Latest News Continued

Union Pacific Chairman, President, and CEO Jim Young urged Congress Wednesday to be very careful about changing the Staggers Rail Act of 1980.

up_young.jpg

Since enactment of Staggers, Young said, inflation-adjusted rail rates have dropped by more than half, railroads have reduced accident rates by 70%, rail market share has steadily increased, and the industry has poured $440 billion back into track, equipment, and facilities improvements.

Young, who is also chairman of the Association of American Railroads, made these points in a speech at the annual meeting of the North American Rail Shippers Association in Chicago.

Aware that some big rail customers in his audience were supporting legislation now in Congress that would dilute Staggers regulatory reforms, Young said the Staggers system had succeeded in its goal of protecting "the rights of shippers from excessive rail market power while at the same time providing railroads with new ability to react to changes in the marketplace."

up_logo.jpg

"The result has been an unqualified success," asserted Young.

He contended that the antitrust legislation now in Congress "would subject railroads to conflicting regulatory schemes, creating inefficiencies that would cause operating costs to increase. Eventually these cost increases would reach each of our customers, causing their costs to increase as well."

As for the high speed passenger rail systems contemplated by the Obama Administration, Young said "there are many good things" they could accomplish, "including reduction of greenhouse gases and fuel consumption as well as highway and air congestion."

But he had a caveat. “If all we do is superimpose high speed rail on existing freight networks, it will consume freight capacity needed for freight customes today and limit our ability to expand for the customer's growth in the future." 

--> Union Pacific Chairman, President, and CEO Jim Young urged Congress Wednesday to be very careful about changing the Staggers Rail Act of 1980. ...
Harsco Corp. has named Joseph P. Dougherty vice president of international sales for its worldwide Harsco Rail business group, effective June 1, 2009. Dougherty joins Harsco from GE Transportation, where he has served as the strategic marketing manager for GE’s global locomotive ...

The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority has learned that its plan to make drastic service cuts to meet a funding shortfall would violate terms under which the Federal Transit Administration granted the agency $256 million toward the cost of adouble tracking project completed in 2006.

tri-rail_logo.jpg

That came to light May 22 asSFRTA's board met to consider--and, as it turned out, approve--the plan to slash the number of daily trains and eliminate weekend service. To keep Tri-Rail running full strength and avoid federal penalties, SFRTA Chairman Josephus Eggelletion asked the state for $10 million in stop-gap funding until the legislature can reconsider its recent turndown of the agency's funding request.

 

--> The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority has learned that its plan to make drastic service cuts to meet a funding shortfall would violate terms under which the Federal Transit Administration granted the agenc ...

When traffic returns to the railroads in a post-recession economy, it may not come from the old familiar places, suggests CP Rail Chief Executive Fred Green.

 

cp_fredgreen.jpg

Talking with reporters following the company's annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, on May 22, Green said changes in public policy as well as in the financial markets may require a re-examination of long-term investments in railroad infrastructure.

 

As examples, he mentioned the possibility that the volume of container imports (a greatpre-recession source of revenue for intermodal carriers) may find new shipping lanes. He also said that shifting mandates in how energy is provided could affect such proposals as that to build a new coal-hauling line into the Powder River Basin coalfields (an option that CP acquired with its purchase ofthe Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern, which had won regulatory authority for sucha buildout but not the necessary financing).

 

If changes occur, said Green,"I wouldn't predict that there will be a net negative to the company, but jus ta net difference to the company ... it's something we have to keep oureyes wide open for." For instance, he said, a change in trade patterns between North America and China "could cause a completely different set of logistical needs: We'll still be involved, but in a different lane, a different corridor."

cp_logo_2009.jpg

 

As for building the new coal line, Green commented: "We're not any closer than we were 18 months ago to making a decision on that--and until such time as those stars line up, it’s just an option."

 

--> When traffic returns to the railroads in a post-recession economy, it may not come from the old familiar places, suggests CP Rail Chief Executive Fred Green. ...

Metrolinx, the authority charged with overseeing public transport in the greater Toronto metropolitan area, announced Tuesday its intention to study the electrification of the entire GO Transit rail system. GO Transit currently employs diesel locomotives throughout its system.

  --> Metrolinx, the authority charged with overseeing public transport in the greater Toronto metropolitan area, announced Tuesday its intention to study the electrification of the entire GO Transit rail system. GO Transit curre ...

Loram Maintenance of Way, Inc. says it has been honored with the 2009 Minnesota Governor's International Trade Award. Hamel, Minn.-based Loram was one of seven companies recognized for developing and continuing to grow a significant part of their business in foreign markets, for increasing or maintaining jobs in Minnesota that support international sales, and for developing novel approaches for competing globally.

 

loram_logo.jpg

A luncheon honoring the award winners was held last Friday at the IDS Center in Minneapolis.  Loram representatives in attendance included: President and CEO Phil Homan; Director of Business Development Tom Smith; Chief Engineer in OEM Services Ken Range; Manager of International Operations Andrew Hense; Manager of Production Rail Grinding Luke Olson; International Contract Manager Jeanne Fondell; International Services Coordinator Kaizen Yang; Chief Engineer in OEM Services Roger Luedke, and also Andrew Tompkins, Geoff Michel, and Richard Kopka.

