The National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association’s conference and NRC-REMSA exhibition opened yesterday to a record crowd.
The NRC conference in Miami has “record attendance for the ninth year in a row,” Chuck Baker, president of the association, announced at the conference’s opening session. According to preliminary reports, the event drew more than 1,000 attendees and more than 100 exhibitors.
NRC Chairman Terry Benton of Colo Railroad Builders officially welcomed everyone to sunny South Florida and introduced the first of several speakers providing forecasts on railroad capital spending plans for 2013 and beyond.
David Brown, COO of Genesee & Wyoming, described it as a “pivotal time” for his railroad company. The “new G&W,” as he described it, is only two weeks into the integration of its RailAmerica acquisition.
The company now has 111 freight railroads and has set up an organizational structure that operates 11 regions with nine of them in North America. While some things, such as purchasing, will be more centralized, Brown noted that the company believes in keeping decision-making and control as close to the customers as possible.
He noted that G&W expects a $340 million capital program for 2013 with the RailAmerica acquisition. The bulk of the capital will go toward track upgrades and maintenance.
The conference runs through this weekend at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel. It will include presentations on spending/capital projects for BNSF, CN, CP, CSX, FEC, NS, and UP, New York City Transit, Miami Dade Transit, Chicago’s Metra as well as Watco Companies and OmniTRAX and special keynote remarks by Rep. Bill Shuster, the new chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.