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Rail News: Railroading Supplier Spotlight

Updates from Harsco, L.B. Foster, RailComm, Global Rail, Cisco and TUVRheinland

From financials to frameworks, several suppliers made headlines this week:

• Harsco Corp.'s Minerals & Rail Services and Products group helped the company post banner fourth-quarter 2007 financial results. The division recorded fourth-quarter sales of $182 million, a 24 percent increase compared with sales of $147 million during the same 2006 period. Operating income increased 103 percent to $29.9 million. Revenue for all units increased except for Harsco Track Technologies (HTT); the division's quarterly sales were down because of the timing of deliveries, Harsco said. HTT's year-end backlogs stand at record levels.

• Strong rail product sales helped L.B. Foster Co. record fourth-quarter net sales of $114 million, a 3 percent increase compared with the same 2006 period. The company's income from continuing operations skyrocketed from $3 million, or 27 cents per share, in fourth-quarter 2006 to $86.2 million, or $7.79 per diluted share in 2007's last quarter. For the year, L.B. Foster reported income from continuing operations of $110.7 million compared with $10.7 million in 2006. Net sales increased 31 percent to $509 million.

• RailComm Inc. Vice President of Business Development Charlie Moore recently was named chairman of the Vermont Rail Advisory Council's Passenger Rail Subcommittee, which advises the council on a variety of passenger-rail issues in coordination with the state's Agency of Transportation. Other committee members include Vermont Rail Systems President David Wulfson and New England Central Railroad General Manager Charles Hunter. RailComm provides machine-to-machine technology solutions for North American freight railroad, passenger rail and industrial operations.

• RailAmerica Inc. subsidiary Missouri & Northern Arkansas Railroad (MN&A) recently installed four Global Rail Systems FAS-PAS systems at two passing sidings along a route that handles large coal consists. The installations have helped increase safety, capacity and velocity on the line, says Preston Claytor, MN&A vice president of safety and operating practices for the short line. "The FAS-PAS system reduces meet time by up to 15 minutes per pass while saving fuel for both the MNA and our Class I partner Union Pacific," he said in a prepared statement. "Furthermore our risk is reduced by eliminating manual handling of switches in dark territory."

• Balfour Beatty Rail GmbH Germany is using third-generation wireless technology incorporated into the Cisco® Integrated Services Routers to help improve engineers' access online information and services at remote construction sites.

• TUVRheinland will develop a legal framework for operating a metro system in Dubai that's scheduled to open at 2008's end. Because Dubai had no legislation to regulate railways and metros, TUVRheinalnd will develop regulations to provide the basis for planning, construction, operation, maintenance and supervision, as well as the environmental and fire protection for the new metro and future rail-related projects.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/1/2008