Latest News Continued
08 February 2010

HMM lands GCT project

MTA Metro-North Railroad has awarded Hatch Mott MacDonald (HMM) an $18.9 million construction management services contract for a design/build project at Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan.   ...

LaGrange, Ill.-based Electro-Motive Diesel, Inc. said Monday it has received the the Illinois Governor's Continuous Improvement Award, marking the fourth time it has been honored for its significant achievements in protecting the environment, helping sustain the future, and improving the economy.

EMD said the company naturally generates waste as a result of its various manufacturing and rebuilding operations.  But through its efforts in the most recent award year, the company was able to further decrease its total annual waste output by 13%.

"The sustainability programs and activities that you have undertaken reflect your strong commitment to the well-being of your clients, employees and neighbors," said Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. EMD's actions, he said, "certainly serve as an example for others to follow."

emd_logo.jpgEMD said careful segregation led to a 7% reduction in the facility's landfilled industrial waste.  Additional efforts included improving ISO14001 procedures, implementing visual control enhancements, and continuing employee education.  Annual water usage was also decreased by 9%, an achievement accomplished by replacing a leaking cooling tower, and changing a fuel oil cooling system from once-through potable water to a recycling cooling tower arrangement. The EMD machining operations reduced cutting fluid disposal by 110,830 gallons, or more than 78%, by completely revamping equipment cleanout schedules, resulting in fewer emergency cleanouts.

As well, the old high-pressure sodium and self-ballasted mercury lamps previously used in the engine rebuild area were replaced with highly efficient T5HO fluorescent lighting.  The change saved 134,351 kilowatt-hours of energy, and eliminated 201,500 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, while saving $15,800 electrical expense annually and earning a $12,000 "Smart Ideas" rebate from utility company Commonwealth Edison, the company said.  An additional 33,000 kilowatt-hours and 42 billion BTUs of natural gas were saved through other conservation projects, doing away with another 5.15 millionpounds of carbon dioxide emissions. --> LaGrange, Ill.-based Electro-Motive Diesel, Inc. said Monday it has received the the Illinois Governor's Continuous Improvement Award, marking the fourth time it has been honored for its significant achievements in protecting the environment, helping sustain ...

intermodal.jpgIntermodal continues to solidify its market share of U.S.freight transportation, particularly against the trucking sector, according to an analysis released by FTR Associates.

The Nashville, Tenn.-based firm said intermodal’s share of U.S. long-haul (550 miles-plus) movements of international and domestic containerized freight was estimated to be 13.3% in the fourth quarter, up 0.2% from the third quarter and slightly above the previous high-water mark achieved in the fourth quarter of 2008.   

“Intermodal has gained share for three consecutive quarters since the freight meltdown late last year” said Lawrence Gross, FTR senior consultant and principal author of the firm’s intermodal Monthly Update.  “This latest increase has been driven by improvement in the International Intermodal sector, an indication that imports and exports are rebounding faster than domestic traffic.  The market share of the Domestic intermodal sector, which had been growing earlier in the year, was flat in the fourth quarter”.

Gross said he expects the overall positive trend for intermodal to continue.  “Provided that the railroads maintain their current high levels of service, we see a variety of factors leading to a resumption of domestic share growth even as the international sector continues to rebound,” he said.

--> Intermodal continues to solidify its market share of U.S.freight transportation, pa ...

Greenwich, Conn.-based Genesee & Wyoming Monday said its net income during the fourth quarter of 2009 was $18.3 million, down roughly 28% from $25.3 million in the comparable 2008 quarter. The company’s earnings per share for the quarter were 44 cents, based on 41.3 million average shares outstanding, compared with 70 cents per share in the 2008 quarter based on an average 36.45 million shares.

The company said its quarterly results included “gains on the sale of assets of $0.8 million ($0.5 million after-tax, or $0.01 per diluted share).  Fourth-quarter results also included a tax benefit of approximately $1.0 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, as a result of applying GWI's full-year effective income tax rate to results for the first nine months of 2009."

At the close of trading Monday on the New York Stock Exchange, shares of Genesee & Wyoming had fallen 22 cents, or 0.8%, to $29.10, giving back gains the stock had notched earlier in the day.

--> Greenwich, Conn.-based Genesee & Wyoming Monday said its net income during the fourth quarter of 2009 was $18.3 million, down roughly 28% from $25.3 million in the comparable 2008 quarter. The company’s earnings per share for the quarter were 44 cen ...

