RailAmerica announced Wednesday that it has agreed to buy acquire Atlas Railroad Construction Co. and related assets for $21.5 million in cash, plus closing adjustments for working capital estimated to be approximately $2.5 million.
Atlas was formed in 1954 as an engineering, construction, maintenance, and repair company operating mainly in the Midwest and Northeast. Its principal customers are public transit agencies, short line and regional railroads, and industrial railroads.
RailAmerica President and CEO John Giles said: “We expect the next several years to see a dramatic increase in spending on railroad infrastructure driven by government stimulus programs and increased investments by North American railroads upgrading and improving their rail lines. Acquiring Atlas, a quality company with established relationships in the transit and freight rail sectors, positions Rail America to benefit directly from this spending.”
Giles said that during the next 12 months, Atlas will generate approximately $25 million in revenue, $3.5 million in operating income, and $2.1 million in depreciation and amortization. RailAmerica intends to use cash on hand to finance the purchase.
Owens Corning has named Union Pacific the only railroadrecipient of its 2009 Global Logistics Carrier Excellence award recipient. UPwas recognized only railroad to receive the award, was recognized forsuperior on-time performance.
“It is quite an honor to receive this recognition from OwensCorning,” said Eric Butler, Union Pacific vice president—IndustrialProducts. “We constantly look for ways to add value for our customers bylistening to their needs and providing the most efficient and effectivetransportation solutions.”
Owens Corning notes that “in addition to providingsuperior service, award-winning carriers also help Owens Corning achieve itswaste-free sustainability goal through involvement with the SmartWay™Transport Partnership and impressive safety record.” SmartWay™ isa partnership between freight industry sectors and the U.S. EnvironmentalProtection Agency (EPA) that establishes incentives for fuel efficiencyand reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Bombardier Transportation said Thursday it has signed a five-year contract with Fraport AG for the operation and maintenance of its INNOVIA APM 100 automated people mover system at Frankfurt International Airport, running from 2011 through 2015. The contract also includes an additional five-year option to 2020.
For the first five years, the contract is valued at approximately $32 million.
The extension follows 16 years of successful cooperation between Bombardier and Fraport at Germany’s largest airport. In 1994, Fraport was the first customer to purchase the driverless INNOVIA APM 100 system with CITYFLO 550 signaling.
Fraport AG Chief Executive Officer Stefan Schulte said, “In its 16 years of continuous operation, the ‘People Mover,’ which we also call ‘Skyline’ due to its view over Frankfurt’s skyscrapers, has become an institution of Frankfurt Airport, and it would be hard to imagine the place without it.”
Eran Gartner, president, Systems Division, Bombardier Transportation, said, “We are delighted to continue our Operations and Maintenance services for Fraport at one of the world’s busiest international airports providing an excellent service for the airport’s millions of passengers.”
Bombardier also said Delhi Metro Rail Corp. Ltd. (DMRC) has awarded a contract valued $101 million with Bombardier Transportation for an additional 74 MOVIA metro cars. The order includes an option of a further 40 cars. Delivery will follow the completion of existing contracts and is expected to end in 2011, when DMRC will be operating a fleet of 498 MOVIA cars.
Bombardier signed its first contract with DMRC in July 2007, and opened its manufacturing plant in Savli, Gujarat, in November 2008. It completed the local manufacturing of its first metro car in June 2009. Today more than 160 MOVIA carsare operating in Delhi’s metro network.
Rajeev Jyoti, president andmanaging director, Bombardier Transportation in India, said, “India's railway industry is expanding at great speed to keep up with the infrastructural requirements of the country. Having anticipated this growth, Bombardier in India is more than ready and willing to match the industry’s needs in terms of products, technology, and our international expertise. Making Vadodara the only city in the world equipped to deliver all key electrical and mechanical components for the manufacturing of a railway vehicle is a clear demonstration of Bombardier’s local capacity and commitment."
CSX Corp. says it has named Pamela L. Carter, president of Cummins Distribution, to its board. Carter will serve on the governance committee and the operations and public affairs committee.
