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As part of a two-year service agreement, Amtrak has awarded Eta Phi Systems a project to upgrade the Passenger Information Display System (PIDS) on the Capitol and San Joaquin Corridors, Surfliner Service, and Altamont Commuter Express Line. The project includes upgrades to allow ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) for announcements, informational messages, and special-event advertising on Amtrak’s newly purchased Daktronics signs.

“We rely on the PIDS to convey Capitol Corridor serviceupdates to our riders,” Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority Managing Director David Kutrosky said. “The PIDS has proven to be an effective communications tool. We are pleased to benefit from Amtrak’s latest PIDS improvement initiative in California and look forward to having new state-of-the-art displays along our corridor.”

Formed in 2003, Eta Phi Systems is a systems consulting and software development firm specializing in automatic vehicle location, passenger information, and communications systems throughout North America.

 

--> As part of a two-year service agreement, Amtrak has awarded Eta Phi Systems a project to upgrade the Passenger Information Display System (PIDS) on the Capitol and San Joaquin Corridors, Surfliner Service, and Altamont Commuter Express Line. The project includes upgrades to al ...

Dahlman Rose & Co. Thursday hosted a roundtable conference call on the Mexico-U.S. supply chain in which executives from Kansas City Southern “shared valuable insight about cross-border and Mexico operations,”according to Director-Equity Research and Railway Age Contributing Editor Jason Seidl. KCS “described solid 2010 freight shipment growth and favorable long-term prospects south of the border.”

kcs-new-scheme-2.jpgIs Mexico the new “promised land” for manufacturers? “Several macro factors have boosted Mexico’s competitive advantage as a global manufacturing hub,” Seidl notes. “The devaluation of the Mexican peso and the fact that China’s labor cost has generally been rising at a faster rate than that of Mexico have compelled several large international companies to move some, if not all, of their manufacturing to Mexico. The advantages are even more numerous for [U.S.] companies. Benefits include convenience, similar time zones, a young skilled workforce, a lower language barrier, and geographic proximity, which could lead to significant reductions in transportation cost.”

Near-sourcing is already occurring. “It appears that manyglobal companies have recognized the Mexican advantage in recent years,” Seidl says. “Major appliance and electronics manufacturers such as Sumsung, Sharp, Sony, LG, Whirlpool, and John Deere have established manufacturing facilities in the country. Chrysler and Fiat are establishing their presence. The Port of Lazaro Cardenas (a KCS development project) has seen its container capacity catapult to around 2.2 million TEUs from around 0.5 million TEUs a few years ago. While it may be too early to reach grand conclusions regarding a potential shift in global outsourcing trends away from Asia into Mexico, we believe that an increasing number of companies may identify a cost advantage in sending some manufacturing south of the U.S. border.”

This trend is already beginning to benefit Kansas City Southern. Chief Operating Officer Pat Ottensmeyer and Vice President Intermodal & Automotive Brian Bowers noted that Mexican carloadings have recovered more strongly than U.S. traffic. Volumes at KCS de Mexico are up more than 25% year-to-date from the same period last year. Much of the growth has been fueled by robust automotive shipments (up 70.2%), intermodal (up 46%), chemicals (up 22%), and metals (up 13%).

--> Dahlman Rose & Co. Thursday hosted a roundtable conference call on the Mexico-U.S. supply chain in which executives from Kansas City Southern “shared valuable insight about cross-border and Mexico operations,”according to Director-Equity Resea ...

In a message to stockholders in the 2009 Annual Report, released Thursday, Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman says the company entered the new year with "positive momentum" and that “while the short-term economic outlook remains somewhat uncertain, the longer-term prospects for Norfolk Southern and the railroad industry remain very bright.”

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Moorman (pictured at left) cited the company’s strides last year in safety and service, along with cost control, continued investment in key projects, and pursuit of new business opportunities, and said “these same strategies will drive our continuing success in 2010 and beyond.”

“Our traffic levels increased sequentially in both the third and fourth quarters of 2009, and we’re confident many of the cos tefficiencies we achieved in 2009 will remain in place as we see rail traffic continue to increase,” Moorman said.

The annual report is available on the company’s Web site at www.nscorp.com

--> In a message to stockholders in the 2009 Annual Report, released Thursday, Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman says the company entered the new year with "positive momentum" and that “while the short-term economic outlook remains ...

The Association of American Railroads reported Thursday that U.S. railroad freight traffic was from a year ago during the week ended March 13, the third consecutive week of year-over-year gains.

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The 287,837 carloads originated during the represented anincrease of 3.2% from the comparable week in 2009, but a decrease of 12% from 2008.

Intermodal traffic added up 203,626 trailers and containers, up 15.1% from last year and down 5.9% from 2008.

Total volume for the week was estimated at 31.3 billion ton-miles, up 4.3% from last year but down 9% from 2008.

