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.
December 7, 2015: A day that will live in infamy for anyone attempting to follow the volley of legalese and rhetoric being tossed about by Canadian Pacific and Norfolk Southern as CP attempts to marry up with NS in what may be beginning to look more and more like a shotgun wedding officiated by The Rev. Bill Ackman.*
The Greenbrier Companies, Inc. on Dec. 15, 2015 announced that, since Sept. 1, 2015, the beginning of its fiscal year, it has received orders for approximately 1,800 railcar units valued at nearly $170 million.
New Jersey-based Stadler U.S. Inc., a subsidiary of Bussnang, Switzerland-based Stadler Rail Group, will open a temporary manufacturing and assembly facility in Utah as part of the first phase of its 15-year plan to expand North American manufacturing. Stadler Rail is currently selecting a U.S. manufacturing location. Utah, is in the running for the permanent location.
Cowen and Company’s Matt Elkott expects freight car builder The Greenbrier Companies (GBX) “to make strategic adjustments to position itself well amidst changing railcar dynamics, potentially through acquisitions.”
In a Dec. 10, 2015 interview with Bloomberg TV Canada, BNSF Executive Chairman Matt Rose stated that his company has spoken to both eastern Class I railroads about potential merger activity. “We have long believed BNSF would be involved in the industry potentially consolidating from seven carriers to four,” says Cowen & Company Managing Director and Railway Age Wall Street Contributing Editor Jason Seidl. “We continue to believe Norfolk Southern shares will outperform and that investors will start to look at eastern rival CSX.”
Canadian Pacific’s pursuit of Norfolk Southern has taken on the tone of a rough-and-tumble yet well-intentioned star athlete pulling out all the stops to capture the heart of his dream woman, a relationship-shy political science major who continues to resist her suitor’s advances with perfectly logical yet unemotional reasons why the two aren’t right for each other.
Norfolk Southern's Wick Moorman responds to Railway Age’s October 2015 issue cover story on Positive Train Control.
Refuting practically every purported benefit that Canadian Pacific has given, and citing substantial regulatory risks and uncertainties as well as many other negatives, Norfolk Southern on Dec. 4, 2015 loudly and firmly rejected CP’s proposal to merge the two railroads into a transcontinental.
RailComm has completed installation of a yard automation system and a CAD (computer-aided dispatch) system at U.S. Sugar in Clewiston, Fla.
Canadian Pacific Railway on Dec. 3, 2015 ratified a multi-year collective agreement with the 300 locomotive engineers, assistant engineers, conductors and brakemen on CP U.S. subsidiary Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railway (DM&E) represented by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET).
Miner Enterprises Inc. has earned the Certified Welding Fabricator (CWF) accreditation from the American Welding Society (AWS) for its Rail Products Division facility in Saltillo, Mexico. The AWS awards the CWF accreditation to companies that meet high standards of training, equipment, and quality management in their welding operations.
For the week ending Nov. 21, 2015, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 532,532 carloads and intermodal units, down 5.7% compared with the same week last year, the Association of American Railroads reported on Nov. 25. U.S. carloads fell nearly 10%; Canadian carloads dropped nearly 13%. Intermodal for some sectors saw modest gains.
Cubic Transportation Systems (CTS), a business unit of Cubic Corp., on Nov. 19, 2015 released the Ventra Mobile App for Chicago Transit Authority rapid transit, Metra regional/commuter rail and Pace suburban bus riders. The “one-stop” mobile app gives transit riders the ability to plan, manage and pay for their journeys for each of the region’s agencies.
The Seattle-Tacoma region’s Sound Transit has selected the route, stations and expanded operation and maintenance facility for its Tacoma Link Expansion light rail extension project, and named former FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff its new CEO.
Joe Leader, a 29-year veteran of MTA New York City Transit, resigned his post as Senior Vice President Subways on Nov. 18, 2015. Vice President and Chief Operating Officer-Service Delivery Wynton Habersham (below, left) will fill Leader’s position in an acting capacity. Leader had been SVP Subways for slightly more than two years.
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) commuter rail system contractor Keolis Commuter Services posted a non-adjusted weekday on-time performance rate of 90.44% for October, “the best performance for that month in nearly a decade.” When adjusted for slippery rail and other conditions or incidents not under Keolis control, on-time performance was 94.44%.
Siemens Mobility Division executive Sabrina Soussan has been named CEO of the division’s High Speed and Commuter Rail and Locomotive business units, reporting to Siemens Mobility Division CEO Jochen Eickholt.
The day after confirming that it had made an offer to Norfolk Southern—and following NS’s tepid response—Canadian Pacific on Nov. 18, 2015 disclosed the contents of the offer letter it sent to NS chief executive Jim Squires “to clarify the details of a proposal that would result in the creation of a pro-competitive, pro-customer, coast-to-coast transportation solution.”
It’s official: Canadian Pacific on Nov. 17, 2015 sent an offer letter to Norfolk Southern proposing a merger (an acquisition, really) “that would create a transcontinental railroad with the scale and reach to deliver improved levels of service to customers and communities while enhancing competition and creating significant shareholder value.” On Nov. 18, CP, in response to NS’s tepid response to the initial offer, provided “full disclosure.”
New Jersey Transit Executive Director Veronique “Ronnie” Hakim will be returning to the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority after only 18 months leading NJT. She will become President of MTA New York City Transit on Dec. 28, replacing MTA Bridges and Tunnels President James Ferrara, who has been serving as NYCT Interim President since the August 2015 retirement of Carmen Bianco.