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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Updates from Bombardier, Ansaldo STS, HLS Systems, Railinc, CIT Group, GATX, Dow AgroSciences and OPW Engineered Systems


• Bombardier Transportation has unveiled the BOMBARDIER PRIMOVE, a contactless and catenary-free operating tram. The company provided a demonstration of the tram on a test track at Bombardier's Bautzen plant in Germany. The catenary-free feature targets trams operating in historic city centers where cityscapes can exist without visually unpleasing overhead lines, Bombardier said. Combined with the company’s BOMBARDIER MITRAC technology, the PRIMOVE system also offers energy savings. In addition, the system does not require a third rail or high tunnel roof so the trams can operate in smaller-profile tunnels.

• Ansaldo STS obtained a $70 million contract from Metropolitana di Napoli SpA to provide electronic equipment for the Piazza Dante-Piazza Garibaldi stretch of Naples Metro’s Line 1. Ansaldo will be responsible for overhead lines, power cables, telecommunications, signaling, automation and protection systems on a three-mile stretch of track constructed in double tunnels. The project is scheduled to be completed by July 2012.

• HLS Systems International Ltd. named Peter Li chief financial officer. Herriet Qu, who served as interim CFO, will continue to serve the company, which provides automation and control systems to the Chinese rail, industrial and nuclear power markets. Li will continue to serve as a senior advisor for Yucheng Technologies Ltd. until Feb. 28. He previously served the company as CFO. Prior to joining Yucheng, Li held corporate financial management positions with various companies.

• Railinc Corp. announced that Jim Bright, Canadian National Railway Co.’s vice president of information technology, has joined the company's board. Bright has served CN for 34 years in various marketing, operations, accounting, financial planning and information technology positions, including assistant vice president of solutions delivery.

• CIT Group Inc. reported a fourth-quarter loss from continuing operations of $139.4 million, or $0.54 per share compared with income from continuing operations of $62.4 million, or $0.29 per share, in fourth-quarter 2007. Utilization of the company’s rail-car lease fleet declined slightly to 95 percent. During the quarter, CIT also competed its transition to a bank holding company.

• GATX Corp. reported fourth-quarter income from continuing operations of $28.9 million, or 58 cents per diluted share, compared with income from continuing operations of $41.4 million, or 81 cents per diluted share, in fourth-quarter 2007. Rail segment profit fell from $63.5 million a year ago to $58.2 million. On Dec. 31, GATX’s North American fleet totaled 113,000 cars, including 3,650 cars added in the fourth quarter through the Allco portfolio acquisition. The fleet utilization rate was 97.9 percent, up slightly vs. the third quarter’s 97.8 percent and flat vs. fourth-quarter 2007’s rate.

• Dow AgroSciences L.L.C. has appointed Debbie Morton a sales representative for the vegetation management group within the U.S. specialties division. She succeeds Jack Noble, who retired after serving Dow AgroSciences — which provides herbicides to the rail industry — for more than 30 years. Morton recently earned a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from the University of Missouri-Rolla and a master’s degree in agronomy/turf science from Purdue University.

• OPW Engineered Systems named Jeff Reichert general manager. He will report to Tim Warning, OPW Engineered Systems’ previous president who recently became president of OPW Fluid Transfer Group. Reichert most recently was director of quality and productivity for OPW Engineered Systems, which provides loading and unloading systems for hazardous liquids. Prior to joining the company in 2006, he held various management positions at Finn Corp., Makino Inc. and GE Aircraft Engines.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/23/2009