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N ov e m b e r 2 0 1 7

w w w. r a i lwaya g e .c o m

AILWAY GE S e r v i n g t h e r a i lway i n d u s t r y s i n c e 1 8 5 6

Corina Moore, President and Chief Operations Officer, Ontario Northland


IN RAIL How They’re Changing the Face of the Industry

Commodity Focus: Energy Comebacks for crude and coal?

NGTC: Suppliers speak out

How long does an RFP have to be?

August 2017 // Railway Age 1

Maintenance doesn’t have to be a drain.

At the junction of industry-leading technologies and world-class service, LORAM drainage maintenance programs drive ROI.


© 2016 Loram, Inc.





Women in Rail


Commodity Focus: Energy

24 29 32

Breaching the glass ceiling 

Requiem for crude and coal?

Building Better Ballast Better equipment and methods 

Paradigm Shift Next-gen Traffic Control

New-gen Streetcars The lightest side of LRT 

DEPARTMENTS 4 6 7 36 36 36 37 38 39 39

Industry Indicators Industry Outlook Market People 100 Years Ago Meetings Products Advertising Index Professional Directory Classified

NEWS/COLUMNS 2 8 13 35 40

From the Editor Update Watching Washington Perspective Financial Edge On the Cover: Corina Moore is one of our 10 Women in Rail honorees. Photo: Ontario Northland

Railway Age, USPS 449-130, is published monthly by the Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation, 55 Broad St., 26th Fl., New York, NY 10004. Tel. (212) 620-7200; FAX (212) 633-1863. Vol. 218, No. 11. Subscriptions: Railway Age is sent without obligation to professionals working in the railroad industry in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. However, the publisher reserves the right to limit the number of copies. Subscriptions should be requested on company letterhead. Subscription pricing to others for Print and/or Digital versions: $100.00 per year/$151.00 for two years in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico; $139.00 per year/$197.00 for two years, foreign. Single Copies: $36.00 per copy in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico/$128.00 foreign All subscriptions payable in advance. COPYRIGHT© 2016 Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced without permission. For reprint information contact PARS International Corp., 102 W. 38th Street, 6th floor, New York, N.Y. 10018, Tel.: 212-221-9595; Fax: 212-2219195. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY, and additional mailing offices. Canada Post Cust.#7204564; Agreement #41094515. Bleuchip Int’l, PO Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2. Address all subscriptions, change of address forms and correspondence concerning subscriptions to Subscription Dept., Railway Age, P.O. Box 1172, Skokie, IL 60076-8172, Or call toll free (800) 895-4389, or (402) 346-4740. Printed at Cummings Printing, Hooksett, N.H. ISSN 0033-8826 (print); 2161-511X (digital).

November 2017 // Railway Age 1


AILWAY GE Subscriptions: 800-895-4389

A Train Shed at General Electric?


ill General Electric, which is among the world’s largest freight locomotive manufacturers, be selling off its centuryold railroad business? Is this possible? It is when your new CEO is looking to “streamline the conglomerate” by jettisoning $20 billion in assets over the next two years, as The Wall Street Journal reported late last month. GE is “exploring options” for its Transportation division, according to people close to the matter, as a major part of CEO John Flannery’s plans to place the corporation on a crash diet. He’s under pressure from activist Trian Fund Management (which now sits on GE’s Board) and other investors to cut costs and generate enough cash to fund the corporation’s $8 billion annual dividend. Said the WSJ, quoting anonymous sources: “The company is looking to partner, spin off or possibly sell the operations. An outright sale could trigger a big tax hit, since GE has owned the business for a century and it is valued so low on its books. The business is cyclical (oh, don’t we know that!) and has been suffering lately from slack demand. In the first nine months of 2017, the unit’s revenue slipped 8% and profit fell 15%. The division accounted for $4.7 billion of GE’s total revenue of $123.7 billion last year. The down cycle for the rail industry is a key factor in determining the best way to get out of it.”

Flannery is also looking to sell part or all of Centricity, its health care information technology business, as well as GE Lighting. Switzerland’s ABB Ltd. in September agreed to buy the Industrial Solutions unit—which traces its roots back 130 years to Thomas Edison—for $2.6 billion. GE “has many strong divisions,” Flannery told the WSJ, but also “a number of other businesses that drain investment and management resources without the prospects for a substantial reward.” In other words, this is corporate Darwinism, where only the strong have earned the right to survive. In GE Transportation’s case, it’s strong, but perhaps not strong enough for Flannery and the activist investors who are turning up the heat. Either that, or management is unwilling to put up with our industry’s often frustrating cyclicality involving locomotives and freight cars. GE Transportation will soon cease building locomotives at its historic Erie, Pa., plant, shifting all production to Fort Worth, Tex. The division employed about 10,000 at the beginning of this year, 2,000 fewer than 2016. GE shares plummeted about 32% this year, erasing more than $93 billion in market value. GE planned to divulge details at a midNovember meeting. Stay tuned to our website for this unfolding saga.


Railway Age, descended from the American Rail-Road Journal (1832) and the Western Railroad Gazette (1856) and published under its present name since 1876, is indexed by the Business Periodicals Index and the Engineering Index Service. Name registered in U.S. Patent Office and Trade Mark Office in Canada. Now indexed in ABI/Inform. Change of address should reach us six weeks in advance of next issue date. Send both old and new addresses with address label to Subscription Department, Railway Age, PO Box 3135, Northbrook, IL 60062-2620, or call toll free (800) 895-4389, or (402) 346-4740. Post Office will not forward copies unless you provide extra postage. Photocopy rights: Where necessary, permission is granted by the copyright owner for the libraries and others registered with the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) to photocopy articles herein for the flat fee of $2.00 per copy of each article. Payment should be sent directly to CCC. Copying for other than personal or internal reference use without the express permission of Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corp. is prohibited. Address requests for permission on bulk orders to the Circulation Director. Railway Age welcomes the submission of unsolicited manuscripts and photographs. However, the publishers will not be responsible for safekeeping or return of such material. Member of:

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Editorial and Executive Offices Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corp. 55 Broad Street, 26th Fl. New York, NY 10004 212-620-7200; Fax: 212-633-1863 Website: ARTHUR J. McGINNIS, Jr. President and Chairman JONATHAN CHALON Group Publisher WILLIAM C. VANTUONO Editor-in-Chief STUART CHIRLS Senior Editor Contributing Editors: Roy H. Blanchard, Jim Blaze, Alfred E. Fazio, Bruce E. Kelly, Ron Lindsey, Ryan McWilliams, David Nahass, Jason H. Seidl, David Thomas, John Thompson, Frank N. Wilner Art Director: Nicole Cassano Graphic Designer: Aleza Leinwand Corporate Production Director: Mary Conyers Digital Ad Operations Associate: Kevin Fuhrmann Production Director: Eduardo Castaner Marketing Director: Erica Hayes Conference Director: Michelle Zolkos Circulation Director: Maureen Cooney Western Offices 20 South Clark Street, Suite 1910, Chicago, IL 60603 312-683-0130; Fax: 312-683-0131 Engineering Editor: Mischa Wanek-Libman International Offices 46 Killigrew Street, Falmouth, Cornwall TR11 3PP, United Kingdom Telephone: 011-44-1326-313945 Fax: 011-44-1326-211576 International Editors: David Briginshaw, Keith Barrow, Kevin Smith, Dan Templeton, Customer Service: 800-895-4389 Reprints: PARS International Corp. 253 West 35th Street 7th Floor New York, NY 10001 212-221-9595; fax 212-221-9195


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Industry Indicators Railroads are Giving a Refresher Course in Piggyback Service Trailer-on-flatcar, or TOFC (pronounced tof-cee) service has been around almost as long as trucks and trains. For years, railroads went to great lengths to brand those services, the better to wrest carloads off the interstates and onto the rails. (Who can forget Southern Pacific’s Golden Pig Service?) But the growth of long-distance trucking and intermodal containers for years has relegated TOFC service to a steadily declining portion of rail freight traffic. Until now. The rise of e-commerce and a shortage of drivers is once again pushing trailer traffic back to the rails, to the point where it is reversing, for however long, the decades-long slide and actually outgaining the ubiquitous container.

Railroad employment, Class I linehaul carriers, SEPT. 2017 (% change from SEPT. 2016)



Total employees: 146,673 % change from SEPT. 2016: -3.81%

Transportation (train and engine)

59,882 (0.09%)

Executives, Officials, and Staff Assistants

8,497 (-7.09%)

Professional and Administrative

12,393 (-7.13%)


Grain Farm Products ex. Grain Grain Mill Products Food products Chemicals Petroleum & Petroleum Products Coal Primary Forest Products Lumber and Wood Products Pulp and Paper Products Metallic Ores Coke Primary Metal Products Iron and Steel Scrap Motor Vehicles and Parts Crushed Stone, Sand, and Gravel Nonmetallic Minerals Stone, Clay & Glass Products Waste & Nonferrous Scrap All Other Carloads Total U.S. CarLoadS

SEPT. ’17

SEPT. ’16


81,543 3,591 34,305 23,670 121,815 35,510 40,152 4,675 13,071 22,406 26,448 16,581 36,734 15,830 66,273 104,198 15,821 31,685 14,982 21,329

97,872 3,852 35,427 25,365 120,174 42,777 39,997 4,583 12,807 22,607 23,285 17,043 32,857 13,257 73,476 95,353 20,260 30,963 16,578 23,188

-16.7% -6.8% -3.2% -6.7% 1.4% -17.0% 0.4% 2.0% 2.1% -0.9% 13.6% -2.7% 11.8% 19.4% -9.8% 9.3% -21.9% 2.3% -9.6% -8.0%












Maintenance-of-Way and Structures

33,483 (-6.68%)

Maintenance of Equipment and Stores

26,740 (-5.46%)

Transportation (other than train & engine)

5,678 (-5.41%)

Source: Surface Transportation Board

TRAIN & ENGINE MODERATES, KEEPS class I employment FROM GREATER DECLINE Figures released by the STB show Class I total railroad employment dropped by 3.81% in September from the same month a year ago, thanks to essentially flat data for Train and Engine yearon-year. That was about the only good news as the other employment categories showed much steeper drops. Professional and Administrative was the hardest hit, with staffing levels tumbling by 7.13% from the same month in 2016. Class I’s may be running fewer and longer trains, but they still need crews to keep them moving.

