Railroad News

Rail supplier news from Alstom, Tideworks, WSP and WAGO (Nov. 13)

Rail News Home Railroading Supplier Spotlight 11/13/2019 Rail News: Railroading Supplier Spotlight
image Alstom’s Coradia Stream is a single-deck electric multiple unit designed for regional lines.Photo – Alstom

Alstom has delivered the first Coradia Stream trains to Trenitalia in the Italian regions of Veneto and Liguria. Veneto will receive a total of 31 trains and Liguria will obtain 15 trains. Deliveries will continue into 2020, Alstom officials said in a press release. The Coradia Stream is a single-deck electric multiple unit designed for regional lines. The Coradia Stream consumes 30 percent less energy than the previous train generation, officials said.

Tideworks Technology Inc. announced it will create an intermodal division located in Jacksonville, Florida. The intermodal division will enable the company to dedicate resources and continue investing in the research and development of new products and services for the global rail industry, Tideworks officials said in a press release. Mark Bromley was appointed vice president of intermodal to lead the division and oversee the testing, deployment and support of intermodal products and services. As part of the expansion, the company plans to relocate its existing Jacksonville office to a new location by Dec. 31 and hire additional staff focused on intermodal customers, technology and sales.

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DART contractors begin field construction on Silver rail line

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 11/13/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image The Silver Line is a planned 26-mile regional rail line between Plano, Texas, and the DFW Airport.Photo – DART

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) yesterday announced that design-build contractor Archer Western Herzog will begin field construction Nov. 18 on the Silver Line, a future 26-mile regional rail line between Plano, Texas, and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. 

Initial work will consist of removal of abandoned rail along the right-of-way from the Dallas North Tollway in Addison to west of Synergy Park Road in Richardson, as well as relocation of AT&T utilities along Hillcrest Road from north of McCallum Boulevard to south of Wester Way.

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Trinity Metro, Fort Worth partner to develop transit master plan

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 11/13/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image All scenarios in Trinity Metro’s Transit Moves Fort Worth plan include expanded commuter-rail service.Photo – Trinity Metro

Trinity Metro and the city of Fort Worth, Texas, have partnered to improve transit in the region by developing three possible scenarios that will inform a future 20-year transit master plan.

The scenarios in the "Transit Moves Fort Worth" plan summarize ways in which transit can be made more convenient to use by developing high capacity transit services, improving and expanding existing services and improving accessibility. 

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KCS unveils new capital allocation policy

Rail News Home Kansas City Southern 11/13/2019 Rail News: Kansas City Southern
image Kansas City Southern yesterday announced that its board approved a new capital allocation policy, calling for cash to be deployed to capital projects, strategic investments, the repurchase of shares and dividends.Under the new policy, 40 to 50 percent of cash will be deployed to capital projects and strategic investments, while 50 to 60 percent will go toward share repurchases and dividends, KCS officials said in a press release.In addition, the company plans from time to time to use additional debt to support the new policy and intends to manage its debt-to-EBITDA ratio in the low 2x range consistent with its current ratings of BBB from Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings and Baa2 from Moody’s.Moreover, the board approved an increase in the quarterly dividend on KCS common stock to 40 cents from 36 cents per share payable Jan. 22, 2020, to stockholders of record as of Dec. 31.The board also approved a new $2 billion share repurchase program, expiring Dec. 31, 2022. The new program replaces the $800 million stock repurchase announced in 2017 under which KCS purchased $741 million of company stock.“Kansas City Southern is pleased to announce a new capital allocation policy that balances our objectives of: a) investing in future growth opportunities; b) delivering meaningful capital returns to our shareholders; and c) maintaining a desirable credit profile,” said KCS President and Chief Executive Officer Patrick Ottensmeyer.Also yesterday, the board declared a dividend of 25 cents per share on the outstanding KCS 4 percent non-cumulative preferred stock. The dividend is payable on Jan. 1, 2020, to stockholders of record as of Dec. 31.

