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UP to Invest in Infrastructure in Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin

September 12th, 2013

Union Pacific Railroad will invest $30 million in Illinois in a rail line between Dolton and Ellis and $10 million in the rail line between St. Paul, Minn., and Humbird, Wis.

The transportation infrastructure investments will be funded entirely by UP. The Illinois project began in August and is scheduled to be completed by the end of November, and the Minnesota and Wisconsin project began in late April and is slated to be finished by the end of October.

For the Illinois project, the Class I railroad will install 50 miles of rail, replace 26 switches and renew the surfaces at 65 road crossings. For the Minnesota and Wisconsin project, UP will install nearly 42 miles of rail, replace seven switches and renew the surfaces at 47 road crossings. The projects are one of nearly 1,500 that UP will complete across its 32,000-mile network this year.

“In addition to helping move customers’ goods more safely and efficiently, our investments support communities by reducing traffic congestion, facilitating industrial development and promoting economic expansion,” said Donna Kush, UP vice president of public affairs for the northern region, in a written statement.

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The Timken Company to Spin Off Steel Business

September 12th, 2013

The Timken Company’s board of directors has approved a plan to pursue a separation of the company’s steel business from its bearings and power transmission division through a spinoff, creating two publicly traded companies.

The transaction is expected to be completed within 12 months, subject to customary regulatory approvals. One-time transaction costs are expected to be about $125 million.

“Over the past several years, we have transformed the business and delivered superior financial performance by diversifying and expanding customer markets and product lines; making strategic, accretive acquisitions; and introducing new capabilities around the world,” said James W. Griffith, 59, president and CEO, in a written statement. “We see this initiative to build out two strong, focused companies as further evidence of our commitment to drive value for our shareholders and our customers.”

Griffith also noted that the two standalone companies will continue to advance their distinct growth strategies within their respective core markets, which is expected to further improve competitiveness.

“Plans call for both companies to be capitalized in a manner that provides the financial flexibility needed to pursue future growth opportunities,” Griffith added.

The board’s decision to split Timken into two companies resulted from an evaluation by a strategy committee composed of independent directors, established in response to shareholder input.

“The strategy committee and board concluded that even with the company’s success in improving performance in recent years and an impressive track record of accomplishments, the company’s share price has not appropriately reflected our significant progress,” explained Joseph W. Ralston, the board’s lead independent director.

The new engineered steel company, which will be headquartered in Canton, Ohio, is estimated to have annual revenue of $1.7 billion, with 3,000 associates, seven manufacturing plants, four warehouses and five sales offices. Post separation, The Timken Company is predicted to have an annual revenue of $3.4 billion, consisting of the process industries, aerospace and mobile industries segments.

Griffith will continue as president and CEO of The Timken Company until the separation is complete, at which time he plans to retire after 30 years of service. The board intends to name Richard G. Kyle, 47, as The Timken Company’s new president and CEO. Until then, Kyle, who joined the company in 2006, has been named chief operating officer of the B&PT business.

The board also plans to appoint Ward J. “Tim” Timken Jr., 46, The Timken Company’s current chairman, to lead the new engineered steel company as its chairman and CEO. His career began at the company in 1992, and he will continue to serve as chairman and oversee the steel business until the separation.

Furthermore, the board plans to name John M. Timken, Jr., 62, as non-executive chairman of The Timken Company. In that role, he will be responsible for board activities and will oversee related board matters. He has been active with the company’s board since 1986.

Glenn A. Eisenberg, Timken’s current executive vice president of finance and administration and CFO, plans to leave the company after the separation. At that time, Philip D. Fracassa and Christopher J. Holding will be named CFOs of the two companies. Fracassa, who currently leads planning and development at Timken, will lead The Timken Company after the split. Until then, he has also assumed responsibility for overseeing the project management office charged with facilitating the split of the two businesses. Holding, who now leads tax and treasury, will be CFO of the spinoff.

Christopher A. Coughlin, group president responsible for mobile and process industries; William R. Burkhart, senior vice president and general counsel; and J. Ted Mihaila, senior vice president and controller, will continue in their roles at The Timken Company beyond the separation. Donald L. Walker will become senior vice president of human resources for the new company.

At a later date, The Timken Company and the new standalone engineered steel firm will name new, separate boards of directors. Other appointments will also be announced as senior leaders determine future organizational structures, management teams and staffing for the two companies.

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NPBL to Celebrate 115th Anniversary

September 12th, 2013

NPBL’s red-and-maroon locomotive commemorates its first diesel locomotives from the 1950s.

The Norfolk and Portsmouth Belt Line Railroad is celebrating its 115th anniversary this month with delivery of a locomotive painted red and maroon, the colors used for its first diesel locomotives in the 1950s.

For many years, the switching and terminal railroad that serves customers in Norfolk, Chesapeake and Portsmouth, Va., has been using solid black locomotives with NPBL stenciling. NPBL, jointly owned by Class I railroads Norfolk Southern and CSX, leases its locomotives from NS, which designed the color scheme and painted NPBL 5260, a GP 38-2.

The work was done at NS’s Chattanooga Diesel Chop in Tennessee and will be delivered to NPBL in “upcoming weeks,” NS said in a written statement. The inspiration for the vintage color scheme was NS’s “wildly popular” Heritage Locomotives, a fleet of 20 locomotives that were painted last year in colors based on NS’s predecessor railroads.

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The Andersons Buys Mile Rail

September 11th, 2013

The Andersons, Inc., has purchased Mile Rail, LLC, a railcar repair and cleaning provider.

“The addition of Mile Rail complements our existing railcar repair network and expands our geographical footprint,” said Rasesh Shah, president of The Andersons’ Rail Group, in a written statement. “Additionally, the skilled and customer-service oriented 52-member workforce enables us to expand our capabilities to repair and clean virtually all types of railcars. We are looking forward to this new opportunity with this new team in these new communities and providing service to new customers.”

The company said the purchase includes a primary location in Kansas City, Mo., and two additional locations in Nebraska and Indiana. Mobile units in the central Midwest are also included.

The Andersons expects the transaction to be accretive in the full year 2014.

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First Phase of CSX’s Double-Stack Intermodal Service Project Complete

September 11th, 2013

CSX now offers double-stack intermodal rail service between Chambersburg, Pa., and Northwest Ohio. Photo courtesy of CSX.

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.”

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Asset Firm Napier Park’s Railcar Lease Fund Partners With Trinity Industries

September 10th, 2013

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.”

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Ex-Marine Named Chief Transportation Officer for Florida East Coast

September 9th, 2013

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.

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TKDA Names Osvalds as California Office’s Rail Division Manager

September 3rd, 2013

Andrew Osvalds, TKDA’s new rail division area manager in Irvine.

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.

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Union Pacific Unveils Arrowedge for Double-Stack Intermodal Trains

September 3rd, 2013

Arrowedge reduces aerodynamic drag on a double-stack intermodal train.

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.

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Sauer Joins Operation Lifesaver Board

August 30th, 2013

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.

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