4 Railway Age // November 2017




SEPT. ’17

SEPT. ’16


96,074 984,370 1,080,444

88,503 952,459 1,040,962

8.6% 3.4% 3.8%

4,385 276,999 281,384

4,164 238,373 242,537

5.3% 16.2% 16.0%

Trailers Containers

100,459 1,261,369

92,667 1,190,832

8.4% 5.9%





Trailers Containers TOTAL UNITS



Source: Monthly Railroad Traffic, Association of American Railroads




SEPT. 2017

SEPT. 2016

INCOMPARABLE UNLOADING ABILITY 13° curve: including “S” curves 5” super-elevation 50’ discarge from track center Climate controlled cab for safety Automated plow for striking

Short Line And Regional Traffic Index CARLOADS

by Commodity Chemicals Coal Crushed Stone / Sand / Gravel Food & Kindred Products Grain Grain Mill Products Lumber & Wood Products Metallic Ores Metals & Products Motor Vehicles & Equipment Nonmetallic Minerals Petroleum Products Pulp, Paper & Allied Products Trailers / Containers Waste & Nonferrous Scrap All Other Carloads




44,400 24119 29,802 10,186 22,266 6,412 8,841 2,845 16,321 9,084 1,838 2,040 16,418 38,815 9,496 81,302

44,100 24,029 24,639 10,222 25,831 6,222 8,600 3,578 15,520 8,971 1,492 1,919 16,988 50,793 9,478 80,881

0.5% 0.7% 21.0% -0.4% -13.8% 3.1% 2.8% -20.5% 5.2% 1.3% 23.2% 6.3% -3.4% -23.6% 0.2% -2.5%

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved.

average weekly U.S. Rail Carloads: all commodities (not seasonally adjusted) 360,000 340,000

MULTIPLE MATERIALSIZES, INCLUDING: Mainline ballast Walking ballast Great for washouts, new construction, stock piling, and more. ADDITIONAL FEATURES Control which car is unloaded first with multiple materials One-man operation No personnel needed on ground 24-hour unloading capabilities

2006 (peak year)





280,000 260,000 240,000 220,000


Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Data are average weekly originations for each month, are not seasonally adjusted, do not include intermodal, and do not include the U.S. operations of CN and CP. Source: AAR | 816.233.9002 November 2017 // Railway Age 5

Industry Outlook Amtrak Thinning Non-Agreement Employee Ranks

Brightline Turns Up the Heat Brightline, the privately funded passenger rail start-up, took delivery of BrightRed, its fifth and final trainset, and announced a marketing partnership as the official train service of the NBA’s Miami Heat. The U.S.-assembled trainset was delivered by Siemens USA from its Sacramento facility to Brightline’s Workshop b in West Palm Beach, Fla.. BrightRed joins BrightBlue, BrightOrange, BrightPink and BrightGreen on the roster of integrated trainsets comprising two Siemens Charger diesel-electric locomotives (one at each end) powered by Cummins 4,000-hp, EPA Tier 4-compliant QSK-95 engines, and four stainless-steel coaches. Brightline parent AllAboardFlorida, a unit of Florida East Coast Industries, plans to begin service this year between Miami and West Palm Beach, but has yet to announce fares. “It is exciting to partner with one the NBA’s most respected franchises,” said Brightline Chief Executive Dave Howard. “Traveling to and from Heat games and events at the AmericanAirlines Arena will be much easier and more convenient for our guests than sitting in traffic trying to get to the game on time.” AmericanAirlines Arena, which is part of 6 Railway Age // November 2017

the partnership, is near BrightLine’s MiamiCentral station. “Our partnership with Brightline will offer Heat fans and American Airlines Arena guests a new opportunity to get in and out of downtown Miami comfortably and in style,” said Kim Stone, Executive Vice President of the Heat and General Manager of AmericanAirlines Arena. “With more people living, working and playing in downtown Miami, collaborating with Brightline to address the transportation needs of our guests is a huge step in the right direction.” In a related development, David Helfman, a veteran executive from the sports marketing industry, has joined Brightline as Vice President of Corporate Partnerships. The company said he “will lead the charge on identifying and generating corporate partnerships for Brightline facilities.” Helfman has extensive experience in sports marketing, most recently serving as Director of Corporate Partnerships for the Miami Dolphins. During his time with the Dolphins, Helfman generated more than $10 million in revenue, devised the departmental strategy for the sale of five new luxury clubs, and led partnership sales efforts for the Miami Dolphins Foundation.

AMTRAK has instituted a Voluntary Separation Incentive Program (VSIP) to reduce the number of non-agreement (non-union) employees. The railroad is offering what it’s calling a “generous incentive program” to those who volunteer to leave by Dec. 31— but they must be approved for the program. If enough people don’t step forward, the next step will be layoffs. “We will be reorganizing to meet our goals for 2018 and beyond,” Executive Vice President, Administration DJ Stadtler said in an email to all nonagreement employees. “We need to improve our safety culture, we need to be obsessed with giving our customers a better experience—and we must lower our operating costs. We must make changes to how we are organized to get this done. Right now, our non-agreement team is too big. We must deliver more results with fewer people.” Employees who have served in a non-agreement position for at least one year as of Dec. 31, 2017 are eligible to apply for “Management Voluntary Separation Incentive Program benefit.” The election to participate period was from Nov. 6 through Nov. 17. “If we do not get enough voluntary separations in December to complete this process, we will take the painful next step of initiating involuntary separations in January,” Stadtler added. “The benefits for involuntary separations are substantially less than the benefits for voluntary separations.” Stadtler said employees will be updated during the week of Dec. 4 if enough VSIP applications are received to avoid involuntary reductions. “If we must have involuntary reductions, they would not be initiated until after Jan. 2,” he said. Stadtler acknowledged in his letter that the announcement “will create a certain level of anxiety.”

Market Progress Rail, PHL Tier 4 Switcher Progress Rail and Pacific Harbor Line, Inc. (PHL) last month showcased the U.S. EPA Tier 4-certified EMD24B switcher locomotive at the Port of Long Beach for port officials attending the American Association of Port Authorities 2017 convention. The EMD24B, powered by a Cat® 3512C HD engine and constructed with remanufactured core parts, has been completing its California Air Resources Board (CARB) verification testing with PHL, which has confirmed it plans to lease the unit. Progress Rail had previously delivered Tier 4 passenger locomotives in the state of California (the EMD F-125, 40 of which have been ordered by Metrolink) that meet lower emissions standards.

WORLDWIDE THE newly-elected Labour-New Zealand First coalition government has announced a NZ$800 million ($546.8 million) funding commitment to build a new railway line to Marsden Point port in Northland and to upgrade the line between Auckland and Whangarei, also in Northland. The new branch line to the port, which will be about 12 miles long, will connect with the existing Northland main line about six miles south of Whangarei and will initially mainly carry logs for export from the region’s plantation forests. Of the NZ$800 million

allocated to both projects, NZ$200 million will be spent on the port line, with NZ$600 million budgeted to upgrade the line to Auckland. The latter is expected to carry timber and dairy products. No start date for construction has yet been announced. The expenditure is the largest national rail network upgrade outside of Auckland in more than 30 years.

NORTH AMERICA it has been about 20 years since MTA New York City Transit phased out tokens for the now-iconic MetroCard farecard used on the system’s subways and buses. Now, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority will be phasing in a new system similar to Transport for London’s Oyster open-payment, contactless-based fare collection system. The MTA on Oct. 25 awarded a $539.5 million contract with options worth $33.9 million to Cubic Transportation Systems (CTS) to replace the MetroCard, which CTS supplied in the mid1990s. The new system will provide customers with the ability to use credit/debit cards and mobile phones at the turnstile or on the bus, instead of purchasing and adding value

to a separate fare card, “offering a retail payment experience to transit.” For those customers without a bank card or who prefer not to use one, a contactless card option will still be available with the same account management convenience features. They will be able to create personalized transit accounts to see ride history, check balances, add value, as well as report lost or stolen cards to protect funds. Also, they will be able to use mobile phones as they would ticket vending machines to check account balances and recharge fare accounts from any location with cellular data or Wi-Fi access. The Fort Worth & Western Railroad (FWWR) is the most recent short line to contract with Herzog Technologies, Inc. (HTI) for PTC Hosting services. “PTC Hosting services allows FWWR to simplify and accelerate its PTC implementation in meeting the mandated PTC deadline and to be interoperable with FWWR host railroads,” HTI said. “FWWR views its investment in PTC as a commitment to the safety of its employees, its customers and the communities it serves.” Based in Fort Worth, FWWR is a Class III railroad operating under a parent company, Tarantula Corp. November 2017 // Railway Age 7


NGTC: Suppliers Speak Out P

erhaps the most anticipated forum at the annual Railway Age/ Parsons Next-Generation Train Control conference, held since 1995, the Supplier Roundtable open-forum discussion panel gives vendors the opportunity to discuss the issues surrounding CBTC and PTC with their peers, and answer questions from a very discerning audience.

