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Supply Side: Alstom, Grignard Pure, Nexxiot

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
In January, Metra’s Board of Directors approved a $1.8 billion purchase of up to 500 Alstom multilevels to replace aging bi-level gallery cars.

In January, Metra’s Board of Directors approved a $1.8 billion purchase of up to 500 Alstom multilevels to replace aging bi-level gallery cars.

Alstom will receive a $3.4 million federal grant to expand its Hornell, N.Y., manufacturing facility. In addition, Grignard Pure LLC’s antimicrobial air treatment solution has received EPA approval for use in intrastate transit and transportation applications, and Nexxiot has teamed with TransRail Innovation Group (TRIG) to provide freight car monitoring.

The U.S. Economic Development Administration is awarding Alstom a $3.4 million grant to help the railcar manufacturer expand its New York facility, which will produce new car shells for Metra’s order of up to 500 multilevels for commuter rail service in Chicago. (An initial order of 200 multilevels, valued at $775.4 million, was finalized in March.) The facility expansion will create 258 new jobs and support the current 800-employee workforce, according to Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), who announced the grant on July 19.

Alstom has already committed $35 million to facility expansion.

“Now, Hornell can make essential improvements to the Shawmut Industrial Park to put Alstom’s new project building railcars for the Chicago Metra commuter rail system on track to create hundreds of good-paying jobs and inject a massive amount of economic energy for the Southern Tier,” Schumer said.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved a Section 18 Public Health Emergency Exemption for the use of Grignard Pure™, an antimicrobial air treatment solution, for intrastate transit and transportation applications in Texas, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

The approval “applies to its use in specific indoor spaces (occupied and unoccupied) when adherence to current public health guidelines is impractical or difficult to maintain (e.g., CDC guidance recommending social distancing, limited occupancy and increased ventilation),” according to Grignard Pure, LLC, which is based in New Jersey, and Luminator Technology Group (Luminator), whose Renew™ Air Treatment System can administer Grignard Pure on passenger railcars and buses. Grignard Pure provides “continuous protection against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19,” they reported.

Under the EPA exemption, Grignard Pure was approved for use in Georgia and Tennessee earlier this year.

“The EPA approval of Grignard Pure allows entities in these states to deploy science-based technology solutions to enhance safety,” Grignard Pure Co-founder and CEO Etienne Grignard said. “Through this partnership with Luminator, it will help protect transit riders and operators.”

Zurich-based Nexxiot and Calgary, Alberta-based TRIG will integrate TRIG’s proprietary rail cargo sensors into Nexxiot’s modular hardware and cloud data network to monitor railcar condition and status. Rollout is expected to begin this month.

“Our partnership with TRIG will help advance the much-needed digitization of the North American rail fleet and enable our customers to deliver freight safely, securely, on time, and at optimum quality, which is vital to keep cargo owners, shippers and their customers on time and on budget,” Nexxiot CEO Stefan Kalmund said. 

“The collaboration between Nexxiot and TRIG is enabling a monumental change in the industry to improve safety, supply chain efficiency and sustainability,” TRIG President and CEO Rob Tasker said.

The companies explained their services this way: “TRIG develops transloading solutions using digital sensors that evaluate liquid level in real time; monitor whether railcar handbrakes are on or off, and assess the open/closed status of doors, hatches and manways. The data is sent via wireless communications to the Nexxiot cloud where it is cleaned and processed by powerful algorithms to create business value for operators and cargo owners. Multiple benefits are extracted from the Nexxiot Intelligent IoT Cloud Platform for different stakeholder groups. With the location, timestamp, and asset and cargo status, it is possible to streamline operations and provide a whole new set of services for various participants and facilitators who need them.”

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