Kansas City Southern announced late Tuesday that restoration of cross-border service on Kansas City Southern de Mexico’s Nuevo Laredo-Monterrey Mainline will be delayed by severe damage to a key bridge caused by flood waters spawned by Hurricane Alex.
KCS said that “as water receded at the Anahuac Bridge on the KCSM line between Nuevo Laredo and Monterrey in Nuevo Leon on Sunday, bridge inspections revealed significant damage to its approaches from a surge of debris. As a result of this damage, it will be a matter of a few weeks, without further complications, before service can be restored over the Anahuac Bridge.”
KCS and KCSM are working with Union Pacific and Ferrocarril Mexicano to reroute trains over the Brownsville/Matamoros and Eagle Pass crossings “as capacity permits.”
“As the water receded below the track level, we were able to determine more clearly the extent of the damage done to the Anahuac Bridge approaches by the surge of debris,” said David Starling, KCS president and chief operating officer. “I have just returned from a personal inspection of the bridge and damage done resulting from Hurricane Alex. We believe it will be a matter of a few weeks before we can make the bridge operational again if there are no further complications. We have Mexican and U.S. personnel on site and have deployed reconstruction resources with more on the way. Reopening of the KCSM Nuevo Laredo-Monterrey mainline is our highest company priority and we are deploying our resources accordingly.”
Starling noted that service in northern Mexico has been disrupted for all carriers. And highways have been severely damaged as a result of the hurricane, which made landfall on June 30.
Brazil opened the bidding process Tuesday for a 329-mile high speed rail line connecting Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo and costing an estimated $19 billion. Nov. 29 as the deadline for bids, and he winner will be announced Dec. 16.
Contenders for the design-build-operate contract include Alstom of France, Siemens of Germany, and Mitsui & Co. of Japan.
The state development bank BNDES will fund up to 60% of the total cost. Brazil's government will create a company known as ETAV to manage the project and will retain a majority share in the project.
The estimated travel time between Brazil’s two largest cities on the new trains will be just over 1.5 hours, compared to one hour by air and six hours by bus.
Montreal Transit Corp. (Société de Transport de Montréal, or STM) said Tuesday it will issue an international call for bids on its pending subway car order.
The move was seen by some as a setback to both Bombardier Transportation and Alstom, who in partnership had anticipated a contract with STM worth up to C$4 billion (US$3.9 billion) to supply 765 cars, with an option for 288 additional cars. STM said it has received expressions of interest from Beasain, Spain-based Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles SA (CAF).
Bombardier and Alstom recently lost a court bid to quash STM’s efforts to reopen bidding. The companies said it was unfair to allow CAF to bid because conditions in a new bidding procedure launched in January were “far less restrictive and demanding” than the requirements they had to meet. But STM’s Board of Directors decided Tuesday that CAF meets its conditions as a qualified bidder, based on recommendations by both inside and outside experts, including SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.
Bombardier has warned that the company and its 90 suppliers could be forced to lay off hundreds of workers at Quebec facilities if it fails to win the contract.
Edward R. Hamberger, president and CEO of the Association of American Railroads, has been named a member of the Mineta Transportation Institute’s Board of Trustees, AAR said Tuesday.
“I am honored to be included in such a distinguished group of transportation policy experts and practitioners,” said Hamberger (pictured at left). “The Mineta Transportation Institute has long been regarded as one of the premier transportation research, education, and training centers in the U.S. I look forward to working with MTI to advance sound policy that improves the efficiency of our nation’s transportation system.”
Established by Congress in 1991, the San Jose, Calif.-based Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) is a national University Transportation Center and a Department of Transportation National Center of Excellence, specializing in policy studies related to multimodal surface transportation. MTI is named after former Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, who held the position from 2001 to 2006.
Representing all major surface transportation modes, the MTI Board of Trustees includes members of Congress and other members of the transportation community. The board provides policy direction, assists with needs assessment, and connects the institute and its programs with the international transportation community.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Monday that DOT is awarding North Carolina the first installment, $20.3 million, of the $545 million that President Obama granted the state in January for high speed rail corridor development.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation will use the initial founding to refurbish passenger coaches and locomotives to expand rail service across the state.
“We’re improving North Carolina’s transportation infrastructure while putting people back to work,” said Secretary LaHood (pictured at left).
Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo said North Carolina “has planned well and is set to build a world-class transportation network that will link the Tar Heel State to Washington, D.C. and the Northeast through high speed rail.”
Gov. Bev Perdue commented that “North Carolina has been a leader nationally in restoring passenger rail as a viable transportation alternative and we look forward to pursuing that goal in partnership with the federal government, beginning right now with this grant.”
CSX late Monday announced second-quarter earnings of $414 million, or $1.07 per share, compared with $305 million, or 77 cents per share, in the comparable quarter of 2009. CSX said higher traffic volume and efficiency measures contributed to the earnings increase. Revenue also rose, by 22%, to $2.66 billion.
The results beat analyst consensus expectations on anticipated revenue of $2.63 billion. Dahlman Rose & Co. Director-Equity Research and Railway Age Contributing Editor Jason Seidl called the performance “a high note,” noting CSX beat “both our and street estimates of $0.99 and $0.96, respectively.” Seidl also noted “an improved operating ratio of 71.2%, which is better than our estimate of 71.6%.”
Seidl noted, “The strong top line is largely attributable to a 13% year-over-year increase in total traffic, driven primarily by robust intermodal growth (up 18%), strong auto and metals volumes (up 63% and 44%, respectively), and solid increases in chemicals, emerging markets, and fertilizers. CSX reiterated its optimism about the ongoing freight recovery, stating that, while the economy remains dynamic, the company continues to see improvement in the market and maintains its positive outlook.”
West Sacramento, Calif., surprised many political analysts on Election Day 2008 by voting to tax itself in order to establish a 1.2-mile streetcar line, designed in part to link to larger neighbor Sacramento’s light rail transit system. But the small city failed to secure any of the $130 million awarded by the federal government July 8 for streetcar development.
West Sacramento officials say they will continue their efforts to build a streetcar line connecting to Sacramento over the Tower Bridge despite failing Thursday in a bid for federal funds. Still, “This is terribly disappointing,” Mayor Christopher Cabaldon acknowledged.
Federal officials have indicated they may offer streetcar grants again next year, and West Sacramento officials said they are likely to apply. The city had sought $25 million (the maximum awarded by the Federal Transit Administration under the Urban Circulator Grant Program) for its initial line, which would run from West Sacramento City Hall down West Capitol Avenue, over the Tower Bridge, and terminate near Old Sacramento.
FTA and the Department of Transportation awarded $130 million in streetcar grants to five cities: Dallas, Fort Worth, Tex., St. Louis, Charlotte, N.C., and Cincinnati. They were among 65 cities, including West Sacramento, that had applied for the money.
“We continue to monitor the situation closely and
with equipment, materials, and crews to complete the track work as soon
water levels subside,” said the advisory. “At this point, we estimate
section of main line could be out of service for another few days. A more precise estimate is completely
dependent on the pace at which the water recedes, which is a factor
completely outside of our control.”
The railroad said it would continue to work on
detour options with connecting railroads, adding: “The force majeure and
embargos at Laredo, Matamoros, and Monterrey will remain in place. We
it will take approximately two weeks to clear all of the trains that are
due to the service disruption.”