This year’s panel, moderated by Parsons Vice President Rail & Transit Systems Division Nick Larocco, included (left to right, above) Nicholas Columbare, Alstom; Ashley Langford, Ansaldo STS; Duncan Lewis, Thales Transport & Security; Michael Lee, CRSC; Bill Conis, Siemens Industry; and Nitant Sethi, Bombardier Transportation. This never fails to be a lively group. In a forum like this, it’s easy to understand the issues—some of them frustrating—faced by suppliers of next-generation train control technology as they work with customers of widely varying requirements, philosophies and financial resources. Following are a few select observations: • There has been (and will continue to be) consolidation in the market. It’s good for customers (users) because it promotes lower costs and economies of scale, and more balance in an atmosphere of competitive 8 Railway Age // November 2017

pressure. However, the market is healthy, and too much consolidation can reduce competition. There will be continued shakeout as companies positions themselves, but whether the market is a growth one is unclear at this juncture. • Technology is moving toward 30-year equipment life cycles. How do we help our customers maintain the systems we supply? • It’s difficult to locate and recruit fresh young talent in the train control field, at least in North America. There is little in the way of specialized higher education programs, unlike in other countries, where train control is a specialized degree program. Currently, there is also a scarcity of railway signal engineers. • Project timelines and their numerous cycles need to be shortened. “Greenfield” or “clean sheet of paper” projects typically require only two years, and are prevalent throught most of the world—except in North America, which offers mostly “brownfield” projects (retrofitting legacy technologies), which takes much longer. What can our customers do to shorten development and deployment time? One example is the New York MTA’s Genius Challenge. But the rail industry typically moves rather slowly.

• “Less is more.” One panelist gave the example of an agency’s 1,700-page technical specification for a CBTC system. It took him weeks to digest it. In contrast, another agency produced a 40-page CONOPS (concept of operations) document, which contained more than enough information for the vendor to determine whether to submit a bid. • Technology is here to stay, and the customer base is changing. “I believe in 20-somethings and their apps,” said one vendor. “They are the future. We have to be able to meet their needs.” • There is better synergy when design teams can be co-located.

There is better synergy when design teams can be co-located.”



10:02 AM

Dan O’Neal, 81 When it came to crafting transportation public policy and administering economic regulation during the 1970s, few possessed the understanding, vision and determination of A. Daniel (Dan) O’Neal, who died Oct. 10 at age 81. As transportation counsel to the Senate Commerce Committee, O’Neal was a savant—his opinions sought and prized by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Yet later as chairman of the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC, now Surface Transportation Board) from 1973-1979, O’Neal became the most detested of decision makers by railroads and motor carriers—too eager to deregulate trucks; unimpressed with rail deregulation efforts. Transportation-event speakers told, retold and told again the apocryphal story of a teen rescuing O’Neal from drowning, and when promised “anything” for his valor, requested a proper funeral “because my father is a railroad president and will kill me when he finds out whom I saved.” O’Neal resigned from the ICC in December 1979, returning to the West Coast to practice law and begin a 30-year relationship with Greenbrier, serving as director of Greenbrier’s Gunderson subsidiary, serially as chairman of Greenbrier Intermodal, Autostack and Greenbrier Logistics, and as a Greenbrier board member. He also operated Tolan-O’Neal Transportation & Logistics, and was credited with helping pioneer the market for the double-stack intermodal railcar, still built by Gunderson. O’Neal also played a key role with the Railway Supply Institute. Born in Bremerton, Wash., O’Neal studied mathematics at Whitman College; served as a Naval officer with a tour in Vietnam; and after earning a law degree from the University of Washington, was hired as an aide by Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Warren Magnuson (D-Wash.). After advancing to committee transportation counsel, O’Neal earned accolades for his intellectual contributions to legislation creating Amtrak in 1970 and the 1973 3-R Act that fashioned Conrail as a Northeast core rail system successor to six insolvents, including Penn Central. Of Congress creating Amtrak as a “for-profit” railroad—although not a single passenger railroad in the world supported itself from the farebox—O’Neal said, “We thought this new entity should have high aspirations.” President Nixon nominated O’Neal for Senate confirmation to the ICC in 1973; President Carter named him chairman in 1977. O’Neal’s ICC tenure was turbulent, but his fitness was never questioned. As the 1976 Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform (4-R) Act was under construction, O’Neal said, “What the railroads really want is to be able to increase rates where they do not have competition.” The AAR accused O’Neal and the ICC of “a march toward more regulation.” O’Neal slowly warmed to rail deregulation before departing the ICC in December 1979. President Carter, a rabid deregulator, named Darius Gaskins chairman to succeed O’Neal, with Gaskins forcefully embracing economic deregulation and saying the future “for shippers and carriers alike lies in the marketplace, not in the halls of the ICC.” Dan O’Neal is survived by his wife of 56 years, Diane, and four children. —Frank N. Wilner

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Avelia Liberty Livery Revealed Amtrak’s Avelia Liberty, the Alstom-built integrated high-speed trainset that will replace the equipment currently

used to provide Amtrak’s premium Acela Express service on the Boston-New York City-Washington D.C. Northeast Corridor,

will be significantly different in design and livery from its predecessor. The trainset sports four carbody exterior colors: white and blue, with red accents and gray power car noses. The Avelia Liberty is based on Alstom’s TGV, versions of which have been in service around the world for more than 35 years. Alstom’s North American version, like the Acela Express, will be a tilting trainset with power cars at each end, but unlike the aptlynicknamed “Fast Pig” will be articulated, like its French sibling. A prototype trainset is expected to be ready in 2019, with the first trainset entering revenue service in 2021. All of the trainsets are expected to be in service, and the current fleet retired, by year-end 2022. Amtrak revealed the new livery on Oct. 6, noting that the “next-generation trainsets will provide 40% more trainsets (28), onethird more passenger seats with the same personal space and high-end comfort, more service, better amenities and a smoother ride” than the Acela Express.


145 Baekeland Avenue, Piscataway, NJ 08854 | 732.230.4501 10 Railway Age // November 2017

Update For GE Transportation, a Passage to India The first of 1,000 GE Transportation diesel-electric Evolution Series locomotives for Indian Railways (IR) arrived at India’s Mundra Port on Oct. 11. The ES43ACmi is the first locomotive running on IR that complies with UIC1, the international emissions standard established by the International Union of Railways (Union Internationale des Chemins de fer). Designed at the John F. Welch Technology Center in Bangalore, ES43ACmi 49002 is the first of 40 locomotives to be imported to India from the U.S. The remaining 960 will be built at GE’s Brilliant Factory, which is being constructed at Marhowra in Bihar and will open in 2018. GE notes that the Brilliant Factory “marries lean principles with additive manufacturing and software analytics for the most efficient production. The partnership will also provide technical training and employment opportunities for the local community in Bihar.” The ES43ACmi, a dual-cab design

equipped with a 4,500-hp prime-mover, is one of two locomotive models GE Transportation is building for IR. The second model, the ES57ACi, features a 6,000-hp power plant. It is currently in the design phase and will begin production shortly. Development and manufacturing of the ES43ACmi resulted from a $2.5 billion

agreement for 1,000 locomotives signed in 2015 as part of the Government of India’s Public Private Partnership program to modernize rail infrastructure. “This agreement remains one of the most promising infrastructure projects in the country and underscores the importance of the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative,” GE said.

Maplewood, NJ 07040 Phone: (800) 21RAILS Email: Web:

November 2017 // Railway Age 11


UP Salutes U.S. Armed Forces Union Pacific No. 1943, the Spirit of the Union Pacific, is the 16th commemorative locomotive in the railroad’s 155-year history. The EMD SD70AH kicked off UP’s Salute to the Military Tour, a series of community

displays across its network. Created in collaboration with UP veterans, the Tier 4 locomotive shares a connection to a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress funded by war bond contributions from the railroad’s

employees in 1943. Christened Spirit of the Union Pacific and assigned to the 571st Bomber Squadron, the Spirit was shot down on its fifth mission during a raid on enemy installations in Munster, Germany. The Spirit’s silver nose and cab symbolize Air Force Silver, and the blue stripe recalls the former Strategic Air Command’s “nose sash.” The lettering inside the sash is the original hand-drawn font used on the B-17. It is followed by the Coast Guard’s “Racing Stripe” and the Navy’s Battleship Gray, which frames UP’s traditional U.S. flag. The military camouflage is a nod to the Army and Marines. The message at the rear of the locomotive is dedicated to U.S. prisoners of war and those missing in action. “Union Pacific is proud to honor veterans and the men and women bravely serving our country with a special locomotive representing every armed forces branch reflected in its symbolic design,” said Senior VP Corporate Relations Scott Moore, “UP 1943’s mission is to salute them as it leads trains carrying America’s goods across our network.”

Keeping Technology in Motion

12 Railway Age // November 2017

Watching Washington

When You Get A Good Deal, Take It


lmost three years since 12 rail labor unions commenced collective bargaining over wages, benefits and work rules with Class I railroads, plus many regionals and short lines, a coalition of six unions— representing some 60% of the 145,000 affected workers—has reached a tentative agreement with the carriers. Should it fail membership ratification, a Donald J. Trump-appointed, and presumably management-friendly, Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) will make nonbinding recommendations for settlement. Absent a ratified agreement in place to serve as a pattern, all original carrier demands—lower wage increases, no retroactive pay, more healthcare givebacks, expansion of remote control use, elimination of road and yard distinctions, and scrapping of extra boards—are back in play, and a PEB likely will cotton to some. Should labor decline to settle as recommended by a PEB, the door opens for an anti-labor congressional majority to do what lawmakers typically do to end a national rail work stoppage—impose the PEB recommendations. This ain’t a trick bag in which rail workers wish to find themselves. While collective bargaining never delivers to either side all it wants, political realities and a problematic economic climate for railroads make this tentative agreement look generous. Indeed, in the midst of continued wage stagnation elsewhere in America, it puts at least $33,000 more into the pockets of the highest paid rail workers within just two



years; and more than $16,000 by mid-2019 to those in the lower wage rungs. And there is not a single work rules change. Although healthcare co-pays, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums rise—but more slowly than medical cost inflation, and barely for those in good health— employee monthly insurance premiums are capped at the current level until at least mid-2020. By contrast, other private sector and federal workers—including congressional staff advising lawmakers if ratification fails—pay significantly more. In fact, railroads will be paying some 90% of all employee healthcare costs. Motivation for a management-friendly PEB and anti-labor congressional majority to trim back this tentative deal, should ratification fail, is a 44% drop in the railroads’ bedrock coal traffic—a $7 billion revenue hit—further shadowed by problematic prospects given the growth of natural gas, solar and wind for electric power generation. The bloom also is off intermodal, while many in Congress support allowing longer and heavier railcompetitive trucks. Inexplicably and anarchist-like, leaders of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes (BMWE), which abandoned its own effort to negotiate a new contract, have urged rejection of this tentative agreement negotiated by the six unions representing conductors, engineers, signalmen and some shopcraft workers. Equally perplexing, the BMWE’s distribution of leaflets at work sites, and similar negative comments on social media, violate a core principle of trade unionism that forbids attacking another labor organization’s performance of its negotiating obligations. Were the BMWE affiliated with the AFL-CIO, the mainstream umbrella organization for most American labor unions, it would face severe sanctions. Rejection of the tentative pact virtually assures that Congress will impose a new contract with an anti-labor tilt. The BMWE’s attempted sabotage is irrational, but irrationality has stained previous BMWE thinking. BMWE members twice unlawfully occupied National Mediation Board

