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CN Net Income Decreases in Third Quarter

October 28th, 2016

Canadian National Railway (CN) has reported that net income in the 2016 third quarter, which ended on September 30, 2016, was C$972 million, or C$1.25 per diluted share, compared with the 2015 third quarter net income of C$1,007 million, or C$1.26 per diluted share.

“With solid execution from our industry-leading operating team and a network-wide focus on providing quality service, CN delivered outstanding results in the third quarter while facing a still sluggish North American and global economy,” stated Luc Jobin, CN president and CEO.

Revenues for the third quarter of 2016 were down by 6 percent to C$3,014 million, and carloadings declined by 4 percent in the quarter.

Operating expenses dropped by 7 percent to C$1,607 million, and operating income decreased five percent to C$1,407 million. The third quarter operating ratio reached a record 53.3 percent, a 0.5-point improvement over the 2015 third quarter’s performance.

“Despite shifting traffic demands, including a delayed Canadian grain harvest, we remained flexible and service-focused,” added Jobin. “We also continued to reinvest in our business and infrastructure, investments that are driving ongoing safety, service and productivity improvements, while we maintained our commitment to providing the long-term value that helps CN and its customers succeed.”

CN is raising its financial outlook, expecting its 2016 adjusted diluted EPS to be up approximately 1 percent versus last year’s adjusted diluted EPS of C$4.44 (compared with its July 25, 2016, financial outlook calling for 2016 adjusted EPS to be in line with last year).

Wabtec Reports Results, Updates Guidance

October 28th, 2016

Wabtec Corporation has reported results for the 2016 third quarter, including sales of $676 million. Changes in foreign exchange rates reduced total net sales by $18 million compared to last year’s third quarter.

Higher sales in the Transit Group were more than offset by lower sales in the Freight Group, which were mainly affected by lower revenues from train control-related equipment and services, a decrease in rail traffic volumes, and lower industry deliveries of new freight cars and locomotives.

“Our transit business continues to perform well, while the freight markets remain challenging due to overall rail industry conditions and the sluggish global economy,” said Raymond T. Betler, Wabtec president and CEO.

Income from operations was 17.8 percent of sales, for a total of $120 million. Adjusted income from operations was $123 million, or 18.3 percent of sales, which excluded expenses of about $3.2 million related to the pending acquisition of Faiveley Transport.

Earnings per diluted share were $.91 for the quarter. Excluding expenses of approximately 3 cents per diluted share due to the expenses for the acquisition of Faiveley Transport, adjusted earnings per diluted share were $.94.

“We have continued to focus on controlling what we can by aggressively reducing costs, generating cash and investing in our growth opportunities, including acquisitions,” Betler added. “At the same time, we are progressing toward completion of the Faiveley Transport acquisition and remain excited by its growth and improvement opportunities.”

Wabtec, basing its observations on its year-to-date results and outlook for the rest of the year, has updated its full-year 2016 earnings guidance for earnings per diluted share to be $4.00 to $4.04, with revenues now expected to be down approximately 12 percent compared to 2015. This guidance does not include costs for restructuring activities or expenses related to the Faiveley Transport acquisition.

Bombardier Begins Serbian Rail Project

October 28th, 2016

Bombardier Transportation has started work on phase one of its first Serbian rail control project, which is the upgrade to the Serbian section of the Belgrade-Bar (Montenegro) Line. The project on the 77.6 km Resnik-Valjevo section is being delivered by the Bombardier Transportation (Signal) Ltd Joint Venture to Russian Railways (RZD) International, which is undertaking the upgrade on behalf of Serbian Railways (Infrastruktura železnice Srbije).

“We are pleased to be expanding into Serbia and contributing to the modernization of the country’s railway infrastructure, which will bring important safety enhancements and reduced travel times for passengers,” remarked Peter Cedervall, president, Rail Control Solutions Division, Bombardier Transportation. “In addition, this project is further recognition of our role as a trusted supplier across the 1520 mm gauge market and we look forward to working together with RZD International, as well as further building on our vehicle presence in Serbia for locomotive operation.”

The 287 km Serbian section of the Belgrade-Bar Line is the longest rail connection on the country’s network. The signaling project is the first step towards the complete modernization of the Serbian line in 40 years of operation.  The new signaling and telecommunications products will increase safety and will support increased train speeds from 50 to 120 km/hr.