Thirteen of 19 carload groups showed gains from last year, led by metals, up 54.3%; waste and scrap, up 31.8%; grain, up 21.9%; lumber and wood products, up 19.4%; and chemicals, up 19.3%. Coal loadings were off 5.1%, and pulp, paper, and allied products declined 9.4%.

Canadian railroads reported volume of 74,300 cars for theweek, up 24.5% from last year, and 43,260 trailers or containers, up 10.9%. Mexican railroads reported originated volume of 13,524 cars, up 10.4% from last year, and 7,655 trailers or containers, up 63.3%.

Combined North American volume for the first 10 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads totaled 3,567,229 carloads, up 3.2% from last year, and 2,520,785 trailers and containers, up 8.6% from last year.

--> The Association of American Railroads reported Thursday that U.S. railroad freight traffic was from a year ago during the week ended March 13, the third consecutive week of year-over-year gains. ...

Electro-Motive Diesel, Inc. announced Thursday that it has signed a Memorandum Of Understanding with the Mohawarean Group in Saudi Arabia to form a joint venture, under which EMD would “provide expert service training and technical support to the maintenance and operational personnel for the entire fleet of locomotives in the region.”

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“As an example of EMD’s leading role in the kingdom, the company is cementing its commitment to Saudi Arabia by producing 25 new high power SD70ACS diesel electric locomotives for the Saudi Railways Company (SAR),” said EMD. “These units are specifically designated for use on the North-South line. They will carry minerals on over 1,482 kilometers [920 miles] of newly constructed track, and are capable of dealing with some of the harshest desert environments including 300 kilometers [186 miles] across the Nofud desert. Delivery of the SD70ACS locomotives is scheduled to begin during the second quarter of 2010.”

EMD said the proposed joint venture will “consider further investment in the Saudi market based on future locomotive demand ... As the fleet of diesel electric locomotives in the region is expected to expand, EMD is developing a Service Center with Mohawarean Group to provide world-class aftermarket support for the existing fleet as well as future fleet expansion."

EMD President and CEO John Hamilton commented, “We are proud of our long history of providing high quality locomotive products and services to the Kingdom since 1957. We realize that the relationship between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and EMD is a key factor to our overall success in the Middle East region, and we foresee an even stronger relationship as we move into the future.”

Mohawarean Group President & CEO Mohammed Al Othman said: “Through our subsidiary company, Mohawarean Railway Services, we are committed to supporting EMD in the transfer of knowledge for the long-term benefit of Saudi Arabia.”

--> Electro-Motive Diesel, Inc. announced Thursday that it has signed a Memorandum Of Understanding with the Mohawarean Group in Saudi Arabia to form a joint venture, under which EMD would “provide expert service training and technical support to ...

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree, entitled “On Measures to Develop High-Speed Railway Transport in Russia,” containing a range of directives for the Russian government on measures relating to technical recommendations for high speed rail services, safety requirements, mechanisms for allocating budget funds and obtaining non-budget funds, and also on corresponding staff training.

Russian Railways is identified as the exclusive ordering party in planning infrastructure for HSR. Russian Railways President VladimirYakunin has reported Medvedev on a proposed HSR service linking Moscow and St. Petersburg, the nation’s two largest cities.

Yakunin noted that the high-speed Sapsan trains, inoperation since December 17 between the two cities, are at 90%-to-100% of capacity. Russian Railways plans to add additional trainsets to bolster service frequency in the near future.

Said Yakunin in a statement,  “The signed decree will support Russian Railways in developing high-speed railway transport, which is one of the priority goals of the Strategy for Developing Rail Transport in the Russian Federation up to2030, and one of the most important aspects of the breakthrough development of Russia’s railway system. The provision of high-speed services in Russia will enable us to alter the entire national transport system, providing Russians with freedom of movement while minimizing travel times.

“Moreover, it will havea whole range of positive impacts on the social sphere, transport machinery  production, and other sectors, will enable new technology to be applied, and will boost the country’s international standing,” Yakunin said.

 

--> Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree, entitled “On Measures to Develop High-Speed Railway Transport in Russia,” containing a range of directives for the Russian government on measures relating to technical recommendations for high ...

Opening ceremonies took place Wednesday at St. Petersburg State University’s Graduate School of Management for the International Logistics and Supply Chain Management Centre, established jointly by Russian Railways and Germany’s Deutsche Bahn (DB). The center was founded on the basis of a general agreement between DB Schenker, Russian Railways, St. Petersburg State University’s Graduate School of Management, the European Business School,and St. Petersburg State Railway University.

Taking part in the opening ceremony were Russian Railways President Vladimir Yakunin, Deutsche Bahn CEO Rüdiger Grube, officials from the St. Petersburg administration, and Russian and German business representatives.

