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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Updates from Greenbrier, Vossloh, ProTran1, Nomad Digital and Railinc


• This morning, The Greenbrier Cos. announced that it modified a long-term rail-car manufacturing contract with GE Railcar Services. Under the terms of the original 2007 contract, Greenbrier was to manufacture 11,900 new tank cars and hopper cars for GE over an eight-year period, of which the last 8,500 units would be delivered subject to Greenbrier’s fulfillment of certain contractual conditions. Deliveries commenced in December 2008; so far, about 600 cars have been delivered and accepted. Under the terms of the modified pact, Greenbrier and GE agreed to reduce the contract quantities to up to 6,000 cars. Greenbrier will build the first 3,800 tank cars and hopper cars by July 2013; the “blended” purchase price on those 3,800 units represents a price increase from the original contract, and delivery of the units has been extended by 27 months, according to Greenbrier. The remaining 2,200 tank and hopper cars are subject to the fulfillment of “certain contractual conditions” by both parties and would occur over the next five years. In addition, Greenbrier retained the right of first refusal, subject to certain qualifications, to manufacture all new rail-car builds for GE through December 2018. Also: Greenbrier will become a “preferred rail-car maintenance provider” for GE’s fleet and perform rail-car maintenance and refurbishment work under a new five-year agreement with a minimum contract value of about $25 million. Under the contract, Greenbrier will begin, in first-quarter 2010, to cut-down 485 double-stack intermodal platforms from 48 feet in length to 40 feet at company’s Gunderson facility in Portland, Ore.

• Vossloh AG recently boosted its logistics, rail welding and preventative maintenance capabilities by acquiring Stahlberg Roensch Group, LOG Logistikgesellschaft Gleisbau mbH and ISB Instandhaltungssysteme Bahn GmbH. The sale and transfer agreement is “based on enterprise values” of $146.5 million, according to a prepared statement. The unit will be named “Vossloh Rail Services” and form part of the company’s rail infrastructure division. Vossloh officials expect the deal, which is subject to the approval of Vossloh’s supervisory board and Germany’s antitrust authority, to be completed by Jan. 1. In 2009, the acquisitive Vossloh also completed three “smallish takeovers,” as the company put it: APS Electronic AG, Switzerland, in April; the switch and overhead line business of Nuova Sima Sud, Italy, in July; and a majority stake in U.S.-based Global Rail Systems Inc. in October.

• ProTran1 L.L.C. recently received a $2.5 million contract from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to supply the ProTracker Early Warning System, which will warn transit workers of an approaching train and train operators of workers ahead. ProTran1 also recently completed a PROCELL pilot project for the Maryland Transit Administration. Soon, the unit will be installed on trains and buses  to give a warning when an operator is using a cell phone for calls or texting. However, it won’t block calls or texts, which is illegal, the company said in a prepared statement. The unit also sends a message to a supervisor or an operational control center when a cell phone violation occurs.

• Nomad Digital received a “Railway Interiors Expo Award for Passenger Service Innovation of the Year” award for its work in supplying the Dubai Metro with “high-speed WiFi Internet,” according to a Nomad statement. In Dubai, Nomad’s system provides broadband connectivity to all trains and stations on the automated light-rail network.

• Railinc President and Chief Executive Officer Allen West recently was named “Outstanding Business Partner for 2009” by the North Carolina Chapter of the Project Management Institute. The award is presented to individuals who have provided “exceptional support for the organization and project management professionals” during the year, according to a prepared statement.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/15/2009