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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Updates from Railinc, Ansaldo, Harsco and HJ Skelton


• On Tuesday, Railinc Corp. announced its Damaged and Defective Car Tracking (DDCT) system is operational for railroads, freight-car owners and repair shops. The new, centralized, web-based application enables users to enter and respond to damaged- and defective-car incidents, effectively making a 125-year-old, paper reporting system obsolete, Railinc officials said in a prepared statement. In preparation for DDCT's launch, Railinc held 16 webinars with more than 1,600 participants and conducted presentations at more than one dozen rail industry events.

• On Wednesday, Ansaldo STS announced it obtained two separate contracts for U.S.-based cab signaling projects worth a combined total of $18 million. The contracts, one with Bombardier Transportation and the other with Kawasaki Railcar Inc., call for Ansaldo STS to supply 100 and 364 vehicles, respectively. Bombardier will provide the vehicles to New Jersey Transit; Kawasaki will supply the vehicles to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. The systems will be based on Ansaldo STS’s MicroCab® signaling, which is designed to provide complete automatic train control.

• Harsco Corp. reported a fourth-quarter 2010 net loss of $49.2 million from continuing operations after a restructuring charge, compared with net income of $41.8 million for the same period a year ago, company officials said in a prepared statement. For Harsco’s rail business, net income for the quarter fell 22 percent to $9.7 million. Sales were down 18 percent to $61 million and operating margins fell to 15.9 percent for the quarter. For full-year 2010, Harsco Rail achieved record sales, operating income and operating margins, Harsco officials said.

• HJ Skelton (Canada) Ltd. recently was awarded a repeat order for Axion International thermoplastic ties by Calgary Transit in Alberta, Canada, for use below road crossings. Able to withstand heavy road and commuter traffic, the ties have a 50-year lifespan and can handle freeze and thaw cycles to -40 degrees Fahrenheit, according to HJ Skelton.


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More News from 1/27/2011