Push the envelope with autonomous freight trains?

According to the most recent earnings reports, North American Class I railroads are producing record-low operating ratios and posting record-setting earnings. These results strongly suggest that the current operating format of two-person train crews utilizing innovative safety and fuel conservation technologies is helping achieve these desired, value-added financial results. In short, it is possible for innovative technology and human-operated freight trains to exist in a complimentary fashion. The combination is currently working quite well.

NS targets 60% OR by 2021

Norfolk Southern, at its Feb. 11 Investor and Financial Analyst Conference in Atlanta, said it plans to hold capital expenditures to between 16% and 18% of revenues through 2021, as the railroad targets a 60% operating ratio by that year.

Wi-Tronix appoints Semple “Down Under” Director

Veteran railway engineering professional Dave Semple will join Wi-Tronix LLC as Director – Wi-Tronix Australia/New Zealand on March 4. Based in Sydney, Australia, Semple will lead the region’s market strategy and execution as Wi-Tronix continues to build a global client base.

Metro-North awarded federal PTC grant

The Federal Railroad Administration has awarded MTA Metro-North Railroad a grant of up to $2.3 million to support Positive Train Control (PTC) communications testing. The grant, part of the FRA’s Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program, will help Metro-North improve the performance of PTC radio spectrum utilization required to make PTC operational on the Northeast Corridor.

Duos launches truevue360™

Jacksonville, Fla.-based Duos Technologies Group Inc. has launched a new operating subsidiary, truevue360™ (tv360) through subsidiary Duos Technologies, Inc., a provider of intelligent security and analytical technology. Tv360 will focus on developing, implementing and marketing artificial intelligence (AI) and “deep learning solutions” for a broad range of industries, among them rail.

G&W looks to increased capex following strong 4Q18

Strong financials in Genesee & Wyoming’s North American Operations unit a more than offset weaker performance in the company’s Australian and U.K./European Operations. As well, the company expects to increase its capital program this year.

EC blocks Siemens-Alstom merger

The European Commission (EC) announced Feb. 6 that it has blocked the merger of Siemens Mobility and Alstom on the grounds that the two companies have failed to address its concerns over competition on the markets for signaling and high-speed rolling stock.

NMB eyes easier union “ouster” procedure

In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) issued Jan. 31, the Republican majority on the National Mediation Board seeks to create a “straightforward election process” to decertify union representation on airlines and railroads whose labor relations are governed by the Railway Labor Act (RLA).

BNSF cameras pinpoint rail, wheel problems

BNSF Railway is deploying high-speed onboard cameras capable of recording images, at speeds up to 70 mph, of rail surface defects and other visible flaws like missing bolts, according to a recent report in The Dickinson Press of Bismarck, N.D.

Siemens + Alstom: More concessions to EC

Siemens and Alstom confirmed in a statement Jan. 28 that they have offered further concessions to the European Commission (EC) in a bid to gain approval of their merger.