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KCS unveils new capital allocation policy

Rail News Home Kansas City Southern 11/13/2019 Rail News: Kansas City Southern
image Kansas City Southern yesterday announced that its board approved a new capital allocation policy, calling for cash to be deployed to capital projects, strategic investments, the repurchase of shares and dividends.Under the new policy, 40 to 50 percent of cash will be deployed to capital projects and strategic investments, while 50 to 60 percent will go toward share repurchases and dividends, KCS officials said in a press release.In addition, the company plans from time to time to use additional debt to support the new policy and intends to manage its debt-to-EBITDA ratio in the low 2x range consistent with its current ratings of BBB from Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings and Baa2 from Moody’s.Moreover, the board approved an increase in the quarterly dividend on KCS common stock to 40 cents from 36 cents per share payable Jan. 22, 2020, to stockholders of record as of Dec. 31.The board also approved a new $2 billion share repurchase program, expiring Dec. 31, 2022. The new program replaces the $800 million stock repurchase announced in 2017 under which KCS purchased $741 million of company stock.“Kansas City Southern is pleased to announce a new capital allocation policy that balances our objectives of: a) investing in future growth opportunities; b) delivering meaningful capital returns to our shareholders; and c) maintaining a desirable credit profile,” said KCS President and Chief Executive Officer Patrick Ottensmeyer.Also yesterday, the board declared a dividend of 25 cents per share on the outstanding KCS 4 percent non-cumulative preferred stock. The dividend is payable on Jan. 1, 2020, to stockholders of record as of Dec. 31.

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CP logged record-breaking grain haul in October

Rail News Home Canadian Pacific 11/13/2019 Rail News: Canadian Pacific
image Canadian Pacific announced yesterday that in October it broke its own record for Canadian grain and grain products moved in a single month, delivering 2.66 million metric tons (MMT).The Class I's previous grain-haul record was reached in April, when CP moved 2.64 MMT of Canadian grain and grain products."This record is a testament to ongoing collaboration with our customers and innovation within the grain supply chain," said Joan Hardy, CP vice president sales and marketing, grain and fertilizers, in a press release.CP also attributed the record-breaking haul to new high-capacity grain hopper cars now serving in CP's fleet, which increased the amount of grain carried in each rail car.CP now has more than 1,900 new high-capacity hopper cars in its fleet, with plans in place for another 1,400 cars by the end of 2020. The fleet will continue to grow in the years ahead as part of CP's $500 million investment in 5,900 new hopper cars. Shippers are able to load up to 10 percent more grain by weight and 15 percent more by volume in these cars compared to the older, less-efficient hoppers they are replacing, CP officials said. To learn more about CP's grain line of business, read this cover story in Progressive Railroading's November issue.    

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CP logged record-breaking grain haul in October

Rail News Home Canadian Pacific 11/13/2019 Rail News: Canadian Pacific
image Canadian Pacific announced yesterday that in October it broke its own record for Canadian grain and grain products moved in a single month, delivering 2.66 million metric tons (MMT).The Class I's previous grain-haul record was reached in April, when CP moved 2.64 MMT of Canadian grain and grain products."This record is a testament to ongoing collaboration with our customers and innovation within the grain supply chain," said Joan Hardy, CP vice president sales and marketing, grain and fertilizers, in a press release.CP also attributed the record-breaking haul to new high-capacity grain hopper cars now serving in CP's fleet, which increased the amount of grain carried in each rail car.CP now has more than 1,900 new high-capacity hopper cars in its fleet, with plans in place for another 1,400 cars by the end of 2020. The fleet will continue to grow in the years ahead as part of CP's $500 million investment in 5,900 new hopper cars. Shippers are able to load up to 10 percent more grain by weight and 15 percent more by volume in these cars compared to the older, less-efficient hoppers they are replacing, CP officials said. To learn more about CP's grain line of business, read this cover story in Progressive Railroading's November issue.    