An in-house Amtrak study, entitled "Amtrak Fleet Strategy," has framed the need to upgrade its aging passenger rolling stock at cost of $11 billion (2009 dollars) during a 14-year period. Amtrak also projects follow-up needs for another 16 years beyond the initial period.

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In a 99-page document, Amtrak has set forth its preference for “recapitalizing [its] entire fleet over a period of time in a manner thatwill not only provide new and modern equipment for our customers but will also develop and sustain the domestic production capacity needed for the long-term viability of intercity passenger service in the United States.”

Amtrak breaks down its initial replacement needs into three categories: 1,200 passenger cars (780 single-level cars, 420 bilevel cars); 334 locomotives (70 electric engines, 264 diesel units); and 25 high speed rail train sets. “This is just a start of the process. In order to meet the lifing policies, further acquisition programs will run indefinitely,” Amtrak adds.

“It is no secret that there has been very limited investment in new passenger equipment by Amtrak in recent years,” the railroad says. “The result is that Amtrak’s fleet is generally quite old, which creates numerous financial, marketing, and operating challenges.” The fleet’s age ranges from Amtrak’s Acela consists, 9-to-10 years old in 2009, to its aptly named 92-car Heritage fleet, inherited by Amtrak from private carriers and logging in 53-to-61 years of service.

Industry observers have criticized Amtrak for being too slowto initiate any equipment upgrade program, notwithstanding strong fiscal support offered it by the Obama Administration in 2009. But Amtrak spokesman Cliff Black notes, “A fleet plan cannot be executed in a short period of time, despite the hopes and wishes of the traveling public. This process takes some time. Ultimately, it’s an ongoing process, and it’s begun in earnest. It will continue to evolve into additional acquisitions in future years.”

As a start, the study notes, “At the time of this writing, there are two active acquisition projects under way within Amtrak, and a third is in development.”  The projects include: a “single level long distance vehicle project” to replace the Heritage fleet; replacement of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor workhorses, the AEM-7 electric locomotives; and a potential purchase for additional bilevel cars to first supplement, then eventually replace, its existing bilevel corridor (Amtrak California) fleet.

Among other options, Amtrak affirms its long-rumored interest in diesel multiple-unit (DMU) cars, though the study carefully lists numerous caveats. “If Amtrak is to take a leadership on a DMU concept,” the study says, “there must be sufficient vehicles required to justify a new product development launch. Ideally this should be a vehicle requirement ofover 100 cars."

--> An in-house Amtrak study, entitled "Amtrak Fleet Strategy," has framed the need to upgrade its aging passenger rolling stock at cost of $11 billion (2009 dollars) during a 14-year period. Amtrak also projects follow-up needs for another 16 years bey ...

Montreal’s Agence Metropolitaine de Transport (AMT) Friday said it had chosen literal hometown candidate Bombardier Transportation with a three year, C$34 million (US$31 million) contract to provide locomotive and passenger car maintenance.

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Under the contract, Bombardier will be fully responsible for the maintenance of rolling stock for the Dorion-Rigaud, Blainville-St-Jerome, and Delson-Candiac lines during the next three years. Bombardier says its working team will gradually mobilize itself over the next few months with plans to take over all maintenance on July 1.

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"The Montreal commuter rail system is undergoing an important transformation and we are very pleased to be able to contribute in collaboration with the AMT, to one of this continent's most important publictransit agencies," said Raymond Bachant, president of Bombardier Transportation, North America.

Added Ann MacDonald, vice president, Business Developmentand Communications, Bombardier Transportation North America, "By winning this bid, we are reiterating our commitment to Montreal and its mass transit system. We are delighted to be able to work with the AMT again." 

--> Montreal’s Agence Metropolitaine de Transport (AMT) Friday said it had chosen literal hometown candidate Bombardier Transportation with a three year, C$34 million (US$31 million) contract to provide locomotive and passenger car maintenance. ...

Light rail transit proponents in metropolitan Los Angeles Thursday notched a victory when the Expo Construction Authority approved Phase II of the Expo Line; the second phase, a 7-mile, $1.5 billion addition, would extend the line from Culver City to Santa Monica, Calif. Phase I is currently under construction, linking Culver City with downtown Los Angeles. The Expo Line roughly parallels Interstate 10.

--> Light rail transit proponents in metropolitan Los Angeles Thursday notched a victory when the Expo Construction Authority approved Phase II of the Expo Line; the second phase, a 7-mile, $1.5 billion addition, would extend the line from Culver City to Santa ...

