Patriot Rail Corp. announced that it has agreed in principle to buy the six short line railroads operated by Weyerhaeuser Co., with more than 160 miles of track in four states. The lines currently handle approximately 60,000 carloads of freight annually. The acquisition is subject to closing conditions that include Patriot’s due diligence and regulatory approval. It’s expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2010.
Patriot Rail would acquire:
* The DeQueen and Eastern Railroad Co., consisting of tworailroads—the DeQueen and Eastern and the Texas, Oklahoma & Eastern railroads, which operate over a total of 87 route miles in southeast Oklahomaand southwest Arkansas;
* The Columbia & Cowlitz Railway, which operates over8.5 route miles in southwest Washington;
* The Weyerhaeuser Woods Railroad, which operates over 30 route miles in southwest Washington and connects directly to the CLC;
* The Golden Triangle Railroad, which operates over 13.3 route miles in central Mississippi; and
* The Mississippi & Skuna Valley Railroad, which owns 21 route miles in Mississippi.
Each of the railroads interchanges traffic with Class I carriers. The railroads primarily source Weyerhaeuser and International Paper mills, move finished products, and serve some third-party customers. They employ approximately 120 people.
“Once the transaction is completed, these railroads will double the rail portfolio of Patriot Rail,” said Gary O. Marino, chairman, president, and CEO. “They are very attractive railroads with appealing growth opportunities and are a key step in our company’s strategic growth process. After closing and integration of the railroads, Patriot Rail’s goal is to expand the rail business by providing customers with first class rail service focused on safety, productivity, and service reliability.”
Patriot Rail Corp., a holding company based in Boca Raton, Fla., owns and operates six short line freight railroads totaling 331 miles in eight states. Patriot also recently signed an agreement to lease and operate the 13-mile Piedmont & Northern Railroad in Gaston County, N.C.
Rockville, Md.-based Telvent said Tuesday it had been awarded a contract with Isolux-Corsan, involving Enterprise Metro d’Alger as the end customer, to implement the company’s Telvent SmartMobility TM Light Rail technology for the new LRT system in Oran, Algeria. The 18-kilometer (11-mile) route, with 32 stations, is scheduled to begin operating by 2011.
Telvent’s participation will allow Oran authorities to effectively coordinate interaction between city traffic and the LRT network, having the capability to give priority at any time to LRT over private transportation whenever appropriate.
The system to be installed by Telvent is based on selective light rail detection, which will enable the system to determine whenever the light rail is approaching an intersection. Once detected, the system will give priority to LRT over private transportation, thereby ensuring driver safety at the same time.
Telvent CEO Ignacio Gonzalez said the system “will help the city of Oran to effectively coordinate the interaction between city traffic and the light rail system, resulting in a significant improvement to urban mobility and guaranteed passenger safety and security.”
July carload traffic advanced 4.1% compared with the comparable 2009 month, the Association of American Railroads said, but AAR also noted “roughly 23.4% of the North America railcar fleet,” or 349,471 cars, remains sidelined. Though industry analysts say some of those cars will be retired or scrapped instead of being returned to duty, the amount of stored equipment remains significant.
July’s traffic still lagged behind July 2008 totals by 14.6%, AAR said. Intermodal continues to show more strength, up 17.3% in July compared with a year ago and down 5.1% from July 2008.
In addition, “Seasonally adjusted AAR data showed month-to-month gains in carloads for July, up 3.2% from June 2010, as well as intermodal traffic, up 2.4% from the previous month,” AAR said.
NextSense, a company based in Graz, Austria, announced that it will unveil “the wheel diameter module for the Calipri high-tech measuring device” at the Innotrans 2010 railroad technology trade show in Berlin in September.
“The wheel diameter is one of the critical parameters involved in evaluating the running performance and safety level of railroad vehicles,” notes NextSense. “Until now, there have been no completely satisfactory solutions for measuring these diameters. The systems available on the market have either not been designed for mobile use or are too inaccurate. NextSense quite literally took up the challenge posed by these unsolved problems. After a two-year development phase, the solution is now available as a production-ready product for use in railroad workshops.
“A model manufactured using CFRP lightweight technology is fitted onto the built-in wheel with a hand grip. The user conducting the operation brings the sensor of the measuring device close to the model. After just a few seconds, the result is indicated and enables furthersubsequent evaluations to be carried out, such as the diameter difference on the wheel set or overstepping of thresholds,” NextSense says
NextSense says the new diameter-measuring device forms part of a family of measuring modules, which enable wheelsets to be measured while completely mobile.
Berkshire Hathaway has reported that operating earnings for the second quarter and first six months of 2010 increased 72.7% and 52.0% from the comparable periods in 2009.
“BNSF was the major contributor adding $885 million to net earnings since our acquisition on Feb. 12, 2010, including $603 million during the second quarter,” said the company in an earnings statement released Aug. 6. Another major reason for the improvement occurred at NetJets with a swing from a pre-tax loss of $348.5 million in the first six months of 2009 to a pre-tax profit of $114.5 million in 2010.
Berkshire paid $26.5 billion in February for the share of BNSF it did not already own.
Association of American Railroads praised the
introduction of the Freight Rail Infrastructure Capacity Expansion Act of 2010
(S.3749) by Senators Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and John Ensign (R-Nev.). This
bipartisan measure is aimed at encouraging private capital investments that can
generate tremendous public benefits through expanded rail network capacity
needed for moving more people and goods by rail.
The Port of Quebec, a
terminal operator at the port and CN announced today a service arrangement that
will reduce transit times for shipments destined to Toronto to 38 hours from 53
hours, an improvement of almost 30 per cent. The improvement resulted from the
port and terminal operator agreeing to more consistent release times for
shipments and CN adjusting schedules to expedite the movement of traffic over
its network between Quebec City and Toronto.
The Federal Railroad
Administration plans to assess the potential to construct a large solar
photovoltaic array at its Transportation Technology Center, a railway testing
site in Colorado, Sunpluggers.com, The Solar Home & Business Journal
At its monthly meeting, the
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Board of Commissioners authorized an
option under the PATH Railcar procurement contract with Kawasaki Rail Car Inc.,
to purchase 10 additional PA-5 railcars at a total cost of $15 million.
Consolidated sales for Koppers
Holdings Inc. in the second quarter of 2010 were 12% higher than sales in the
prior year quarter. Sales for Carbon Materials and Chemicals (CM&C)
increased by 30%, or $47.5 million over the prior year quarter, which was
partially offset by lower sales for Railroad and Utility Products (R&UP),
which decreased nine percent, or $12.0 million. The increase in sales in
CM&C was due to higher volumes for carbon materials and higher volumes and
prices for coal tar chemicals. R&UP sales were lower due to lower volumes
of untreated crossties, as reduced buying patterns by the Class I railroads in
the first quarter due to unfavorable weather continued into the second quarter
as some of the railroads have been reducing inventory levels.