BMWE leadership has urged other unions to reject the agreement.” offices to protest a preference for peaceful outcomes. BMWE has threatened to shut down Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor despite warnings that a perpetually underfunded Amtrak wouldn’t survive to reopen. And after frequently engaging in unlawful work stoppages against BNSF, BMWE is under unprecedented court order—with risk of its bank account being reduced to pocket change—to seek court permission for a future strike. If there were a better deal out there, other labor organizations would have grabbed it. As for rejection, the probability of squeezing out a better offer is near nil. Most likely, should a PEB and Congress write the contract, is a three card Monte game rigged decidedly in favor of the carriers. Labor always is best served by the motto, “When you get a good deal, take it.” The six unions with the tentative agreement are the American Train Dispatchers Association; Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen; Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen; International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Forgers and Helpers; Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers-Transportation Division (including yardmasters), and National Conference of Firemen and Oilers.

FRANK N. WILNER Contributing Editor November 2017 // Railway Age 13

Women In Rail

For the first time, Railway Age is honoring visionary women in the rail industry with the Women in Rail award. Our 10 winners, selected by a panel of judges from nominees across the range of freight, transit and supplier companies, are making a difference by helping to drive their companies forward while making invaluable contributions to a better community outside the workplace. They represent not only trailblazers and leaders of vision and excellence, but also the ranks of employees with “boots on the ground,” whose day-to-day example of professionalism and excellence show the way for women – and men – seeking opportunity and advancement, to follow. 14 Railway Age // November 2017

By STUART CHIRLS, senior editor

KellyAnne Gallagher

Barbara Wilson

New York MTA

Wells Fargo Rail

KellyAnne Gallagher joined the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority as director, regulatory affairs, corporate standards, and benchmarking in 2016 after 16 years as director/assistant vice president with the American Public Transportation Association. She led Women’s Transportation Seminar, the allied WTS Foundation, and i s a member of the Federal Railroad Administration’s Rail Safety Advisory Committee and co-chairs the International Union of Railways’ High Speed and Regional Rail committees. She is an alumna of Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

Wilson leads the Surface Transportation Team at Wells Fargo Equipment Finance, serving as President of Wells Fargo Rail, which owns and leases 185,000 railcars and 1,800 locomotives. Wilson also manages the Commercial Vehicle Group. She provides strategic leadership and is responsible for implementing long-range goals, strategies, plans and policies. Prior to joining Wells Fargo in 2013, Wilson was Chief Financial Officer at rail equipment lessor Helm Financial Corp. Wilson earned a B.S. in Business Administration from Boston College as well as an MBA from Babson College.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock/

Women In Rail

Women In Rail

Jenny Carr

Deborah Chin


Executive Director, PTC

L&W Industries

Long Island Rail Road

Recognized for her integrity, core leadership skills and hands-on approach, Carr since taking the reins at L&W in 2012 has driven the company to annual double-digit revenue growth, maintained profitability, and increased the range of high quality signal products and services. Carr helped L&W secure multiple patents to broaden its customer base. Her commitment to being a good leader and business partner instills a sense of pride in her team. A philanthropist for local causes, Carr contributes to the local Springfield, Mo., parks and recreation.

Chin has worked in program/project management at the Metropolitan Transit Authority for more than 25 years, and has been instrumental in deploying new technology systems, including Automatic Train Supervision that provided centralized train control for NYC Transit’s numbered lines. Throughout her career, Chin has informally mentored younger staff, and was a Mentor for Women in Transportation. As part of a team, she always listens to others, to gather information and better a project.

LaToya Carter

Joy Chiu

Caroline Decker

Vice President, Government Affairs and Corp. Communications, Amtrak Decker leads her team with great care, balancing multiple stakeholders and priorities against limited resources with professionalism and authenticity. Decker led sustained efforts for Amtrak’s reauthorization leading to passage of PRIIA in October, 2008, which revolutionized the way Amtrak does business with its state transportation partners. Decker led the creation of Notch 8, Amtrak’s first company-wide women’s professional development group. An alumna, Decker serves on the Board of the Regents for the Fund for American Studies.

Allison Fergus

Track Supervisor

Assistant Supt. – Way & Structure

General Counsel and Secretary

Norfolk Southern Corp.

Port Authority of New York & New Jersey / PATH

Genesee & Wyoming Railroad Services Inc.

As track supervisor for Norfolk Southern, Carter supervises 25 union-contracted employees and lead maintenance projects worth more than $500,000. Carter had to overcome the challenge of working in an industry dominated for years by men, and did it by treating everyone with respect, learning new things, and doing tasks that others try to avoid. She takes the time and energy to pass on her knowledge, and has earned the respect of her friends and colleagues. Carter mentors grade school STEM students, and is an active member of the National Society of Black Engineers.

Chiu developed and built the team for PATH’s new Logistics and Rail Planning unit, which coordinate’s the system’s capital projects. Her work ethic, project management ability, strong communication skills, and interpersonal agility enables her to navigate hurdles during planning and execution of projects. Chiu served as president of the PA’s Asian American Association for two years, and spearheaded collaboration with universities – particularly Rutgers University’s Rail Program – to build the industry’s next-generation workforce.

Fergus joined G&W in 2005 and soon became one of the youngest female General Counsels in the history of the U.S. rail industry. Fergus oversaw G&W’s acquisition of 80-plus companies in North America, Australia and Europe, including regulatory approval for the acquisition of 45 railroads from RailAmerica in 2012. She has hired and trained a predominately female legal team, and led the roll-out of G&W’s Code of Ethics and Conduct. A married mother of three, Fergus volunteers with the local Parent Teacher Organization, and volunteers at a local soup kitchen.

November 2017 // Railway Age 15

Women In Rail

Sharon Greene

Senior Vice President and Director, Global Financial Advisory

Grace Madden

Corina Moore

Isolation Systems Team Lead

President & Chief Executive Officer

EMD Progress Rail

Ontario Northland Railway


Working in the noise and vibration sectors, Greene has been at the forefront of inno- Madden has worked with exceptional skill vation in rail transportation finance and and precision to lead her team and departinfrastructure development for more than ment. She is a leader by example, rolling up 40 years, including implementing the her sleeves for a project. Madden provided Alameda Corridor’s $2.4-billion program. leadership through design and testing on Since July, 2013 she has led HDR’s global the F125 and SD70ACe-T4 locomotives, financial advisor y services. A mother of and holds a patent for power train compothree daughters and grandmother of five, nents. Locally, Madden serves as president Greene founded a non-profit promoting of Habitat for Humanity, and volunteers at Railway Age Magazine 10/20/17 4:58 Heritage PM The1 Irish American Center. cottage industries forQtrPgAd_Decker2017_Layout Ethiopian artisans.

A province native, Moore joined Ontario Northland Railway in 2005 and worked her way up to Chief Operations Officer, where she helped lead a transformative initiative to stabilize the company. Moore in 2014 became the first female president of a major Canadian railway. She introduced Moving Forward, a program designed to improve efficiency, grow revenues and promote the value of ONR’s transportation expertise, to successfully revitalize the organization.

In recognition of her work toward achieving our Core Purpose —to be the safest and most respected rail service provider in the world—

G&W is honored to congratulate

Congrat ulat ions to Caroline Decker and all the women of Amtrak who move America forward!

Allison M. Fergus

General Counsel and Secretary,

on being named one of Railway Age ’s inaugural five outstanding women in freight railroading.


16 Railway Age // November 2017

Genesee & Wyoming Inc.



Congratulations Grace Madden, Locomotive Isolation Systems Team Lead, for receiving the inaugural Railway Age Women in Rail award.



Women In Rail Women in Rail Nominees - Honorable Mention

Jennifer Ryan

North County Transit District (San Diego, Calif.) LOSSAN Program Manager/ Senior Rail Engineer

Ryan has been a strong voice for better passenger services. One of her signature accomplishment was the construction of five of six rail corridors she designed conceptually for TriMet in Portland, Ore. She is involved in STEM programs, to support diversity in engineering and transportation, as well as local programs to fund microloans to immigrants and refugees.

• Syeda Yasmin Ara BNSF

• Teresa Muti Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

• Nicole Brewin Railway Supply Institute

• Katherine Lynn Perduta Vertex Railcar Corp.

• Lora Cheatum Kansas City Southern

• Judy Petry Farmrail System, Inc

• Clary Coutu Keolis Commuter Services (MBTA)

• Leslie Ellen Savoye Booz Allen Hamilton

• Susan Pappas Gregory Diesel Electric Equipment Inc.

• Elizabeth Scanlon San Mateo County Transit District

• Cathy Hale Madison Railroad

• Amy Slackhammer Norfolk Southern

• Jamey Helmer Norfolk Southern

• Jami Spordone Metro-North Railroad

• Brenda Jones WMATA

• Lecia Stewart The Stewart Group

• Wane-Jang Lin Maryland Transit Administration

• Lorie Tekorius The Greenbrier Companies

• Emilia Marceta Metrolinx/GO Transit

• Jacqueline Watkins Metra

• Katherine Miller Pentair

• Diana Williams North Shore Railroad Co.