Railway Age is now accepting entries for its annual Short Line/Regional Railroad of the Year competition. Short lines and regionals—and there are more than 500 of them—are invited to submit entries describing outstanding achievement in one or a combination of areas.

“U.S. and Canadian short lines and regional railroads have done their part, and more, in keeping goods moving during an economic downturn that was the most severe in recent memory,” says Managing Editor Douglas John Bowen. “But in good years or bad, they also excel at numerous tasks, including turnaround situations, consistent excellence, innovation in operations or maintenance, marketing, customer service, enhanced productivity, community relations, and safety improvement. Add a growing emphasis on a sound economic/environmental business package mix, and you have a business sector that continues to innovate.”

Small roads in Mexico, the U.S., and Canada are eligible for an award (and railroads can even nominate themselves). The 2010 winners will be awarded specially designed plaques at the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association Annual Convention in Orlando, Fla., at ASLRRA’s gala dinner Tuesday, May 4. Articles describing their achievements will appear in Railway Age’s April 2010 issue, which will be distributed at the show. Railway Age will work with the winners to publicize the awards in online and national media, as well as any in-house websites available.

“Award winners have ranged from large regionals to small short lines,” says Bowen, “and we’ve recognized and honored carriers ranging from 20 miles to nearly 2,000 miles. In most years, including last year, separate awards have been given for regional and short line carriers.”

Railway Age's 2009 Short Line Railroad of the Year Award honored Wilmington, Calif.-based Pacific Harbor Line, Inc.; the 2009 Regional Railroad of the Year Award recognized Milwaukee-based Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. W&S also took home 2001 Regional Railroad of the Year honors.

Submit your entries to: Douglas John Bowen, Managing Editor, Railway Age, 345 Hudson Street, 12th Floor, New York, N.Y., 10014. E-mail: dbowen@sbpub.com. Fax: (212) 633-1863. Entries should contain the name, position, and contact information of the nominator and an approximately 500-word description of the achievement(s) of the nominated railroad. (Longer and short descriptions are admissible; 500 words is only a guideline.) Entry forms are not essential, but may be obtained from Bowen by fax or e-mail. The entry deadline is Friday, March 5, 2010, so please don’t delay.

 

--> Railway Age is now accepting entries for its annual Short Line/Regional Railroad of the Year competition. Short lines and regionals—and there are more than 500 of them—are invited to submit entries describing outstanding achievement in one ...

U.S. rail carloads for the week ended Jan. 30 totaled 278,438, up 7.0% from the same week last year--but that's comparing one recession week with another. When compared with the corresponding week of 2008, the numbers are down 12.7%.

The Association of American Railroads reports that intermodal traffic in the latest week totaled 203,952 trailers and containers, up 7.5% from year ago, but down 9.7% compared with 2008.

Thirteen of the 19 carload commodity groups were up from last year, led by nonmetallic minerals at a hefty 105.4%. Other notable increases included motor vehicles and equipment , up 45.7%, and grain, up 41.9%. Year-over-year weekly commodity declines from 2009 were slight.

Canadian railroads reported volume of 69,023 cars for the week, down 8.0% from last year, and 42,940 trailers or containers, up 1.5%. Mexican railroads reported originated volume of 13,503 cars, up 20.8%, and 6,505 trailers or containers, up 54.2%.

Combined North American rail volume for the first four weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads totaled 1,393,491 carloads, up 3.2% from last year, and 1,003,936 trailers and containers, up 3.5%.

--> U.S. rail carloads for the week ended Jan. 30 totaled 278,438, up 7.0% from the same week last year--but that's comparing one recession week with another. When compared with the corresponding week of 2008, the numbers are down 12.7%. ...

Wall Street sources said the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which has $12.6 billion of outstanding debt, will find it more costly to borrow new money following the disclosure this week that it faces an unexpected new shortfall in revenue.

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That shortfall came to light when the MTA revised downward, by $350 million, its December estimate for revenue from a special payroll tax that was enacted to prune the agency's deficit.

The news led Moody's Investors Service to downgrade MTA's credit rating by one notch to A3. Moody's said the outlook is "stable."

The MTA delayed a $600 million offering of Build America Bonds planned for Wednesday. The MTA is already planning service and staff cuts.

In its new disclosure, the agency said: "The MTA is considering a variety of cost-saving and other measures in addition to those proposed in the December plan to deal with the anticipated additional revenue shortfalls in its operating budget."

 

 

 

 

 

--> Wall Street sources said the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which has $12.6 billion of outstanding debt, will find it more costly to borrow new money following the disclosure this week that it faces an unexpected new shortfall in reven ...
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