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Archive for January, 2013

ASLRRA Launches Search for Timmons’ Successor

January 31st, 2013

Rich Timmons

The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association officially announced that its president, Rich Timmons, will retire by summer’s end. Timmons has been at the helm of the ASLRRA since 2002, joining the organization following a career in the Army where he attained the rank of lieutenant general and a post at Norfolk Southern.

ASLRRA Board Chairman Mike Ogborn said that the Washington-based trade group has been “blessed” by Timmons’ service. “Under his leadership, ASLRRA has greatly expanded both its membership and the scope and reach of its work on behalf of that membership,” Ogborn said in an ASLRRA publication. “In addition to accomplishments too numerous to mention, he has brought new prestige to and recognition of the association. I join with all ASLRRA members in wishing him a long, healthy and happy retirement.”

ASLRRA Board Vice-Chair Ed McKechnie will lead a search committee to find Timmons’ successor. Letters of interest and resumes are due March 1 to aslrrasearch@gmail.com.

The search announcement on the ASLRRA website, which includes a complete job description, is available at:

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North Carolina Railroad Company Names Kessler VP of Engineering

January 30th, 2013

North Carolina Railroad Company has hired Jim Kessler, PE, as vice president of engineering and planning.

In that role, he will bring his knowledge and experience to bear on the company’s capital investment program and work with transit organizations, the North Carolina Department of Transportation, and especially Norfolk Southern, whose personnel are responsible for the operation and maintenance of the railroad. Kessler joins Glenn Hartsoe, who will continue to work with NCRR as a part-time consulting engineer.

“Jim brings more than three decades of railroad engineering experience to NCRR, and that makes him a valuable resource for our company and for North Carolina,” NCRR President Scott Saylor said.

Before joining NCRR, Kessler worked as a principal engineer with HNTB in Raleigh, N.C., where his duties included managing the firm’s North Carolina rail practice. He retired from HNTB in 2010 after 30 years and joined Hatch Mott MacDonald as a rail engineering consultant. Kessler holds a B.S. in civil engineering from North Carolina State University.

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Watco Completes Acquisition of Ann Arbor Railroad

January 30th, 2013

Watco Railroad Company Holdings, based in Pittsburg, Kan., has acquired Ann Arbor Railroad.

A notice of exemption was filed with the Surface Transportation Board for Watco to purchase the railroad company’s stock on Dec. 27, 2012, and the acquisition of control exemption became effective on Jan. 26.

Ann Arbor Railroad serves southeastern Michigan and the Toledo, Ohio markets, focusing mostly on the automobile and manufacturing industries.

It operates 50 miles of mainline track between Ann Arbor, Mich., and Toledo, as well as rail terminals in the Toledo area focused on automobile loading for Chrysler, General Motors and Ford.

The railroad interchanges with Class I railroads Canadian National, CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern, as well as short lines Great Lakes Central, Indiana & Ohio and Wheeling & Lake Erie.

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Union Pacific Achieves Record 2012 Safety Performance

January 30th, 2013

Union Pacific Railroad’s employees achieved a 1.01 reportable injury rate in 2012, surpassing the company’s previous record of 1.15 established in 2011.

From 2002 to 2012, UP employees improved their reportable injury rate by 58%.

UP’s Twin Cities Service Unit achieved a 70% improvement in 2012 compared with 2011, with an employee reportable injury rate of 0.56. The unit has about 900 employees and is made up of more than 650 miles of track in Minnesota, western Wisconsin and northern Iowa.

A company’s reportable injury rate is the total number of injuries reportable to the Federal Railroad Administration per 200,000 worker hours, which is equivalent to 100 employees working a full year.

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CSX to Construct Intermodal Terminal in Quebec

January 30th, 2013

CSX’s intermodal terminals subsidiary will construct a new 89-acre intermodal rail terminal in the Perron Industrial Park in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec, subject to approval from the Canadian Transportation Agency, to connect the region with CSX Transportation’s rail network in the U.S.

Michael J. Ward, CSX’s chairman, president and CEO, made the announcement in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield at a press conference with Quebec’s Transport Minister Sylvain Gaudreault and Salaberry-de-Valleyfield Mayor Denis Lapointe.

Construction on the new project, representing an investment of 100 million Canadian dollars (about US$99.3 million), is expected to start in the spring. The terminal is scheduled to open in 2015.

The terminal is expected to handle up to 100,000 containers per year using rubber-tire gantry cranes to transfer containers between trucks and trains.

Trains serving the terminal will connect through the Northwest Ohio intermodal hub.

The terminal will be close to the newly completed Autoroute 30. As part of the project, the province of Quebec and Salaberry-de-Valleyfield will make improvements to the road network in the immediate vicinity of the terminal.

CSXT will also relocate a portion of its main line in residential areas of Salaberry-de-Valleyfield to a location south of Autoroute 530 alongside the terminal in the industrial park.

