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CAF Signs Largest European Contract

December 18th, 2014

CAF has signed a contract worth more than €500M to supply commuter trains in The Netherlands, with extension options for additional trains. This is the largest contract secured by CAF in Europe both in number of cars and contractual amount, and it is one of the largest contracts in the company’s history.

The contract was awarded by NS, the Dutch government owned operator and one of the largest railway companies in Europe. The trains will run all across Holland in the so called “Sprinter” services, and feature all the latest technical developments for energy saving, environmental friendliness and safety. In addition, the trains are being fully prepared for Persons with Reduced Mobility.

It is estimated that the first trains will start to run on Dutch tracks in 2018.

CAF manufactures and supplies rolling stock and offers comprehensive global rail solutions.

CP Recognized as a Leader in Carbon Disclosure

December 18th, 2014

Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (CP) has obtained leadership status for transparency in carbon disclosure by CDP, the international, non-profit organization that provides a global system for the disclosure of environmental information. The railway was awarded a position on the Canada Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI) in the 2014 Canada Climate Change Report, which highlights companies providing a high level of transparency in their disclosure of climate-related information.

CP submitted climate change information through CDP’s global environmental disclosure system and scored 95 out of a CDP’s total of 100. Those organizations graded within the top 10% constitute the CDLI.

“It is an honor for CP to be named by the Carbon Disclosure Project as a leader on the TSX for transparency and accountability on climate issues,” said CP Vice President and Chief Risk Officer Laird Pitz. “This recognition reflects the excellent work being done on our reporting processes as we continue our drive towards more efficient, transparent and sustainable operations.”

High scores indicate the company’s decisions that will catalyze progress towards low-carbon economies. CDP disclosure scores are provided to investors and other decision makers to help them assess corporate preparedness for changing market demands and emissions regulation.

“Global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise and we face steep financial risk if we do not mitigate them,” said Paul Simpson, CDP’s CEO. “The need for data on corporate climate change impacts and strategies to reduce them has never been greater. For this reason we congratulate those businesses that have achieved a position on CDP’s Climate Disclosure Leadership Index. These companies are responding to the ever-growing demand for environmental accountability and should inspire others to follow suit.”

Short Lines Win Two Congressional Victories

December 17th, 2014

Congress has approved $2 million in funding to support the newly launched Short Line Safety Institute and the Senate has passed legislation to extend the Section 45G short line tax credit to cover all of the 2014 tax year.  Action on the tax credit was important for hundreds of small freight railroads as well as railroad customers, contractors and suppliers.

The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that Section 45G incentivizes between $300 million and $400 million in short line capital and maintenance expenditures each year, according to the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.

The industry has been working for many months to extend the credit, which expired on Dec. 31, 2013.  ASLRRA President Linda Bauer Darr said she was pleased that Congress acted to end uncertainty about the short line tax credit.  “When 45G is in effect it greatly increases investment that improves important railroad infrastructure.  American taxpayers earn a tremendous return on this investment by making over 10,000 small railroad customers more competitive, preserving connections to rural America, keeping trucks off of overcrowded highways, creating jobs, preserving the environment, and enhancing the safety of rail operations,” she said.

ASLRRA Legislative Policy Committee (LPC) Chairman Jerry Vest of Genesee & Wyoming said, “Last night by approving the House ‘extenders’ bill, the Senate provided a tremendous step forward for the short line and regional freight railroad industry, in our collective efforts to upgrade our lines.  This only happened through the great efforts of our lead sponsors, Representative Jenkins (R-KS) and Senator Rockefeller (D-WV), and the active support of 251 Members of the House and 51 of the Senate who co-sponsored this legislation. This was a significant, bipartisan recognition of the importance of short line railroads to thousands of communities and customers across our country.  The hard work of these dedicated Members of Congress, customers, suppliers, allied trade associations and hundreds of individual short lines demonstrated the importance of continued short line railroad improvements to the economic health of the Nation.  Thanks to all for this effort.”

ASLRRA Chairman Ed McKechnie noted that “quality infrastructure is not just a customer service issue, it is a safety issue.  The last week has brought two great victories for rail safety: $2 million in funding for the short line safety institute, and now an extension of 45G which will incentivize over $300 million in track investment.”

“This is a great victory for our industry, but we have no time to rest on our laurels,” noted LPC 45G Subcommittee Chairman Bob Ledoux, who works for Florida East Coast Railway. “45G is far too important for that, and it will expire again at the end of 2014.  Early in 2015 we will be back at the grindstone working to ensure that small railroads can use more of the revenue we earn to enhance the quality and safety of our infrastructure.”

STB Sets Review Timeline for NS-D&H Deal

December 17th, 2014

Comments are due Jan. 15 to the Surface Transportation Board on Norfolk Southern’s bid to acquire Delaware & Hudson Railway trackage in the Northeast.

