New Class I railroad employment figures released Tuesday by the Surface Transportation Board show that the number of men and women employed to operate trains--the official category is transportation (train and engine)--declined 9.57% to 61,333 between February 2008 and February 2009.
Total railroad employment in that period was down 3.74% to 156,997. Professional and administrative employment was down 1.34% to 13,642.
Four employment categories registered increases during the 12-month period: transportation (other than train and engine), up 6.30% to 7,175; maintenance of way and structures, up 0.31% to 34,390; maintenance of equipment and stores, up 0.07% to 30,322; and executives, officials, and staff assistants, up 0.23% to 10,135.
In mid-February 2009, employment was highest on Union Pacific, at 49,964, followed by BNSF Railway, 38,141; Norfolk Southern, 29,687; CSX, 28,404; CN/GTW, 5,573; Kansas City Southern, 2,917; and Soo Line, 2,411.
Electro-Motive Diesel, Inc. (EMD) Wednesday said it has signed a contract with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund-Ministry of Finance to manufacture 25 SD70ACS heavy haul AC diesel electric locomotives for Saudi Railway Company (SAR).
The units will serve the nation’s North-South line, carrying minerals on roughly 1,482 kilometers (about 920 miles) of newly constructed track. The locomotives also are capable of operating reliably in a desert environment.
Delivery is scheduled to begin during the second quarter of 2010, and will increase the number of EMD locomotives operating in Saudi Arabia to 72.
La Grange, Ill.-based EMD says the SD70ACS is a 4,500 BHP AC locomotive that includes an EMD IGBT AC drive system. This locomotive also features a pulse filtration system and movable sand plows on the pilot and trucks that makes the SD70ACS ideal for the extreme desert environment of Saudi Arabia. These units are equipped with the EMD 710-T1 fuel-efficient diesel engine and the EM2000 microprocessor locomotive control system, as well as the ERTMS/ETCS train control equipment. The units are also equipped with FIRE™ display system.
Crew comfort features that are being built into the locomotive include an isolated cab to reduce noise and vibration, as well as air conditioning, es to make the locomotive a better and safer environment for the crew.
"Saudi Arabia is a key market for EMD in the Middle East region," said Vice President International Sales & Service Albert Enste, in a statement. “EMD is committed to supplying the highest quality products and services to Saudi Railway Co. (SAR), and we look forward to a long lasting relationship between our two companies on future opportunities."
STV Inc. has received the 2009 Henry A. Stikes Grand Conceptor Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) North Carolina Chapter. STV, doing business in the Tar Heel State as STV Ralph Whitehead Associates, was honored for its work on Charlotte’s South Corridor Light Rail Transit System (Lynx Blue Line), the state’s first light rail project.
STV played a lead role in the design and construction management of the Blue Line, which began revenue service in November 2007 andis operated by Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS). The $462 million, 9.6-mile initial route, part of plans for a larger light rail network, links Charlotte’s southern neighborhoods with the city’s uptown Central Business District.
New York-based STV provided program management support to CATS, full construction management of the entire system, and designed various elements of the program.
ACEC, based in Washington, D.C., represents more than 5,500 firms throughout the U.S. involved in a wide range of engineering. The North Carolina chapter is one of 51 ACEC state and regional councils.
The Uniform Railroad Costing System (URCS) used by the Surface Transportation Board to determine a railroad's variable costs is coming under new scrutiny. URCS calculates system-average variablecosts for each Class I railroad each year. The data is used in railroad rate cases and other regulatory proceedings.
The STB has scheduled a public hearing April 30 "to determine whether, and to what extent, modifications are needed to account forrecent changes in agency procedures, to improve system outputs, and to furtherthe national rail transportation policy set by Congress."
Intent to participate in the hearing should be communicatedto the board no later than April 23. Notice of the hearing is availablefor viewing and downloading at www.stb.dot.gov under E-LIBRARY.
Wabtec Corp. said Tuesday it has formed a 50-50 joint venture in China to manufacture brake equipment for the Chinese rail market. Wabtec’s domestic partner in the effort is Shenyang Locomotive and Rolling Stock Railways Brakes Co., Ltd., the largest manufacturer of locomotive and freight car brake equipment in China.
The joint venture company, Shenyang CNR Wabtec Railway Brake Technology Company, Ltd., will produce pneumatic control valves and other braking related equipment for freight car builders and overhaulers in China.
“This investment builds on our existing presence in China, the largest rail market outside of North America," said Wabtec President and CEO Albert J. Neupaver in a statement. "Our capabilities and technology will be valuable assets in this rapidly growing market."
"We expect to have a strong impact on the Chinese market through the joint venture's advanced technology, lean production, and high-quality products," said Fang Zhijian, chairman and president of Shenyang Locomotive and Rolling Stock Railways Brakes.
One of Florida’s leading high speed rail proponents has resigned from the Florida High Speed Rail Authority, citing state indifference to federal HSR funds now available. C.C. “Doc” Dockery (pictured) has submitted his letter of resignation to authority Chairman Lee Chira, expressing displeasure with Florida’s unwillingness to seek any of the $8 billion in federal HSR funding being made available.
Chira said that Florida, along with California, are frontrunners to capture much of the federal funding. Industry observers outside the state question such parity between the two states, noting that state Gov. Charlie Crist has declined to endorse any Florida application for such funding, thus continuing the state’s reluctance to commit to HSR under former Gov. Jeb Bush, who terminated the state’s HSR program in 1999 and who tried to force the authority to disband.
By contrast, California has committed almost $10 billion in state funds to its estimated $44 billion network, and is likely to receive federal assistance due to strong backing of the project by the state's powerful congressional delegation.
In 2000, Dockery spent $3 million of his own funds to place a proposed state constitutional amendment on the ballot requiring the state to pursue HSR. Voters passed the measure, and the state legislature created the High Speed Rail Authority, with Dockery serving as one of nine members. Gov. Bush, however, put the issue back on a subsequent ballot, and voters approved a measure to remove any obligation to build HSR within the state.
CSX Transportation will continue to expand its RailComm Domain Operations Controller (DOC®) system in its Rice Yard, located in Waycross, Ga. RailComm will provide modifications to the existing DOC® server to add control for 39 additional GETS HydraSwitch machines in the pull back and forwarding areas of the yard.
The DOC® system includes redundant auto failover and eNtrance & eXit (NX) routing capability, providing a yard master with selection and cancellation control of individual and through routes within the controlled territory.