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BNSF names Arizona & California Railroad 'Short Line of the Year'

Rail News Home Short Lines & Regionals 11/13/2019 Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals
image BNSF honored ARZC with the Short Line of the Year award during the Class I’s annual Short Line Conference.Photo – BNSF

BNSF Railway Co. yesterday designated Arizona & California Railroad (ARZC) as the Class I’s 2019 Short Line of the Year for a commitment to “safety, service, growth, investment and velocity.”

 A Genesee & Wyoming Inc. subsidiary, ARZC operates a 205-mile line running between Matthie, Arizona, and Cadiz, California. The railroad works with BNSF operating teams in Barstow, California, and Phoenix to handle 20,000 units of overhead traffic annually, BNSF officials said in a press release.

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USDOT announces $900 million in FY2019 BUILD grant awards

Rail News Home Federal Legislation & Regulation 11/13/2019 Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation
image U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoPhoto – USDOT

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced $900 million in federal grants will be awarded to 55 surface transportation infrastructure projects in 35 states under the fiscal-year 2019 Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Discretionary Grants program.

The grants were awarded on a competitive basis to projects with a significant impact on their local or regional communities, U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) officials said in a press release.

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AAR: STB's proposed rate review rule is 'unlawful'

Rail News Home Federal Legislation & Regulation 11/13/2019 Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation
image "The STB's Final Offer Rate Review proposed rule is fatally flawed and exceeds the agency’s authority in determining rate reasonableness,” said AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Ian Jefferies.Photo – aar.org

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) yesterday called on the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to withdraw its "fatally flawed" proposed rate review rule.

In comments filed with the board, AAR officials said the proposed rule is unlawful.

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2019 Railroad Innovator Award profile: Kansas City Southern's Patrick Ottensmeyer

Under Patrick Ottensmeyer’s watch, KCS has been nudging the innovation needle, embracing blockchain and all that next-generation PTC might net, while also seeking ways to employ a range of autonomous technologies.Photo – kansas city southern/roy inman

By Pat Foran, Editor

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2019 Railroad Innovator Award profile: Kansas City Southern's Patrick Ottensmeyer

Under Patrick Ottensmeyer’s watch, KCS has been nudging the innovation needle, embracing blockchain and all that next-generation PTC might net, while also seeking ways to employ a range of autonomous technologies.Photo – kansas city southern/roy inman

By Pat Foran, Editor

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BART GM issues apology to rider handcuffed over food policy

Rail News Home Security 11/12/2019 Rail News: Security
image BART GM Bob PowersPhoto – Bay Area Rapid Transit

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) General Manager Bob Powers yesterday issued an apology to a rider who was handcuffed by BART police for eating a sandwich on a train platform.

BART policy asks riders not to eat or drink on the BART system. On Nov. 9, a BART police officer stopped a rider who was eating on the platform of BART's Pleasant Hill Station in San Francisco. After declining to show identification when asked for it, the rider cursed and made homophobic slurs at the officer, then was handcuffed and led away.

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Denver RTD hires 50 rail, bus workers during labor shortage

Rail News Home Labor 11/12/2019 Rail News: Labor
image Denver RTD is seeking public feedback on proposed service reductions to address ongoing labor shortages.Photo – Denver RTD Facebook

The Regional Transportation District of Denver (RTD) yesterday announced that a new class of 50 light-rail and bus operations and technicians will begin orientation and training.

News of the new hires comes weeks after RTD announced it's exploring temporary service reductions to address an ongoing labor shortage and challenges in operator recruitment and retention.

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Ports of LA, Long Beach cite trade war for dip in October's cargo volume

Trade tariffs took a toll on cargo volumes last month at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, port officials announced late last week.

The Port of Los Angeles logged 770,189 20-foot equivalent Units (TEUs) in October, a 19.1 percent decrease compared to 2018’s record-breaking October, port officials said in a press release.

