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RBMN Promotes Three to VP Positions

June 29th, 2016

Reading and Northern Railroad (RBMN) has promoted Erik Yoder, Justin Levan and Lieutenant  Matthew Johnson to vice president level positions.

Yoder has been named vice president maintenance of way, replacing Levan who has been named vice president special projects. Johnson has been promoted to vice president asset management and community affairs.

Yoder joined the company in 2011 as maintenance of way administrator, and in 2013 he was promoted to assistant vice president maintenance of way. In October 2014, he transferred to assistant vice president operations to learn more about the railroad before returning to assistant vice president maintenance of way in May 2015.

Before joining RBMN, Yoder was employed for 6 years as a sixth grade school teacher and for 4 years as a foreman for an excavation contractor.

Levan joined RBMN in 2004 as an equipment operator in the maintenance of way department. In 2012, he was promoted to assistant vice president cost control, maintenance of way, and in 2013 he was promoted to vice president maintenance of way.

Before joining RBMN, Levan was employed by Wexcon as an equipment operator for more than 3 years.

Johnson joined the company in January 2005 as police consultant. He was transferred to police officer in May 2005 then promoted to sergeant in February 2009, then to assistant vice president asset management/lieutenant in February 2013, then to senior assistant vice president asset management/lieutenant in February 2016.

Prior to working at RBMN, Johnson served as a deputy sheriff and as a police officer.

“These promotions reflect the ever changing nature of our business. The fact is our railroad is growing fast. Business is up and in 2016 we have acquired the Humboldt Industrial Park and the Locust Valley Line,” said Andy Muller, Jr., chief executive officer.

“As we adapt to our new business and increased infrastructure we recognized that we needed to better align our resources. Since Reading & Northern always likes to look within to find capable people for our management positions, we were delighted to recognize that Erik, Justin and Matt were already in place and ready to do the jobs,” Muller concluded.

NS & UP Award Rail Joint Contracts to Koppers

June 29th, 2016

Koppers Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Koppers Holdings Inc., has signed long-term contracts with Norfolk Southern Railway Company (NS) and Union Pacific Railroad (UP) for bonded rail joint assemblies. The contracts, three years with NS and five years with UP, will increase Koppers’ market share for a critical maintenance-of-way component.

“These contracts will collectively represent more than a 20 percent year-over-year sales increase in our rail joint business, and are a recognition of the quality products that we supply to this market,” said Thomas Loadman, senior vice president, Koppers Railroad Products and Services. “While our core focus in our railroad business continues to be the production of high quality wooden crossties, we will continue to look for additional ways to build around that strength with other maintenance-of-way products and services.”

Koppers also provides other types of rail joint bar and track component products along with treated railroad crossties and other treated wood products and services to NS and UP.

The bonded rail joint assemblies are produced at Koppers’ facility in Huntington, W. Va.

Proposed LA County Tax Ballot Includes Funding for Foothill Gold Line

June 29th, 2016

A proposed “Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan,” a new half-cent sales tax and an extension of Measure R half-cent sales tax for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), will appear on the county’s November 2016 ballot.

If approved by voters, the plan lays out 100 priority projects that could be funded by the more than $120 billion in anticipated revenues, including the completion of the Foothill Gold Line from Glendora to the county line in Claremont.

The Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority was created to continue the design, contracting and construction of the Los Angeles to Pasadena Metro Gold Line (formerly the Pasadena Blue Line), which had been suspended by Metro.

More information about Metro’s “Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan” can be found on Metro’s website.

November Ballot to Include Sound Transit Plans for Light Rail Extension

June 28th, 2016

Seattle area’s Sound Transit Board has unanimously voted on a final Sound Transit 3 (ST3) ballot measure for November. The plan’s proposals include completion of a regional light rail network that includes a total of 62 miles of light rail with stations serving 37 additional areas. Also, improvements introduced by the ST3 Plan would speed up most of the extensions by two to five years compared with the draft plan released by the Board in March.

If the ballot passes in November, light rail to Everett via Paine Field would open five years earlier, extensions to downtown Redmond and Federal Way would be completed four years earlier, and the Ballard, West Seattle and Tacoma extensions would open three years sooner.

ST3 would also build light rail between South Kirkland, Bellevue and Issaquah and extend the line linking Seattle, Tukwila, Kent, Auburn, Sumner, Puyallup, Tacoma and Lakewood to reach Joint Base Lewis-McChord and DuPont. The Tacoma Link light rail line would extend from Hilltop to Tacoma Community College.

The ST3 Plan’s $53.8 billion in investments would be funded through new voter-approved sales, MVET and property taxes, with estimated additional $200 annual or $17 monthly costs for an adult in the Sound Transit District.

