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Anacostia Rail Holdings Adds Four Employees

July 22nd, 2014

Anacostia Rail Holdings, Inc. has announced a total of four new appointments, with Jeremy Kramer named trainmaster at Louisville & Indiana Railroad and Elvia Maciel named manager of administration at Pacific Harbor Line. In addition, at Anacostia Rail Holdings, Georgia Gerick has been named corporate communications associate and Chuck Samuel has been named marketing project manager.

In his new appointment as Trainmaster, Kramer will assist in the management of L&I’s train operations. Previously, he held several management posts with the Canadian National Railroad, including assistant superintendent, division trainmaster and trainmaster. He also served 10 years as staff sergeant in the U.S. Army 1152nd Transportation Company, where he was deployed as part of the Afghan Rail Assessment Team. Kramer earned a degree in Railroad Operations from Western Nebraska Community College.

As manager of administration at Pacific Harbor Line, Maciel will manage payroll, personnel administration and accounts payable/receivable. She previously held human resources and corporate services roles with several firms, including Gordon Laboratories, The Hain Celestial Group, and Jason Natural Products. Elvia earned a business administration degree from El Camino College.

Gerick will be responsible for assisting in corporate communications, marketing support and other administrative tasks. Prior to joining Anacostia, she held management and administrative roles with Accenture, Allstate Insurance and Tirus Communications.  Gerick earned a bachelor of science from Loyola University Chicago and a master of science from DePaul University.

Samuel will be responsible for supporting expansion of transload capabilities and business development. Prior to joining Anacostia, he held management posts in real estate, marketing and economic development with Norfolk Southern and Conrail as well as management posts with the Dormitory Authority of New York State. Samuel earned a bachelor of science from Cornell University and a master of science from Columbia University.


GBW Railcar Services Begins Operations

July 22nd, 2014

The Greenbrier Companies, Inc. and Watco Companies LLC have announced that their 50/50 railcar repair joint venture of GBW Railcar Services, LLC (GBW) is now open for business. GBW is the largest independent railcar repair shop network in North America.

“GBW will be ready to deliver unparalleled quality, value and service to our customers,” said Watco CEO Rick Webb. “We have been investing in our shops, and we will continue to invest in the GBW shops to match our customer’s expectations.”

GBW owns and operates the 38 railcar repair, refurbishment and maintenance shops of Greenbrier and Watco. The new company features 14 tank car repair shops that are certified by the Association of American Railroads as required by federal regulations. The company can service, recertify and retrofit tank cars and offers repair and maintenance services for other general freight cars. Jim Cowan was named chief executive officer of the joint venture.

“We are excited that our first day at GBW is here as we commence operations with the support of Greenbrier and Watco, two rail industry leaders,” remarked Cowan. “GBW responds to interests from our existing customers for access to the broadest tank car expertise available in the market, along with substantial general railcar repair capability delivered through an efficient and geographically convenient service platform. Safety, quality and customer service are GBW’s core values as we move ahead.”

Greenbrier’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer William A. Furman said, “GBW’s retrofit solutions can make tank cars safer at any speed. We welcome this new venture with Watco as an opportunity to advance both public safety and environmental protection while strengthening the North American tank car fleet for decades of safe and efficient service.”

“The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is expected to imminently issue new tank car design standards, likely accompanied by related retrofit requirements,” continued Furman. “We urge DOT to avoid further delay and act now. Together, with an improved tank car design standard like Greenbrier’s Tank Car of the Future, we can protect people and the environment and preserve the North American energy renaissance.”

KCS Reports Record Revenues for Second Quarter

July 22nd, 2014

Kansas City Southern (KCS) has reported record revenues of $650 million for its 2014 second quarter, an increase of 12 percent over the 2013 second quarter, on a 7 percent increase in carloads.

Revenue growth in the second quarter was led by a 33 percent increase in agriculture and minerals and a 25 percent increase in automotive when compared to 2013. Intermodal showed a 14 percent increase, and industrial and consumer products increased by 10 percent in the 2014 second quarter. Chemical and petroleum revenue increased by 6 percent. There was a 5 percent decline in the energy sector, primarily due to a decline in utility coal shipments.

