trains used by the Delhi Metro incorporate the Bombardier MITRAC propulsion system and regenerative braking, which can generate up to 30% in energy savings. This environmental technology has contributed to Delhi Metro earning more the equivalent of $446,000, or 308,000 euros, under a United Nations-backed initiative to combat climate change.

Within the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has claimed Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) – normally referred to as carbon credits. The CDM enables emission-reduction projects to earn carbon credits, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2. These carbon credits can then be traded and sold, thereby stimulating sustainable development and emission reductions.delhi_metro_logo.jpg
Through the sale of carbon credits over two years as part of the scheme, Delhi Metro has received the cumulative remuneration of 20 million Indian rupees. The initiative has also led Delhi Metro to become the first railway project based on regenerative braking to be registered by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Anuj Daihal, chief public relations officer of DMRC, said: “We are extremely proud of our achievement in improving the energy efficiency of our metro system and becoming the first railway project to benefit from this important U.N. initiative relating to climate change. Bombardier Transportation has supported us by supplying modern, highly energy-efficient trains, which are also greatly appreciated by the travelling public for their comfort and convenience.” He added: “The money earned from the sale of carbon credits will be used to offset the investment and operation costs in the implementation of our extensive network development, as well as furthering our efforts in combating climate change.”

Bombardier Transportation is supplying 538 MOVIA metro cars to Delhi Metro, with more than 410 already in revenue service.

Metal theft has occurred in recent days in Portsmouth, R.I., and in Taunton, Mass., involving two railroad rights-of-way in New England.

Last Wednesday, June 1, a CSX engine, en route to a food service distributor located within the Myles Standish Industrial Park in Taunton, ran aground due to the removal of two eight-foot sections of rail. No one was injured. One piece of the dismembered rail was still on site.

The incident occurred on right-of-way owned by the Taunton Development Corp., but CSX police reportedly were assisting local officials in investigating the incident.

In Portsmouth, two sections of rail, one about 20 feet long and the other six feet in length, appear to have been cut by torch and removed from the Newport Secondary Line, according to Everett Stuart of the Rhode Island Association of Railroad Passengers, who was interviewed by local media concerning the event. The track involved is owned by Rhode Island’s Department of Transportation, and sees very little service of any kind.

Observers suspect both acts occurred on or around the Memorial Day holiday weekend, and they attribute both thefts in part to the lure of selling scrap metal as a fiscal option in hard economic times. “I think it’s a sign of the times,” said Taunton Development Corp. Director Dick Schafer. “People are desperate, and theft of metal is big right now.”

Jon Enos, owner of Enos Metals in Taunton, estimated that a scrap yard might pay between $240 and $300 a ton for scrap steel, though his business does not involve steel purchases. RI-ARP’s Stuart similarly estimated scrap value at roughly $250 a ton.

All nearby scrap metal shops have been informed of both incidents, officials said.

Canadian National customers continue to reap benefits from the railroad's system-wide productivity push. Scheduled potash rains provide the latest evidence.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) have introduced House and Senate versions of the Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act, which would freeze national truck size and weight limits on the interstate highway system. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-V.A.) is the lead co-sponsor of H.R. 1574.

Wednesday, 04 May 2011 08:37

High-riding CSX rewards its shareholders

CSX Corp., a Wall Street favorite because of its high earnings and low operating ratio, announced moves today that are likely to strengthen its appeal to investors. CSX announced that its directors have approved a 3-for-1 stock split, a 38% increase in the quarterly dividend on its common stock, and a $2 billion share buyback program. 

 

Following L.B. Foster’s acquisition of Portec Rail Products, Inc. in mid-December, 2010, the company has formed “a new business team focused on enhancing its global leadership position in wheel/rail interface solutions,” L.B. Foster said today. The new organization is named L.B. Foster Friction Management.

Thursday, 16 June 2011 06:45

U.S. freight carload traffic edges up

U.S. freight carload traffic moved up 0.3% during the week ending June 11, measured against the comparable week one year ago, the Association of American Railroads reported Thursday. U.S. intermodal volume for the week advanced 6.4% from the same week in 2010.

Thursday, 16 June 2011 06:56

Alstom Board OKs major reorganization

Alstom said Wednesday its Board of Directors has approved “a major reorganization of the company” proposed by Chairman and CEO Patrick Kron (pictured below), to take effect July 4, 2011.

Friday, 10 June 2011 06:39

HNTB adds rail personnel for Northeast

Calculating the potential business generated by recent federal high speed rail dollars apportioned to Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor and other Northeast rail locations, HNTB Friday announced it has added four rail experts to its Northeast Division.

Thursday, 16 June 2011 07:16

Toronto suburbs pass LRT/BRT plan

By a 9-2 vote, the Waterloo Regional Council Wednesday approved a C$818 million rail plan to serve a large swath of Toronto’s western suburbs.

Thursday, 09 February 2012 15:19

Hotstart APUs selected for two projects

Montana Rail Link (MRL) and the Northeast States for Coordinate Air Use Management (NESCAUM) have contracted with international engine heating technology company Hotstart to provide APUs (Auxiliary Power Units) on 61 diesel-electric locomotives.

Wednesday, 01 February 2012 15:20

Freight car market continues upward climb

Freight car builders and component suppliers have good reason to look at 2012 and beyond with renewed optimism and real confidence. That’s because, according to the most recent figures released by Economic Planning Associates, carbuilders received orders for no fewer than 89,073 cars and intermodal platforms, the highest annual level since EPA began tracking the market in 1980.

Sunday, 28 February 2010 01:42

Norfolk Southern investing in growth

Doublestack clearance projects are central to the Heartland Corridor and Crescent Corridor projects. Domestic intermodal, says Wick Moorman, “is going to be a driver of the industry's growth.”

Sunday, 28 February 2010 01:37

Metra, maturing, maps its mission

As job locations and residential housing patterns shift throughout Chicagoland, Metra continues to thrive, and continues preparing to expand, setting an example other regional railroads might envy.

Saturday, 28 January 2012 01:14

CSX, NASCAR’s Regan Smith “Play it Safe”

CSX Transportation has partnered with Furniture Row Racing and the No. 78 Chevrolet Impala driven by Regan Smith in NASCAR’s top-tier Sprint Cup Series as an associate sponsor for the 2012 season. The sponsorship program is built around CSX’s “Play it Safe” highway/railroad grade crossing and pedestrian safety campaign to urge pedestrians and motorists to exercise caution around railroad tracks.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012 19:49

Video Interview: 2012 Railroader of the Year

Amsted presented_by Kansas City Southern President and Chief Executive Officer David L. Starling, Railway Age's 2012 Railroader of the Year, talks about his career path, his international experience, and KCS's recent achievements and growth projections in this video interview with Editor-in-Chief William C. Vantuono.

The Union Switch & Signal Company, known today as Ansaldo STS USA, and Railway Age have been partners since our company was founded by George Westinghouse in 1881. In 2011, we marked 130 years of continuous business activities, much like the magazine marks 155 years of continuous publication.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear: I have never fueled a locomotive in my life, much less in a suit and tie. But in the photo above, taken at Railway Interchange 2011, I couldn’t resist a hands-on experience with a new piece of technology—in this case, the MPL Technologies SpillX system.

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