Canadian National Monday reported income of C$511 million, or C$1.08 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2010, up 21% from the comparable period in 2009. Revenue was up 6% to C$1.97 billion. Operating income increased 25% to C$603 million. The railroad’s operating ratio was 69.3%, improving significantly from the 71.7% for the first quarter of 2009.
In a statement, CN President and CEO Claude Mongeau said: "I am very pleased with CN's first-quarter results in terms of both earnings growth and free cash flow generation. We delivered a solid winter operating performance, allowing us to accommodate increased freight volumes at low incremental cost and significantly improve service to help our customers take advantage of the stronger-than-expected economic recovery."
CN said it anticipates a “stronger economic recovery going forward” and has revised its 2010 earnings estimate upward, even though CN faces the prospect ofa higher-than-anticipated Canadian dollar, relative to its U.S. counterpart; the two currencies are now virtually on par. CN said a large portion of its revenue and expenses is denominated in U.S. dollars, which is affected by exchange-rate fluctuations.I
Mongeau said: "Our team is building momentum. We are focused onoperational excellence to drive network velocity and to innovate on the service front—our goal is to offer our customers a better transportation product to help them compete in their end markets. If the economy continues on its recovery trend, increased traffic levels and solid execution should help CN produce strong financial results for its shareholders in 2010 and beyond."
CN said its revenue gains resulted “from higher freight volumes in all commodity groups as a result of improving economic conditions in North America and globally; a higher fuel surcharge owing to year-over-year increases in applicable fuel prices and higher volumes; and freight rate increases. These factors were partly offset by the negative translation impact of the stronger Canadian dollar on U.S.-dollar-denominated revenues.”
A “new focus on cost-effectiveness and efficiency” has led the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority to reduce its draft 2010-2014 Capital Program to $23.6 billion, a cut of $1.8 billion. The revised five-year plan will be considered by the MTA Board Wednesday, and if approved will go to the State’s Capital Program Review Board for its approval.
• Subway stations: NYC Transit will replace, repair, or rehabilitate only components that need it, expanding the number of stations that can be improved. A more aggressive and sustained maintenance program will be implemented.
• Shops, yards, and depots: The MTA will invest in facilities that maximize theirability to serve the needs of more than one agency in order to make the bestuse of capital funds. An example is Metro-North’s Harmon Shop, which provides capacity to service locomotives for both Metro-North and LIRR.
The Denton County (Tex.) Transportation Authority has reached agreement with Dallas Area Rapid Transit on operating DCTA’s A-train passenger service over a portion of DART-owned rail right-of-way.
Under the accord, DCTA will have full rights to operate and be responsible for any maintenance and any agreements between the railroad and any adjacent cities for a 20-year period, with one 20-year renewal option, while DART maintains ownership of the route being used. The Denton City Council previously approved the transfer of Denton's piece of the rail corridor north of Swisher Road—the northern portion of the planned service route—to DART. DCTA will maintain the segment.
The agreement is significant, given the rail modal difference. DART operates electric light rail service, while DCTA plans to utilize diesel multiple-unit (DMU) gear. DART’s Green Line extension to North Carrollton Transit Center, northwest of Dallas, is scheduled to open in December. DCTA service is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2011, with 11 DMU trains produced by Stadler Bussnag AG expected to cover the 21-mile route linking the City of Denton with Trinity Mills Station, within DART’s service area to be reached by the Green Line.
“The plan is to help riders on the DCTA A-Train access the DART Rail Green Line quickly and easily while keeping commuter rail on one track and light rail on another,” DART spokesman Morgan Lyons outlined to Railway Age. “Our Trinity Mills Station will be designed to do that. That’s near the northern terminus of the Green Line and will be the southern terminus for the A-Train. DART customers also benefit with new access to points north of Carrollton, like the University of North Texas in Denton.”
DART's board of directors must still approve the agreement, but Lyons said approval was likely.
Last month, DCTA and the City of Denton and the Denton County Transportation held a groundbreaking ceremony at the Downtown Denton Transit Center and adjacent DCTA Downtown Station, heralding the planned service.
Dee Leggett, DCTA’s vice president of communications and planning, said DCTA and DART had sought agreement since 2006, notwithstanding Denton County’s selection of an alternate rail mode. “DART and DCTA always knew the agreement would happen; it was just finalizing the terms,” Leggett said.
Still to be determined is an operations and maintenance agreement with Trinity Railway Express to operate the A-Train. TRE currently runs commuter rail service linking Dallas and Fort Worth.
