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October 2015

Rail News: MOW

Transit developments drive concrete-tie activity

CXT Inc.'s 1005-98 concrete ties were installed along Toronto's Union Pearson Express rail line, which opened June 6.

Last month, Rocla Concrete Tie Inc. began building a manufacturing plant in Fort Pierce, Fla., as part of a new long-term supply agreement with All Aboard Florida and Florida East Coast Railway (FECR).

Situated along an FECR mainline, the plant’s location was chosen because it’s halfway between Orlando and Miami, making it an ideal site for manufacturing and delivering ties for all of Florida’s rail projects, Rocla officials said.

The All Aboard Florida passenger-rail project’s immediate need for concrete ties helped justify this investment, which will enable Rocla to be “an ongoing supplier” to any All Aboard Florida and FECR capital projects, said Rocla Vice President of Business Development Brett Urquhart in a news release.

In July, Rocla made another big announcement: The company acquired KSA Limited Partnership from Koppers Inc. and Lehigh Hanson Inc. The KSA acquisition will enable Rocla to expand its customer base and product range. KSA manufactures concrete ties, concrete turnout ties, concrete grade crossing ties and other concrete products for the rail industry.

“After being engaged in the concrete crosstie sector for 25 years, the realization was that we had a single landlocked location that was not competitively sited to compete for marketshare in the West and Southeast,” said John Giallonardo, Koppers’ vice president of Class I sales and North American operations.

Meanwhile, officials at L.B. Foster Co., which produces CXT Inc. concrete ties, have observed fairly consistent demand across all customer segments.

As part of an order released through Stacy and Witbeck Inc., CXT is providing 33,000 concrete ties for the Sounder commuter-rail system in Seattle.

Additionally, CXT has taken part in expansions to Toronto’s GO Transit rail system, according to CXT President Steven Burgess. The firm provided its 100S-98 ties for the Union Pearson Express rail line, which runs from downtown Toronto to the Toronto Pearson International Airport.

“Transit projects have been strong this year,” Burgess said.

CXT also is preparing to serve customers in the eastern United States. To that end, the firm last year acquired a Carr Concrete Corp. tie plant in Waverly, W. Va. CXT plans to expand the facility, Burgess said.

Overall, though, CXT’s business volume this year is relatively flat, year over year. That’s because some customers’ capital projects ended up being delayed, Burgess said. But he’s taking a longer view.

“The concrete tie business is really solid,” said Burgess. “The amount of activity that we’re seeing in terms of engineering projects and proposals makes us very positive about the opportunities that we have.”

— Associate Editor Daniel Niepow
(Freelance writer Michael Popke contributed to this story)


Browse articles on Concrete ties rail ties Rocla Concrete Tie Inc. L.B. Foster Co. CXT Inc. For Pierce All Aboard Florida Union Pearson Express maintenance-of-way

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