Latest News Continued

The Chlorine Institute, Inc. (CI) fears that the Positive Train Control (PTC) rule, which the Federal Railroad Administration published Jan. 14, "drastically underestimates the rule’s benefits," and it has asked the FRA to re-issue the rule with a corrected cost-benefit analysis.

"This faulty analysis could foster a situation that would allow railroads to impose on shippers of chlorine and other toxic inhalation hazard (TIH) chemicals an unfairly large share of the costs of applying PTC technology," the CI told the FRA in a petition filed Tuesday.

"The railroads have already announced that they will attempt to recover their investment in PTC from those shippers offering TIH materials for rail movement,” CI President Arthur Dungan wrote. “These efforts will have a direct and substantial impact on prospective TIH rail shippers and a strong incentive to move TIH shipments from the safer rail mode to the less-safe highway mode of transportation. Certainly, TIH shippers also will be negatively impacted by the railroads rolling their PTC investments on regulated shipments into their regulatory rate base, thereby leading to a double recovery of PTC costs well into the future…”

But Thursday the Association of American Railroads disputed CI's interpretation of the PTC rule. “The truth is that in weighing all the factors involved in PTC implementation, FRA's examination of the costs versus the benefits of PTC clearly shows that there are no present business benefits to the railroads. In fact, the cost-benefit carries an inverse relationship of 20 to one. The FRA estimates the costs of installing PTC to be $10 billion to $13 billion over 20 years with about a $500 million safety benefit,” said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger.

“The Chlorine Institute is attacking the FRA’s cost-benefit analysis of PTC as a smoke screen to hide the fact that their shipments will raise the cost of rail transportation for all customers. The high cost of the PTC mandate is a direct result of the toxic nature of chlorine shipments,” noted Hamberger. “Instead of bashing the FRA cost benefi tanalysis, the Chlorine Institute should join AAR in improving the safety and efficiency of rail transportation, as well as reducing the exposure of the American public to toxic-by-inhalation (TIH) hazardous materials, through product substitution and other means of reducing the transportation of TIH.”

CI based its appeal on a CI-commissioned follow-up cost-benefit study by L.E. Peabody & Associates, Inc., Alexandria, Va.

CI said this analysis “found that the final rule underestimated the net direct and indirect benefits of implementing PTC by $12 billion-plus. In addition to safer operation, key benefits to railroads, shippers, and the public afforded by the PTC rule include:

“• Fuel savings for railroads from better fuel monitoring and more efficient operations;

“• Increased rail-line segment capacities;

“• Improved rail equipment reporting, monitoring and utilization;

“• Improved rail dispatching operations leading to greater efficiency;

“• Reduced total cost for all rail shippers resulting from improved rail transit times and reliability, and

“• Decreased highway crashes, congestion, maintenance costs and truck emissions, all of which would result from fewer trucks on roads as shippers take advantage of better rail service (and/or reduced rail rates), and shift freight shipments from truck to rail.”

--> The Chlorine Institute, Inc. (CI) fears that the Positive Train Control (PTC) rule, which the Federal Railroad Administration published Jan. 14, "drastically underestimates the rule’s benefits," and it has asked the FRA t ...
16 March 2010

Bruce P. DeVito, 62

--> Bruce P. DeVito, who served as a vice president and regional director of rail and transit services with Gannett Fleming, died March 2, 2010, after a lengthy illness. He was 62.DeVito joined Gannett Fleming after a long, successful careeras chi ...

KeyBanc analyst Steve Barger has upgraded the shares of American Railcar Industries and the Greenbrier Cos. from "Hold" to "Buy" and, at the same time, reaffirmed his "Buy" rating on a third freight railcar builder, Trinity Industries.

While sticking with his earlier 2010 estimate of 10,925 new freight cars delivered—noting that cars in storage can take help take care of immediate increases in demand—Barger increased his 2011 forecast of new car deliveries to 19,000 from 14,800.

--> KeyBanc analyst Steve Barger has upgraded the shares of American Railcar Industries and the Greenbrier Cos. from "Hold" to "Buy" and, at the same time, reaffirmed his "Buy" rating on a third freight railcar builder,&nbs ...

New Mexico's Rail Runner Express, next week will begin serving a new station Kewa Pueblo Station, located on tribal land between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, N.M.

Augusta Meyers of the Mid-Region Council of Governments said passengers will see only small changes in the Rail Runner's operating schedule when the station opens.  The new station is the 12 on the growing system, which runs approximately 100 miles between Santa Fe and Belen, N.M.