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Commodity Focus - Energy Class 1 Focus: CN National Steel Car offers a 5,800cf covered hopper for biofuel wood pellet service.

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ailcar builders serving the market for crude oil, ethanol, coal and other energyrelated commodities are in a holding pattern, as railroads and lessors work off a substantial overhang of car inventory after the collapse of crude-by-rail shipments and decline in coal consumption by electric power plants sent tens of thousands of tank cars and hopper

By STUART CHIRLS, SENIOR EDITOR cars into longer-term storage. “That adjustment in tonnage has been felt throughout the [coal] industry by carbuilders and leasing companies,” says Theodore Baun, chief commercial officer for FreightCar America, based in Chicago. “It is a long-term proposition for the lease fleet as coal companies right-size for a ‘new normal’ in production.” The company catalogues eight different

coal car models, including the trademark aluminum Bethgon II and AutoFlood III. It also operates the JAIX Leasing unit. In a case of good timing, U.S. coal exports ramped up beginning in the fall of 2016 as China cut back on mining and steel production, which resulted in trade flows being adjusted around northern Europe. Then in early 2017, Australia was forced to curtail its coal exports after flooding November 2017 // Railway Age 21

Commodity Focus - Energy

Baier Rail offers the Single-Bolt Manway Cover Assembly, designed to eliminate common general purpose tank car manway problems with a unique ram-bolt closure.

in the Queensland region. “It was a boon for eastern coal shippers and railroads,” says Baun. “But now we are seeing comps leveling off, though traffic is still relatively strong. Eastern railroads had a good supply of cars in their fleets that they took out of storage. But we don’t see things translating into meaningful orders.” While the industry waits on the Trump Administration’s pro-coal policies, FCA sees the market stabilizing for the next 10 years, instead of dropping off. “In that case, the industry will take stability,” Baun says. At Vertex Railcar Corp, Wilmington, N.C., the energy focus is on tank cars. In July, the company received M-1002

22 Railway Age // November 2017

certification by the Association of American Railroads to build general purpose, non-pressurized tank cars under the new Department of Transportation DOT-117 specifications, and expects to begin production next year. “We are seeing an improvement in the biofuel segment,” says Vertex Chief Executive Donald Croteau. “We expect to start building an order for a few hundred ethanol cars in early spring 2018.” Also in biofuel, Vertex is seeing interest in a covered hopper design to haul export wood pellets, for power generation in Europe. The car features a full-length waterproof top trough, for 95% load capacity. Construction will also begin in spring 2018

on a 7,500-cubic-foot woodchip hopper. Vertex also has its own leasing arm, Vertex Railcar Leasing. “You have to [offer this], to be competitive,” says Croteau. “There has been a shift in the industry from a technical model to a financial model. Seven out of 10 customers want to lease, and it helps us to pre-plan production. We see an opportunity with the small- to mediumsized lessor companies.” National Steel Car, in Hamilton, Ontario, has its tank car production on hold but sees opportunities. “There are still markets for that product,” says Robert Pickel, senior vice president, Marketing and Sales. “TransCanada shut down its proposed pipeline [from Alberta] to New Brunswick, there’s no pipeline to the east, so that’s a play that’s open to rail. There are still opportunities for Bakken crude, some Colorado production, and in Canada. But, that market for tank cars is long.” National Steel Car is also eyeing wood pellets in the energy sector. “It’s not a highdemand commodity for domestic destinations,” Pickel says, “but we are hoping to land orders.” The carbuilder is showing a 5,800-cubic-foot covered hopper equipped with specialty gates and hatch covers, for pellet service. Among suppliers, Baier Rail of Seattle is testing a patented manway cover assembly (above, left) with a single ram-bolt design for non-pressure cars, which can be opened and closed with a hand wrench. The AAR-approved cover is available in three models, and is currently testing with Tesoro on Trinity cars, and on Shell cars in Canada, according to Alexander Smith, director of sales.


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BALLAST at the ready Suppliers utilize customer feedback to improve equipment and methods for better ballast maintenance. By Mischa Wanek-Libman, Engineering Editor 24 Railway Age // November 2017

Bruce Kelly


ne of the most valuable tools suppliers rely on to improve their offerings is customer feedback. What follows is a brief recap of the enhancements ballast maintenance suppliers have recently made to their product lines. Through customer input, safety improvements have been incorporated, equipment ease of use has improved. and efficiencies have been realized. Ballast Tools Equipment (BTE) introduced its BTE-325 Hi-Rail Excavator following customer requests for a large-scale hi-rail excavator that would increase productivity to hold down costs. The BTE-325 Hi-Rail Excavator utilizes a Programmable Logic Control (PLC) system that allows the excavator to automatically recognize a range of BTE attachments. Additionally, the company says its zero tail swing radius allows it to work in congested areas without impacting train traffic. “This innovation brought increased power, flexibility and maneuverability to the large production ballast jobs of maintenance-of-way operations,” says Matt Weyand, sales engineer at BTE. Georgetown Rail Equipment Co. (GREX) ballast maintenance solutions includes the DumpTrain for Curves™, which permits customers to create custom-sized DumpTrains that can unload ballast in up to 27-degree curvature. The latest version of the Lupta sum abor ration reribusGateSync® pores si dem sam company’s product allows quatur si blaboo lor. a more for longer train lengths, includes sophisticated communications network and incorporates additional software features that enable easy train formation and startup. GREX also offers customers the ability to convert existing side dump cars from pneumatic to hydraulic operation through its HydraDump® solution. GREX says the HydraDump enhances safety and performance by utilizing a more smooth and consistent motion of the car, improving the offload’s control. The company’s BallastSaver®, which identifies ballast deficiencies by analyzing the existing ballast profile against the ideal ballast profile, is available as a stand-alone solution or as part of the new Aurora XivTM platform. Harsco Rail says its GO4S-III Switch

BALLAST Undercutter was added to its product line to meet the increasing demands of customers and to address the continuing need to improve drainage, relieve stress on center-bound crossties and manage elevation within a switch. The company says the GO4S-III can add new ballast back onto the undercut track without the need for a separate consist. Additionally, the working components of the unit are stowed for travel in such a way to meet restrictive clearance envelopes, even for tracks with overhead catenary systems. Trenching and cutting operations are possible from either side of the machine, allowing operators to map out the most effective plan for undercutting a switch or turnout. Depending on the requirements of a specific task, the GO4S-III can be equipped with cutting bars ranging in length from 12 to 18 feet, allowing operators to tailor the function of the undercutter according to requirements for speed, agility or reach, the company says. Harsco notes that designers and field professionals introduced improvements to the internal ballast handling system on the GO4S-III over the course of multiple field trials that significantly reduces ballast-induced belt damage and midprocess cleanout requirements. Herzog Railroad Services, Inc., introduced its Automated Conveyor Train (A.C.T.) in 2016 and designed the machine with the needs of customers in mind. The A.C.T. is fully automated and operated from the cab of the discharge car. A continuous materials stream is maintained by the enhanced control of the train’s patented dump program. The A.C.T.’s 32-car consist has the ability to unload material in a curve of up to 13 degrees and a superelevation of up to five inches. Each car has the capacity to carry 97 tons of material. The discharge car can distribute the material up to 50 feet from track center to either side of the machine and 15 feet in front of it. The conveyor train can handle a variety of materials within the same consist, including anything from sand to five-inch “B” stone. The automated plow on the front of the A.C.T. can reach 24 inches past the rail when fully extended, which eliminates the need to push a tie to strike off November 2017 // Railway Age 25


the material. Knox Kershaw Inc. aims to improve the functionality and efficiency of its machines through continual expansion of its product and service offerings. The company updated its KDB 600 Double Broom to include brooms with 110-inch sweep widths and hydraulically controlled deflector assemblies, along with a “clean roof” that shortens cab height for improved clearance. Additionally, Knox Kershaw added two

machines to its product line in 2017: The KTR-450 and the KRC-70. The KTR-450 is a small tie inserter and extractor while the KRC-70 is a 70-foot-long, seven-section folding ramp, which Knox Kershaw says is ideally utilized for loading maintenance-ofway equipment onto a flat car. Loram Maintenance of Way, Inc., offers a range of services, but explains working in conjunction with its customers on new machine deployment methods is a

requirement for the challenges faced. “For instance, railroads are including a shoulder ballast cleaner into a surfacing gang arrangement for consistent and increased productivity. Coordinating ballast equipment with gangs has proven to exceed individual machine deployment production and reduce the overall cost for our customers,” says Product Development Manager Ken Range. “Loram’s ballast maintenance equipment allows railroads to accomplish preventative maintenance track rehabilitation programs, and they are seeing reduced overall costs and increased traffic capabilities for their remediation investment.” Miner Enterprises Inc.’s AggreGate systems have undergone improvements to their internal electronics, which the company says improves reliability, longevity and performance. Miner says it continues to simplify the application of the systems in order to reduce labor costs and streamline installation. The AggreGate systems, available in manual, air-operated, electric and


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26 Railway Age // November 2017

Bruce Kelly

Serving the Ports within the Great Lakes

BALLAST remote-control models, are engineered as a fabricated and completely assembled unit, which Miner says makes them easy to apply to new or existing hopper cars. Additionally, Miner has developed a stand-alone lighting system to aid in night ballasting. The system uses solar panels to store energy during daylight hours in order to power the LED work lights for a safer working environment at night. Montana Hydraulics implemented improvements to its Bobcat Ballast Tarping system due to a simple truth: Frozen ballast is not functional. The company says the changes to the tarping system provide a cost-effective solution to keeping rock dry and prevent it from freezing in the car. Another product to see modifications is the Grizzly Side Dump Ballast Car. The company is retrofitting the cars to help ease and eliminate maintenance issues. Plasser American Corp. believes that the secret to lasting track quality is ballast maintenance, including ballast undercutting and cleaning, shoulder cleaning,

subgrade renewal, and ballast management. The company offers a range of machines fit for ballast cleaning, including the RM80, RM2003 and RM803 High Speed Undercutter-Cleaner. Additionally, the company offers a variety of single and double shaker shoulder cleaners that utilize endless paddle-type excavation cutter chains and feature cutting widths and cutting angles that are adjustable. Plasser American also offers subgrade renewal machines. The company says the machines can remove the ballast and subballast layers, replace them with a formation layer and layer of ballast without removing track in a single pass. The company’s BDS100 and BDS200 Ballast Distribution System are equipped with plows to profile the ballast, while hopper and conveyors distribute ballast as needed and double brooms sweep up and store excess ballast. The company says its PBR2005 Ballast Profiling machine has the ability to plow, profile and broom in one pass.

