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.
Bombardier Transportation said Thursday it has signed a contract to install an new INNOVIA APM 300 automated people mover (APM) system at Munich Airport in Germany. The contract, signed with Terminal 2 Betriebsgesellschaft mbH & Co. oHG, represented by FM Bau (Flughafen München Baugesellschaft mbH), is for the design, build, supply, operation and maintainance of a driverless APM system, the company said. Together with the base order, the customer has executed options for extensions to the operation and maintenance periods taking the total services period to nine years. The total value of the contract is approximately $120 million, Bombardier said. Flughafen München GmbH and Deutsche Lufthansa AG, who jointly operate Terminal 2 at Munich Airport, are expanding its capacity with a new satellite facility to meet increased demand. Via the 0.7-kilometer (0.4-mile) underground INNOVIA APM 300, passengers will travel from Terminal 2 to the new facility for Lufthansa and its Star Alliance partners in less than one minute. Eran Gartner, president, Systems, Bombardier Transportation, said: “We are confident that our new generation of INNOVIA APM 300 technology will support Munich Airport in realizing its ambition of becoming Europe’s best transit hub with the fastest transit times for passengers between flights.”
Bombardier will design and supply all of the system-wide electrical and mechanical elements for the system, including 12 INNOVIA APM 300 2/3 driverless vehicles, CITYFLO 650 automatic train control technology for driverless operation, station platform doors, onboard and wayside CCTV systems, communications, and power distribution systems, as well as the provision of project management, systems engineering and integration, testing, and commissioning. Bombardier’s scope also includes the civil construction works. Completion of the system and start of operation is scheduled for 2014, at which time a nine-year period of operations and maintenance will begin.
Union Pacific's board of directors voted Thursday to increase its quarterly common share dividend by 26% to 60 cents per share, payable Jan 2. to stockholders of record on Nov. 30. “We’re generating record free cash flows and making significant capital investments to add value for customers, all of which is driving improved shareholder returns,” said Jim Young, Union Pacific chairman and CEO (pictured at left).
“We remain confident in our business strategy going forward, allowing us to increase the dividend for the second time this year,” Young said. “Dividends per share in 2011 have increased a total of 58%, a significant step toward achieving our target payout ratio of approximately 30% on a declared basis.” Young noted that Union Pacific has paid dividends on its common stock for 112 consecutive years.
BNSF Railway reportedly is investing about $680 million to tap a 29% increase in exports of specialty grains headed for Asia. BNSF is concentrating its investment in its container yards, mostly Midwest where most corn and soybeans are grown.Products such as organic or genetically modified soybeans are being moved by intermodal containers that all too often have been empty on the backhaul moves to Asia, reflecting in part an intermodal trade imbalance. “As the world has now neared or surpassed 7 billion people in population, there’s a direct correlation in this increasing demand and rising tide for exports,” said BNSF Vice President of International Marketing Fred Malesa. “Containers and global containerization are playing a significant role in meeting that demand.”
The Department of Agriculture says seaborne grain-container deliveries to Asia climbed 29% in the first eight months of 2011, and industry observers say the increased use of containers for agriculture product exports is likely to continue.
The Chicago Transit Authority has awarded Cubic Transportation Systems (a business unit of San Diego-based Cubic Corp.) an estimated $454 million contract to integrate, deliver, operate, and maintain a next-generation OSFS (Open Standards Fare System) that will accept bank cards and, ultimately, mobile phone payments. The contract is the largest AFC (automated fare collection) contract ever placed in North America. Cubic will operate and maintain the entire system, resulting in an overall 12-year partnership between Cubic and CTA.
To create CTA’s OSFS, Cubic will transition the agency from its current, Cubic-supplied agency-issued fare media to an open payment system where customers can use their existing credit or debit cards as a ticket, “bringing the retail experience to transit ticketing,” Cubic says. “Like most transit agencies today, the CTA operates a ‘closed loop’ fare collection system, selling its own magnetic tickets and smartcards that can be used only on CTA and Pace.” With OSFS, riders without credit or debit cards will be issued reloadable prepaid debit cards that can be used for everyday purchases and CTA rides.
Cubic will be the systems integrator and services provider, leading a team that will also include First Data Corporation, Carolyn Grisko & Associates, Americaneagle.com, Bank of America, and Bank of America Merchant Services. The estimated contract value of $454 million consist of both fixed and variable revenue components. Payments under the contract will begin when the commercial service status of the system is achieved, which is expected to be within the first two years of the contract. Cubic says it “will not likely recognize revenues from the contract until that milestone is reached.”
“The CTA is taking a revolutionary approach that will transform travel for the more than 1.6 million rides citizens take each day on the CTA to get to their jobs, schools and other destinations,” said Richard Wunderle, senior vice president and general manager of Cubic Transportation Systems North America.
