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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Updates from Thales, Teradata, CIT, Wireless Matrix and Sharma & Associates

• Thales recently selected BelAir Networks for both onboard and trackside wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) infrastructure for mass transit deployments, including Norway’s Bergen light-rail project, which is slated to launch in 2010. Thales is supplying and integrating rail signaling, telecommunications, passenger information, traffic priority, and traffic control and supervision systems. The Wi-Fi network comprises 40 BelAir100 nodes along the 7.4-mile tram network and 24 BelAir20M mobile access points installed in the initial 12 cars.

• Union Pacific Railroad will upgrade and expand its Active Enterprise Data Warehouse from Teradata Corp. UP officials made the choice “following a benchmark study involving several data warehouse appliances from multiple vendors,” according to a Teradata statement. The upgrade gives UP, which has used Teradata’s enterprise data warehouse since 1992, a 40 percent increase in data warehouse capacity, the company said.

• On Monday, CIT Group Inc. acknowledged receipt of a letter from investor/activist shareholder Carl Icahn regarding the financial services provider’s efforts to secure financing and offering to underwrite an alternative $6 billion loan. The letter is CIT’s “first indication of Mr. Icahn’s interest in underwriting an alternative financing, and the company intends to ask Mr. Icahn for more information regarding his proposal,” according to a prepared statement. The board of CIT, whose holdings include full-service rail-car and locomotive lessor CIT Rail, has developed a restructuring plan designed to enhance the company’s capital levels, bolster liquidity and return the company to profitability.

• Wireless Matrix recently “extended its relationship with a long-time rail industry customer” to provide multimode communications across the unnamed railroad’s locomotive fleet. The pact, which now runs through September 2011, provides for integrated cellular and satellite service to more than 3,000 locomotives outfitted with the Wireless Matrix MBS II for Rail. The railroad also plans to “utilize greater communications bandwidth” in its locomotive operations, the company said.

• Richard Engel was appointed assistant vice president - business development and marketing for Sharma & Associates Inc. In his new role, Engel — who has more than 30 years of experience in sales and marketing in the railroad/railroad supply industry — will lead the company’s North American sales and marketing program.


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More News from 10/21/2009