Opinion

Carl Icahn knows rail investing

Financial Edge, December 2018 Railway Age: On Oct. 22, American Railcar Industries Inc. (ARI) announced that it was being acquired by a subsidiary of ITE Rail Fund L.P. (ITE). The acquisition price was $70 per share, for a total purchase price (including debt) of $1.7 billion. That price represented a 51% premium to the previous day’s close (Oct. 19) of $46.29 per share. As ITE is privately held, ARI will become a private company at acquisition.

Getting the next generation on track

What happens when you retire? I’m sure there are few things on everyone’s minds: that extra free time to look forward to, those hobbies you will now have time for, and all the places to visit. For a company, however, losing long-standing employees to retirement can be a difficult moment. Not only do they lose a valued colleague; a firm loses valuable institutional knowledge, experience and wisdom. The gap that is left behind is tangible and can really hurt business stability and growth.

Mind the widening gap, Amtrak

In its former high-flying days, GE’s business model was praised in most MBA programs for its skills in planned, self-destructive obsolescence to cannibalize its operations; to reinvent itself to always stay ahead of the competition by pushing competitors back on their heels. Today, Sir Richard Branson evidences that business acumen quality sorely lacking at Amtrak between the political appointees indifferent to stewardship on the Board of Directors and the ranks of “cardboard senior and executive management” dutifully towing the party line.

All she wants for Christmas are her two tank trains

Not for Rachel Notley are Festivus, Yule and other neo-pagan solstice celebrations for the politically minded. No, the Alberta Premier clings to Christmas tradition, or more accurately the toy catalog of yore, with its yummy pages of pointlessly looping Lionel trains.

Hours of Service: Where we’ve been; where we need to be

Work exhaustion and lack of effectiveness to properly carry out job functions to the highest standards put people at risk on a railroad. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) makes it a strong priority to know when employees are on the clock working on the movement or function of a train and when they are not. These regulations and time tracking fall into the Hours of Service (HOS) law. They must be met within FRA standards; railroads face fines and penalties if they aren’t met.

Brightline goes Virginal. What next?

Everybody has been watching Brightline, the bold upstart operator of private-sector passenger trains in a nation where every other scheduled train is operated in the public sector, either by Amtrak or by a local transit authority. There has been a lot of news about Brightline lately, and this writer originally intended to focus on the customer experience and the railroad’s plans for the future.