David L. Starling, Kansas City Southern’s president and chief executive officer said, “During the second quarter of 2014, KCS experienced strong revenue growth from the shipment of grain and automotive. KCS’ core carload franchise continues to show strength in line with the general economy, while the energy commodity group declined due to reduced shipments of utility coal.”

Operating expenses adjusted for lease termination costs were $436 million in the 2014 second quarter, a 9 percent increase over 2013. Adjusted operating income was $214 million, an increase of 20 percent compared to the 2013 second quarter operating income of $179 million. The adjusted operating ratio increased 2.0 points to 67.0% in the 2014 second quarter.

Second quarter net income for 2014 was $130 million, or $1.18 per diluted share, compared to $15 million, or $0.14 per diluted share last year. Adjusted diluted earnings per share for the quarter increased 26 percent to $1.21 compared with $0.96 last year.

“We are optimistic about our business in the second half of the year, but we again remind investors that grain growth rates will decline from the first half of 2014, reflecting the improved grain shipments in the second half of 2013,” said Starling. “Therefore, we maintain our 2014 goals outlined to investors in January.”

“Looking ahead, KCS’ long-term growth story remains very much intact with the recent announcements of additional automotive plants in Mexico and the growth of our energy franchise with the announcement of the crude oil terminal in Port Arthur, Texas,” continued Starling. “Energy and automotive, along with cross-border intermodal, Lázaro Cárdenas expansion and a host of other system-wide opportunities, position KCS very well for business growth over the next several years.”

AECOM to Acquire URS Corporation

July 21st, 2014

AECOM, an engineering design firm, is acquiring URS Corporation for a combination of cash and stock valued at approximately US$4 billion or US$56.31 per URS share. URS Corporation is a provider of engineering, construction, and technical services for public agencies and private sector companies including federal, oil and gas, infrastructure, power, and industrial projects and programs.

The combined company will be a fully integrated infrastructure and federal services provider with headquarters in Los Angeles. AECOM expects to maintain a key operational presence in San Francisco, where URS is headquartered.

“This combination creates an industry leader with the ability to deliver more capabilities from a broad global platform to reach more clients in more industry end markets,” said Michael S. Burke, AECOM president and chief executive officer. “Clients, employees and stockholders of both companies will benefit from the opportunities created by these expanded capabilities, broad global reach in key growth markets and economies of scale. In one step, we will dramatically accelerate our strategy of creating an integrated delivery platform with superior capabilities to design, build, finance and operate infrastructure assets around the world.”

The acquisition will make AECOM one of the largest companies by revenue in the engineering and construction industry. The combined company will serve clients across a broad range of markets, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, water and government. URS brings expertise in several end markets, including oil and gas, power and government services.

Burke will be the combined company’s chief executive officer, and a new operating management structure that includes senior leaders from both URS and AECOM has been designed.

“The combination of AECOM and URS creates an industry leader with unsurpassed capacity to deliver integrated solutions across AECOM’s existing markets,” stated Burke. “We will have the ability to design and deliver major civil infrastructure projects in sectors such as transportation and water. In addition, we expect to seize opportunities to more broadly leverage our direct investment vehicle, AECOM Capital.”

AAR Reports 4 Percent Increase in Total Combined U.S. Weekly Rail Traffic

July 21st, 2014

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) has reported a 4 percent increase in total combined U.S. weekly rail traffic for the week ending July 12, 2014, when compared to the same week in 2013, with 546,863 carloads and intermodal units reported.

U.S. carloads, with a reported total of 290,607 for the week, increased 4.8 percent compared to the same week last year. U.S. intermodal volume increased 3.2 percent for the week, with a total of 256,256 units reported.

Nine of the 10 carload commodity groups that are tracked by AAR posted increases compared with the same week in 2013. Motor vehicles and parts showed the highest increase, up 64.7 percent, with 16,615 carloads. Petroleum and petroleum products increased 16.2 percent, with a total of 15,331carloads and nonmetallic minerals and products increased 14.2 percent, with 40,193 carloads. Coal posted a decrease of 5.3 percent with 106,494 carloads.

U.S. railroads reported a 4.6 percent increase in total combined traffic for the first 28 weeks of 2014 when compared to the same period in 2013, with a total volume of 15,135,425 carloads and intermodal units. U.S. carloads increased 3.4 percent, with a reported total of 8,009,632. U.S. intermodal volume, with a total of 7,125,793 units, increased 6 percent.