South Sudan has announced plans to for high speed rail, linking Juba, Sudan, and Tororo, in neighboring Uganda. Presidential adviser and director general of the project Kostelo Garang said Phase 1 of the project, from Tororo to Gulu, would cost $3 billion; an extension to Juba would add $4 billion to the cost. “There are, however, some investors who are waiting to see how the 2011 referendum goes before making their entry into South Sudan,” Garang said, alluding to ongoing political and military friction within the troubled African nation.
Africa’s largest nation by size, Sudan has been plagued by civil strife almost continually since achieving independence in 1956. Under a peace agreement signed in January 2005, South Sudan was granted autonomy for six years, and will vote on a referendum determining independence next year.
Analysts note that, regardless of the referendum’s outcome, Sudan can reasonably be expected to construct HSR only if Kenya builds a comparable segment; Kenya and Uganda are planning a separate HSR route at present.
Caltrain, already eying electrification of its rail service, says such a move also will help reduce its debt load, now expected to be $47 million in 2011.
Caltrain CEO Mike Scanlon says replacing the existing fleet of diesel trains with an electric fleet would permit Caltrain to both expand service during rush hours, and also collect 49% more revenue while keeping expenses level.
Retaining the diesel fleet will cost Caltrain $61 million by 2019, Caltrain officials say. Though electrification would cost $1.3 billion in capital, part of the construction could be paid for in part by the California High Speed Rail Authority, as part of the Golden State’s $43 billion high speed rail project.
Caltrain transports about 40,000 people between San Francisco and San Jose each weekday.
Logistics and transportation provider C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. said Friday it was recognized by CSX Corp. for the company’s environmental efforts, and was awarded a 2009 Environmental Award by the Class I railroad at the second annual CSX Environmental Awards dinner in Jacksonville, Fla. April 21.
The CSX awards specifically recognize customers who led their industry in CO2 emissions avoidance in 2009; demonstrated the greatest improvement in avoided emissions in 2009 versus 2008; or deserve special recognition for their commitment to sustained supply chain practices through the use of rail or intermodal.
“We’re honored to be recognized for our commitment to sustainability,” said Steve Weiby, C.H. Robinson vice president. “CSX has been a leader in promoting the importance of environmental stewardship in freight transportation, and we’re proud that our work with them is making a difference. We view sustainability as an overall approach to business that adds value and improves efficiencies. We will continue to invest in the long-term success of our industry and focus on finding ways to help our customers and our industry reduce waste in supply chains.” “CSX is pleased to recognize C.H. Robinson’s commitment to sustainability,” said Clarence W. Gooden, executive vice president, sales and marketing and chief commercial officer, CSX. “We are pleased to be a part of their green supply chain. A single CSX trains can haul a ton of freight more than 436 miles on a single gallon of fuel.”
A major expansion of New York City's subway system is forging ahead despite operating budget shortfalls that have led to service cuts and higher fares.
MTA Capital Construction President Michael Horodniceau announced Thursday that the main components of the Second Avenue Subway Tunnel Boring Machine, including the 200-ton cutter head, were lowered this week into the Launch Box at at 96th Street for the final stage of assembly (as seen in photo at left). In May, the TBM will begin mining the western tunnel for the new two-track line.
Originally manufactured by the Robbins Company about 30 years ago, the TBM was first used to dig the MTA's 63rd Street Tunnel in the late 1970s and has was been used on at least four other projects. The machine has been reconditioned and was rebuilt in Newark, N, J., at contractor Schiavone's yard.
The TBM, including the trailing gear which contains mechanical and electrical equipment that powers the cutter head, is 450 feet long. The cutter head has 44 rotating discs that will drill and excavate the approximately 7,700 foot-long tunnels.
“The arrival this week of the TBM at Second Avenue is a clear indicator that the MTA is delivering on a major expansion project that will have a dramatic impact on Manhattan's East Side,” said Horodniceau.
Construction of Phase I of the new subway beganin April 2007. When completed (currently set for December 2016), it will serve 213,000 daily riders and is expected to decrease crowding on the adjacent Lexington Avenue Line by as much as 13%, or 23,500 fewer riders on an average weekday. It will also reduce travel times by up to 10 minutes or more (up to 27%)for those on the far east side or those traveling from the East Side to west Midtown.
Helm Environmental Solutions, LLC, a subsidiary of Helm FinancialCorp., on Friday announced its new EPA Tier 0+ compliant remanufacturing kit, 645EcoLogic™, for the EMD 645E Roots Blown engine family.
