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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends
Updates from Greenbrier, GE Transportation, B.H.I.T./Banyan Rail Services, FreightCar America and Unit Rail
• This morning, The Greenbrier Cos. reported results for its first fiscal 2010 quarter, which ended Nov. 30, 2009. The rail-car builder, lessor and repair firm recorded revenue of $172 million, a 32.8 percent decline from the $256 million generated in the same FY2009 period. Greenbrier posted a net quarterly loss of $3.2 million, or $0.19 per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $3.9 million, or $.23 per diluted share, in the prior year’s first quarter. The builder delivered about 350 new rail cars during Q1 compared with 800 units in first-quarter 2009. Greenbrier’s manufacturing backlog as of Nov. 30 was about 4,900 units with an estimated value of $430 million, compared with 15,900 units valued at $1.39 billion as of Nov. 30, 2008. Based on current industry trends, including depressed levels of railroad traffic, increased rail-car velocity and high levels of rail-car storage, Greenbrier officials expect business to “remain challenging in fiscal 2010, especially for the company’s manufacturing segment,” according to a prepared statement. “While recent indicators suggest that a recovery may be emerging in certain sectors of the economy, North American rail loadings remain soft and a significant portion of the entire North American railcar fleet remains idle,” added Greenbrier President and CEO William Furman. “However, we are starting to see signs that certain of our markets are beginning to stabilize and slightly improve.”
• GE Transportation recently signed an agreement with Brazilian sugar/ethanol producer Cosan to deliver 50 new AC44i locomotives starting later this year. Cosan will use the new locomotives to haul sugar from its processing plants to port via rail infrastructure provided by America Latina Logistica. The Model AC44i units, which are powered by diesel engines supplied by GE Transportation’s Grove City, Penn., plant, will be built by GE Transportation South America in Contagem, Brazil.
• B.H.I.T. Inc. has been rechristened “Banyan Rail Services Inc.” to “better reflect the company’s plan to grow through the acquisition of rail-related service companies,” according to a prepared statement issued yesterday. The railroad support services firm currently owns The Wood Energy Group Inc., a railroad tie reclamation/energy generation company. Banyan Rail also appointed Donald Redfearn as a director, boosting its board total to five. Redfearn previously served as president of RailAmerica Inc. from 2004 to 2007, and as executive vice president of the short-line holding company from 1989 to 2004. He owns Redfearn Enterprises L.L.C., a real estate holding company.
• FreightCar America Inc. recently named Michael MacMahon vice president of business development and strategy. He succeeds Charles Magolske, who left in December “to pursue opportunities outside of the company,” according to a prepared statement. MacMahon joined FreightCar America as a controller. Since then, he’s held positions of increasing responsibility in marketing, product and commercial program management and international sales. Most recently, he served as vice president of marketing and international sales.
• Bob Magnuson recently retired from Unit Rail, a division of Amsted Rail Co. Inc. A railroad industry veteran of 35 years, Magnuson co-founded AirBoss Railway Products Inc. with Jose Mediavilla 12 years ago; Unit Rail acquired certain AirBoss assets in December 2008, and Magnuson had agreed to remain with the company for one year to “facilitate a smooth transition,” according to a prepared statement.
Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.