Canadian railroads reported an increase of 10.1 percent in carloads and an increase of 9.5 percent in intermodal units for the week ending July 12, 2014, when compared to the same week in 2013. Weekly 2014 totals were 82,720 carloads and 59,611 intermodal units.

For the first 28 weeks of 2014, Canadian railroads reported a cumulative volume of 2,194,289 carloads, an increase of 0.6 percent when compared to the same time period last year. An increase of 6.4 percent was reported for intermodal units, with a total of 1,563,710 units.

Mexican railroads reported a 10.7 percent increase in carloads for the week ending July 12, 2014, compared to the same week in 2013, with 17,022 carloads reported. Intermodal units saw a 9.6 percent increase, with 11,304 units reported.

For the first 28 weeks of 2014, cumulative carload volume on Mexican railroads increased 1.9 percent when compared to the same time period in 2013, with a reported 434,827 carloads. Intermodal units increased 3.5 percent, with 280,102 units reported.

On the 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads, combined North American rail carload volume for the first 28 weeks of 2014 was 10,638,748 carloads, an increase of 2.8 percent compared with the same time period last year. Intermodal trailers and containers totaled 8,969,605 units, up 6 percent. 

Nashville MTA Names Bland CEO

July 21st, 2014

The Nashville MTA Board of Directors has named Stephen G. Bland chief executive officer of the Nashville MTA and Regional Transportation Authority of Middle Tennessee, effective August 25, 2014. Bland replaces Paul J. Ballard who left the Nashville MTA on March 31 and is now president and chief executive officer of the Fort Worth Transportation Authority.

Bland brings 28 years of transit experience to the MTA position, including experience from senior management roles in several agencies. Currently employed by Michael Baker International, he serves as the program director of CTfastrak, a 9.5 mile advanced bus rapid transit system between New Britain and Downtown Hartford, Conn. Prior to that, he was the assistant director and general superintendent of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey’s PATH Rail System.

“He is the CEO we need for Nashville and the region,” MTA Board Chair Jeff Yarbro said. “He thoroughly understands mass transit and also understands the importance of working with partners, building community consensus, and developing a vision for transit based on a genuine understanding of the community. He can help us move to the next level, which is to increase ridership, provide more and better transit options for citizens and visitors, and implement new technologies that will enhance our customers’ transit experience.”

The search committee was impressed with Bland’s seven-year tenure at Pittsburgh’s multimodal system, where his transit team completed a $500 million New Starts Light Rail subway extension.

Bland earned a Master of Public Affairs in Public Finance and a Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs, with Distinction in Transportation Planning and Management, from Indiana University. Additionally, he has participated in continuing education courses and seminars and developed a successful track record while working at transit systems in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Texas.

“I appreciate the board’s confidence in me and am looking forward to working with each member, Mayor Karl Dean, the Metro Council, transit riders, other community stakeholders, and the transit employees,” Bland said. “Together, we will make Nashville’s transit system an even greater one as we continue building upon the significant accomplishments that have been made over the past 12 years.”

Construction on Phoenix Northwest Light Rail Extension Nears Halfway Mark

July 18th, 2014
Phoenix Northwest light rail extension

Plaque ceremony. Photo: courtesy of Valley Metro.

The Northwest Phoenix community, along with national and local officials, recently joined in a First Track Celebration to celebrate construction progress on the 3.2-mile Northwest Phoenix light rail extension.

The First Track Celebration, which commemorated the project nearing the halfway point, featured a “state fair” midway with games, food, construction equipment and entertainment. The celebration also included placement of a ceremonial plaque in the area where the first track was laid.

Councilmember Daniel Valenzuela, who represents the Phoenix district where the light rail extension travels and served as host of the ceremony, said that the extension will bring approximately 5,000 new riders to light rail on a daily basis. “It’s about making life’s appointments. People in this community need access to transportation to get to doctor’s visits, to school and to work,” he said.

U.S. Congressman Ed Pastor, who also attended the ceremony, said that the Valley’s light rail system is one of the ountry’s most successful, ranking at the top in ridership. “We’re not going to stop here. We’re going to continue to build a regional transit system that will serve our growing community,” said Pastor.