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Canadian Pacific’s Profit Down 93% in Fourth Quarter

January 29th, 2013

Canadian Pacific Railway reported its net income in the fourth quarter of 2012 was C$15 million (about US$14.9 million), or $0.08 diluted earnings per share, plunging 93% from $219.9 million, or $1.10 diluted earnings per share, in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Quarterly revenue was $1.5 billion, rising 6% from $1.4 billion in the same quarter in 2011. The operating ratio, excluding significant items, was 74.8% in the fourth quarter, comparing favorably with 2011’s fourth quarter operating ratio of 78.5%.

The company said in a written statement that a $185 million impairment of Powder River Basin and other investments, an $80 million asset impairment of certain locomotives and a $53 million labor restructuring charge impacted fourth-quarter earnings.

In the fourth quarter, industrial and consumer products revenue rose by 16%, grain by 10%, automotive by 5% and intermodal by 2%. Forest products revenue fell by 2% and coal dropped by 1%. Sulphur and fertilizers revenue was basically flat.

For the full year of 2012, profit dropped 15% year-over-year from $566.9 million to $481.3 million. Yearly revenue was $5.5 billion, increasing 10% from $5.0 billion in 2011.

For 2013, the company expects revenue growth to be in the high single digits and the operating ratio to be in the low 70s.

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R.J. Corman Railroad Group Appoints King President

January 28th, 2013

Craig King, R.J. Corman Railroad Group's new president.

Nicholasville, Ky.-based R.J. Corman Railroad Group has appointed Craig King as president.

He succeeds Tammie L. Taylor, who has been appointed vice chair after 28 years with R.J. Corman Railroad Group.

King previously worked at CSX for 35 years in both the engineering and transportation departments. He was most recently named CSX’s regional vice president of northern transportation in early 2010.

He has an undergraduate degree from University of Phoenix and an MBA from Jacksonville University.

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CSX Opens Double-Stack Intermodal Route to Worcester, Mass.

January 25th, 2013

CSX Corporation’s railroad subsidiary, CSX Transportation, in a partnership with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, has opened New England’s first double-stack cleared intermodal route on its rail line between the New York state line and the newly expanded intermodal terminal in Worcester, Mass.

The project involved increasing vertical clearances at 31 locations between Worcester and New York to 21 feet, enabling intermodal trains to operate with containers stack two-high. The project connects with the double-stack cleared rail network at the New York state line, giving the region the ability to link with double-stack intermodal service throughout the country.

Previously, double-stack intermodal trains coming to New England from the Midwest or western origins had to stop in Syracuse, N.Y., to be converted from double-stack to single-stack configurations. The reverse occurred on westbound routes from New England, adding time, cost and complexity to the freight flows.

The project was part of a larger agreement with Massachusetts that allowed the state to acquire CSXT’s rail lines in the Boston area to increase commuter rail service. In conjunction with that project, the intermodal terminal in Worcester was expanded.

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U.S. Railroads See Mixed Traffic in Mid-January

January 25th, 2013

Major U.S. railroads originated 277,490 carloads in the week ending Jan. 19, down 3.5% compared with the same week last year, according to figures released by the Association of American Railroads. Intermodal volume was up 13.5% versus the same week last year, at 249,397 trailers and containers.

Short lines’ intermodal traffic jumped 86.99% in the week, compared with the same week in 2012, at 22,171 carloads. Other traffic was also up, increasing 0.8% to 116,422.

The AAR said nine of the 20 carload commodity group posted increases compared with the same week in 2012, led by petroleum products, up 60.9%; motor vehicles and equipment, up 19.1%; and lumber and wood products, up 15.8%. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic included primary forest products, down 20.9%; iron and steel scrap, down 17.7%; and nonmetallic materials, down 16.9%.

Canadian railroads reported 77,172 carloads for the week, up 13.1% compared with the same week last year, and 53,581 trailers and containers, up 11.5% compared with 2012. Mexican railroads reported 14,658 carloads for the week, up 7.4% compared with the same week last year, and 9,543 trailers and containers, up 2.9%.

For further details, consult the AAR’s weekly rail traffic charts and RMI’s RailConnect Index of Short Line Traffic.

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GATX Income Rose 24% in 2012

January 24th, 2013

Railcar lessor GATX today reported its income for the full year of 2012, profit was $137.3 million, or $2.88 per diluted share, jumping 24% from $110.8 million, or $2.35 per diluted share, in 2011.

In the fourth quarter of 2012, however, its profit was $29.7 million, or $0.62 per diluted share, down 6 percent compared with $31.6 million, or $0.67 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Profit in the company’s North American segment was $59.8 million in the fourth quarter, increasing from $55.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. For the year, profit was $209.3 million, compared to $172.7 million in 2011.

“The North American rail market remains strong due to unprecedented demand for tank cars,” said Brian A. Kenney, president and CEO of GATX, in a written statement.

Income in the international segment was $10.5 million in the fourth quarter, compared with $6.7 million in the same quarter in 2011. In 2012, profit was $32.7 million, down from $60.7 million in 2011.

“Although the European freight car market remains weak, GATX’s European tank car fleet experienced higher lease rates and strong utilization throughout 2012,” Kenney said.

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