The 645EcoLogic kit enables reuse of the existing locomotive engine by remanufacturing it to comply with EPA standards. Remanufacturing with the 645EcoLogic kit provides locomotive owners and operators a cost-effective solution to meet the regulations through its use of standard parts and components. The 645EcoLogic kit achieves the required emissions reductions with no fuel consumption penalty, Helm officials say.
Developed jointly by Helm Environmental Solutions and OceanAir Environmental, LLC, the kit has been officially certified by the Environmental Protection Agency to Tier 0+ Switch Locomotive Emission Limits. The kit represents a cost-effective alternative to OEM offerings and gives the rail industry more choice when selecting a 645E remanufacturing solution to meet Tier 0+ emissions standards, Helm says.
“With the United States Environmental Protection Agency establishing timelines for compliance with emissions levels for locomotives,the industry is in need of solutions to meet these regulations. The 645EcoLogic kit has been certified by the EPA to do just that,” said Brad Wind, executive vice president for Helm Financial Corp.
The EPA rules, published in May 2008, require locomotive owners and operators to comply with more stringent emissions standards on all remanufactured locomotives no later than January 1, 2010. According to EPA emissions regulations expert Mahesh Talwar, president and CEO of OceanAir Environmental, “The new rules effectively require any engine overhaul that takes place on or after January 1, 2010 to comply with the EPA standards defined in the Federal Regulations Title 40 Part 1033.”
More information about the645EcoLogic kit is available at www.hlmx.com/HES.
Transportation Certification Services (TCS) has offered training sessions this week at numerous locations, according to TCS President Terese Jones.
TCS is training Guardian Energy employees at its Janesville, Minn., plant, to operate the plant’s locomotive both from the locomotive cab and from the ground via remote control. Guardian Energy LLC is a cooperative effortof six Midwestern farmer-owned ethanol plants. It can produce 100 million gallons of ethanol to be shipped through its connection with the DM&E Railroad.
TCS also is providing training to KAAPA Grain operating employees in Elk Grove, Neb. KAAPA employees will be trained as plant engineers in order to load grain trains delivered by Union Pacific.
Operations training by TCS was ongoing with Wichita Terminal Association in Wichita, Kan. Wichita Terminal Association, a transfer railway, is jointly owned by Union Pacific and BNSF to service more than a dozen industries and grain elevators.
TCS also was assisting the Chadron, Neb.-based Nebkota Railway in recertifying its operating staff to haul grain from its elevators in Chadron via trackagerights to its Class I connection with the DM&E at Dakota Junction.
TCS also offered classes this week in Toronto and in Montreal, recertifying commuter locomotive engineers and training commuter coach and locomotive inspectors.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s visionary proposal to greatly accelerate construction of a dozen transit projects and expedite highway improvement projects won the key approval Thursday of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors.
The so-called 30/10initiative would seek advanced federal funding to build within the next decade a series of light rail, regional, and BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) projects throughout Los Angeles County.
In announcing the board’s action, LACMTA noted that “the projects will receive local funding spread over the next three decades under Measure R, a local transportation half-cent sales tax approved by two-thirds of Los Angeles County voters in November 2008. All the projects are slated for construction during the next 30 years.
The 30/10 initiative asks Congress and the Obama Administration to advance funding so the transit projects could get built much faster and generate hundreds of thousandsof construction and other jobs to help jump-start the economy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and ease traffic congestion. The funding package could include existing or new programs to provide low-interest financing or loan guarantees.
In recent testimony before Congress, Villaraigosa said the benefits of the 30/10 initiative would include “an annual reduction of 568,000 pounds of mobile-source pollutionemissions, 10.3 million fewer gallons of gasoline used, 77 million more transitboardings, and 208 million fewer vehicle miles traveled annually.”
“This is a win-win for the Los Angeles region and the nation,” said LACMTA Chairman Ara Najarian. “If we can leverage our local tax dollars with federal support, we could put as many as half a million people to work in the next 10 years while getting morepeople out of their cars and cutting greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a model for other transportation agencies throughout America.”
“Both in Los Angeles and in Washington, D.C., people are getting on board with 30/10 to build sustainable transit projects faster, cleaning the air, and creating jobs. This innovative model to advance funds from Measure R won’t break the federalbank and can be the catalyst to economic recovery in the Los Angeles region,” said Mayor Villaraigosa.