RCE Equipment Solutions, Inc., Rail Division has expanded its Railavator product line and undercutter bars to enhance the excavator undercutting process. For hi-rail excavators, RCE can now supply the Railavator in 75G, 85G, 135G, 245G, 250G and 350G excavators. RCE also supplies undercutter bars ranging from nine to 15 feet. RCE says the increase in available options allows customers to perform undercutting with all the RCE models of hi-rail or standard excavators. RCE says the largest of the available options, the 350G, has more hydraulic power to perform in hard conditions. The 350G works well when aired with the longer, 15-foot, undercutter bar, for switch undercutting, says RCE. RCE says that most recently, the smallest, nine-foot, undercutter bar is a good alternative to larger machines and bars. RCE says the smaller machines and undercutter bars are ideal for contractors. The company believes the smaller machines are easier to transport from site to site.

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November 2017 // Railway Age 27

The Railway Educational Bureau BOOKS - Railroad Resources -

The fifth edition of The Railroad: What It Is, What it Does is even more valuable than before. Inside you’ll find a comprehensive look at how today’s railroads function—from equipment to procedures and marketing to maintenance. The fifth edition is an indispensable resource for anyone wanting to learn about modern day railroads. The book delves into many facets of the railroad industry including such topics as freight cars, locomotives, track, signal and communication technology, intermodal traffic, operations, labor relations, and design engineering. Softcover, 440 pages.

by George Bibel Trains are massive – some weigh 15,00 tons or more. When these metal monsters collide or go off the rails, their destructive power becomes clear. In this book George Bibel presents riveting tales of trains gone wrong, the detective work of finding out why, and this safety improvements that were born of tragedy. The book details 17 crashes in which more than 200 people were killed. Readers follow investigators as they sift through the rubble and work with computerized event recorders to figure out what happened. 368 pages. Hard cover.




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Traffic Control


Paradigm Shifts The challenges to even approaching truly scheduled operations are not just technical, functional, and organizational.

William Beecher


hroughout my 25 years of independent consulting, including performing market studies and developing technology strategies for suppliers and railroads, I have had the opportunity to speak with a variety of senior railroad operation managers. During those discussions I would often ask the individual if his/her railroad ran to schedule. The response was consistently the same: “Yes, but ... (some fatuous excuse, e.g., reducing crew starts given short trains).” To some extent, these responses can

be seen as understandable given the data handling constraints of century-old operating technologies and associated practices as well as the evolving, inefficient silo-based IT architecture since the 1970s. Additionally, there is little to no enterprise perspective of the consequences of one department’s action relative to other departments, e.g., excessive locomotives to cover shortages due to lack of actual schedule. However, the challenges to even approaching truly scheduled operations are not just technical, functional, and organizational. Arguably, the most difficult challenge is

that of modifying the management practices that have existed for decades. Therefore, advancing the efficiency and safety of U.S. freight railroads requires making shifts in both the technology paradigms as well as that of management. Technology Paradigms My article, Enterprise Perspective, in Railway Age’s April 2017 issue addressed the paradigm shifts in the four core technologies that can greatly advance both the safety and the efficiency of railroads: 1) wireless voice to wireless data; 2) November 2017 // Railway Age 29

Traffic Control physical to virtual positioning; 3) mobile IT processing, e.g., locomotive-borne, in addition to back-office, and 4) the shift to an Enterprise IT Architecture (EITA) from conventional silo-based IT architecture. The example provided in the article as to advancing the first three technologies was the design of what I titled as Virtual CTC (VCTC) that my consultancy, Strategic Rail, LLC (SR) performed for the railroads of Egypt and Kazakhstan. Simply stated, by using virtual positioning, wireless data, and locomotive-borne IT processing, VCTC eliminates the extensive use of wayside infrastructure, e.g., track circuits, control points, and signals, and hence the avoidance of the substantial capital and maintenance expenditures. Additionally, VCTC can provide for both fixed and virtual block operation that can increase the throughput for a plethora of railroads across the globe that unjustifiably have been financially and operationally held hostage to the fixed-block operation of conventional CTC.

While designing VCTC was an extraordinary experience for SR, deploying it would be even greater so. Such is the case with 4Tel, an Australian supplier whose Managing Director, Derel Wust, presented its Virtual Block Traffic Control System at the Railway Age/Parsons Next Generation Train Control conference in Philadelphia on Oct. 20. This system is deployed in revenue service on 1,400 miles of the New South Wales CRN Country Regional Network railroad in Australia. Wust’s presentation also included an Artificial Intelligence (AI) perspective for future operations that can eventually lead to the on-board platform driving the use of proactive resource management systems elsewhere, e.g., wayside, back-office, and mobile platforms. Such a perspective requires the fourth core technology, EITA, which eliminates the duplication in the generation, storage, processing, and distribution of critical data to optimize efficient and safe operations. The passenger airlines have demonstrated the value of EITA for

truly scheduled operations for years. As to the four core technologies’ paradigm shifts, I quote Wust that the future of railroads is about “Smart Trains and Dumb Tracks.” As AI technology matures, this paradigm shift will see available dollars invested into AI-based, on-board locomotive systems and away from signaled track systems as a more effective way to move trains safely, economically and efficiently. Management Paradigm Until this past March, I had little expectation that the conventional “crisis management” practices of Class I’s would be challenged by any railroad to pursue actual scheduled operations. It was then that Hunter Harrison became the CEO of CSX, to implement a major management paradigm shift to Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR) based upon his past experiences at CN and Canadian Pacific. Without any detailed knowledge of PSR, but by using the perspective I have been promoting throughout my consulting career, I see three levels


Rail Vehicle Engineering Rail Systems Engineering

Revenue Systems and Technology Operations Planning and Simulation


From Railway Age, GROUP RT&S and IRJ NEWS



By William C. Vantuono 30 Railway Age // November 2017 RA_RailGroupNews_1/6Vertical_InGear.indd 1

10/26/17 9:06 AM

Traffic Control of truly scheduled operations: 1) Internal; 2) Industry; and 3) Enterprise, of which the first and possibly the third are being addressed by CSX. Internally, I expect that CSX is attempting to optimize the schedule of its trains that stay within its own network. Those trains service the majority of its shippers, and hence arriving at a balance of increasing satisfactory customer service while decreasing dwell time and increasing average speed cannot be accomplished quickly. Arguably, to do so is more of an art than a science at this early stage of PSR. Additionally, there are major constraints to how effective PSR can be that are not within the control of CSX, as follows. Industry-wise, the leading question is “How can a railroad run to schedule if the railroads with which it interconnects are not operating to schedule?” Though it would seem to be a rather obvious observation, the point is rarely mentioned regarding scheduled operations in general, and PSR specifically. In fact, individuals from

other railroads that are make disparaging comments about PSR, especially in its infancy, don’t realize that they are likely part of the problem given their lack of truly scheduled operations. As to an industry perspective of truly scheduled operations, the requirement for EITA is critical as well to ensure the efficient exchange of data as to what each railroad is doing relative to interchange. Actually, EITA and supporting technologies are relatively simple, but impossible to achieve until the primary railroads buy into truly scheduled operations. This is an industry-politics issue that perhaps could be best addressed if all railroad executives were paid bonuses based upon the efficiency of interchange. From an enterprise perspective, running to schedule requires that the management of the primary operating resources are in sync with the actual train lineup, i.e., the schedules are in place for each primary asset, e.g., track time, locomotives, crews, yard tracks, and rolling stock. This means, for example, that there are no excessive

pools of locomotives, and that crews are properly aligned with minimum deadheading. This also means that trains may run short based upon customer service performance. Granted, excess resources (referred to as “slack resources” in mathematical terms) are required when exceptions occur, e.g., derailments or weather. But, the slack resources required to handle exceptions in truly scheduled operations are substantially less than those that are required for crisis management. To do so requires that management must consider the cost of excessive slack resources, e.g., locomotives at $2.5 million each, excessive crew rest and deadheading, the cost of poor customer service, etc. These are costs that are not now being considered, I believe, by conventional railroad management, and thereby greatly affect railroad operating ratios. It is this point where a paradigm shift in rail management can really pay off, partially by delivering an EITA and the associated changes in major resource management systems.