“In taking this action, the Chicago Transit Authority will upgrade its fare equipment, save additional money over time, improve the customer experience, grow ridership, and keep abreast of rapidly-changing technology. It's a major step forward, and we and our partners are eager to begin,” said Cubic Transportation Systems vice president John Satterfield.
Cubic says it is the transit industry's leading provider of revenue management and business information systems and services. The CTA, which has been a Cubic customer since 1993 when Cubic was awarded the contract to deliver Chicago’s current system, is among major customers that include London, Washington, D.C., San Francisco Bay Area, Atlanta, Miami/South Florida, Los Angeles, New York MTA, Brisbane, Sydney, and Vancouver.
Cubic won the contract following a competitive procurement process that included several major competitors in the transit industry. Cubic expects to execute the contract in the near future.
Both the House and Senate Thursday passed the Conference Report on a package of three appropriations bills, including the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations bill, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) reports.
A worker at Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s East Side Access project in Manhattan was killed Thursday evening, causing MTA to halt work on the project.
With unions for more than half of the workers bargaining with North American freight railroads reaching agreements, the threat of a walkout affecting freight rail transportation is diminishing. Four more unions last week have reached agreement with the Class I’s, making it 10 unions in all, according to the National Railway Labor Conference.
Employment on Class I railroads of the U.S. rose to 160,251 in mid-October, up a modest 0.01%, or 11 employees, over mid-September but 3.87% higher than in October 2010. The strongest gains were in maintenance. Maintenance of equipment and stores rose 4.53% in October measured against employment a year earlier, and was up 0.72% from September 2011. Maintenance of way and structures employees increased 4.49% from year-earlier levels, and also rose 0.2% from mid-September. Year-over-year increases were recorded in every employment category,
according to the Surface Transportation Board Office of Safety Analysis. Compared with September 2011, only one category, Transportation (train and engine), saw a decline in October, down 0.51%.
Compared with October 2010 levels, inn mid-October 2011 the employment of Executives, officials, and staff
assistants reached 9,354, up 2.57%; Professional and administrative rose 0.76% to 13,904; Transportation
(other than train and engine), with 6,727 employees, was up 2.47%; and Transportation (train and engine) advanced 4.25%.
The Surface Transportation Board issued a decision Tuesday denying a petition of the Western Coal Traffic League (WCTL) asking the Board to institute mediation on a new coal dust tariff issued by BNSF Railway. Instead, the decision is instituting a new proceeding “to consider the reasonableness of the new tariff’s safe harbor provision.”
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Tuesday formally awarded a $928.6 million grant to the California High-Speed Rail Authority for phase 1 ofconstruction of California high speed rail. The move comes even as Congress recently voted to terminate the Obama Administration’s overall funding emphasis on high speed rail.
Federal, state, and local officials will hold a Full Funding Grant Agreements (FFGA) special signing ceremony Monday, Nov. 28, for Houston’s light rail expansion projects. Harris County (Tex.) Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) says the ceremony will be attended by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, three Texas U.S. House representatives, and Houston Mayor Annise Park. Metro Board Chair Gilbert Garcia and Metro President and CEO George Greanias also will be present. Metro is billing the event as “Houston’s First Ever Full Funding Grant Agreements for Light Rail,” indirectly highlighting the fact that Texas’ largest city committed to its first light rail transit line (of roughly 7 miles) without significant federal backing.
Metro notes the expansion projects generating the ceremony Monday include the North (Red) Line, running from University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) to Northline Transit Center, Houston Community College, and Northline Commons Mall. The Southeast (Purple) Line connects downtown with Texas Southern University and the University of Houston central campus.
The Surface Transportation Board announced Wednesday that it had awarded an estimated $63 million in reparations and rate reductions to the Arizona Electric Power Cooperative in a decision that grants AEPCO an average rate reduction of 37% over the period 2009-2018.
BNSF posted a letter on its website Wednesday warning its customers that a strike threat still faces the railroad industry and asking for their help in averting it.
U.S. carload freight traffic advanced 1.1% during the week ending Nov. 19, measured against the comparable week in 2010, the Association of American Railroads reported. U.S. intermodal volume did even better, rising 3% for the week compared with a year ago.
Bombardier Transportation on Monday said it has won a contract for propulsion and control equipment in India from Mumbai Railway Vikas Corp. (MRVC) in India. MRVC is a joint venture between the Ministry of Railways and the Government of Maharashtra. On Thanksgiving Day, Bombardier announced its readiness to enable the first mixed European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) Level 2 and conventional signaling operation, on the line between Amsterdam and Utrecht in The Netherlands.