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G&W Releases May Traffic Report

June 13th, 2014

Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W) has reported traffic for May 2014 with carloads totaling 171,391, an increase of 2.3 percent, or 3,864 carloads, compared to May 2013.

North American traffic increased 4.2 percent, or 6,133 carloads, compared to May 2013. The increase was primarily due to increased overhead Class 1 shipments, coal, agricultural products and metals traffic.

Australian traffic decreased 10.2 percent, or 2,269 carloads, compared to May 2013 numbers. The decrease was primarily due to an expected decrease in agricultural products traffic. Also, a decline in minerals & stone traffic was caused by a reduction in gypsum shipments and the closure of a customer facility.

Commodity shipments in North American rail that increased in May 2014 when compared to the same month in 2013 included food or kindred products, which increased 17.4 percent with a total of 5,336 carloads.

Other commodities that were up in May were metals, which increased 9.9 percent with a total of 17,150 carloads, primarily due to increased shipments in G&W’s Northeast, Canada and Southern regions. Pulp and paper carloads increased by 8.2 percent, or 1,110 carloads. Coal & coke traffic increased 1,886 carloads, or 6.7%, primarily due to increased steam coal shipments in G&W’s Midwest and Ohio Valley regions.

Commodity shipments in North American rail that decreased in May 2014 when compared to the same month in 2013 were auto and auto parts, which dropped 30.7 percent with a total of 2,507 carloads and waste products, which dropped 17.6 percent, with a total of 3,262 carloads. Petroleum products decreased by 12.8 percent, primarily due to decreased shipments of crude oil in G&W’s Southern, Pacific and Canada regions, as well as decreased shipments of liquid petroleum gases in G&W’s Mountain West region.

G&W’s traffic for the 2014 second quarter through May was 341,904 carloads, an increase of 5.1%, or 16,682 carloads compared with the 2013 second quarter through May.

North American traffic increased 7.4 percent compared the 2013 second quarter through May. The increase was primarily due to increased overhead Class 1 shipments, coal, and agricultural products.

For the 2014 second quarter through May, Australian traffic decreased 9.9 percent, or 4,234 carloads, compared to 2013. The decrease was primarily due to reduced minerals & stone shipments resulting from lower shipments of gypsum and the closure of a customer facility, as well as an expected decrease in agricultural products traffic.

Commodity shipments in North American rail that increased in the second quarter through May 2014 when compared to 2013 were led by agricultural products, which increased 22.3 percent with a total of 35,512 carloads, primarily due to increased shipments in G&W’s Pacific, Central, Canada and Ohio Valley regions, partially offset by decreased shipments in G&W’s Australia Region.

This was followed by food or kindred products, which increased 13.6 percent with a total of 10,470 carloads. Coal & coke traffic increased 6,893 carloads, or 13.2%, due to increased steam coal shipments in G&W’s Midwest and Ohio Valley regions, partially offset by decreased shipments in G&W’s Central and Mountain West regions.

Commodity shipments in North American rail that decreased in the second quarter through May 2014 when compared to the same time period in 2013 were auto and auto parts, which dropped 27.3 percent with a total of 4,851 carloads, and petroleum products, which decreased by 12.7 percent, with a reported total of 16,975 carloads. Waste products declined by 12 percent, with a total of 6,568 carloads.

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MTA Metro-North Railroad Marks 100 Days of Safety Action Plan

June 13th, 2014

MTA Metro-North Railroad  has issued its 100-Day Report that updates safety improvements made as part of the Action Plan by the railroad’s President Joseph J. Giulietti. The Federal Railroad Administration’s recommendations for Metro-North are incorporated into the report.

“Metro-North has made major strides in the past 100 days, with concrete accomplishments that have made operations safer, established a safety culture, improved service reliability and expanded our communications,” Giulietti said. “Our customers and everyone who relies on Metro-North have seen real accomplishments that have gone a long way toward restoring their faith in the railroad. Our challenge is to keep this relentless focus on improvement that our customers expect.”

According to the report, Metro North has fully implemented 21 of the plan’s 32 initiatives. Seven are in progress and two will be pursued after independent reports are submitted from the MTA’s Blue Ribbon Panel and the National Transportation Safety Board. Metro-North plans to implement recommendations from those entities that have not already been addressed.

The initiatives of a “back to basics” plan for train reliability and service delivery, and the communication of service delivery information are ongoing, long-term priorities.