“The International Logistics Centre should become a unique center of applied science in terms of its form and content, and will unite the efforts of the largest employers in Russia with an international consortium of universities, to develop global-level educational programs, in order to prepare management personnel in international and transport logistics to meet the needs of the sector and the country as a whole,” Yakunin said.

Among other objectives, the center will help develop advanced training programs for staff of Russian Railways and Deutsche Bahn AG, includingthe market needs of both companies.

“In view of the ambitious plans for developing Russian Railways’ logistics business and the scale of its activities, we will in the near future need hundreds of professional management staff in various areas of logistics–the management of terminals, delivery chains, and inventories, the creation of information-logistic systems, and others,” Yakunin said. “By entering the logistics market, we are declaring our plans to become not only the largest transport company, but also one of the leading international logistics companies.”

--> Opening ceremonies took place Wednesday at St. Petersburg State University’s Graduate School of Management for the International Logistics and Supply Chain Management Centre, established jointly by Russian Railways and Germany’s Deutsche Bahn (DB) ...

Florida’s Department of Transportation, through its newly created Florida Rail Enterprise, has selected HNTB Corp,. and Wilbur Smith Associates, in a joint partnership, as its program manager for passenger rail in the state of Florida. The two companies will focus on developing theSunshine State’s high speed rail link between Tampa and Orlando, using the $1.25 billion granted by the federal government to develop Phase 1 of across-state route linking Tampa, Orlando, and Miami.

The Florida Rail Enterprise, created by the statelegislature in 2009, is responsible for planning, constructing, maintaining, operating, and promoting Florida’s HSR system. The Enterprise also is charged with coordinating the development and operation of Florida’s publicly funded passenger rail systems, including southern Florida’s TriRail operations and theSunRail regional rail system proposed for the Orlando area.

The HNTB/WSA team will provide overall program support and oversight for planning, design, public outreach, vehicle and systems integration, operations, construction, project controls, and procurement of all contracts on the Florida high speed rail program.

“It’s exciting to see the return on the investment we madein high speed rail,” said Peter Gertler, HNTB’s high-speed rail services chair.“I’m confident that our momentum will continue to grow as more funding is released.”

“The Florida DOT’s visionary planning has us in a positionwhere all the stars have aligned to move this first HSR Express system in the country into implementation: strong public investment in the infrastructure, bipartisan political and grassroots support, and a great project with almost all the right of way secured,” said Adrian Share, WSA’s high-speed rail program manager.

More information about the state's HSR program is available at www.floridahighspeedrail.org.

--> Florida’s Department of Transportation, through its newly created Florida Rail Enterprise, has selected HNTB Corp,. and Wilbur Smith Associates, in a joint partnership, as its program manager for passenger rail in the state of Florida. The two companies ...

Bombardier Transportation said Wednesday that, together with its consortium partner, Dusseldorf, Germany-based Vossloh Kiepe GmbH, it signed an option to supply an additional eight FLEXITY Swift light rail vehicles to Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive’s (GMPTE’s) Metrolink in Britain. The option, part of the contract signed with GMPTE in April 2007, is valued at 16 million pounds ($24 million); Bombardier said its share is worth approximately $18 million.

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GMPTE’s initial order in 2007 included 12 vehicles, and included an option for up to 97 additional cars. The first option order for 28 more light rail vehicles followed in June 2008; the additional eight announced brings the total to 48 LRVs. Delivery will be completed in the second half of 2011.

Philip Purdy, director of Metrolink, said: “We are pleased to be requesting an additional eight vehicles in addition to the trams already on order, and of course those that are now successfully serving the existing Metrolink lines. The new trams are an integral part of the expansion and improvement of Greater Manchester’s Metrolink network.”

Colin S Walton, chairman of Bombardier Transportation, U.K., said, “We are delighted to continue our long and successful partnership with GMPTE, helping to improve the attractiveness of public transport services in and around Manchester.”

 

--> Bombardier Transportation said Wednesday that, together with its consortium partner, Dusseldorf, Germany-based Vossloh Kiepe GmbH, it signed an option to supply an additional eight FLEXITY Swift light rail vehicles to Greater Manchester Passenger Transpo ...

Pat Gamble, president and CEO of the Alaska Railroad since 2001, has resigned to become president of Alaska’s state university system this summer.

The railroad has grown under Gamble's leadership and major new growth is in sight. Just a few days ago, the Surface Transportation Board released a draft environmental statement in connection with the railroad's application, filed Dec. 5, 2008, to build a 30-to-50 mile new line that would provide a rail freight connection between Port McKenzie and interior Alaska.

The state-owned railroad has not announced a successor to Gamble.

 

 

--> Pat Gamble, president and CEO of the Alaska Railroad since 2001, has resigned to become president of Alaska’s state university system this summer.The railroad has grown under Gamble's leadership and major new growth is ...
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