This is also the first project to start after the Memorandum of Understanding signed in June between RZD International and Bombardier Transportation for close cooperation on developing and implementing joint railway infrastructure projects in the international market. The companies plan to collaborate on technologies and share experience within railway infrastructure construction, signaling and project management.

Greenbrier Posts Fourth Quarter, Full Year Results

October 27th, 2016

The Greenbrier Companies, Inc. has reported financial results for its fourth fiscal quarter and full year ending August 31, 2016, with net earnings for the quarter at $33.6 million, or $1.06 per diluted share. Revenue for the quarter was $595.2 million. Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $104.4 million, or 17.5 percent of revenue.

“We delivered strong results for the fourth quarter and fiscal 2016. We ended the year with a strong balance sheet, ample liquidity and very little net debt,” said Greenbrier Chairman and CEO William A. Furman. “This positions Greenbrier to continue to invest internationally in high ROIC markets, as well as successfully navigate through less robust North American market conditions.”

“We addressed industry challenges during fiscal 2016 as we encountered a weaker market in North America,” added Furman. “Our employees successfully executed our plan for the year. We appreciate their hard work along with the confidence and trust of our customers as we have diversified and grown internationally.”

As of August 31, 2016, Greenbrier’s railcar backlog was 27,500 units with an estimated value of $3.19 billion (average unit sale price of $116,000). The backlog reflects a 1,200 unit reduction resulting from customer settlements.

During the fourth fiscal quarter, Greenbrier received orders for 2,300 new railcars with a value of more than $200 million, or an average price of approximately $87,000 per railcar. New railcar deliveries for the quarter totaled 4,600 units, compared to 4,300 units for the quarter ending May 31, 2016.

“Entering fiscal 2017, our diversified backlog provides us with strong visibility, while we remain adaptable and prepared for market recovery and growth,” continued Furman. “Recently, we worked with customers to resolve commercial terms related to 1,200 sand cars. Under these arrangements, Greenbrier received meaningful monetary and other valuable economic consideration. Our deep customer relationships are advantageous in the current market conditions as we work to achieve mutually beneficial solutions.”

For the full fiscal year, Greenbrier reported net earnings of $183.2 million, or $5.73 per diluted share, on a record revenue of $2.68 billion and adjusted EBITDA was a record $474 million or 17.7 percent of revenue. New railcar deliveries totaled 20,300 units, and orders totaled 7,500 units valued at $700 million across a broad range of railcar types.

“In the year ahead, a moderating railcar replacement cycle in North America will favorably position well-capitalized companies like Greenbrier to seize opportunities in the market, which often emerge suddenly,” concluded Furman. “We remain committed to our overall strategy of investing for future growth and generating long-term value for our shareholders with an emphasis on solid ROIC.”

Greenbrier believes that, based on current business trends, industry forecasts and production schedules, 2017 revenue will be $2 to $2.4 billion, diluted EPS will be in the range of $3.25 to $3.75, and deliveries will be approximately 14,000 to 16,000 units.

U.S. Weekly Intermodal Traffic Up 2.6 Percent

October 27th, 2016

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) has reported that U.S. rail traffic for the week ending October 22, 2016, totaled 544,092 carloads and intermodal units, a 1.7 percent decrease compared to the same week in 2015.

U.S. carloads, which totaled 268,551 for the week, were down by 5.8 percent compared to the same week last year. U.S. intermodal volume for the week totaled 275,541 units, an increase of 2.6 percent compared to 2015.

Three of the 10 carload commodity groups that are tracked by the AAR posted an increase for the week ending October 22, 2016, when compared with the same week in 2015. Miscellaneous carloads were up by 16.5 percent to 10,852 carloads; grain was up 4.6 percent to 26,442 carloads; and nonmetallic minerals, were up 0.1 percent to 37,324 carloads.

Petroleum and petroleum products showed the largest decrease in the commodity groups, with a drop of 24.4 percent to 10,037 carloads. Metallic ores and metals declined by 12.3 percent to 19,115 carloads, and coal dropped 10.5 percent to 90,272 carloads.

For the first 42 weeks of 2016, U.S. rail volume totaled 21,418,645 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 6.7 percent when compared to last year. Carloads, with a total of 10,532,634, were down by 10.2 percent, and intermodal, with a total of 10,886,011, dropped by 3.1 percent.

On the 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads, combined North American rail volume for the week ending October 22, 2016, was 709,790 carloads and intermodal units, down 0.9 percent.