A ceremonial ribbon-cutting for the station is set to occur March 23. The station will offer free parking and about 40 spaces.

RailRunner began operations in July 2006, and service was extended to Santa Fe in December 2008. 

--> New Mexico's Rail Runner Express, next week will begin serving a new station Kewa Pueblo Station, located on tribal land between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, N.M.Augusta Meyers of the Mid-Region Council of Governments said passengers wil ...

Pittsburgh-based Portec Rail Products Inc. said its fourth-quarter earnings fell 5%, as a tax gain and cost-cutting efforts partially offset a steep decline in sales.

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Portec earned $1.4 million, or 15 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2009, compared with $1.5 million, or 16 cents per share, in the comparable period a year ago. The most recent quarter included a tax gain of 2 cents per share. Revenue fell 21% to $19.2 million from $24.3 million in the comparable 2008 quarter. Portec said the company reduced inventory levels during the quarter.

For full-year 2009, earnings fell to $6.8 million, or 71 cents per share, from $7.8 million, or 81 cents per share, in 2008. Revenue fell to $92.2 million, from $109 million in 2008.

Last month, L.B. Foster, also based in Pittsburgh, announced its plans to acquire Portec’s 9.6 million shares of stock for $112 million, or about $11.71 per share. The deal is expected to close before the end of the second quarter.

At midday Tuesday, shares of Portec were trading at $11.75, down fractionally.

--> Pittsburgh-based Portec Rail Products Inc. said its fourth-quarter earnings fell 5%, as a tax gain and cost-cutting efforts partially offset a steep decline in sales. ...
--> Philip Edwin Pierce, who retired from Safetran Systems (now Invensys Rail) as Vice President of Marketing, Sales, and Service in 2000, died March 11, 2010. He was 75.Pierce began his long carer in the railroad industry at the Chicago, Burlington & Qu ...
The Michigan State University Railway Management Program (RMP), now in its second year, is undergoing significant improvements, including an upgrade in location and addition of a master’s program. MSU is consolidating the RMP with university’s nationally top-rated Supply Chain ...

Responding to request from the state of Maine and other concerned parties, the Surface Transportation Board has decided to hold a public hearing this spring in Maine on the application of the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway to abandon 233 miles of line in Aroostook and Penobscot counties.

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“This proposed abandonment would affect many shippers and the local and regional economy and it is important that the Board hears from as many voices as possible,” said STB Chairman Daniel R. Elliott III. “The best way to do that is for Washington to go to Maine instead of Maine coming to Washington.”

The hearing will be scheduled after the April 26 deadline for the written record but before the end of May.

The official request of Maine for a hearing, filed March 4, won quick support from shippers and politicians, including U.S. Sen. Susan M. Collins (R-Maine) and Rep. Michael H. Michaud (D-Maine), as well as Rep. James L. Oberstar (D-Minn.), chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, all of whom echoed the call for a public hearing.

--> Responding to request from the state of Maine and other concerned parties, the Surface Transportation Board has decided to hold a public hearing this spring in Maine on the application of the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway to abandon 23 ...

Wabtec Corp. announced Monday that it has purchased Xorail LLC for $40 million in cash and that it expects the transaction to be accretive in the first year.

Based in Jacksonville, Fla., Xorail has annual revenue of about $40 million from the sale of engineering, design, and construction services, mainly for railway signaling systems. These include wayside signaling, positive train control, and grade crossing warning systems for Class I railroads and passenger transit authorities in North America.

Founded in 1990 as Southwest Signal Engineering Company, Xorail now has 10 satellite offices with about 275 employees. Kash Krishnarao, president of Xorail, will remain with the company.

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“Xorail's engineering and wayside capabilities are a good fit with our existing railway electronics business,” said Albert J.Neupaver, Wabtec's president and chief executive officer. “In addition, these capabilities position Wabtec for a larger role as the rail industry implements positive train control technology over the next several years.”

Wabtec Corp. is a global provider of value-added, technology-based products and services for the rail industry. Through its subsidiaries, the company manufactures a range of products for locomotives, freight cars, and passenger transit vehicles. The company also builds new switcher and commuter locomotives, and provides aftermarket services. The company has facilities located throughout the world.

 

--> Wabtec Corp. announced Monday that it has purchased Xorail LLC for $40 million in cash and that it expects the transaction to be accretive in the first year.Based in Jacksonville, Fla., Xorail has annual revenue of about $40 ...
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