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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Updates from Siemens, Alstom, RailComm, Kelso Technologies, CFCL Australia, Knorr-Bremse and Global Railway


• Siemens Mobility Division has introduced an Avenio single-articulation tram concept. Up to 73 meters in length, the new model will be the longest 100 percent low-floor tram in the world, according to Siemens. The Avenio is a further development of the Combino tram, such as those manufactured for Budapest and Almada, the company said. The Avenio offers lower weight and manufacturing costs because of a lightweight steel car body, new welding technique and fewer installed parts than preceding models. The Avenio will “foreseeably” be built for the first time as an eight-unit vehicle for Tel Aviv, Siemens said.

• Alstom Transport and Russian rolling stock manufacturer Transmashholding (TMH) reached an agreement under which Alstom will support the modernization of TMH’s manufacturing sites and develop a new generation of rolling stock adapted to the Russian market. In addition, Alstom will acquire 25 percent of TMH holding company’s capital at a price that takes into account TMH’s financial results from 2008 to 2011. Both companies also plan to continue manufacturing double-decker passenger cars under a cooperative pact.

• Alton & Southern Railroad has expanded an existing RailComm Inc. Domain Operations Controller (DOC®) System by adding 14 remote-controlled power switch machines at the Bowl and Crest sections of their yard. RailComm added the switches to an existing DOC system to enable the railroad to eliminate hand-thrown switches. RailComm also established a point-to-multi-point wireless data communications network using its RADiANT™ Data Radio technology.

• Kelso Technologies Inc. recently shipped the first quantity of its new CW 3x1 Inspection Valve to one of its largest customers, which commissioned the design for use on its tank-car fleet. Kelso plans to begin marketing the new valve, which is designed to enhance safe inspection of rail tank cars at loading/unloading platforms.

• Rolling stock leasing firms CFCL Australia (CFCLA), Marubeni Corp. of Japan and Marubeni Australia Ltd. have agreed to participate in CFCLA’s Rail Joint Venture, which provides short- and long-term rolling stock leases to Australian rail operators. Under the agreement, CFCLA will retain a 51 percent interest and Marubeni, a 49 percent interest in the venture. In addition, CFCLA will continue to provide commercial and operating services to the joint venture under a long-term pact. The Rail Joint Venture will manage a fleet of 37 diesel-electric locomotives and 805 grain and container flat cars.

• The Knorr-Bremse Group reported 2008 consolidated sales of $4.5 billion, up 4.1 percent compared with 2007. The Commercial Vehicle Systems division accounted for 58 percent and Rail Vehicle Systems division, 42 percent of total sales. However, because of a sharp downturn in worldwide commercial vehicle production in 2008’s second half, incoming orders fell to a value of $4.3 billion vs. 2007’s $5 billion. Annual net income totaled $254.5 million, corresponding to a net return on sales of 5.7 percent vs. 2007’s 6.1 percent, Knorr-Bremse said.

• Global Railway Industries Ltd. reported 2008 revenue of $61.8 million, a 68 percent increase compared with 2007. The CAD Railway Industries Ltd. acquisition and multi-year contracts related to infrastructure spending in the passenger-rail and transit sectors drove the increase, the company said. However, Global Railway reported a $1.7 million net loss and a loss of 11 cents per diluted share for the year, which included a non-cash “goodwill impairment” expense. In the fourth quarter, revenue jumped 59 percent to $16.6 million and the company posted net earnings of $409,000.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/31/2009