For the first 42 weeks of 2016, North American rail volume was down 6.3 percent, with a total of 28,036,119 carloads and intermodal units.

Metra Rehabilitates Pullman Station

October 27th, 2016
(left to right) Historic Pullman Foundation President Shymanski , Alderman Beale and Metra's Orseno at the new warming house at  111th St./Pullman Station. Photo: courtesy of Metra.

(left to right) Historic Pullman Foundation President Shymanski, Alderman Beale and Metra's Orseno at the new warming house at 111th St./Pullman Station. Photo: courtesy of Metra.

Metra, the operator of the Northeast Illinois commuter rail system, has completed the $250,000 rehabilitation of the 111th Street/Pullman Station. The project included the replacement and painting of the new warming house in the colors of an historic Pullman train car to commemorate the neighborhood’s historic significance to the railroad industry.

Also included in the rehabilitation project ,which started in June, was the replacement of platform deck boards; removal of an unused portion of the platform; replacement of the stairway to the platform and the structure over the stairway; new LED lights, heaters and an electronic device charging station in the warming house; and other cosmetic improvements.

“We like to say our stations are the gateways to the communities we serve, and we’re excited to have enhanced this gateway to the Pullman National Monument,” said Metra Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno. “We hope it will help encourage tourism to this unique and historic site.”

Metra painted the warming house to resemble a Pullman Palace Car Company railcar that was manufactured in the South Side neighborhood in 1898 for use on the Pennsylvania Limited between Chicago and New York in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. That car began its life as “Libertas” but it was renamed “Gertrude Emma” after the wife of one of the founders of the Conway Scenic Railroad in New Hampshire, which acquired and restored the car in 1975 and still uses it for tourist excursions.

Alderman Anthony Beale of the 9th ward stated, “With the designation of the National Monument, one of the world’s greenest manufacturing plants and historically significant homes, we are delighted Metra is making Pullman a quality transit destination that everyone can reach.”

“The Pullman Station improvements are a significant part of welcoming visitors to the Pullman National Monument and the Historic Pullman Community,” remarked Historic Pullman Foundation President Michael Shymanski. “It is fresh and inviting and a critical wayfinding component. Metra is the most direct link between the loop and the Pullman National Monument with multiple museums between Millennium Station and Pullman.”

The project is part of Metra’s 2016 construction program, which includes approximately $200 million in infrastructure improvements.

Cubic to Supply Electronic Gates for UK’s Northern Stations

October 27th, 2016

Cubic Transportation Systems (CTS), a provider of technology and services to the transportation industry, was awarded a contract from the U.K.’s Northern railway to supply electronic gates at its stations.

Northern, the U.K.’s largest train operator outside London, will receive Cubic’s next-generation, electronic gating system at eight stations, with CTS installing a total of 52 gates. The gates are equipped with ITSO-compliant smart card and barcode reading capabilities, in addition to accepting magnetic tickets.

CTS completed the installation at two stations – Wigan Wallgate and Liverpool Lime Street – meeting the operator’s requested September 30 deadline. The remaining six stations – Salford Cresent (Manchester), Bolton, Blackburn, Bradford Forster Square, Halifax and Harrogate – are scheduled to be completed by the end of March 2017.

“We are proud to have been entrusted with this important contract for Northern and strengthen our foothold in the U.K. market,” said Roger Crow, Cubic Transportation Systems Europe’s executive vice president and managing director. “We delivered the first two stations in record time, thanks to a true team effort, and we’re looking forward to delivering the remaining stations in an equally efficient manner.”

Northern Managing Director Alex Hynes remarked, “We are delighted to have Cubic on board, and with the dedication of the entire team, including Network Rail and our contractors, they were able to meet our requested deadline and complete the gate installation of these first two stations in less than two months.”

Cubic Transportation Systems (CTS) is a business unit of Cubic Corporation.

First Tunnel Completed for LA Metro Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail Project

October 27th, 2016

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) held a breakthrough event to celebrate the completed digging for the first tunnel by the tunnel boring machine (TBM) “Harriet” for the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Light Rail Project. The tunnel project includes twin tunnels that will connect the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project’s three underground stations.

The TBM took six months to dig the tunnel, beginning at the future Crenshaw/Expo Station and ending at the Leimert Park Station. Harriet advanced about 60 feet a day through soil and rock under Crenshaw Boulevard.

