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Supply Side: Auxo/Genesis Rail Services; Industrial Networks; L.B. Foster; Liebherr

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
L.B. Foster has launched digital passenger information display units that improve accessibility for deaf, hard-of-hearing or visually impaired users at railroad stations and airports.

L.B. Foster has launched digital passenger information display units that improve accessibility for deaf, hard-of-hearing or visually impaired users at railroad stations and airports.

Auxo Investment Partners has acquired Genesis Rail Services, a railroad maintenance company. In addition, Industrial Networks LLC is expanding its rail yard automation system; L.B. Foster’s digital passenger information display units are now accessible for deaf, hard-of-hearing, or visually impaired rail passengers; and Liebherr-Transportation Systems will provide spare parts for Chicago Transit Authority’s 5000-series cars’ electro-hydraulic level control systems.

Founded in 2009, Genesis Rail Services offers a patented tie plate distribution system as well as maintenance-of-way, mechanical and construction services, including thermite welding, pile driving, derailment services, ballast cleaning and traffic control. It is located in Bluefield, W.Va., and Roanoke, Va. Auxo, based in Grand Rapids, Mich., is the company’s new owner.

As part of the transaction, Cody Harman, son of Genesis Rail Services founder Jeff Harman, will retain a minority ownership stake in the company and continue in his role running day-to-day operations. In addition, veteran railroader John McPherson will serve as Auxo’s Operating Partner and a Board member. (McPherson was President and Chief Operating Officer of Florida East Coast Railway from 1999 until his retirement in 2007.)

“With Auxo as a partner, our goal is to eventually provide maintenance of way and mechanical services to every Class I and Class II railroad in the country by growing and expanding our current offerings,” Cody Harman said.

“Genesis’ strong industry relationships, growing suite of innovative service offerings, and customer-centric approach position the company for continued growth, especially as railways increasingly outsource maintenance-of-way services to more cost-effective third-party providers,” Auxo Co-founder and Managing Partner Jeff Helminski said.

Advisors and lenders on the transaction included Miller Johnson PLC, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, BDO USA LLP, Marsh & McLennan, Aon Plc, Strategies Wealth Advisors, Krauter & Co., Thomas Brady & Associates and Miedema Appraisals.

Industrial Networks LLC (INet) is expanding its INetRAIL® system with a mobile- and console-based car repair billing (CRB) module for railcar maintenance facilities. The CRBill™ application generates validated BRC estimates adhering to AAR billing standards as well as custom price masters.

INet already provides railcar maintenance facilities with AEI-based yard inventory, switching, inspection and photo management to streamline facility railcar management and switching.

INet’s portable device allows repair technicians to validate rail equipment and parts with AEI and barcode scans, assess repair requirements, and now, generate the billing on the spot.

“Our effort is in response to significant railroad and shop client feedback that we extend our current INetRAIL functionality to address their complex railcar maintenance needs,” INet President Jimmy Finster.

L.B. Foster’s digital passenger information display units used in railroad stations and airports in the Americas and Europe now offer sign language options and allow text modification on high-contrast screens (watch video above).

The technology was first pilot tested at U.K.-based Network Rail. Twenty fixed and mobile units, equipped with British Sign Language (BSL) functionality and high-contrast screens, were deployed throughout passenger areas on London Euston’s station concourse and platforms to provide all customers, including those who are deaf, hard-of-hearing or visually impaired, with the information they need.

As part of the Network Rail test, L.B. Foster developed a library of pre-recorded and predefined messages that are available through its proprietary content management system, Inform Media. According to the company, the system is driven by a media generator that provides plug-in applications that support wayfinding tools and maps as well as unique video content, such as urgent disruption messages or service updates that can be translated by experienced sign interpreters. Additionally, the digital display units’ high-contrast screens allow passengers to make text larger.

The L.B. Foster displays are also available with American Sign Language (ASL) functionality for users in the United States and Canada.

Pictured: CTA 5000-series vehicles built by Bombardier. (Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Liebherr-Transportation Systems is providing spare parts for the overhaul of CTA’s electro-hydraulic level control systems, which were developed and manufactured by Liebherr for the Bombardier-built 5000-series rapid transit cars. The contract includes all maintenance and wear parts to be replaced in the 714 hydraulic units as well as the 2,856 level control actuators. Delivery has already begun and will be completed by early 2025.

The CTA service group is performing the overhaul work at the rail maintenance facility in Skokie, Ill.

The electro-hydraulic level control system allows the vehicle to adjust so the floor height corresponds with the height of the train station platform. Four hydraulic cylinders are activated per vehicle, which position the vehicle body until the exit edge matches the height of the platform, according to Liebherr. “This makes boarding and exiting for all passengers considerably easier; particularly for those with limited mobility, passengers with wheeled luggage, and families with prams and other accessories for small children,” the company said.

“We are very happy knowing that our quality and know-how will play a role in the CTA continuing to operate their vehicles safely and offer their passengers in the Chicago metropolitan area the highest level of travel comfort,” Liebherr-Transportation Systems Director Customer Support Wolfgang Böttcher said.

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