Metro North has made improvements in several areas, including track inspection and maintenance, the safety and training departments and testing programs. The railroad has also created a computer-based track worker safety system and implemented a Confidential Close Call Reporting System. Alerters and video camers have also been installed in engineers’ cabs.

“Metro-North intends to maintain its infrastructure and rolling stock to the highest standards of safety and reliability,” stated Giulietti. “This requires ensuring that we have established the appropriate inspection, maintenance and replacement plans and that we have the necessary resources to carry them out effectively. This will require ongoing funding, not only for Metro-North’s operating budget, but also for the railroad’s capital needs in New York and Connecticut.”

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AAR Reports Six Percent Increase in U.S. Weekly Rail Traffic

June 13th, 2014

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) has reported a 6 percent increase in total combined U.S. weekly rail traffic for the week ending June 7, 2014, when compared to the same week in 2013, with 562,747 carloads and intermodal units reported.

U.S. carloads, with a reported total of 292,924 for the week, increased 5.3 percent compared to the same week last year. U.S. intermodal volume increased 6.8 percent for the week, with a total of 269,823 units reported.

Nine of the 10 carload commodity groups that are tracked by AAR posted increases compared with the same week in 2013. Grain showed the highest increase, up 15.5 percent, with 17,568 carloads. Nonmetallic minerals and products increased 12.2 percent with a total of 39,577 carloads and motor vehicles and parts increased 8.9 percent with 18,343 carloads.

U.S. railroads reported a 4.4 percent increase in total combined traffic for the first 23 weeks of 2014 when compared to the same period in 2013, with a total volume of 12,398,441 carloads and intermodal units. U.S. carloads increased 3.2 percent, with a reported total of 6,563,563. U.S. intermodal volume, with a total of 5,834,878 units, increased 5.8 percent.

Canadian railroads reported an increase of 6 percent in carloads and an increase of 11.4 percent in intermodal units for the week ending May 24, 2014, when compared to the same week in 2013. Weekly 2014 totals were 82,450 carloads and 59,796 intermodal units.

For the first 23 weeks of 2014, Canadian railroads reported a cumulative volume of 1,775,514 carloads, a decrease of 1.7 percent when compared to the same time period last year. An increase of 5.7 percent was reported for intermodal units, with a total of 1,269,003 units.

Mexican railroads reported a 3 percent decrease in carloads for the week ending June 7, 2014, compared to the same week in 2013, with 16,030 carloads reported. Intermodal units saw a 4.3 percent increase, with 10,878 units reported.

For the first 23 weeks of 2014, cumulative carload volume on Mexican railroads increased 1.7 percent when compared to the same time period in 2013, with a reported 352,495 carloads. Intermodal units increased 3.1 percent, with 226,371 units reported.

On the 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads, combined North American rail carload volume for the first 23 weeks of 2014 was 8,691,572 carloads, an increase of 2.1 percent compared with the same time period last year. Intermodal trailers and containers totaled 7,330,252 units, up 5.7 percent. 


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Hamberger Discusses Steps Being Taken to Increase Crude by Rail Safety

June 12th, 2014

Speaking at a rail industry event on crude-by-rail issues, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger discussed how freight railroads have taken significant steps to boost the safety of moving crude oil by rail and have conducted top-to-bottom reviews of their operations in light of the increased volumes moving on their lines.

He also called on the federal government to increase tank car standards, noting the vital importance of increasing the safety of tank cars used to move crude oil, as well as ensuring shippers properly classify the oil being generated from domestic fracking operations.

“In any discussion of crude by rail, safety and reliability are key factors in understanding how important rail has become to North America’s push for energy independence,” Hamberger said. “A strong safety culture is embedded in the railroads, and has long been a core attribute of the railroading industry – from planning, training, prevention and preparedness. Railroads’ reliability comes from a demonstrated track record of investing billions of dollars back into the rail network year over year, enabling railroads to swiftly meet the rising demand to move domestic energy resources our economy relies upon.”

Hamberger remarked that although railroads are making improvements to increase the safety of transporting crude oil, more improvements need to be made when it comes to the tank cars being used to haul crude oil. “Railroads believe that federal tank car standards should be raised to ensure crude oil and other flammable liquids are moving in the safest car possible based on the product they are moving,” he said. “The industry also wants the existing crude oil fleet upgraded through retrofits, or older cars to be phased out as quickly as possible.”

The rail industry has also stepped up its efforts to communicate and coordinate with communities and first responders, Hamberger noted, with railroads dedicating tremendous resources to prevent and prepare for emergency situations all along their lines.

