L.B. Foster Co. announced Friday that it is extending its previously announced cash tender offer for all outstanding shares of common stock of Portec Rail Products, Inc., until July 30. The tender offer, made through wholly owned subsidiary Foster Thomas Co., was previously set to expire June 1.
As of May 27, 5,658,470 shares of common stock had been tendered in and not withdrawn from the offer. These tendered shares constituted 58.93% of the outstanding shares of common stock.
U.S. carloadfreight and intermodal traffic once again looked better in the week ended May 22, compared with 2009 levels, but “has leveled off after 12 consecutive weeks ofgains,” the Association of American Railroads reported. U.S. carload traffic was up 10.6% from the comparable week in 2009, but down 12.4% from 2008. Intermodal traffic rose 12.7% from last year but was down 7.9% from 2008.
Fifteen of 19 carload commodity groups were up from last year, led by a 100.2% jump in metallic ores and a 79.7% increase in metals. Other significant increases included coke, up 59.7%, motor vehicles and equipment, up 46.8%, and waste and scrap materials, advancing 32.4%. Declines in four carload commodity groups were led by farm products excluding grain at 12.2%.
Canadian carload freight traffic rose 32.1% from 2009’s corresponding week, while intermodal rose a similar 33.2%. Mexican carload freight traffic gained 13.4% in the week ended May 22 compared with one year ago, while intermodal rose 35.5%.
Combined North American rail volume for the first 20 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was up 9.6% from last year, while intermodal traffic increased by 10.9%.
Florida East Coast Railway said Friday James Hertwig will become President and CEO of the company effective July 1, 2010. Hertwig previously was president and CEO of Carolina Freight Carriers Corp., president of Landstar Logistics, Inc., and, most recently, president of CSX Intermodal.
Hertwig currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Intermodal Transportation Institute at the University of Denver and isbeginning his third term on the Board of Directors for the Intermodal Association of North America.
“Jim’s experience and skill set are an ideal fit for the FEC and will be extremely beneficial in driving the Company’s growth and long-term franchise value,” said FEC Chairman John Giles.
Hertwig succeeds David Rohal, who remains with Jacksonville, Fla.-based RailAmerica, Inc., as senior vice president, and also remains on the FEC Board of Managers. RailAmerica and FEC are both owned by Fortress Investment Group LL,
A joint venture between Russian Railways and Salzburg, Austria-based Alpine Bau GmbH, called Alpine-RZDstoy GmbH, will carry out work on the project to reconstruct railway tunnels 6 and 7 on the Sochi–Matsesta line. The agreement between the joint venture’s owners was signed Friday in Sochi, Russia, during the V International Rail Business Forum “1520 Strategic Partnership.”
The document was signed by Russian Railways Vice President Oleg Toni and Alpine Holding Supervisory Board Chairman Dietmar Aluta-Oltyan. Work will be carried out on the reconstruction of railway tunnels 6 and 7 on the Sochi–Matsesta line.
The work will involve systems of management quality control, and environmental management based on international ISO 9000 and 14000 standards, as well as OHSAS 1800 occupational health and safety standards. The work is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2012.
Sochi is the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has released nearly $80 million in grants as part of the first, $8 billion U.S. high speed and intercity passenger rail program. A portion of Florida’s $1 billion-plus allocation is now in the state’s coffers.
The Sunshine State received $66.6 million for “program management and preliminary engineering on the planned 168 mph high-speed railservice between Tampa and Orlando, Florida,” DOT said in a release. “This project will create jobs and generate economic activity as 84 miles of track are constructed, stations are built or enhanced, and equipment is purchased. Along with California, Florida was the only state to submit plans to the Department of Transportation to create a brand new, high speed rail line.”
Of the remainder, $6.2 million was allotted for track relocation work in California on the Capitol Corridor, which will help bring about fewer delays and faster travel times along a route that connects the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento, the state capital. The funds would assist the Golden State’s $44 billion, 700-mile HSR plan only indirectly.
Another $5.7 million is targeted for environmental assessments of planned new stations on the route between Milwaukee and Madison, Wis., aimed to host passenger rail service operating at speeds up to 110 mph. Similarly, $1 million is allotted for improved service on the Empire Corridor in New York, adding more right-of-way cleared to handle 110 mph trains.
CSX Transportation Thursday announced that it has entered into a rail security partnership with the State of Florida that represents a model CSX hopes to use with other states it serves.
Entitled SecureNOW, the partnership formalizes and enhances CSX’s commitment to Florida to share information, resources, and strategies to better protect communities in which the company operates.
The SecureNOW partnership provides Florida security officials with access to CSX’s Network Operations Workstation (NOW) system. This secure online system, developed and used by CSX, allows security and law enforcement officials to independently track the location of CSXT trains and the contents of rail cars in a nearly real-time environment.
“We're pleased to be the first railroad and private corporation to formalize a security partnership with the Florida Fusion Center,” said CSXT Vice President of Public Safety and Environment Skip Elliott. “This partnership allows CSXT and Florida officials to effectively and seamlessly share information and work side by side to safeguard the communities that we serve.”
SecureNOW becomes another resource in the Florida FusionCenter in Tallahassee, the state capital, where state, federal, and local agencies work together to evaluate and act upon potential security threats, CSX said. The fusion center further enhances law enforcement and homeland security efforts.