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November 2017 // Railway Age 31


LIGHTER THAN LRT North America’s rail transit landscape is undergoing a repopulation of the once-ubiquitous streetcar. “lighter” form of light rail, streetcars are sweeping across North America in growing numbers. New systems with state-of-the-art vehicles from carbuilders including Alstom, Siemens, Brookville Equipment, Bombardier (though Bombardier has had serious problems fulfilling Canadian contracts), and Czech Republic-based Inekon are popping up in the most unexpected places. As well, legacy systems in cities like Toronto 32 Railway Age // November 2017

are undergoing renewal. Modern light rail vehicles (LRVs) and streetcars are fundamentally quite similar, the differences having largely to do with how they are applied. The primary difference between the two modes is the scale of the infrastructure and the degree of integration into the urban environment. This difference in application makes some common LRV design features unnecessary for streetcar application, but may also require the use of other design elements

that may or may not be incorporated into a typical LRV. It is estimated that North American transit agencies will spend more than $2 billion for the purchase of modern streetcars over the next 10 years. Rebirth in Portland The modern streetcar era arguably started in Portland, Ore., when Oregon Iron Works (OIW) began investigating streetcar manufacturing in 2004, after Portland Streetcar

William C. Vantuono


By William C. Vantuono , Editor-in-Chief

STREETCARS had purchased vehicles built by Škoda, Czech Republic. In 2005, Congress approved a federal transportation spending bill that included a $4 million grant to TriMet for the acquisition, on behalf of the city of Portland, of a prototype domestically manufactured streetcar. In August 2006, the city of Portland issued an RFP for the provision of a prototype low-floor streetcar compatible with Portland Streetcar’s existing fleet. OIW had signed a technology transfer agreement in February 2006 with Škoda, to enable it to manufacture a streetcar to the existing Škoda 10T design but with 70% U.S. components and assembly, to meet federal Buy America provisions. OIW was awarded a $3.2 million contract in January 2007, and created a subsidiary, United Streetcar LLC, to handle manufacturing. Construction of the prototype took place at OIW’s Clackamas facility. The car was completed in June 2009. Numbered 015 in the Portland Streetcar fleet, it was the first modern streetcar built in the U.S. since

1952, since the last PCC streetcar for the San Francisco Municipal Railway. Following a propulsion system change from Škoda to Rockwell Automation technology, presumably to increase U.S. contant to 90%, the city ordered six cars from United Streetcar in 2009. The City of Tucson signed a $26 million contract with United Streetcar in June 2010, for seven streetcars for the Sun Link line that opened on July 25, 2014. An eighth car was added in 2012. In April 2012, the District of Columbia Department of Transportation, Washington, placed an order for two streetcars for the DC Streetcar’s H Street/Benning Road line; the order was expanded to three cars in August 2012. All three orders were completed in 2014, the last car being delivered to Portland in November of that year. But delays with the car deliveries, as well as technical problems experienced with the cars in service, created tensions with clients. As a relative newcomer to the market with a single design, United

Streetcar found it difficult to compete with well-established builders such as Siemens, Bombardier and Alstom. Consequently, the company received no further orders, and ceased production after the final car was delivered. The company shut down in February 2015 Enter Brookville One carbuilder that has found a niche market, and is able to compete with large multinational companies, is Brookville Equipment. The U.S. company’s innovative, off-wire capable Liberty Modern streetcars (shown under construction, opposite page) have found homes in Detroit, Dallas, Phoenix, Tempe, Milwaukee, and Oklahoma City. Brookville also rebuilds and modernizes vintage streetcars, most notably, the PCC car, and constructs replicas of vintage cars. With fully integrated on-board Energy Storage Systems (ESS), Liberty Modern streetcars can be deployed where overhead wire is unfeasible or undesired. Brookville

Tomorrow’s Transit Today Featuring the industry’s most innovative technologies, including off-wire operation via an onboard energy storage system, Liberty Streetcars are made in America and designed to take your city’s streetcar route places you never thought possible. • 814.849.2000

November 2017 // Railway Age 33

offers three ESS technologies “to best meet the needs of the streetcar line and pre-existing or planned urban infrastructure”: • Lithium Ion Battery ESS, in which a redundant lithium ion battery system charges by utilizing the overhead catenary system and provides power off-wire. An integrated battery management system monitors ESS current-charge state. Brookville says this system “is ideal for longer off-wire runs, due to its ability to store high power loads and its low discharge rate.” • Supercapicator ESS, in which supercapicators provide a quick burst of energy for shorter off-wire runs, for applications such as meeting clearances under highway overpasses. • Induction Charging, which is completely off-wire. Under-floormounted induction units charge without contact using in-ground induction coils at critical areas along the route, such as station stops, allowing the battery system on the streetcar to incrementally charge without overhead wire. troubles in ontario Delays and political controversy mark Bombardier’s Flexity Freedom streetcar contract with the Toronto Transit Commission. Bombardier has notified the TTC that it might be unable to meet its target delivery of 70 Flexity Outlook cars by Dec. 31, 2017; it has missed several delivery deadlines for the 204-unit order. The TTC currently has roughly 40 vehicles on the property, although a 2012 schedule had promised 130 units by mid-2017. TTC placed the order in 2009 to replace its fleet of 196 Canadian Light Rail Vehicles (CLRVs) and 52 Articulated Light Rail Vehicles (ALRVs) dating from the late 1970s and early 1980s, respectively. As a result of the late Flexity deliveries, the TTC has been compelled to give select CLRVs and ALRVs major overhauls, to protect service. It has also invoked a penalty clause in its contract with Bombardier to recover these overhaul costs. The TTC has stated that it will ultimately need an additional 60 LRVs to accommodate steadily growing ridership. The agency has approved a search exercise to identify and investigate other potential suppliers for this and future orders. Meanwhile, Metrolinx is attempting to cancel its 182-car order of Flexity Freedoms, and has placed a C$528 million single-source order for 61 Citadis LRVs with Alstom to replace these cars on its Eglinton Crosstown (Toronto) LRT line, due to open in 2021; the Finch West LRT, planned for a 2022 opening, and other GTHA (Greater Toronto Hamilton Area) projects. Bombardier is now involved in a dispute resolution process that could take up to one year and thus delay Eglinton’s opening. As well, Bombardier’s 14 Flexity LRVs for the completed but non-operational KitchenerWaterloo ION LRT are also behind schedule by almost one year. What’s causing all these delays? “They are partially attributable to Bombardier’s reliance on just-in-time component delivery from various far-flung suppliers, e.g., in Europe, rather than stockpiling them at its Thunder Bay, Ontario plant,” reports Railway Age Canadian Contributing Editor John Thompson. “This has resulted in shop floor delays due to parts shortages. To help combat these issues, Bombardier has chartered an Antonov cargo plane to fly cabs over from Vienna, Austria, rather than sending them by ship, which can require a month. In addition, the LRV production line at Thunder Bay is being extended to a seven-day work week, from five. Staff are being added at Bombardier’s European facilities that manufacture some of the components. Bombardier is responsible for these additional costs.” 34 Railway Age // November 2017


Suppliers are Prime Movers of the Railroads


f it’s the turning wheels of the railroad that help make the global economy go, then it’s the rail industry supplier who helps keep those trains moving. That’s a message that the major supplier trade associations – Railway Suppliers Institute (RSI), Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA), and Railway Systems Suppliers, Inc. (RSSI) – individually work hard at promoting on behalf of their members. At the same time, where broader issues of industry and government are concerned, the trade organizations will come together to advocate with a unified voice. It’s a dichotomous strategy to ensure that as suppliers serve their customers, the trade groups do what’s best to serve their members. The trade associations also work together – along with the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA) and the Coordinated Mechanical Associations(CMA) – every other year to produce Railway Interchange, the largest combined railway exhibition and technical conference in North America. The event attracts 9,000 visitors from around the world, and showcases the latest technology, services, and research by member companies. And just as suppliers serve their customers, RSI, RSSI and REMSA serve their members in ways as unique and individual as the products and services they provide, from RSI’s suppliers of locomotives, railcars, and components, to REMSA’s civil-engineering-related rail, ties, ballast, bridges and buildings, to



the engineering companies of RSSI that supply the systems and components used for signal, communications and highway crossing warning devices. “We provide real value for our members,” say Bruce R. Wise, president of REMSA and director of railroad sales for Whitmore Rail. “It’s important to cater to them and tailor what we do to their Maintenance of Way industry needs. We know their exhibit needs, what products they sell, and we are able to hook them up with the people who need their products. For global reach we also have experience working with the U.S. Export-Import Bank and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, and know which agencies and export sector experts would be most applicable to our members. “We want to take an individual approach where we need to, and join up (with RSI and RSSI) where we think it will be productive,” Wise says. “It’s a good coalition that speaks with a combined voice when we need to.” In September prior to Railway Interchange, Wise said that the organizations worked with officials from the host city of Indianapolis the week before the event, to educate them as to what the railroads and the rail industry were all about. “The three trade associations each serve a unique engineering discipline within the engineering departments of freight and rail transit companies,” says Franklin Brown, RSSI board president and president of Dixie Precast Inc. “The majority of RSSI member companies are smaller, niche businesses, with less than a few dozen employees, supplying a specialized product or service to the customer. These products are critical to the safety of the movement of trains and the driving public. They do not have the resources to visit the over 500 rail and transit companies that exist in North America. The separate RSSI annual exhibition which has been held for 57 consecutive years is the one time each year that these companies have an opportunity to display their products and services to the key rail engineering and purchasing managers.” Because of its highly specialized market, Brown says the day-to-day needs of his members would not be addressed in a combined association.

The trade assocations each serve a unique engineering disciplinE.” “The application of new technology on the railroads requires the development of special testing guidelines and test equipment. RSSI promotes a working relationship between its member companies, the rail and transit companies and the federal regulators by supporting seminars and forums where the installation, testing, maintenance and inspection of signal and communications systems are discussed and developed. These seminars and forums help to ensure the safety and integrity of these systems. The support for these events would not continue in a combined association where RSSI’s leadership would be greatly reduced.” “The true value of our trade associations is to do for the railroads what the railroads can’t do for themselves,” says Thomas Simpson, president of the Railway Supply Institute. “But working collectively as three trade associations, we bring strength and support to our railroad customers that is invaluable.” Suppliers, Simpson observes, offer a significant reach in political terms. “We have a great breadth as an industry, to support the Class 1 and short line railroads in their legislative goals. We are in many congressional districts.”