Carter (pictured at left) has served since 2008 as president of Cummins Distribution, a $1.8 billion division of Columbus, Ind.-based engine maker Cummins Inc. She has held a variety of leadership positions with Cummins since joining the company in 1997.
Carter also serves on the board of directors of Spectra Energy Corp. Last March, she was appointed to the Export-Import Bank of the United States’ sub-Saharan Africa Advisory Council (SAAC).
Arcata, Calif.-based Carlson Wireless Technologies, a provider of solar powered wireless voice and data communications, has announced its latest VTS monitoring and alarm technology.
VTS offers system monitoring and alarm capabilities to notify communication managers of changes in system environment affecting supply voltage, equipment, temperature, and signal strength—all signs of potential wireless link failure. Notification is either through contact closure or via email alert. Additionally, alarm thresholds can be custom set by the system manager.
VTS is currently offered in select LongHaul™ rack mount backhaul radios available in frequencies from 700 MHz to 6.0 GHz, including the 4.9 GHz public safety band. LongHaul™ radios offer the ultra-low fixed latency SWiFT™ technology, which allows long distance microwave links for UDP applications such as T1/E1, VoIP, and video surveillance networks.
Designed specifically for public safety and critical infrastructure communications links, VTS is especially useful for remote applications and systems using solar or other off-grid energy sources.
“Power supply monitoring isa big help to our remote customers. It notifies them when solar panel performance is compromised from shading by snow, volcanic dust, or other debris,” said Carlson Wireless Quality Assurance Manager Chris Spoerle. “With VTS, these things can be addressed long before system failure.”
Job creation, economic development, and environmental improvements rated equally high among participants Wednesday of “Putting America Back on the Fast Track: The Case for High-Speed Rail,” a webinar sponsored by Siemens Mobility and presented by Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
Noting the participant input, Railway Age Editor William C. Vantuono, moderator of the session, said 74% of those responding to a question on the highest HSR priority listed “all of the above” as their answer. Among the remainder, 8% cited job creation as HSR’s highest priority; 11% selected economic development; and 7% environmental benefit.
Consensus was evident on several other HSR factors as well among the three panelists: Buddy Dyer, mayor of Orlando, Fla., and a leading proponent of Florida’s Orlando-Tampa HSR project; Amtrak Assistant Vice President of Policy and Development Drew Galloway; and Parsons Brinckerhoff Assistant Vice President of Planning and Special Projects Peter Sklannik, Jr.
Among other points, the three noted the value of integrating HSR with other regional/commuter rail and light rail alternatives, along with other modes.
Amtrak’s Galloway noted such successful implementation on the Northeast Corridor, while Mayor Dyer pointed to the support of and concurrent development in HSR and regional rail (SunRail) in the Orlando metropolitan area.
PB’s Sklannik stressed the “feeder/distributor network” a mix of rail modes could offer to deliver “a true multimodal effect”—and a maximizing of investment flow that could “help reinvigorate local economies.” That assertion in effect countered HSR critics who assert that the mode will have little beneficial economic impact.
Each of the three panelists also advanced specific points of his own. For PB’s Sklannik, public/private partnerships are likely a critical formula for most, if not all, U.S. high speed rail development to come. For Orlando Mayor Dyer, HSR funds must be specified and quantified in any renewal by Congress of a Surface Transportation Act—HSR has been omitted from previous measures.
Amtrak’s Galloway, responding to a question from Railway Age's Vantuono (pictured at right), stressed that “higher-speed rail” (HrSR) must be a part of the U.S. mix to adjust not only to fiscal realities but to varying market sizes and city-pair distances, pointing to ongoing work on Union Pacific’s route linking Chicago and St. Louis which will see 110 mph HrSR service.
Siemens has made available the webinar for viewing, which is accessible by scrolling to the top of this page, or the top of Railway Age’s home page, and pushing the “Register Now” button of the Siemens webcast alert there. Alternately, click here to access the webinar presentation.
CP gave this estimate Tuesday as it announced that the section of its main line east of Medicine Hat, Alta., which has been out since June 18, has now reopened. The southern line between Lethbridge, Alta., and Swift Current, Sask., was reopened earlier.
