The National Gateway coalition has completed its first phase, clearing the way for double-stack intermodal rail service between CSX’s existing terminal in Chambersburg, Penn., and its hub facility in Northwest Ohio.
The National Gateway is an $850 million public-private partnership, funded through a combination of federal and state funds and CSX investment. Public funding for the first phase was supported by a $98 million federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant secured by the State of Ohio in 2010 on behalf of the coalition, and administered by the Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division of the Federal Highway Administration.
“This is great news for our nation’s transportation infrastructure, our customers and the communities we serve, and wouldn’t be possible without the major investment of time and resources by our federal and state partners,” said Michael J. Ward, chairman, president and CEO of the Class I railroad, in a written statement. “While this is a significant milestone, our work is not done.”
The National Gateway is currently focused on the project’s second phase, which will clear the CSX corridor for double-stack trains between Chambersburg, Pa., and the mid-Atlantic ports of Baltimore and Virginia.
“The completion of these clearances improves Schneider Intermodal’s customer experience, while also providing more modal conversion opportunities for shippers,” added Jim Filter, senior vice president of intermodal commercial management at Schneider National. “The National Gateway helps deliver our truck-like service commitment by increasing reliability and providing faster intermodal transit.”
Napier Park Railcar Lease Fund, LLC, has partnered with Trinity Industries, Inc., to create RIV 2013 Rail Holdings LLC, a joint venture to invest in leased railcars.
The fund’s capital, along with a direct co-investment from a fund limited partner and capital from Trinity Industries Leasing Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Trinity, was also used to recapitalize TRIP Rail Holdings LLC, an existing joint venture that owns a pool of leased railcars. TILC provides servicing to both TRIP and RIV 2013.
“The long-term equity capital Napier Park was able to raise from a prestigious group of institutional investors will provide us with greater financial flexibility to support the continued growth of our railcar lease fleet,” said D. Stephen Menzies, senior vice president, Trinity Industries and group president of Trinity Rail. “We are delighted to have achieved this important strategic objective, and we look forward to working with Napier Park to access additional long-term equity capital for continued growth.”
As of June 30, 2013, the combined entities owned a total portfolio of $1.5 billion of railcars on lease to industrial shippers and railroads. The combined portfolio is expected to grow to a railcar value of $2.0 billion by the end of 2014.
“We are excited about the opportunity to partner with Trinity Industries, a leader in railcar manufacturing and leasing,” said Jim O’Brien, co-managing partner of Napier Park Global Capital. “This investment is a clear example of Napier Park’s ability to identify and develop innovative, attractive investments for our clients. Along with our limited partners, we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Trinity.”
The fund’s limited partners include a number of leading U.S. life and property casualty insurance companies. The fund, which was oversubscribed, now owns 48% of TRIP and 61% of RIV 2013.
Napier Park, a global alternative asset management firm, on Sept. 10 announced its Financial Partners team had held a final closing of the Railcar Lease Fund, a $370 million specialized, single-purpose private equity fund, with an additional direct co-investment of $50 million from a fund limited partner.
“We believe the railcar leasing industry provides a differentiated, durable and cash-yielding investment opportunity for our limited partners,” said Manu Rana, managing director, Napier Park Financial Partners. “We are investing alongside the U.S. railcar industry’s leading manufacturing-lessor, and our investment in a leading railcar lease fleet will benefit from structural shifts toward increased rail transportation.”
Florida East Coast Railway has named former Marine William R. Costantini its new vice president and chief transportation officer, effective Sept. 16. He will have responsibility for FEC’s rail transportation network and terminal operations.
“Will’s many achievements and logistics background in the Marine Corps provides FEC with the talent and skill for immediate and long term success of our rail network,” said Jim Hertwig, FEC president and CEO, in a written statement.
Constantini spent 28 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, the last three of them as the military assistant to the assistant commandant of the Corps in Washington, D.C.
TKDA has named Andrew Osvalds as area manager of its rail division. He will lead the engineering firm’s office in Irvine, Calif.
Osvalds and his staff will pursue public and private West Coast projects within the rail, aviation, public agencies and port authorities sectors, as well as public and private architectural clients.
Osvalds is a licensed architect with experience in design and complex project management. He has background in energy-efficient high-rise design and has collaborated on large construction projects, including an overpass for BNSF Railway in Hobart Yard in Commerce, Calif. Osvalds is currently construction manager on the LA Triple Track Project, overseeing project work on Segment 7, the BNSF mainline track form Los Angeles to Fullerton, Calif., on the BNSF Southern Transcon. He joined TKDA’s Chicago office in 2009 and transferred to the Irvine office two years ago.
Union Pacific has introduced Arrowedge, a new technology for double-stack intermodal trains that aims to reduce fuel and locomotive emissions.
The 48-foot Arrowedge, which is positioned on top of the first freight container in a double-stack train, has a tapered body that allows air to flow more easily around the train’s top front-most containers, thereby reducing aerodynamic drag. In turn, drag reductions decrease the amount of locomotive power required to propel the train.
“The Arrowedge represents Union Pacific’s focus on pioneering technology for operational and environmentally sustainable gains that ultimately result in enhanced customer service and community stewardship,” said Mike Iden, UP’s general director of car and locomotive engineering, in a written statement. “We are excited to see the results of this innovation in action and how it can springboard further research and development.”
