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Rail News: Communication and Signal

Updates from Wabtec, FreightCar America, The Andersons, Railinc and RailComm

The rail supply industry continues to bring in orders and churn out financial results well into 2008's second month:

• Wabtec Corp.'s MotivePower subsidiary won an order for 10 MPXpress® commuter locomotives from the Utah Transit Authority. MotivePower also obtained a four-year contract to maintain 11 other MPXpress locomotives for the agency. The total value of the order and the maintenance contract is about $31 million. MotivePower will deliver the new locomotives in 2010. The agency will use the MPXpress units on its new commuter-rail line between Salt Lake City and Ogden.

• FreightCar America Inc. reported fourth-quarter sales of $137.1 million and a net loss of $16.6 million vs. sales of $390.8 million and net income of $34 million in fourth-quarter 2006. The results include special pre-tax charges of $37.2 million primarily associated with the company's decision to cease production at its Johnstown, Pa., plant in December. FreightCar America obtained orders for 2,074 rail cars in the quarter compared with 1,262 units in third-quarter 2007 and 2,199 units in fourth-quarter 2006. The firm's backlog stood at 5,399 units on Dec. 31 vs. 4,930 units on Sept. 30, 2007, and 9,315 units on Dec. 31, 2006.

• The Andersons Inc. reported its rail group registered $130 million in revenue last year (vs. $113 million in 2006) and generated $19.5 million in operating income (about the same as in 2006). The group expanded its fleet more than 8 percent, ending 2007 with more than 22,700 rail cars and locomotives. Average lease rates remained stable while the average utilization rate dropped from 2006's 95.2 percent to 92.6 percent. In the fourth quarter, the group posted $28 million in revenue and $3.8 million in operating income compared with $24 million and $3.4 million a year earlier.

• Railinc contracted Time Warner Telecom Inc. to provide various voice and data networking services. Time Warner Telecom will install dual-entry connectivity to Railinc's Cary, N.C., headquarters and provide diverse network connectivity to ensure system-wide integrity from natural and man-made disasters. Railinc provides real-time transportation data services to the rail industry.

• RailComm Inc. provided an interlocked service and inspection control system for New Jersey Transit's Morrisville Yard. The DOC:SCADA™ remote-control system is part of a $113 million expansion project for servicing trainsets. The system will control interlocking devices along two elevated inspection tracks within the NJ Transit Morrisville S&I facility.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/7/2008