STUART CHIRLS Senior Editor Railway Age

November 2017 // Railway Age 35

People / 100 years / Meetings RAFAEL SANTANA GE Transportation

GENERAL ELECTRIC named Rafael Santana President and CEO

of GE Transportation, effective Nov. 1. He succeeds Jamie Miller, who was named GE CFO. Santana, with more than 17 years at GE, held leadership positions at GE Oil & Gas, Power and Transportation and was most recently President and CEO of GE Latin America. Prior to joining GE, Santana worked at ExxonMobil and British American Tobacco. “Rafael has deep roots in GE Transportation, having spent eight years in a variety of commercial and product management roles, as well as leading the Transportation team in Latin America,” said GE Chairman and CEO John Flannery. “His experience helping teams navigate through this tough market, combined with his deep global, operational, services and industrial experience make him the perfect fit for this role.” Santana’s tenure began around the same time that Flannery began taking steps to sell off GE Transportation and other divisions (p. 2).


allas Area Rapid Transit (DART) named Operation Lifesaver, Inc., President Bonnie Murphy as Vice President Commuter Rail & Railroad Management, effective Nov. 1. Murphy, who has more than 30 years of rail industry experience and 10 years of executive-level government experience, joined OLI in January 2016.

She previously served as General Manager of Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail; Deputy Associate Administrator for Safety Compliance and Program Implementation with the Federal Railroad Administration; as FRA Regional Administrator in Texas; and as Director and Chief Operating Officer of Trinity Railway Express, Dallas. She began her career with Amtrak.

 North Shore Railroad Co. & Affiliates has promoted Jebediah Stotter to President and CEO, succeeding Chairman Gary Shields, who has retired. North Shore,

based in North Umberland, Pa., is the Railway Age 2017 Short Line of the Year. The company is the parent of five other Pennsylvania-based short lines. Stotter most recently served as Vice President and Chief Operating officer, and was part of the company’s succession plan implemented in 2013. He joined the company in 2001 as customer service manager and, in 2010, was named Director of Administration and Customer Service. WSP USA named Brian Kim a supervising engineer in its Minneapolis office. Kim will serve as a project manager on highway and transit projects and lead the expansion of the firm’s civil design practice in Minnesota. Kim is a transportation engineer with experience in design and management of transit and roadway projects throughout the U.S. and Canada. His project experience includes traditional design-bidbuild and alternate delivery methods.

100 years ago in railway age gazette NOVEMBER 1917 Perils of Railroad Building in Alaska While the track laying crew was recently engaged in laying rails on the main line near Mile 195, a brown bear came out of the woods and attacked one of the labors, chasing him down the right-of-way. Fortunately one of the men had a rifle near at hand and succeeded in killing the animal before anyone was injured. The bear weighed about 800 pounds.

36 Railway Age // November 2017

Dec. 14-15, 2017

BIG DATA IN RAILROAD ENGINEERING 2017 CONFERENCE University of Delaware, Newark, Del. Contact : Katherine Lakofsky, conferences/big-data-2017

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AAR’s 30th Quality Assurance Auditor and Industry Conference Historic Hilton Fort Worth, Texas http://texasrailadvocates. org/2018-southwestern-railconference/

Products AkzoNobel FDA-Approved Coatings


Crossing Gate Arm Conversion Bracket L&W Industries, based in Springfield, Mo., has developed a patent-pending Heavy Duty Conversion Bracket for crossing gate arms that improves safety and reduces highway/rail crossing maintenance cost. The new bracket reduces railroad crossing maintenance expenses by countering the effects of leverage, twisting and deflection caused by the weight of longer gate arms. This eliminates the eventual component failure and replacement expense that is

characteristic of the current design. By upgrading to a round cross brace, maximizing the weld surface, and using teardrop-shaped angles to add extra support to the cast breakaway attachment, L&W’s new Heavy Duty Conversion Bracket provides a long-lasting and costeffective solution for around the same price as current designs. Contact: (417) 864-5411; toll-free (800) 852-5587;

hemical maker AkzoNobel has received approval from the federal Food and Drug Administration for one of two new high-performance chemical-resistant linings for tank and hopper cars suitable for new railcars or for maintaining existing fleets. Owners, OEMs and repair shops now have a simplified product range: • Devchem® 253HS, a high-solids, one-coat epoxy novolac lining that provides exceptional resistance to a wide range of highly corrosive chemicals and solvents over a variety of temperatures and pressures. • Interline® 994, a two-component, chemical-resistant phenolic epoxy novolac lining that is FDA-approved for railcar interiors that carry harsh corrosive liquids and oils at high temperatures, including volatile molten sulfur. “These easy to use, fast-drying, chemical-resistant linings dramatically increase the level of protection in railcar interiors,” said Tim Schaffer, AkzoNobel’s North America Key Account Manager for Rail. “Whether transporting high temperature crude oil, hydrocarbons and vegetable oils, plastic pellets, or highly corrosive solids like potash and rock salt, our focused mission is to help the rail industry increase productivity, ensure compliance, and extend maintenance lifecycles through advanced coating technologies and technical support.” AkzoNobel produces a range of products for railcar interior and exteriors including chemical-resistant linings, epoxies, polyurethanes, polysiloxanes, polyaspartics and other specialty coatings. The company describes itself as “a leading global paints and coatings company and major producer of specialty chemicals. Customers around the world use our trusted brands and products. Everything we make is likely to play an essential role in your daily routine.” Contact:

November 2017 // Railway Age 37

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November 2017 // Railway Age 39

Financial Edge

Tough Sledding in the Loco Market


ast month’s Railroad Financial Desk Book identified the influx of new investment capital as a cause for concern for railcar investors. Not discussed was that as capital files into railcars due to their longevity and utility, few, if any, dollars moving into the rail economy are used for investing in locomotives. Locomotives have fallen out of favor. The number of investors in locomotives is dwindling and the value of used locomotives are continuing to decline or sitting at a trough with no foreseeable recovery. For the uninitiated, locomotives (both four- and six-axle) were big dollar investments for lessors, industrials and banks for decades. Before the mid 2000s, locomotives were big: big investment dollars, big cash flow and a prolific secondary market with a primary customer base of Class I railroads. What happened? Changes to the lease market, low interest rates, railroad profitability and bonus depreciation changed railroad investment in locomotives from lease to buy and have potentially changed the market forever. In today’s locomotive market, new Investment opportunities with long-term value are few. The short-term lease market is almost nonexistent (except for short lines and industrials). New locomotive orders peaked, near term, in 2015 (before EPA Tier IV emissions restrictions were implemented). Since Tier IV, new locomotive orders are almost non-existent. I discussed the market for used locomotives with a few industry veterans. When asked about the current state of the used locomotive lease market and locomotive

50 ago

80% of locomotives built


are still in service

40 Railway Age // November 2017

values, one industry source told me that the Class I’s are returning every off-lease locomotive of less than 1,500 hp. In addition railroads are returning higher horsepower four-axle locomotives (for example, the GP38-2, a four-axle, 2,000 hp locomotive last built new in 1984) that for decades were every railroad’s workhorse. For years, these units were considered the most desirable for investment. The shift away has amazed even experienced industry veterans. It seems that higher horsepower six-axle locomotives are being cascaded down to perform services previously completed by four-axle locos. Put bluntly, locomotive supply exceeds demand. The oversupply is emphasized by frequent Class I auctions of four-axle and six-axle higher horsepower locomotives. Further compounding this problem is that the cascade effect does not always work down the line: One railroad’s trash is not always another railroad or industrial company’s treasure. Height, weight and track restrictions may prevent larger units from finding homes. For investors, these are opportunities layered with levels of risk. Rental rates on used locomotives are in the lows $100s per day and possible even lower (for the short line and industrial market). Keeping units on lease is a difficult but paramount task. Leasing into these markets requires expertise and requires a level of service and maintenance to a potential lessee (especially for industrial companies without on-site expertise). This increases the difficulty. What are the hopes for a rebound for this market? Longevity is on the side of investors. By one estimate, 80% of locomotives built 50 years ago are still in service. Keeping units fresh and ready for service (a riff on chance favoring the prepared) is one way to grab any available opportunity. However, demand for power is no longer what it once was. Chalk that up to another collateral effect from the decreases in freight volumes due to loss of coal traffic. I also spoke with Steven Beal, President of locomotive manufacturer, rebuilder and lessor NRE. Beal also participates on Day Three (Locomotive Day) at the annual Rail Equipment Finance Conference. Beal said NRE has seen more inquiries from the

The pre-Tier IV era might have been a peak for new locomotives.” industrial market for medium horsepower four- and six-axle power in the past three to four months. Why? He suggested that more product is moving in 2017 than in 2016 in markets such as steel and petrochemical. Beal also notes that the number of locomotives in storage has declined by half Y-O-Y to roughly 2,500. I asked Beal about the new locomotive market. He suggests there might not be any significant orders for new locomotives until 2020. There is a push into modernization of older units where, through some investment, a railroad can turn an older unit into a unit with modern, affordable technology for a fraction of the cost. This may take preference versus building new Tier IV units. Beal noted that the pre-Tier IV era might have been a peak for the new locomotive order book. This might be the case until the Tier IV unit delivers comparable cost for hauling freight as pre-Tier IV units. It is difficult to rationalize a new unit’s price when modernization delivers modern technology and emissions compliance for onethird of the cost. Got Questions? Set them free at

DAVID NAHASS President Railroad Financial Corp.

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Mechanical Department Regulations A combined reprint of the Federal Regulations that apply specifically to the Mechanical Department. Spiral bound. Part Title 210 Railroad Noise Emission Compliance Regulations 215 Freight Car Safety Standards Updated 4-3-17. 216 Emergency Order Procedures: Railroad Track, Locomotive and Equipment Updated 4-3-17. 217 Railroad Operating Rules Updated 4-3-17. 218 Railroad Operating Practices - Blue Flag Rule Updated 4-3-17. 221 Rear End Marking Device-passenger, commuter/freight trains

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Safety Glazing Standards Updated 4-3-17. Railroad Accidents/Incidents Updated 4-3-17. Locomotive Safety Standards Updated 4-3-17. Safety Appliance Standards Updated 4-3-17. Brake System Safety Standards Updated 4-3-17.

223 225 229 231 232

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Railway Age November 2017  
Railway Age November 2017