ShipXpress Provides Logistics Solutions to Four Railroads

June 28th, 2016

Cloud-based software solutions provider ShipXpress Inc. has announced that its RailSync® product suite has been selected by four railway companies to manage railway logistics. RailSync® is now being used by the Sidney & Lowe Railroad Inc., Belvidere & Delaware River Railway Company, Black River and Western Railroad, and Huntsville & Madison County Railroad Authority.

The software solution is a transportation management system that monitors local and interline rail activity while providing control over customer service administration and management of several railroad functionalities.

“We are very pleased to have SLGG, BDRV, BRW, and HMCR on board with us,” said ShipXpress CEO Charith Perera. “Their transition was seamless thanks to our comprehensive training program and included 24/7 support. They can collaborate with their customers in real-time by reporting events via unlimited inexpensive tablet devices at no additional cost. With the availability of actionable graphical information via mobile access, they are freed from their desktops and able to focus on the business at hand.”

RailSync®, which is designed exclusively to address the requirements of short line and regional railroads, is a, SaaS platform system with an accompanying mobile application, allowing Mobile Command to be accessed remotely from all iOS and Android smartphones. The solution provides real-time access that enables users to minimize training time and product implementation efforts with an interface with 24/7 live customer support.

R. J. Corman Railroad Group President & CEO King to Retire

June 28th, 2016

Craig King has announced that he will retire from his position as R. J. Corman Railroad Group president and chief executive officer and will assume a seat on the company’s Board of Directors. The date of King’s transition will be announced after a successor is named by the Board of Trustees, which will begin considerations for a new president and chief executive officer immediately.

After a 35 year career with CSX Transportation, King was selected by R. J. Corman’s founder Rick Corman to fill the position before Corman’s passing in 2013.

“Rick Corman was a personal friend of mine for years. I am proud to have been able to continue his legacy and lead the company that he worked so hard to build. I greatly value the relationships I have built with our employees, customers, and suppliers. With the help of a great leadership team, we have accomplished more than I had hoped to during my time with R. J. Corman,” said King.

King’s leadership was influential in the continuous expansion of the company, which grew from 1,065 to 1,646 employees, opened 10 new R. J. Corman Railroad Switching Company locations, added 135 employees to the railroad construction and emergency response teams of its R. J. Corman Railroad Services Company, and acquired two new short lines that began operations in Texas and the Carolinas and added 104 miles of track.

In April 2013, King helped launch the R. J. Corman Signaling Company, which now consists of 56 employees. Additionally, R. J. Corman acquired the Roadway Worker Training company in 2014, which included the hiring of 48 new employees and added flagging and training services.

“Craig has served an integral role during his tenure with our company,” said Chairman of the Board of Directors Fred Mudge. “We thank him for providing invaluable leadership during the transition after our founder’s passing, and for the contributions he has made toward R. J. Corman’s success. With Craig’s guidance and operational focus, we have solidified the strong foundation that was instilled by our founder and recognized significant strategic growth.”

GREX Names Euston VP Engineering

June 27th, 2016

Georgetown Rail Equipment Company (GREX) has appointed Todd Euston vice president of engineering.

Euston has worked in the railway industry for 17 years, most recently as director of inspection technology at GREX.  Throughout his career, he has worked with North American and International clients on rail inspection, rail grinding, rail life modeling, track geometry, and development of software applications for data analysis and maintenance management.

His work includes university research, consulting, and industry service supplier, and his areas of expertise include track analysis, railroad data management systems, and inspection technology development.

Euston earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Delaware. He is a member of AREMA Committee 2 for Track Measurement and Assessment Systems and a registered professional engineer in Pennsylvania.

“We are very happy to promote Todd Euston as part of our team here at GREX, and have full confidence that he will guide our engineering department both competently and with great success in the coming periods,” said GREX President and Chief Executive Officer Wiggie Shell.

“As GREX continues to strive for new ways to serve the rail industry, the engineering department will continue to assure that GREX products will be cutting edge, innovative ways for our customers to improve their services and make their operations more efficient. The GREX team will make that happen,” added Shell.

Bombardier Supplying Locomotives to Akiem

June 27th, 2016
BOMBARDIER TRAXX Locomotive for Akiem. Photo: courtesy of Bombardier.

BOMBARDIER TRAXX Locomotive for Akiem. Photo: courtesy of Bombardier.

Akiem, a European rolling stock leasing company, and Bombardier Transportation have signed a framework agreement for 52 BOMBARDIER TRAXX alternating current (AC) and multi-system (MS) locomotives with options for additional call offs. The agreement is conditional upon financial closing related to Akiem Holding.

The first batch of 26 locomotives ordered from this framework agreement is valued at a list price of approximately US$107 million, with deliveries scheduled to take place in 2017.