On Nov. 17, NS and Canadian Pacific Railway announced a proposed $217 million transaction under which NS would acquire 282.55 miles of D&H rail line between Sunbury, Pa., and Schenectady, N.Y.

In a decision issued this week, the STB formally accepted the application (FD_35873_0) and set a procedural schedule for handling its review. Under its schedule, notices of intent to participate in the proceeding are due Dec. 29, comments due Jan. 15, responses/rebuttal due March 31 and a final STB decision due by May 15.

The expedited schedule was possible because of the STB’s initial finding that it will consider the deal as a “minor transaction” under its rules.

In its application, NS said it anticipates limited operating efficiencies as a result of the transaction but does expect some savings primarily from the alignment of ownership of the D&H South Lines with the majority user, NS. The railroad projects approximately $2.7 million in annual cost savings due to the elimination of haulage and trackage fees, which are currently paid to D&H for use of the South Lines and $400,000 in annual cost savings attributable to more efficient operations at NS intermodal facilities.

“Acquiring this portion of the D&H provides for a more efficient rail transportation system by consolidating freight operations with a single carrier,” said Wick Moorman, NS chief executive officer. “Aligning the D&H track with Norfolk Southern’s 22-state network allows us to connect businesses in central Pennsylvania, upstate New York and New England with domestic and international markets while enhancing the region’s competitive rail and surface transportation market.”

Bombardier Wins Maintenance Contract for Italy Trains

December 17th, 2014
The V300ZEFIRO High Speed Train. Photo: courtesy of Bombardier Transportation.

The V300ZEFIRO High Speed Train. Photo: courtesy of Bombardier.

Trenitalia, Italy’s rail transport authority, has awarded a 10-year contract to maintain its fleet of 50 V300ZEFIRO very high speed trains to a consortium of Bombardier Transportation and the transport engineering firm of AnsaldoBreda. Bombardier’s share of the maintenance contract is approximately US$191 million.

The V300ZEFIRO, known in Italy as the Frecciarossa 1000, was manufactured by a Bombardier/AnsaldoBreda partnership. The newest member of the BOMBARDIER ZEFIRO high-speed trains, it is currently the fastest train in Europe with a top commercial speed of up to 360 km/h. The train is fully interoperable across European borders and can be adapted for use on networks in many other non-European countries.

Bombardier Transportation’s Head of Services Execution of Western Europe, Middle East and Africa Jean Baptiste Eymeoud said, “Our target is to optimize the availability and reliability of the new vehicles with the adequate preventive and corrective maintenance program once the vehicles enter revenue service by mid-2015. This contract and its duration represent a great achievement for the Frecciarossa 1000 and will reinforce Bombardier’s long-term commitment to Italy.”

CSX Opens Intermodal Terminal Near Montreal

December 17th, 2014

CSX has opened a new 89-acre intermodal terminal in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield near Montreal, Quebec. The facility allows connection through the Northwest Ohio intermodal hub, offering access to markets across the United States and Canada.

The $100 million terminal features a 100,000 load capacity and environmental innovations for noise abatement and protection of downstream waterways. The facility also has three state-of-the-art rubber-tire gantry cranes, which are the first of their kind at an Eastern Canadian intermodal facility.

Clarence Gooden, CSX executive vice president and CCO, said, “CSX continues to invest in our intermodal business as a key growth driver and we look for long-term opportunities, such as increased north-south trade access outlined by the North American Free Trade Agreement.”

“Opening a terminal near Montreal creates an opportunity to build relationships with new customers on our network, expand access to new markets, and improve the efficiency of the North American supply chain,” added Gooden.

The Valleyfield terminal offers point-to-point corridor service and a hub-and-spoke model, allowing it to reach into both small- and medium-size intermodal markets.

DePallo Resigns as CEO of Los Angeles’ Metrolink

December 17th, 2014

Metrolink CEO Michael P. DePallo has announced that he will be leaving his position at the Southern California commuter rail agency, effective January 2, to pursue other opportunities. The Metrolink Board of Directors has begun the process for hiring a new permanent CEO.

“Metrolink has a talented staff and a dedicated, forward looking board that are committed to safety and innovation and will continue to do great things to enhance mobility for the Southern California region,” stated DePallo.

DePallo was employed as Metrolink CEO in October of 2012. He led the agency in addressing a number of financial challenges and established a new finance team which has stabilized the agency’s financial position. He also initiated the “Customer Connect” program that allows riders to provide direct feedback on service to Metrolink management. Under DePallo’s leadership, Metrolink is the first passenger rail system to use lower emission Tier 4 locomotives.

“Metrolink has a great history and a bright future,” said Larry McCallon, chairman of Metrolink’s Board of Directors. “This system is the backbone of Southern California’s regional system and essential to our collective future as our region continues to grow and rely on public transit. We are especially proud of this organization’s commitment to public safety as we remain on track to be the first commuter rail system in the country to implement positive train control.”

