The Caltrain Board Thursday unanimously approved an agreement with the California High Speed Rail Authority to establish an initial organizational framework where the authority and Caltrain will engage as partners in planning, design, and construction of improvements along the Caltrain corridor to be shared by both Caltrain and a portion of the state’s planned $44 billion, 700-mile HSR network.
The agreement will allow the parties to incorporate high speed rail in the Caltrain corridor on a phased basis.
"Community outreach is an extremely important part of this agreement," said Santa Clara County Supervisor Don Gage, who is chair of the Caltrain board and also serves on the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, in a statement. "As we move forward, there will be many opportunities for people to voice their opinions. I would encourage everyone to participate in the process."
Since the ultimate configuration of the system has yet to be determined, references to a four-track system were deleted from the agreement before it was approved. The agreement states, "The Caltrain corridor will consist of a multiple track, grade-separated high speed rail system."
Caltrain had voiced some concern that its needs wouldn’t be protected adequately if HSR was established. Similar concerns, along with other dissent, have been voiced by some of the communities Caltrain serves. Caltrain provides service linking San Francisco, San Jose, and Gilroy, Calif.
Bombardier Inc. announced Thursday that it earned a net profit of $1 billion in the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, a record, on revenue of $19.7 billion. The train and plane manufacturer earned $317 million on revenue of $17.5 billion in the prior year.
Bombardier ended the fiscal year with a strong cash position of $3.5 billion and a backlog of unfilled orders worth $48 billion. This is less than the backlog of $53.6 billion reported on Jan. 31, 2008, due to the impact of the weakening of foreign currencies compared to the U.S. dollar.
Pierre Beaudoin, Bombardier president and CEO, commented: "During the past year, we more than held our own as the world's financialmarkets tumbled and the global economy weakened. ... There is no doubt that we are going through challenging times and our business environment is changing fast. There's a need for prudent execution, clear priorities, and decisive action in the current context. However, we believe we are well positioned to face this difficult economic environment with a strong balance sheet and a high level of liquidity, as well as a large and diversified backlog."
Norfolk Southern customers invested $2.2 billion in new and expanded facilities along the railroad's lines in 2008. The investment is expected of generate 136,000 carloads of new rail traffic annually and create 3,623 new jobs in the railroad's territory. NS worked with government and economic officials in 20 states to identify ideal industrial locations.
"Renewable energy projects led the way across our service area in 2008," said Newell Baker, assistant vice president industrial development. "Our group was able to assist in the location of 19 ethanol and bio-diesel production and distribution facilities across 10 states. In addition, we created eight projects with stone producers and electric utilities to facilitate rail shipment of high-calcium limestone for use in 'scrubbing' power plant emissions to reduce atmospheric sulfur dioxide and meet future clean air standards."
NS said that during the past 10 years its Industrial Development Department has participated in the location or expansion of 1,115 facilities, representing an investment of $23.6 billion and creating nearly 55,000 customer jobs in the railroad's territory.
Washington, D.C.-based Universal Air Travel Plan, Inc. (UATP) has added Amtrak as a corporate partner, allowing corporate card holders to make Amtrak purchases at all points of sale with their UATP cards. UATP accounts are accepted for corporate business travel by several airlines and travel agencies worldwide.
"We have seen a shift in corporate travel to rail fromair in the last several months; having UATP accepted by Amtrak at all points of sale will allow UATP clients to seamlessly make travel plans on all one card,UATP," said Ralph Kaiser, UATP president and CEO. "This is a strategic move for UATP and we look forward to providing our client base with all the tools and options needed for their corporate travel programs."
"Corporate travel on Amtrak has grown significantly and our clients have made it known they want the ability to pay for Amtrak purchases with their UATP cards, we had to respond," said Craig White, Amtrak senior director, Travel Industry Sales. "It is a win-win situation; the corporate client is able to use their preferred form of payment, UATP, and Amtrak is able to reduce expenses.”
Portland, Ore.’s TriMet will proceed with preliminary engineering for its sixth light rail line, this one to Milwaukie, Ore., with approval from the Federal Transit Administration.
FTA’s approval allows TriMet to proceed with the 7.3-mile Orange Line extending from Portland State University to Milwaukie. TriMet says the extension’s construction will generate 12,300 jobs; the line is set to open in 2015.
TriMet’s MAX Green Line, linking Clackamas Town Center with the Portland Transit Mall and Union Station, is set to open this May. Portland’s first light rail line went into service in 1986, linking the city with eastern suburb Gresham; the city was the second in the U.S., following San Diego, to initiate “new start” LRT.
London, Ontario-based Global Railway Industries, Ltd. says its revenue increased 68% to C$61.8 million (US$49 million), for fiscal year 2008 compared with year-earlier totals, while fourth-quarter revenue rose 59% to C$16.6 million (US$12.7 million).
Net earnings, however, were less rosy; the company lost almost C$3 million for the fourth quarter, ending the full year with a net earnings loss of C$1.68 million, or a loss of 11 cents a share.
The company attributed the revenue growth and net negative earnings for both periods to its acquisition in November 2007 of CAD Railway Industries, Ltd., a producer of remanufactured locomotives, locomotive components, and power generation units. Company Chairman, President, and CEO Terry McManaman, in a statement, said the continued integration of CAD would largely “be in place and operating effectively in 2009.” In addition, the company has in place multiyear contracts involving infrastructure spending for passenger and transit interests.
“The order backlog for Global’s subsidiary Bach-SimpsonCorp., whose long-term contracts and products are focused on the rail commuter and passenger rail industry, increased by 77% to C$11.3 million between Dec. 31, 2007, and Dec. 31, 2008,” McManaman said.