“Railroads are working with state and local emergency response officials to ensure those who need to know what is moving through their area are informed and trained to respond to an emergency situation,” Hamberger said. “The industry has also taken the lead in designing new training programs focused specifically on emergency response incidents involving crude oil to make sure first responders have the skills and training they need.”


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Alstom to Supply 15 Citadis Dualis Tram-Trains to SNCF

June 12th, 2014

Alstom will supply 15 of their Citadis Dualis tram-trains for the Ile-de-France region after France’s nationally owned railway company (SNCF) exercised an option on behalf of the Paris transportation authority (STIF). This order is part of a 2007 framework agreement on behalf of the French regions and amounts to a total of €80 million.

Delivery of the 15 Citadis Dualis tram-trains will begin in the summer of 2016. The commercial operation of the tram-trains is expected to begin in July of 2017 on the Epinay-sur-Seine and Le Bourget sections of the Tangentielle Légère Nord line.

Citadis Dualis is based on the design of Alstom’s Citadis tramway and has the capability to run on both tram and regional rail networks. Through this configuration, the tram gauge can be used for inner-city transport and its train performance can be used on rails for speeds of nearly 100 km/h.

Alstom’s Valenciennes site has produced 48 Citadis Dualis tram-trains. Twenty-four have been in use in western Lyon since 2012 and 24 have been in service on the Nantes-Clisson and Nantes-Châteaubriant lines from June 2011 and February 2014 respectively. This first contract for the Ile-de-France region will also be completed at Valenciennes.

In Europe, more than 150 Alstom tram-trains of both the Citadis Dualis and Regio Citadis models have been sold. Alstom is exporting the technology with the Citadis Spirit adapted to the North American market.

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CTA Awards $176.7 Million in Contracts for Red Line Station Projects

June 12th, 2014
Rendering of new 95th St. Terminal.

Rendering of new 95th St. Terminal. Photo: courtesy of CTA.

The Chicago Transit Authority  (CTA) Board has awarded two construction contracts for the CTA’s Red Line – a $153.6 million contract for the Wilson station and a $23.1 million contract for the 95th/Dan Ryan station – to Walsh/2-in-1 Joint Venture. The company won both contracts following separate bidding processes. The projects are part of the modernization program for the city’s red and purple lines.

“The Red Line is the backbone of the CTA rail system, carrying nearly 40 percent of all rail rides,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “These investments will benefit not only the thousands of customers who use them each day, but also the surrounding communities.”

The $203 million Wilson project will replace the station house, built in 1923, with a new station that will serve as a transfer point between Red and Purple Line service. The project includes reconstruction of 2,200 feet of elevated tracks, signals and supporting infrastructure that will be relocated from the street and sidewalks along Broadway and Wilson to the west to create a safer environment.

The station work will be performed within the footprint of the existing station, which is located in the Uptown Square Historic District, and with minimal impact to 24/7 rail service. Work is expected to begin in the 2014 fourth quarter.

The $240 million project for 95th Street/Dan Ryan station, which serves as both the southern terminal of the Red Line and as a bus terminal, will replace and expand the existing structure with two station buildings. Work is expected to begin in the fall of this year.

Both projects are part of Mayor Emanuel’s Building a New Chicago program, with support from Gov. Pat Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now program, to update critical infrastructure. Funding for both projects comes from federal, state and local sources.

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Alstom Unveils New Main-Line Train

June 11th, 2014
Alstom Coradia Liner V200

Alstom Coradia Liner V200. Photo: courtesy of Alstom.

Alstom introduced its new main-line train, the Coradia Liner V200, at the European Mobility Exhibition for Public Transport in Paris last week. The train, which can run on all conventional rail networks, reaches speeds of 200 km/h and accommodates up to 900 passengers.

The Coradia Liner electric or dual-mode train meets all European standards and is equipped with a European Rail Traffic Management System. It has a distributed traction system over the entire train and, because of its lighter construction, consumes 30 percent less energy than the current Corail trains. Its design also allows for easy maintenance.

The train is consistent with STI PMR standards for persons with reduced mobility, has platform-height double doors and a low floor. Features include reclining seats equipped with electrical sockets and reading lights, wide corridors and service areas, including a children’s play area and restaurant/bar & hospitality areas.

The Coradia Liner V200 design is based on the modular Coradia trains. More than 3,000 Coradia are currently operating throughout Europe.

