Railway industry suppliers continue to test and deploy new
systems, even in the face of the "Great Recession," according to a new survey
conducted by the Railway Supply Institute (RSI) this spring.
"While Positive Train Control (PTC) garners most of the
headlines, innovations in information technology, energy conservation, and
refinements in equipment are steadily making rail operations more efficient and
effective," RSI Executive Director Tom Simpson said. "We see progress in electronically-controlled
pneumatic (ECP) brakes, computerized camera inspection systems, fuel efficiency
technologies, and better materials, coatings, monitoring devices, and improved
valves and fittings for tank cars transporting hazardous and toxic materials."
Twenty-eight suppliers responded to the e-mail survey,
identifying themselves as locomotive, freight car, or passenger car builders,
component suppliers, or as working in communications and signaling or
maintenance-of-way (some have multi-discipline research and development
efforts). The survey sought details on research and development budgets and
supplier interaction with their railroad customers.
Nearly half of the respondents said that more than half of
their research and development is driven directly by their customers' requests.
Ten of the respondents are "big spenders" on R&D, laying out more than $1
million a year on new technologies. Five spend more than $5 million annually. Despite
the recession and downturn in operations, only two respondents have reduced
their research and development spending over the past five years, and 11 are
increasing their investments.
"These results are extremely positive," said Bob Pokorski,
Director of Engineering for Miner Enterprises and 2010 RSI chairman. "This
survey was done in February and even then, in a down economy, with the downturn
in car orders, rail suppliers are still optimistic about their future. It
points to a healthy rail supply industry."
Union Pacific’s employee
records show Willie Sandoval to be a boilermaker in a locomotive shop in Fort
Worth, Texas. UP Chairman, President and CEO Jim Young knows Sandoval to be
also “a teacher, coach and mentor who consistently demonstrates
outstanding safety practices and a willingness to share his knowledge with
America's railroads honored
the industry's safety achievements and celebrated railroads with the best
employee safety records at the annual E.H. Harriman Awards. According to the
Association of American Railroads (AAR), 2009 was the safest year ever for
railroads, with significant milestones achieved across the board in reduced
train accidents, employee casualties and grade crossing collisions.
U.S TransportationSecretary Ray LaHood announced proposed new rules May 17 that he said wouldprohibit the use of cell phones or other electronic device by railroad operating employees "if it interferes with thatemployee's or another employee's performance of safety-related duties."
Norfolk Southern CEO Wick
Moorman had good news for his shareholders, at least for the short-term, at
their annual meeting in Williamsburg, Va., last week.
The Canadian UrbanTransit Association recognizes Bombardier's achievement for 60-day streetcardemonstration project in Vancouver, Canada. At the CUTA 2010 Annual Conferenceheld in Ottawa, Canada, Bombardier Transportation received an award for theOlympic Line in the category "Exceptional Performance and OutstandingAchievement" under CUTA's National Transit Corporate Recognition Award Program.
Cattron Group International™,
a lglobal manufacturer of remote control products and professional
services for the industrial, mining, commercial mobile and railroad markets,
has contracted with TTechTrain SA de CV to represent the company in Mexico.
They will handle all brands for the Industrial and Rail markets. Andres Duncan
and Susana Duncan, along with their colleagues, have a combined experience of
86 years providing service to the railroad industry in the Americas.
Global Railway Industries Ltd. reports that net earnings for this year’s first quarter improved to $89,000 compared to a $1.5 million net loss in the first quarter of 2009. Total revenue increased 27.3% to $18.7 million. Earnings per share improved to $0.01 compared to a loss of $0.10 in the 2009 quarter.
“Management is pleased to report Global's return to profitability during the first quarter of 2010, and the reduction of its bank debt by $1.5 million,” said Terry McManaman, chairman, president, and CEO of Global. “Global's first-quarter earnings were in line with management's expectations and can be attributed to improved profitability of the VIA Rail Canada business, as well as operational efficiencies, cost cutting initiatives, and scale economies.”
Keolis Rail Services America is nearly done hiring about 45 train engineers and conductors to operate Virginia Railway Express trains, which the company will take over from Amtrak beginning June 28. At least eight of those hired reportedly come from New Jersey Transit Corp., which has put some of its operating personnel on furlough due to budget cuts.
Overall, Keolis has hired 15 of the needed 18 train engineers, and 15 of the 27 needed train conductors, said Steve Townsend, Keolis America executive vice president. “I think probably in the next week, week and a half, we’ll have filled most of the positions, if not all,” Townsend said.
Townsend said Keolis has a five-year contract to run VRE trains, with two five-year renewal options. All Keolis engineers and conductors will complete the required training in the VRE service area and in Union Station, Washington, D.C., by June 28.
Ansaldo STS USA Monday announced its VitalNet™ Current Sensor for use in Positive Train Control applications, as mandated for most Class I rail rights-of-way by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008. The company says the VitalNet Current sensor reduces the labor and improves quality and safety.
Ansaldo STS USA will display the new product at the RSSI C&S Exhibition in Omaha, Neb., May 18 and 19, and will formally present the productin the RSSI Innovation Theater at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, the 18th.
The current sensor combines the best current-sensing technologyavailable into one device: a small, light package, diversity in detection and closedloop control capability. The form factor allows for installation without disarrangement, providing simple PTC installation on lamp signals, the company says.
The VitalNet Current Sensor is a prewired solution thatfeatures upper and lower current sensing tabs—in between are two currentmeasuring elements. Each element is able to make individual measurements that the controller can compare for diversity. In combination with voltage detection, the current sensor allows for full vital signal detection for both AC and DC currents.
Other new Ansaldo STS USA products that will be featured atRSSI include: the VitalNet Point Monitor—hand throw switch monitoring for PTC; the VitalNet WIU, a stand-alone wayside interface unit; MicroLok® II VitalNet CPU, a wayside interface unit upgrade for PTC in existing interlocking locations; and RailSentry™, a security product.