Metro Board Chair and Duarte City Council Member John Fasana said, “This is one more milestone for this very important link in our fast-growing transit network. It won’t be long until we’re out here celebrating the beginning of rail service in this vital corridor.”

At the event, Metro CEO Phillip Washington announced that Metro and contractor Walsh Shea Corridor Constructors have committed to completing the Crenshaw Line in 2019.

“This agreement provides a partnership framework for Metro and its contractors to work through project changes to deliver projects to the public within the expected, and possibly accelerated, timeline,” stated Washington. “When the Crenshaw/LAX Rail Line opens in 2019, the real winners will be the traveling public as the Metro rail system offers more mobility options to Los Angeles county residents.”

The TBM, which weighs 950 tons, has a diameter of 21½ feet and is 400 feet long, will now be taken apart and moved back to the Expo construction yard at Crenshaw and Exposition Boulevards. There, it will be lowered back underground, reassembled and will begin digging the tunnel for the northbound tracks.

Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board First Vice Chair Eric Garcetti remarked, “After the demise of the streetcars, Los Angeles residents dreamed and fought for years for a return of rail transit to the Crenshaw corridor. That dream is now becoming a reality and we will soon have easy access via transit to some of our city’s oldest neighborhoods and Los Angeles International Airport.”

The light rail line extension will include eight new stations to serve the Crenshaw, Inglewood and LAX communities and accommodations for an additional station at 96th Street that will offer transfers to the future LAX people mover that will serve airport terminals. The $2.058-billion project is funded largely by Measure R approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008.

The Crenshaw/LAX Rail Project will run an 8.5-mile route between the Expo Line and Green Line. Excavation of the three underground stations is completed and construction of the six bridges is underway. Platforms are rising for the at-grade stations at Fairview Heights, Downtown Inglewood and Westchester/Veterans and installation of the overhead power system continues.

Siemens to Electrify Ecuador Metro Line 1

October 26th, 2016

The Acciona-Odebrecht construction consortium has chosen Siemens to electrify the Metro Line 1 in Ecuador’s capital of Quito, one of the highest metro systems worldwide. Line 1 will provide direct routes from north (El Labrador) and south (Quitumbe) of the city into the downtown area and historical city center. The line is scheduled to begin passenger service in summer 2019.

The city’s first metro line will run over 20 kilometers through the capital of Ecuador and operate at an elevation of more than 2,800 meters above sea level. Siemens will be responsible for the complete electrification of the new double-track Metro Line 1 that will connect the northern and southern parts of the city with 15 stations.

The scope of the project includes approximately 46 kilometer of rigid catenary, 6 kilometer of flexible catenary, 11 traction power supply stations, 29 auxiliary power supply stations, and the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system for monitoring and controlling the traction power supply.

The new rail system is expected to transport more than 350,000 passengers a day when completed. The mass transit system is expected to reduce CO2 emissions in the city by up to 30,000 tons a year.

Hitachi Delivers New Railcars to Miami-Dade County

October 26th, 2016
Hitachi Rail Italy presents new railcar for Miami-Dade County. Photo: courtesy of  Hitachi Rail Italy.

Hitachi Rail Italy presents new railcar for Miami-Dade County. Photo: courtesy of Hitachi Rail Italy.

In a ceremony at the Hitachi Rail Italy factory in Medley, Fla., attended by Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez and the Japanese Consul General Ken Okaniwa, Hitachi Rail Italy presented the first new Metro vehicle for Miami-Dade County. The ceremony saw the unveiling of the first two cars of train number 1 (out of 68 trains in total) that Hitachi Rail Italy is manufacturing for the City in Florida.

“Fully respecting the contractual deadline, we have delivered a product which we particularly care for, and not only for commercial reasons.” said Maurizio Manfellotto, CEO of Hitachi Rail Italy. “The award of this contract marked the return of Hitachi Rail Italy to the United States after about ten years of absence from the heavy rail market. Therefore it is highly symbolic and encouraging for all of us.”

The contract with Miami-Dade Metro is worth approximately $300 million. The contract is for a total of 68 trains, including136 cars. Each vehicle is 45.8 m long, 3.11 m wide and can reach a max speed of 75 km/h. The carbody structure is stainless steel, and the interior fittings are light alloy with integrated lighting and solutions of modular assembly.

“We are focusing on the American market– because we can offer a range of products, from driverless metros to traditional metros, with a variety of innovative solutions to meet the requirements of customers,” said Andrea Pepi, head of Hitachi Rail Italy strategies and sales division.