Six of the 11 Alstom sites in France have participated in the Coradia Liner project: Reichshoffen for the design and assembly, Ornans for the motors, Le Creusot for the bogies, Tarbes for the traction chains, Villeurbanne for the on-board computer system and Saint-Ouen for the design.

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CPC-1232 Tank Car ID Function Available from Bourque Logistics and Industrial Networks

June 11th, 2014

Bourque Logistics is now offering its customers an upgraded function that identifies CPC-1232 tank cars compliant with U.S. and Canadian safety requirements for crude shipments. The tank car identifier function is available to shippers who use Bourque Logistics’ YardMaster® and RAILTRAC® systems. YardMaster® Mobile™ AEI scanning systems, produced by Industrial Networks, LLC, will be upgraded to identify compliant tank cars at terminal and refining facilities.

Steve Bourque, president of Bourque Logistics, said, “YardMaster® and RAILTRAC® systems will allow crude terminals and refiners to easily identify compliant cars for receiving and shipments, thus allowing them to remain in compliance with upcoming safety rules for crude shipments.” He added that the company is working with INet, its AEI partner, to identify such tank cars upon arrival at crude shipping facilities.

“Our stationary and handheld AEI scanning systems provide real-time railcar profile information entering and departing shipping facilities,” said INet President Jimmy Finster. “Operators will now be able to identify CPC-1232 compliant equipment within our portable scanners.”

Bourque Logistics software systems are integrated with Railinc’s UMLER system, in which tank car owners are responsible for maintaining the CPC-1232 designation. Canada’s deadline for exclusive use of CPC-1232 tank cars is now May 2017. Several crude shippers have already implemented programs for sole use of newer tank cars in their shipping operations.

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Michael Baker International Names Joseph R. Bongiovi Executive VP and Chief Human Resources Officer

June 11th, 2014

Michael Baker International  has announced that Joseph R. Bongiovi has joined the company as executive vice president and chief human resources officer, responsible for overseeing Human Resources personnel and activities and realigning the department to support the company’s reorganization toward regional operations.

“I see both challenge and opportunity in how the HR function will continue to meet or exceed expectations of both executive leadership and employees,” said Bongiovi. ”I truly believe that my previous experiences working through the rapidly changing dynamics of global realignment and reorganization in major companies will serve the Company well. I look forward to adding value to the Company’s pursuit of its strategic objectives.”

Prior to joining Baker International, Bongiovi was a teaching and research fellow and assistant director and advisor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, for the Management & Society major degree program. He served as global human resources vice president for Gilbarco Veeder-Root, human resources managing director for Marsh Americas, and vice president of human resources for RP Sherer Americas. He was also vice president of human resources for Citibank NY Consumer Bank.

“We are very pleased that Joe has joined us at this critical period of growth and progress; and that he has made a commitment to move to our headquarters in Pittsburgh from North Carolina,” said Kurt Bergman, Baker International president and CEO. “His previous HR leadership positions with billion dollar-plus firms, his ability to assemble and lead a strong HR staff, his previous military service experience and his vast international experience are the qualities and characteristics that make him such a solid fit for the HR leadership position with Baker International.”

Bongiovi earned a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Notre Dame, a Master of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University and a Master of Sociology at UNC, where he is currently pursuing a PhD in Sociology. He is an active participant in the Academy of Management, American Sociological Association, Society for Human Resources Management, Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society, and the Latin America Studies Association.

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Ceres Global Ag and CGB Terminate Purchase Agreement for Grain Storage Facility

June 10th, 2014

Riverland Ag Corp,  a wholly owned subsidiary of Ceres Global Ag Corp., and Consolidated Grain and Barge Co. (CGB), a wholly owned subsidiary of CGB Enterprises, Inc., have terminated an agreement to sell Riverland’s grain storage facility in Savage, Minnesota, to CGB.

“We remain focused on continuing to improve operations at Riverland including optimizing our capacity and increasing our turnover,” said Ceres President and CEO Michael Detlefsen. “At the same time we are developing additional business opportunities at the Stewart Southern Railway and completing construction on the initial phase of the Northgate Commodities Logistics Centre.”

Ceres’ commodity logistics unit has a 25% interest in Stewart Southern Railway Inc. and in its development of The Northgate Commodity Logistics Centre in Saskatchewan. The proposed $90 million grain, oil and oilfield supplies transloading site will connect to BNSF Railway. It is being developed in conjunction with Riverland Ag and several potential energy company partners.

CGB continues to lease storage space at the Savage elevator, and the companies are working together to expand their business relationship in the Upper Midwest.

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