“This is an important milestone for Phoenix residents,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “It is projects like this that create jobs in the community. This is how you help grow the economy – by building the city of Phoenix through infrastructure.”

The Northwest Phoenix light rail extension will run from Montebello to Dunlap Avenues and is expected to open in 2016.

Valley Metro, the public transportation system of greater Phoenix and Maricopa County, opened 20 miles of light rail in December 2008 and has plans for seven light rail extensions to be added by 2034.

Bechtel and Network Rail Complete Expansion of Britain’s Reading Station

July 18th, 2014

Bechtel, an engineering and construction firm, and Network Rail have announced that the expansion of the Reading station outside London has been completed. The new Reading station, which was formally opened this week by Queen Elizabeth II, was a major part of the $1.5 billion Reading Station Area Redevelopment program.

The track layout outside the station has been improved, easing congestion and doubling Reading station’s capacity . The station will now be able to handle up to 30 million passengers a year, the forecast for passenger numbers by 2030.

“Reading is now a state-of-the-art station, future-proofed to cope with more than double its current number of passengers,” said Robbie Burns, Network Rail’s infrastructure projects regional director, Western and Wales. “Reading station and the surrounding area has been one of the worst bottlenecks on the British railway network, and the station is a major part of the program of works to alleviate the problem.”

The Reading station now has five additional platforms, two station entrances connected by a passenger link bridge, elevators and escalators, and a new train depot. The expansion has allowed the station to add four passenger trains per hour and six freight trains per day.

“This project was complex given that we were working on an operational rail system,” said Ailie MacAdam, managing director of Bechtel’s global rail business. “However, careful planning and dedication ensured that we were able to get the job done right, safely. Collaboration between Network Rail, train operators, passengers, and other stakeholders was essential to the success of Reading station’s transformation.”

Network Rail maintains and runs the British railway infrastructure. The company selected Bechtel in 2009 to provide project management services for the $5.3 billion Crossrail and Reading program, which aims to upgrade key parts of the UK rail system.

CSX Corporation Reports Record Second Quarter Revenue

July 18th, 2014

CSX Corporation has announced that net earnings for the 2014 second quarter reached $529 million, or $0.53 per share, up from the 2013 second quarter net earnings of $521 million, or $0.51 per share.

Revenue for the 2014 second quarter increased 7 percent to an all-time record $3.2 billion on volume growth of 8 percent. The higher revenues helped deliver record operating income of nearly $1 billion and an operating ratio of 69.3 percent.

“To propel service and capture growth opportunities, CSX is adding front-line personnel and making targeted investments in infrastructure and freight cars to efficiently grow our business and create competitive advantages for our customers,” said Chairman, President and CEO Michael J. Ward. “With the broad-based economic momentum we are seeing, the core earning strength of this company is improving and driving value for shareholders.”

The company is expecting modest full-year earnings growth in 2014 due to the positive economic environment and growth trends in the intermodal and oil and gas markets. CSX is confident that it can sustain double-digit earnings growth and margin expansion beginning in 2015 and expects to sustain a mid-60s operating ratio longer-term.

Investment for the year has increased by approximately $100 million to $2.4 billion to enhance key infrastructure and add freight cars to help drive long-term growth.

CP Reports Strongest Ever Financial Results for 2014 Second Quarter

July 17th, 2014

Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (CP) has announced the highest second quarter financial results in the company’s history.

Net income was $371 million, or $2.11 per diluted share, in the 2014 second quarter compared to $252 million, or $1.43 per share, for the same time period in 2013. This is a 48 percent year-over-year increase in earnings per share.

“CP delivered another record quarter,” said CEO E. Hunter Harrison. “The team has made great strides in my two years at CP and they continue to demonstrate resiliency by delivering these results despite continued operational challenges in the US Midwest after a devastating winter. The future is very promising for the railroad as we transition towards leveraging our lower cost structure and improved service.”

Total revenues were $1,681 million for the 2014 second quarter, an increase of 12 percent over last year’s second quarter. Operating expenses, with a total of $1,094 million, increased by two percent over the second quarter of 2013. Operating income was $587 million, an increase of 40 percent for the quarter compared to 2013, and the operating ratio was 65.1 percent, a 680 basis point improvement for the 2014 second quarter compared to last year.