The TRAXX locomotives will be configured for use in 13 countries and will be fully compliant to the latest European standards, including ETCS (European Train Control System) Baseline 3, when required.

“This significant investment with Bombardier will extend Akiem’s fleet up to 100 TRAXX locomotives by 2018,” said Fabien Rochefort, CEO of Akiem. “We are accelerating our positioning on German and Austrian national markets as well as major European corridors towards Sweden, Benelux, Switzerland, Italy, Poland and Central Europe.”

“We have been working with Akiem since 2011 and we are extremely happy to continue our long term partnership under this frame contract. This agreement enables Bombardier to consolidate the TRAXX locomotive’s presence in some of the most promising rail corridors,” remarked Michael Fohrer, president, Locomotives, Light Rail Vehicles and Services, Bombardier Transportation.

In addition to the framework agreement, Akiem exercised an option from a previous contract for the delivery of five TRAXX direct current (DC) locomotives.

SEPTA to Hold July Trolley Tunnel Blitz

June 27th, 2016

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) will close the Center City trolley tunnel from 10 p.m. on Friday, July 8, through 4 a.m. on Monday, July 18, to conduct power, track and station improvement projects. During the 9-day tunnel closure, more than 400 members of SEPTA’s in-house Engineering, Maintenance & Construction Division crews will work around-the-clock on key maintenance and construction tasks. This is the fourth consecutive summer SEPTA has held the Trolley Tunnel Blitz.

“Since the first Trolley Tunnel Blitz in 2013, our crews have replaced switches and thousands of feet of rail and overhead contact wire, and undertaken an aggressive improvement and cleaning program at the trolley stations. However, we still have work to do to bring the tunnel into a state of good repair,” said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey Knueppel.

There are more than 1,300 daily trolley trips through the five-mile single loop Center City tunnel, which is used 24 hours a day. This makes it difficult for SEPTA crews to get productive work windows to complete necessary repairs and improvements.

“The Trolley Tunnel Blitz allows SEPTA to maximize productivity during improvements projects while minimizing the period of inconvenience to passengers and communities because it is held during the summer when ridership is lower,” added Knueppel.

Work projects that will be completed in the tunnel during the closure include:

  • replacing existing track on the westbound side between 19th St. and 22nd St. Stations;
  • replacing 1,500 feet of wood protection board, which attaches overhead wire to the tunnel ceiling, on the eastbound side between 19th St. and 22nd St. Stations;
  • upgrading infrastructure directly outside of the 40th St. Portal;
  • completing signal and wire reliability work throughout the tunnel;
  • performing critical maintenance tasks and component replacement work at the substation;
  • performing maintenance tasks, including graffiti removal, tile repair, painting, drain clearing and heavy cleaning at all stations;
  • testing emergency generators and lighting throughout the tunnel.

“The projects we work on during the blitzes improve safety and service reliability throughout the trolley tunnel,” stated Knueppel. “We thank our customers for their continued support and understanding during these closures. We will work to make this year’s blitz as productive and successful as in previous years.”

MassDOT Approves 5-Year Capital Plan

June 24th, 2016

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Board approved its $14.8 billion Capital Investment Plan (CIP) for Fiscal Years 2017 to 2021. This CIP marks the first time MassDOT and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) have worked together to create an infrastructure improvement plan.

The CIP will fund MBTA projects and improvements to both roads and bridges in an effort to restore reliability to the state’s transportation systems and modernize its assets. Approximately 59 percent of funding will be spent on improving reliability in the core transportation systems and 18 percent will fund projects to modernize existing infrastructure.

“These important investments are one of many steps the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and MBTA are taking to improve the dependability of our core transit system and provide riders with a more reliable and efficient service,” stated Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. “These capital dollars will allow for much-needed upgrades at the T, including signals, track and switches, as well as our roads, bridges and other infrastructure.”

The CIP would cut the T’s State of Good Repair backlog from $7.3 billion to $3.5 billion over the 5-year period. Funding of $4 billion will be used to repair and rehabilitate aging MBTA infrastructure, including $1 billion for signals and power improvements, $1.6 billion for new buses and train cars for the Red, Orange and Green Lines, and $1.1 billion for the Green Line Extension project.

“The final Capital Investment Plan represents a transformative, strategic investment plan to restore reliability to the Commonwealth’s transportation systems, modernize infrastructure and expansion,” remarked Stephanie Pollack, MassDOT secretary & CEO. “I would like to thank all of the MassDOT staff and MBTA staff that worked for months to create this plan, as well as individuals who participated in public meetings and issued their feedback on the plan. Your comments were invaluable to the creation of this Capital Investment Plan.”