KeyBanc analyst Steve Barger has upgraded the shares of American Railcar Industries and the Greenbrier Cos. from "Hold" to "Buy" and, at the same time, reaffirmed his "Buy" rating on a third freight railcar builder, Trinity Industries.
While sticking with his earlier 2010 estimate of 10,925 new freight cars delivered—noting that cars in storage can take help take care of immediate increases in demand—Barger increased his 2011 forecast of new car deliveries to 19,000 from 14,800.
New Mexico's Rail Runner Express, next week will begin serving a new station Kewa Pueblo Station, located on tribal land between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, N.M.
Augusta Meyers of the Mid-Region Council of Governments said passengers will see only small changes in the Rail Runner's operating schedule when the station opens. The new station is the 12 on the growing system, which runs approximately 100 miles between Santa Fe and Belen, N.M.
A ceremonial ribbon-cutting for the station is set to occur March 23. The station will offer free parking and about 40 spaces.
RailRunner began operations in July 2006, and service was extended to Santa Fe in December 2008.
Pittsburgh-based Portec Rail Products Inc. said its fourth-quarter earnings fell 5%, as a tax gain and cost-cutting efforts partially offset a steep decline in sales.
Portec earned $1.4 million, or 15 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2009, compared with $1.5 million, or 16 cents per share, in the comparable period a year ago. The most recent quarter included a tax gain of 2 cents per share. Revenue fell 21% to $19.2 million from $24.3 million in the comparable 2008 quarter. Portec said the company reduced inventory levels during the quarter.
For full-year 2009, earnings fell to $6.8 million, or 71 cents per share, from $7.8 million, or 81 cents per share, in 2008. Revenue fell to $92.2 million, from $109 million in 2008.
Last month, L.B. Foster, also based in Pittsburgh, announced its plans to acquire Portec’s 9.6 million shares of stock for $112 million, or about $11.71 per share. The deal is expected to close before the end of the second quarter.
At midday Tuesday, shares of Portec were trading at $11.75, down fractionally.
Responding to request from the state of Maine and other concerned parties, the Surface Transportation Board has decided to hold a public hearing this spring in Maine on the application of the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway to abandon 233 miles of line in Aroostook and Penobscot counties.
“This proposed abandonment would affect many shippers and the local and regional economy and it is important that the Board hears from as many voices as possible,” said STB Chairman Daniel R. Elliott III. “The best way to do that is for Washington to go to Maine instead of Maine coming to Washington.”
The hearing will be scheduled after the April 26 deadline for the written record but before the end of May.
The official request of Maine for a hearing, filed March 4, won quick support from shippers and politicians, including U.S. Sen. Susan M. Collins (R-Maine) and Rep. Michael H. Michaud (D-Maine), as well as Rep. James L. Oberstar (D-Minn.), chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, all of whom echoed the call for a public hearing.
Wabtec Corp. announced Monday that it has purchased Xorail LLC for $40 million in cash and that it expects the transaction to be accretive in the first year.
Based in Jacksonville, Fla., Xorail has annual revenue of about $40 million from the sale of engineering, design, and construction services, mainly for railway signaling systems. These include wayside signaling, positive train control, and grade crossing warning systems for Class I railroads and passenger transit authorities in North America.
Founded in 1990 as Southwest Signal Engineering Company, Xorail now has 10 satellite offices with about 275 employees. Kash Krishnarao, president of Xorail, will remain with the company.
“Xorail's engineering and wayside capabilities are a good fit with our existing railway electronics business,” said Albert J.Neupaver, Wabtec's president and chief executive officer. “In addition, these capabilities position Wabtec for a larger role as the rail industry implements positive train control technology over the next several years.”
Wabtec Corp. is a global provider of value-added, technology-based products and services for the rail industry. Through its subsidiaries, the company manufactures a range of products for locomotives, freight cars, and passenger transit vehicles. The company also builds new switcher and commuter locomotives, and provides aftermarket services. The company has facilities located throughout the world.
The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association says registration for its annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., is available onlinethis year, as in the past, and urges early registration. “Register by March 31, and save up to $100 on your registration fee. Fees go up an additional $50 on April 1, and again on April 21,” ASLRRA says.
Online registration is available at https://members.aslrra.org/mtg_list.asp.
ASLRRA also notes, “We are still holding onto the railroad room block at the Hilton Bonnet Creek, but it is filling fast and we will need to open it up to the rest of the membership by the end of the week.”
New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority says it is evaluating a plan to establish wireless Internet services at Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station-New York, both in Manhattan, and for Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road trains.
MTA reportedly has invited companies to submit proposals for installing WiFi. Any company securing a contract with MTA would be expected to finance the project itself. MTA seeks to establish such service by year’s end.
Still unclear is whether customers would be expected to pay for WiFi service or whether any provider could generate revenue by other means. Amtrak recently introduced Wi-Fi service on its Acela trains plying the Northeast Corridor, initially at no charge to Amtrak customers.