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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Updates from Stella-Jones, Thales, Siemens, Pacer International, Invensys Rail and U.S. Development Group

• Stella-Jones Inc. announced it signed a non-binding letter of intent to acquire wood crosstie supplier Tangent Rail Corp. The transaction, which is expected to close before the end of the first-quarter, would expand Stella-Jones' capabilities within the U.S. railway tie industry and provide the company with creosote manufacturing operations. Stella-Jones plans to finance the acquisition through a combination of equity and debt, subject to prevailing market conditions. Tangent's 2009 sales are expected to total about $175 million.

• Thales has obtained a $103 million contract to deliver, install and test a turnkey rail signaling solution for the Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland. The company will provide electronic interlocking, ETCS Level 2 and centralized traffic control systems. Scheduled to open in 2017, the tunnel will be the world's longest rail tunnel, according to Thales. It will stretch more than 35 miles and connect the Swiss Italian and Swiss German regions. In two separate tubes, the tunnels will accommodate more than 300 trains per day.

• Siemens Mobility and China Railway Signal & Communication Corp. recently announced they will supply the signaling and control systems for Chongqing, China's first conventional metro line. Siemens will supply its Trainguard MT, a modular automatic train control system. The firms also will provide systems for the operation control center and wayside facilities comprising the interlockings, automatic train control and radio systems, and onboard components. Meanwhile, Siemens also announced that Barcelona Metro Line 9, Spain's first fully automated metro line, is open for revenue service along a 2.5-mile segment. Siemens has installed Trainguard MT CBTC, a communication-based train control system, along the line to support a driverless operation. Once the entire corridor opens, Line 9 will be 30 miles long and include 50 stations.

• Pacer International announced that Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael Uremovich retired, effective Dec. 15. The transportation and logistics firm appointed Daniel Avramovich to succeed him. Avramovich has served as Pacer's chief operating officer since June 2009, overseeing the company's retail and wholesale intermodal service units, as well as the highway brokerage, supply chain and warehousing service units. He joined Pacer in June 2008 as retail intermodal services president.

• Invensys Rail named Peter Bradley global director of project development and leader of product lifecycle management. To be based at the firm's U.K. headquarters, Bradley has "extensive experience in advanced communication systems for mass transit," according to Invensys Rail. During his career, Bradley has participated in a number of high-profile mass transit programs, inlcluding New York City's subway modernization.

• U.S. Development Group L.L.C.'s West Colton Rail Terminal now is receiving and offloading ethanol rail cars. Based in Rialto, Calif., the terminal is served by Union Pacific Railroad and located less than a mile from gasoline blending terminals that supply the greater San Bernardino and Riverside County-Inland Empire region. The new terminal is capable of receiving single rail cars or full unit trains, and has the capacity to offload 15,000 barrels of ethanol daily.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/17/2009