RailAmerica, Inc. said Wednesday that it expects carload traffic on its 40 railroads to grow approximately 5% in the third quarter of 2010 compared to the third quarter of 2009. RailAmerica lines operate approximately 7,400 miles of track in 27 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces.
The company reported that its August carload totaled 72,221, up 3.6% from 69,702 in August 2009. These results exclude the discontinued Ottawa Valley Railway.
August shipments were up in six of 12 commodity groups compared to August 2009. Leading the increases were metallic ores and metals, chemicals, and non-metallic minerals and products. The largest declines were in coal, waste and scrap materials, and motor vehicles.
Axion International announced Wednesday that “one of the largest railroads in North America has placed the first purchase order, under a letter of intent for the ongoing purchase of Recycled Structural Composite (RSC) railroad ties.”
“We’re thrilled to receive this initial order from such a respected customer,” said Jim Kerstein, Axion CEO. “Without question this is further validation that the Class I railroad market is looking for longer-lasting, more long-term economical alternatives to wood and concrete.
Per the Association of American Railroads “the U.S. rail industry spent $7.7 billion dollars on maintaining roadway and structures in 2008,” said Kerstein. “That number is increasing annually and we believe suppliers, like Axion, who deliver more durable, environmentally friendly products with a lower cost of lifetime ownership will increase their share of that pie.”
Axion said its RSC, developed in conjunction with Rutgers University’s Materials Sciences and Engineering Department, “is inert and contains no toxic materials. It will never leach, warp, and is impervious to insect infestation. Because it is lighter than traditional materials, transporting RSC is less expensive and reduces energy costs. In addition, RSC is completely recyclable at the end of its functional life.”
Namibia says it plans to sign an agreement on theconstruction of a rail link to transport coal from landlocked neighbor Botswana west through Namibia before the end of October.
The memorandum of understanding will also cover the construction of a coal export terminal on Namibia’s Atlantic coast, the country’s Ministry of Information and Communication Technology said in an emailed statement.
Botswana reportedly has about 200 billion metric tons of coal reserves, according to its Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources. The World Bank has funded a feasibility study into the rail link.
Regional and short line operator Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (GWI) on Tuesday reported August traffic volume totaling 73,711 carloads, an increase of 11.6% compared with August 2009. GWI’s traffic in the third quarter of 2010 through August was 145,269 carloads, up 9.5%, compared with the third quarter of 2010 through August.
The traffic increase in the third quarter of 2010 through August was principally due to increases of 6,651 carloads of farm and food products traffic, 2,045 carloads of other traffic, and 1,893 carloads of chemicals & plastics traffic. All other traffic increased by a net 2,024 carloads.
GWI owns and operates 62 short line and regional freight railroads in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the Netherlands.
Plano, Tex.-based Dell Services said Tuesday it has signed a contract with BNSF to provide end-user computing support, fully-integrated service desk support, field services, and managed print services throughout the organization. The amount of the contract was not disclosed.
Dell said that, under the contract, Dell Services “will offer highly automated processes and tools to support end-user devices and develop customized process flows for the end-user computing environment. Dell Services’ automated service management solutions will help BNSF maximize efficiencies and facilitate significant improvements on software and hardware inventories. “
Through its services desk offerings, Dell Services will provide a single point of contact for resolving technical issues. To ensure service quality, Dell Services will provide around the clock service desk support, utilizing disciplined workflows, automated process tools, and industry best practices to increase efficiencies and control costs.“As we embark on a new relationship with BNSF, we are proud to support the company with tools that create inventory efficiencies, optimize print resources, and enable around-the-clock technical support to help BNSF succeed,” said Dell Services President Peter Altabef.
Siemens announced Monday that it is bringing a full-sized mockup of the Siemens Velaro high speed trainet to Florida to show Americans what the future may hold for them. After its Oct. 8 debut in Tampa, th eSiemens "Future of Florida High-Speed Rail Tour" will continue to Orlando, Miami, Tallahassee, and other cities.
“Visitors to the exhibit in each city will not only hav ethe chance to see the Velaro, the fastest passenger train in the world, but also the opportunity to have their questions answered by high-speed rail experts,” Siemens claimed.
“We'd like to congratulate Florida on leading the charge for high speed rail in America,” said Eric Spiegel, president and CEO of Siemens Corp. “Not since the early days of the space program has there been such potential for growth as there is in Florida right now.”
“We want to give Floridians a taste of what a true high speed rail trainset looks and feels like,” added Oliver Hauck, president o fSiemens Mobility in the U.S. “Siemens Velaro trainsets are successfully running on some of the fastest and most important routes in the world today.”
The Velaro tour recalls an earlier, more-ambitious HSR demonstration program: Seventeen years ago, when Amtrak was evaluating high speed trainset technology for the Northeast Corridor, Siemens and Deutsche Bahn (German Rail), in cooperation with Amtrak, brought a specially modified, fully operational ICE (Intercity Express) trainset to the U.S. It operated on the NEC in revenue service for several months and also toured the country. The ICE demonstration followed a similar program with an X2000 trainset involving Amtrak, ABB Traction, and Swedish State Railways. Amtrak eventually awarded the NEC high speed trainset contract to a Bombardier/Alstom consortium; the Acela Express equipment entered revenue service on the NEC in 2000.
Norfolk Southern Train 236, one of the first double-stackedtrains to transit the railroad's new Heartland Corridor, rolledthrough Prichard, W. Va. at 11 a.m. Monday, pulling containers on their way fromChicago to Norfolk, Va.
It was greeted at Prichard, the site of a planned intermodalterminal, by NS CEO Wick Moorman along with corridor partners, designers,builders, and other NS officers and employees.
“For morethan one hundred years, we’ve been your partner in moving America’s most plentiful and dependable energy source fromthe Pocahontas coal fields. Now, working together, we have improved ourcorridor through West Virginia so that it has more capacity, speed, andreliability not just for coal trains but for the container trains that carry theproducts required for international commerce and consumerdemand,” said Moorman (pictured at left).
Also on hand was U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall of West Virginia,vice chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and akey supporter of the Heartland Corridor project, who said: “Now this isthe engine to pull jobs America’s way. Our economic strength, and WestVirginia’s future, depend on the vitality of a national transportation system. Railis an increasingly critical cornerstone of commerce for thiscountry. Government must invest and partner where it makes sense with privateindustry, so we can compete globally. At the same time, by strengthening ourtransportation network, we anchor our national security.”
Warren Buffett said Monday that Berkshire Hathaway companies, including BNSF Railway, are doing well and “I see our businesses coming back almost across the board.”
Buffett told the Montana Economic Development Summit: “I am a huge bull on this country. We will not have a double-dip recession at all ... I don’t see that in our businesses. I see we’re employing more people than a month ago, two months ago.”
“It’s night and day from a year, year-and-a-half ago,” said the billionaire investor via a video connection. “I know Wells Fargo, they would love to have $50 billion more of loans now. Go in and talk to the banker.” Berkshire Hathaway is Wells Fargo's biggest shareholder.
Fairport, N.Y.-based RailComm said Monday it has been selected to provide a wireless remote control derail system at Amtrak’s Maintenance Facility in Hialeah, Fla., outside Miami.
Two customized Local Control Panels, located within the maintenance building, will provide wireless remote control to the derails. The panels include a keypad for advanced security and logging. The user is required to input a unique pass-code (PIN #) to operate the derail machines.
All control panel operations are recorded and stored on a wirelessly linked PC work station. The data entries contain the name and trade of the operator, the nature of the operation, and the date and time. The work station allows supervisors, managers, and other authorized personnel to review the operation logs and manage the system security.