LIRR Makes Executive Staff Appointments

December 17th, 2014

Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) President Patrick A. Nowakowski has announced that three executives have been appointed to new positions on the railroad’s staff. David Kubicek has been named Senior Vice President Operations, Bruch Pohlot is now Senior Vice President Engineering, and Edward Dumas is Vice President Market Development & Public Affairs. All appointments will be effective December 29.

“I am pleased to announce these very important additions to our leadership team at the Long Island Rail Road,” said Nowakowski. “David Kubicek and Bruce Pohlot bring with them decades of railroad industry experience and Edward Dumas is a veteran of government and corporate public affairs on Long Island.”

As the new Senior Vice President Operations, Kubicek will be responsible for the Transportation, Maintenance of Equipment and Stations for LIRR. He is a former employee of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority in D.C. where he served as Chief Mechanical Officer and Deputy General Manager. He has also worked for the Dallas Area Rapid Transit and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Pohlot’s position as LIRR’s Senior Vice President Engineering will include overseeing Engineering, Department of Program Management, and also East Side Access and Special Projects. He started working for the rail industry at the Lehigh Valley Railroad, and worked at Conrail, Parsons Brinkerhoff and served as Chief Engineer at Amtrak.

Dumas, the new Vice President for Market Development and Public Affairs, will oversee the railroad’s marketing, public information, corporate communications and government affairs operations. Prior to his new position, he was a member of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s executive staff. Dumas served in senior positions in Suffolk County government and at the Long Island Power Authority.

NY/NJ Port Authority Reopens Two Stations

December 17th, 2014

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will reopen the World Trade Center and Exchange Place stations starting the weekend of December 20-21. The Port Authority Trans-Hudson Service (PATH) weekend service on the Newark-to-World Trade Center line will resume with the station openings, following the clean-up and upgraded signal work in two tunnels below the Hudson River.

Approximately 280,000 square feet of metal tunnel surfaces and equipment were power washed of salt residue left by Superstorm Sandy floodwaters and corroded metal replaced. There has also been significant progress toward installing new computerized signals with the placement of thousands of feet of new cables.

“We sincerely thank our customers for their patience and understanding during these weekend service outages and are happy to have the service back for the holidays,’’ said PATH Director and General Manager Stephen Kingsberry. “These repairs and upgrades, while tremendously inconvenient for our riders, are absolutely vital to ensuring a state-of-good repair, undoing the corrosive damage from Sandy and making critical safety upgrades to the PATH system.”

Kingsberry also praised the dedication and sacrifice of PATH employees and consultants who put in long hours since last winter helping to rebuild the rail system that serves both New Jersey and New York.

The Port Authority is also working to meet a federal mandate to install a Positive Train Control (PTC) system. Floodwaters in Sandy’s aftermath destroyed much of the substantial prior work PATH had completed on the PTC system, requiring replacement of components and setting back the agency’s schedule and budget. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) helped the Port Authority recoup those financial losses.

Work remains to be done and additional outages are expected on weekends in the second half of 2015 on both the Journal Square-33rd Street via Hoboken line and on the Newark-to-World Trade Center line. Dates and details of these outages will be provided to the public once planning work in finalized.

Ricardo’s TorqStor Being Tested on DMU Trains

December 17th, 2014

Ricardo, an engineering and product development provider, has delivered the latest generation of its TorqStor high speed flywheel energy storage technology to Artemis Intelligent Power Ltd for use on a project to demonstrate the effectiveness of flywheel energy storage on diesel multiple unit trains.

Artemis Intelligent Power Ltd, a digital hydraulics specialist, is collaborating with Bombardier Transportation and Ricardo on the UK funded DDflyTrain project, which aims to use the application of advanced high speed flywheel technology to save fuel on railways.

“This latest generation of Ricardo’s TorqStor high speed flywheel energy storage technology is a breakthrough in terms of cost reduction and light-weighting as well as in energy storage efficiency,” said David Rollafson, Ricardo’s vice president of Innovation. “It can be integrated into mechanical, electrical or – as in the case of this first rail unit – an advanced hydraulic transmission system, providing a modular energy storage solution that scales seamlessly from 250KJ to 4MJ to support a wide variety of applications without the cost of multiple variants.”

TorqStor features a permanent vacuum, saving both cost and weight. Its magnetic gear system enables the transmission of torque across a vacuum without the limitation of rotating seals or necessity for vacuum pumps. It provides an industrial design where durability and ease of serviceability are of paramount importance.

“The delivery of the first TorqStor to be deployed for a railway application is a significant milestone,” added Rollafson. “This game-changing technology offers transformative potential to reduce costs and save fuel across a range of applications from commercial on-highway trucks to mining and construction equipment.”

“We are actively seeking further opportunities to realize the benefits of TorqStor in new sectors. In each case we believe that the technology can offer manufacturers a pathway to accelerated market introduction of high speed flywheel energy storage based on the development of our evaluation prototype units such as the one delivered today to Artemis Intelligent Power,” he said.