“CSXT and the State of Florida are committed tosecuring our citizens, visitors and critical infrastructure,” said TomMcInerney, director of Investigations and Forensic Services with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which oversees the Fusion Center. “This partnership is a model for a collaborative public-private security initiative that we hope to replicate with other industries to better serve our communities.”
The Metropolitan Council, the regional transit planning agency for Minnesota’s Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Wednesday approved a 14-mile Southwest Corridor light rail line linking Minneapolis to Eden Prairie, Minn.
The locally preferred alternative (LPA) was recommended to the council by the Hennepin County Regional Rail Authority and the communities that the corridor will serve. The route also will serve Minnetonka, Hopkins, and St. Louis Park. The route is projected to cost as much as $1.25 billion.
Met Council amended the region's 2030 Transportation Policy Plan (TPP) to include LRT as the mode of choice for the route, making the project eligible for federal funding.
“World class cities have growing, vibrant transit systems,” said Council Chair Peter Bell. “The selection of the mode and alignment for this corridor is an important step forward. It moves the project to the next level and continues the process of building out the region's rail corridor network.”
The LRT route will link with the existing Hiawatha LRT line at Target Field Station in Minneapolis, offering connections to Northstar commuter rail services at that station and access to the Central Corridor LRT route serving St. Paul, now beginning construction.
Met Council will submit a New Starts applicationto the Federal Transit Administration this summer, asking for permission to begin preliminary engineering on the project. The route is expected to generate 28,000 rider trips per day by 2030, which Met Council says is comparable to current ridership on Hiawatha LRT.
New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority Wednesday locked in roughly $1 billion in capital funding by signing an oft-delayed contract with Related Companies, joined by Oxford Properties Group, to develop the MTA’s Hudson Yards on Manhattan’s West Side.
Related and Oxford are making a $21.75 million deposit in conjunction with the signing of the contract, and are expected to make additional deposits of roughly $11 million each, subject to specified fluctuations in economic conditions. Critics of the deal have said MTA should be more stringent in its expectations for payment.
The site, west of Pennsylvania Station, is among the lastremaining underdeveloped parcels of land in Manhattan, would be developed to include 12 million square feet of commercial and residential space. MTA will lease the site to the developers for 99 years, with purchase options. Construction will occur over ongoing rail operations, which include MTA Long Island Rail Road’s West Side Yard and Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.
“This is a tremendously exciting development project that together with the extension of the 7 line [subway] will turn this area into a vibrant residential and commercial neighborhood,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Jay H. Walder. “We were also able to maximize value for the MTA and provide a new revenue stream to support many of our vital capital projects.”
Jay Cross, president of Related Hudson Yards, said, “Related and our new partner Oxford Properties Group look forward to continuing the excellent working relationship we have developed with the MTA and LIRR over the last two years as we all work to transform the Yards into New York’s new 21st century neighborhood.”
Russian Railways, Siemens AG, and Russia's Aeroexpress signed a Memorandum on Production, Supply and Servicing of Modern Russian Trains on Wednesday in Sochi, Russia, site of the next Winter Olympics in 2014.
The joint venture will produce new-generation Desiro RU Selectric trains with asynchronous traction drive. These trains will be built by a joint venture in Russia, based on the Olympic electric trains that Siemens will supply to Russian Railways in 2012-2013 under a contract signed between the two companies in December 2009.
Serial production of the modern electric trains is set to begin at the joint venture in 2014, and the share of associated parts and components of the train produced in Russia is anticipated to reach 80% by 2017. The joint venture plans to reach production capacity of 200 vehicles per year.
Russian Railways President Vladimir Yakunin signed on behalf of the railroad; also signing were Hans-Jörg Grundmann, executive director of Seimens Mobility and vice president of Siemens AG, and Aeroexpress board member Maxim Liksutov.
Moscow-based Aeroexpress Ltd. provides air-to-rail links in several locations within Russia; Russian Railways owns 50% of the company.
Efforts to (re-)establish the first streetcar route in Washington, D.C. were first dashed, then resurrected, in a 24-hour period, as the City Council first cut $47 million in funding, then restored the amount Wednesday following a public outcry, fueled in part by email and blog activity.
The H Street Streetcar, estimated to cost $60 million, already is under construction along its namesake street and on Benning Road in the city’s Northeast quadrant.
Funds originally were cut when D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray said the streetcar line, part of a larger, long-range plan, it needed more planning, including power source options given the ban on overhead wires in much of the city. But news of the cut, reported by the Greater Greater Washington blog, generated substantial public outcry, prompting the council to restore funding.
“What a splendid relief this is,” said Councilman Jim Graham, a supporter of the project. “The streetcars are back on track. We will not have a delay.”
The H Street Streetcar currently is slated to begin service in 2012, though six more streetcars are needed to supplement three cars already acquired from Czech Republic-based Inekon Group a.s.
House Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), considered on of thetop U.S. proponents of light rail transit and streetcars, reportedly called council members urging the body to reconsider any cuts in funding. “We're working with a dozen cities that are in some stage of streetcar programs. None has more promise than the District of Columbia,” Blumenauer said.