“During the 11-day outage CP utilized both secondary network routes and detour routes on other railways to minimize impacts todomestic and international supply chains,” said the railroad. “With the resumption of normal traffic routing CP will work closely with its customers and supply chain partners to reschedule and expedite shipments that may have been delayed by the temporary outage.”
Bombardier Transportation Wednesday presented the ceremonial keys to the chief executive officer of London Gatwick Airport, signifying completion of the upgrade project for the inter-terminal transit system, which will commence passenger services Thursday. Bombardier’s upgrade work included the supply of its INNOVIA APM 100 automated people mover system, including six APM vehicles and all of the electrical and mechanical equipment for the 1.2-kilometer (0-75-mile) dual-lane system.
Bombardier’s Pittsburgh facility designed and supplied the new driverless vehicles, automatic train control, communications and power distribution system, and station platform doors, as well as project management, systems engineering and integration, and test and commissioning.
The INNOVIA APM 100 vehicles have replaced the Airport’s original fleet and will operate on the existing elevated guideway that connects the North and South terminals. Bombardier also supplied the previous inter-terminal transit system in 1987.
Serge Van Themsche, vice president, EMEA, of Bombardier Transportation Systems Division, said, “We are delighted to present our Gatwick Airport customer with the keys to their new transit system. Our proven INNOVIA APM 100 systems consistently surpass availability levels of 99% in airports all over the world. We are confident that this new inter-terminal transit system will fully satisfy the demanding requirements of Gatwick Airport and we look forward to supporting the Airport to sustain and enhance world class operations throughout the life of the renewed system.”
Bombardier says it has supplied its INNOVIA automated people mover technology to all three of London’s international airports: Gatwick, Heathrow, and Stansted.
Washington, D.C.’s City Council Tuesday unanimously passed legislation that would revamp restrictions on overhead wires, enacted to preserve urban vistas, that have hindered restoration of streetcar service infederal historic areas.
The “emergency legislation” would allow construction plans to proceed for a streetcar line along Benning Road and H Street, in the city’s Northeast quadrant, and include overhead catenary. The legislation also creates a “public process” for determining whether overhead wires are acceptable on other parts of the planned system.
The bill did reinstate s a ban at the local level on the wires in historic neighborhoods, including Georgetown, and tourist areas, following intense pressure by some environmental and historic groups. The chairwoman of the National Capital Planning Commission has requested the Federal Transit Administration to withhold federal funds for the streetcar system until “I am able to communicate with you regarding a successful resolution of the issues” surrounding the 19th-century laws banning overhead wire.
The move is considered an interim measure until a permanent revision can be considered, possibly within two weeks. The current interm measure requires the mayor to periodically review whether segments powered by wires could be converted to battery or other alternative power, and report to the council.
Streetcar advocates (both local and national) say that while battery-powered options should be considered, and the technology is improving, total reliance on such an option would drive up capital costs and, possibly, squash any momentum to re-establishing streetcars anywhere in the city.
The vote “brings local control and accountability to the District as it continues the development of the streetcar transportation system to better connect neighborhoods and support local economic development," said Councilman Tom Wells, part of the Committee on Public Works & Transportation, in a statement.
Efforts proceed to assure continued service on Huron Central Railway along Lake Huron’s northern shores, but some sticking points remain, according to Bill Therriault, chair of the multi-modal steering committee for the city of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
Therriault told a City Council that a critical component of the plan to save the rail line owned by Canadian Pacific, and leased to Huron Central, was government funding from city, provincial, and federal sources. Ontario and the federal government have pledged C$30 million of the C$33 million (US$31 million) deemed necessary, mostly for capital infrastructure upgrades. The line links Sault Ste. Marie with Sudbury, Ontario, over roughly 190 miles of right-of-way.
The short line has continued to operate under an interim agreement signed on June 17, which provided C$16 million to cover operating costs, but that agreement terminates August 14. If a subsequent agreement has not been reached by that deadline, Huron Central has said, it will abandon the line. CP has said it will not continue to maintain it unless another operator can be found.
Huron Central is a subsidiary of Greenwich, Conn.-based Genesee & Wyoming, Inc.