The Class I railroad holds two U.S. patents for the Arrowedge, with additional U.S. and Canadian patents pending. The company expects to introduce the technology into double-stack train service between Joliet, Ill., and Long Beach, Calif., in September.
Scott A. Sauer, director of system safety and risk management for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), is now a member of the Operation Lifesaver, Inc., board of directors.
“Scott is a dynamic and versatile safety professional,” said Cliff Stayton, OLI board chairman. “He brings a holistic view of safety to the team, and of course, he’s an OLI veteran and a staunch supporter of our mission. He and our other new representatives on the board are bringing new energy and new ideas to the table.”
Sauer has been a part of the Operation Lifesaver fold for many years. He became a presenter (now called “authorized volunteer”) in 2006, and he served as a member of the Pennsylvania Operation Lifesaver board of directors.
“I have been looking forward to joining the board and giving it the transit perspective,” Sauer said in a written statement. “With the advent of rail transit and now with 26 states having rail transit operations, it behooves us to get our foot in that door. I see it as an opportunity to expand our reach in that world.”
Sauer has more than 23 years of operational and safety experience in the transit industry. He is also a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) and World Safety Organization Certified Safety and Security Director (WSO-CSSD). In his current role, he is responsible for all corporate safety, environmental compliance, risk management, accident investigation and emergency management activities at SEPTA.
Sauer replaces Paul O’Brien, former rail services general manager for Utah Transit Authority, who had served on the OLI board since 2008 and was credited with helping to increase the number of transit volunteers who gave OLI presentations. In 2009, Utah Transit Authority employees were responsible for 38 percent of all OLI activities in Utah.
Sauer’s first official business will be the board’s Nov. 13 meeting in Washington, D.C., at which the directors will decide future goals and activities of OLI.
A ceremonial ribbon-cutting marked the resumption of rail service connecting Nigeria’s port of Apapa and the interior after an interruption of 16 years.
Alhaji Kawu Baraje, the chairman of the board of the Nigerian Railway Corp., representing Sen. Idris Umar, Nigeria’s Minister of Transport, cut the ribbon. Following the ceremony, 20 40-foot containers departed APM Terminals’ Apapa Container Terminal by train.
“The restoration of regular rail service is a key milestone in our plans to continue growth here at Apapa and throughout Nigeria” said incoming APM Terminals Apapa Managing Director Andrew Dawes, who officially assumes the post this month.
Three years ago, APM Terminals Apapa announced the completion of the new rail line linking the terminal to the national rail system at a cost of N87.8 million (US$541,000). The new service will run three times per week, with 20 rail cars moving a total of 20 to 40 containers at a time to inland container depots at Kaduna and Kano, which are 455 miles and 600 miles from the port, respectively.
The board of directors of Alaska Railroad Corp. is now accepting applications for the position of president and chief executive officer of the Alaska Railroad.
The position, which reports directly to the board, is responsible for the day-to-day management of the affairs and operations of the corporation.
The board said it is looking for someone with experience in the transportation industry or an in-depth understanding of supply chain management and has a preference for somone with experience working in the Alaskan business community
The Alaska Railroad, a self-sustaining, state-owned corporation, offers both freight and passenger service. It has more than 650 miles of track and an average of 700 full-time employees (employment varies seasonally). It generates more than $180 million in revenue yearly.
The board of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority unanimously voted to award Veolia Transportation the three remaining option years for the company’s Tri-Rail contract, through June 2017. The SFRTA originally awarded the operations contract for the system to Veolia in early 2007.
“I am proud of the performance of our local team and of our partnership both with the union and with SFRTA as Executive Director Joe Giulietti and his team have worked to consistently provide better mobility solutions in the three-county region,” said Ron Hartman, CEO for Veolia’s Rail division.
The Tri-Rail system serves a 72-mile corridor running parallel to Interstate 95 between West Palm Beach and Miami. It serves three major airports, with 18 stations designed to integrate with local bus routes. Daily ridership continues to increase.
New Zealand’s KiwiRail has added to its fleet of DL locomotives.
The 20 new double-cab locomotives are about to join the 20 that have been hauling rail freight for almost two years in the Upper North Island. The first of the new batch are already in operation, and the rest are expected to begin operations within the next couple weeks.
“We now have over 30 DL Locomotives in operation around the North Island and they have been instrumental in providing enough capacity and grunt to ensure we deliver for our customers,” said Jim Quinn, KiwiRail’s chief executive, in a written statement.
The locomotives have been built by the Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co. Ltd, which is part of the CNR Group.
“CNR have done a great job with incorporating the modifications needed to the design and we are very happy with how quickly these new locomotives are able to go into operation,” Quinn said. He noted that the new additions to the fleet will free up other locomotives for use elsewhere and allow the retirement of the railroad’s oldest locomotives.
In a launch event for the new locomotives, KiwiRail also showed new freight wagons and curtain-sided containers.
“Our strategy to expand our wagon and container fleet has been going on for some time,” Quinn said. “We have another 150 container wagons arriving next week which will increase our new container wagon fleet to number over 835.”
Over the last three years, the railroad’s freight revenue has increased by more than NZ$100 million (more than US$77.7 million).
“Without these additions to the freight fleet we would not have been able to achieve this growth or deliver on the capacity our customers were asking for,” he said.