Columbus, Ohio-based US Railcar Co. LLC, has acquired the rights to build diesel multiple-unit (DMU) trains based on the designs of Colorado Railcar Corp., which sought to establish itself as a primary source for DMU production in North America. Fort Lupton, Colo.-based Colorado Railcar closed its doors Dec. 23 and terminated all operations Dec. 31.
US Railcar already is touting its newly acquired DMU design, completed with retouched photographs, on its website, http://www.amrailco.com/documents/ARC-Brochure.pdf. The company says its mission is "Bringing the former Colorado Railcar DMU back to life."
The Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI) in Pueblo, Colo., is incorporating RailComm’s DOC® (Domain Operations Controller) Track Warrant Control system into its training program. The training system will include RailComm’s standard TWC capabilities, as well as an interface to Lockheed Martin’s positive train control (PTC) system, called CBAS (Computer Based Authorization System).
The DOC® software-based control system is an advanced command, control, communications, and information (C3i) server-based platform that supports a wide variety of integrated solutions for indication, control, access, and distribution of critical operational data.
CSX Transportation has sued Fairfield, Conn.-based General Electric Co. and four GE subsidiaries for producing a freight car with a defective bolt, which failed and caused a derailment near Brooks, Ky., in January 2007.
CSX filed its complaint in federal court in Lousiville, Ky., June 9, seeking $44 million in damages resulting from the derailment of 26 railcars, including 12 holding hazardous materials.
"The Federal Railroad Administration conducted anextensive investigation to determine the cause of the derailment" and identified the cause as the failure of a bolt on a car owned or placed into service by the defendants, according to the CSX complaint.
Also named as a defendant is a third party vendor, Railcar Associates LP.
The United Transportation Union and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen late Thursday filed a petition with the Federal Railroad Administration seeking an emergency order prohibiting the use of one-person crews in all train operations, including remote control and conventional switching operations.
In a 12-page submission signed by both BLET National President Edward W. Rodzwicz and UTU International President Malcom B. Futhey, Jr., the two labor groups charged that one-person operation, including remote control operation, “have been nothing more than the industry’s attempt to reduce operating costs to increase profits, at the expense of worker safety.”
BLET and UTU cited a May 10 incident involving CSX at Selkirk, N.Y., where “an employee was killed while working alone and using a remote control device. He was ordered by his supervisor to change a knuckle on a car without any assistance. The employee never received any training on how to change a knuckle wearing a remote control operator control unit (“OCU”), and did not remove the OCU while attempting to change the knuckle. Unfortunately, while located between the cars, he was crushed and killed by movement of his remote control locomotive (“RCL”) on the track where he was working.”
Freight carload traffic on U.S. railroads was at a nine-week high in the week ended June 6, showing "slight signs of a slowly improving economy," the Association of American Railroads announced Thursday.
U.S. carriers originated 260,282 freight carloads during the latest week, down 19.8 % from the same week in 2008. Intermodal volume of 188,801 trailers or containers was off 20.1% from last year.
Eighteen of 19 carload commodity groups were down from last year; declines ranged from 6.7% for grain mill products to 68.2%% for metallic ores. The only group showing an increase was that labeled “all other carloads,” which was up 24.4%.
Canadian railroads reported volume of 55,914 cars for the week, down 27.9% from last year, and 39,357 trailers or containers, down 19.7%.
Mexican railroads reported originated volume of 11,791 cars,down 19.9% from last year, and 4,634 trailers or containers, down 21.9%.
Combined North-American rail volume for the first 22 weeks of 2009 on 14 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads totaled 7,346,180 carloads, down 20.2% from last year, and 5,074,383 trailers and containers, down 16.7%.
The Surface Transportation board issued a decision Thursday intent on "clarifying" that Union Pacific has a common carrier obligation to quote rates for the movement of chlorine to three disputed destinations.
The case has been closely watched at a time of rising concerns that moving potentially lethal materials through certain areas poses a threat to national security.
STB made these findings:
"In January 2009, US Magnesium LLC (USM) requested that UP establish common carrier rates for the transportation of chlorine from Rowley, UT, to 35 different destinations. UP established rates for most of the traffic, but replied that it would not publish rates from Rowley to four destinations in or near Houston and Dallas, TX, and Allemania and Plaquemine, LA because: (1) although UP previously published rates for these destinations, USM never shipped to them; and (2) it was not a reasonable request to expect UP to transport chlorine over 1,000 miles through multiple High Threat Urban Areas (HTUAs), as defined by the Transportation SecurityAdministration (TSA) ... when there is an abundant supply of chlorine located closer to the denied destinations....
"Many shippers and receivers filed comments in opposition to UP’s petition, and railroads and associations of railroads filed comments in support, while other interested parties filed comments noting their various concerns. ... USM, North America’s sole producer of magnesium, explains that chlorine is a co-product of its magnesium production process. The volume of chlorine produced by USM in a given year varies directly with the demand for magnesium. USM asserts that increased demand for magnesium led USM to ship chlorine via UP to Allemania in 2007 and to Houston in 2008. USM points out that, if it is unable to reach a market for its chlorine, then it must release it into the air, which is not cost-effective and may cause it to decide to stop producing magnesium in the U.S. Several shippers also dispute UP’s claims and assert that the supply of chlorine in the Gulf Coast region is inadequate, requiring customers in the region to have chlorine delivered from over 800 miles away, including from Canadian sources.
"[W]e find that UP has an obligation to establish rates and service terms in response to USM’s request, and subsequently to provide service under the rates offered.
"UP alleges safety concerns in arguing that USM’s requests are unreasonable, but it fails to establish that the transportation at issue is unsafe. Indeed, the record shows that UP has moved chlorine for USM to two of the denied destinations in the last 2 years."
Asserting that China is "at the epicenter of revolutionizing rail infrastructure and operations for the 21st Century," IBM has announced the opening of a Global Rail Innovation Center in Beijing.
The center will bring together of the world's foremost industry leaders, researchers, and universities" in a country the is introducing "new high speed trains and a hugely expanded rail network at an unprecedented pace," said IBM in an announcement released Thursday in Beijing and at IBM headquarters in Armonk, N.Y.
Members of the center's advisory board include: Judge Quentin L.Kopp, chairman of he California High Speed Rail Authority; Professor Joseph Sussman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Tsinghua University; Michigan Technological University; Motorola; Railinc; Sabre; and RMI.
Karl Dierkx, director of the new center, said that "by bringing together leading industry experts and advanced technologies, we can help rail provides increase rail capacity, efficiency, safety, and customer service, resulting in networks of smarter rail systems around the world."