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SamTrans’ Hartnett named most admired San Francisco CEO

Rail News Home Railroading People 11/12/2019 Rail News: Railroading People
image San Mateo County Transit District General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Jim HartnettPhoto – SamTrans

The San Francisco Business Times last week named San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans) General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Jim Hartnett as one of San Francisco's most admired CEOs. 

Hartnett was among 11 CEOs recognized for their demonstrated track record of exceptional leadership, business performance and philanthropic contributions. The honors were bestowed as part of the newspaper's 12th annual CEO recognition program, SamTrans officials said in a press release.

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MARTA marks 40th anniversary of rail service

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 11/12/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image The first MARTA train traveled from Avondale to Georgia State in 1979.Photo – MARTA Facebook

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) earlier this month celebrated its 40th anniversary of providing rail and bus service. 

Nearly 2,000 Atlanta residents attended a public festival and concert to celebrate the anniversary, and MARTA General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Parker addressed more than 130 guests at a stakeholder reception for elected officials, board members and community partners.

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Santa Clara VTA pilots safety railing on light-rail line

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 11/12/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image The railing installation is part of a six-month pilot program to reduce incidents of people walking in front of on-coming trains.Photo – VTA

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) earlier this month installed a railing in the space between the sidewalk and light-rail track along Second Street between San Carlos and San Fernando streets in downtown San Jose, California. 

The installation is part of a six-month pilot program to reduce incidents of people walking in front of on-coming trains and to allow trains to move more seamlessly along the line.

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Metro-North marks achievements under 'Way Ahead' transformation plan

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 11/12/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image "I’m proud to report that we’re developing an even stronger Metro-North, and we remain focused on continuing to enhance our system," Rinaldi said.Photo – Metro-North's website

MTA Metro-North Railroad has met key benchmarks in the first year of a plan designed to improve safety, service, infrastructure and communication with passengers.

Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi today announced the accomplishments since implementing the New York City commuter railroad's "Way Ahead" plan a year ago as a response to increasing ridership, changing demographics and the evolving needs of riders, agency officials said in a press release.

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CN's James Street swing bridge reopens after long legal battle

Rail News Home Canadian National Railway - CN 11/12/2019 Rail News: Canadian National Railway - CN
image The CN-owned James Street swing bridge in Thunder Bay, Ontario, reopened Nov. 9 to motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic after being closed for more than six years following a fire.The bridge connects Thunder Bay and Fort William First Nation across the Kaministiquia River. It closed after a fire broke out on the northern approach spans on Oct. 29, 2013. Train traffic reopened later that week, but the bridge remained closed to motorists and pedestrians since that time.“CN is pleased that the bridge is reopening and that this important road link in Thunder Bay is once again accessible to the public,” said Olivier Chouc, CN's vice president of law, in a press release.The bridge's driving lane remains unchanged. The speed limit across the bridge will be maintained at about 12 mph, with a load carrying restriction of 33,000 pounds.A lengthy legal battle over the bridge's repair and maintenance issues occurred following the fire. The city of Thunder Bay and Fort William First Nation argued that a 1906 agreement over the bridge's construction required the railroad to maintain it in perpetuity. CN countered that it had fulfilled its obligations and the bridge no longer met modern standards and would require more substantial work than just maintenance, according to a CBC news report.The case ended up in the Supreme Court of Canada, which rejected CN's appeal from a lower court. In the end, the courts required CN to uphold its obligation to repair and reopen the bridge to all vehicles under the 1906 agreement, Thunder Bay city officials said in a press release.The bridge repairs required widening of the city's roadway approaches. That work was completed within CN's construction schedule timeline so that the bridge could now reopen to traffic, city officials said.“We are pleased to see this important connection between Thunder Bay and Fort William First Nation finally reopened,” said Thunder Bay Mayor Bill Mauro. “We recognize the challenges and frustrations citizens from both communities have faced without this access point. CN, as directed by the highest court in Ontario, has fulfilled their obligation to repair the bridge and we can now move forward as more connected communities."

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