 

"Minnesota companies sold a record $17.3 billion in manufactured exports last year," said Tony Lorusso, executive director of the Minnesota Trade Office.  Loram's international sales grew from 24% of revenue in 2006 to 31% of revenue in 2008.  Loram has customers in more than 30 countries.

 

 

--> Loram Maintenance of Way, Inc. says it has been honored with the 2009 Minnesota Governor's International Trade Award. Hamel, Minn.-based Loram was one of seven companies recognized for developing and continuing to grow a significan ...

U.S. Class I railroad employment declined 6.27%, to 154,263, in the year ended in mid-April 2009, according to the Surface Transportation Board. The biggest job losses continued to be among train operating crews.

stb_logo.jpg

In the category of transportation (train and engine), employment dropped 14.22% to 58,806. There was a 5.57% increase, to 6,992, in the transportation (other than train and engine) group, and a seasonal increase in maintenance-of-way employment, which edged up 0.23% to 35,377.

All other job categories showed declines: executives, officials, and staff assistants, down 0.32% to 10,041; professional and administrative, down 1.79% to 13,432; and maintenance of equipment and stores, down 2.43% to 29,615.

--> U.S. Class I railroad employment declined 6.27%, to 154,263, in the year ended in mid-April 2009, according to the Surface Transportation Board. The biggest job losses continued to be among train operating crews. ...

Ansaldo STS USA Friday announced it has been awarded a $13 million subcontract agreement with Pittsburgh-based Wellington Power Corp. for the Port Authority of Allegheny County’s North Shore Connector project, an extension of the city’s LRT system 1.2 miles, which includes a tunnel underneath the Allegheny River.

The contract involves the design and implementation of a system interlocking and wayside signal system for the new relay rooms at Allegheny Station and North Side Station, and modifications in the existing Gateway Station relay room and the Wood Street Station interlocking relay room.

ansaldo_sts_logo.jpg

Ansaldo STS USA said it also will deliver a communications subsystem that includes fiber optic transmission, variable message signage, digital video surveillance, and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA). It will design modifications for the existing Authority Operations Control Center (OCC) to support the added facilities and equipment.

“We are proud to partner with Wellington Power on this local effort,” said Dr. Alan E. Calegari, president and CEO of Ansaldo STS USA. “We have been involved in the initial development and operation of the OCC contract, and the Stage I and II contracts, and we will continue to support Allegheny County Transit Authority’s commitment to safety for their passengers, employees, and community.”

--> Ansaldo STS USA Friday announced it has been awarded a $13 million subcontract agreement with Pittsburgh-based Wellington Power Corp. for the Port Authority of Allegheny County’s North Shore Connector project, an extension of the city’s LRT system ...

The $13 billion in federal stimulus money over a five-year period to advance U.S. high speed rail should be focused on one project to best demonstrate HSR’s value, according to BNSF CEO Matthew K. Rose, addressing the Austin (Tex.) Economic Club Thursday.

matt_rose.jpg"I'm concerned (the funding) will be spread like peanut butter," with small amounts doled out to several projects, minimizing any concentrated clout, Rose said. "I'm afraid it'll be a missed opportunity."

Rose noted that while Class I railroads would receive little direct benefit from any HSR development efforts, he supported the effort as a component of a larger move to improve the nation’s rail infrastructure. Rose is an active participant and key player in the recently formed OneRail Coalition, which has united freight and passenger rail interests.

Rose estimated Thursday that it might cost $1 trillion in the next 20 years to fully develop 10 to 15 U.S. HSR routes, far more than what has been identified so far by the Obama Administration. Despite that, “I really do think it's an investment our society ought to make," he said.  --> The $13 billion in federal stimulus money over a five-year period to advance U.S. high speed rail should be focused on one project to best demonstrate HSR’s value, according to BNSF CEO Matthew K. Rose, addressing the Austin (Tex.) Economic Club Thursda ...

Detroit’s Department of Transportation and private-sector interests in the Motor City have reached agreement on a $125 million, 3.4-mile lightrail line planned for Woodward Avenue, known at M1 Rail.

The plan adopted will advance curb-side passenger access, a marked difference from DDOT’s proposed $371 million “Detroit Transit Options forGrowth,” which envisioned light rail occupying the center of the street. ButM1 Rail CEO Matt Cullen emphasized, “This is in no way competition,” while citing the accord between the parties.

M1-Rail acquired state legislative approvals and stateoperational funding mechanisms last January, as legislators were informed ofthe $125 million in financial support from private industry supporters andother backers. That support includes roughly $30 million in private donations and station sponsorships, $9 million from Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority, and $35 million from the Kresge Foundation.

--> Detroit’s Department of Transportation and private-sector interests in the Motor City have reached agreement on a $125 million, 3.4-mile lightrail line planned for Woodward Avenue, known at M1 Rail. ...
589
Page 589 of 624