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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Updates from Stanec, Railhead, J.L. Patterson, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Invensys Rail Group, ExaDigm, Wonderware and Global Railway Industries


• Engineering firm Stantec obtained a contract to design the electronic control systems for a 2.4-mile Miami-Dade Metrorail extension that will connect Earlington Heights station in northeast Miami to a new central transit station. Stantec will replace the existing wire relay control system at Earlington Heights with a state-of-the-art microprocessor control system — a first for Miami-Dade Metrorail, according to the engineering firm. The microprocessor controls will automatically record system data and improve the system’s diagnostic capabilities, Stanec said. Projected to conclude in late 2011, the project also calls for installing new signals and controls, switch machines, electronic track circuits and upgraded communications networks.

• Railhead Vision Systems won a $975,000 contract from Metrolink to install inward-facing cameras on all locomotives and cab cars. The cameras will record activities of engineers and other train staff for forensic and investigative purposes, and be used to deter the “type of unauthorized activities” identified in the Chatsworth accident investigation, Metrolink said.

• Engineering firm J.L. Patterson & Associates Inc. obtained a contract from Amtrak to construction manage a new passenger station in Stanwood, Wash. — the national intercity passenger railroad’s newest Pacific Northwest station, according to the firm. To be completed by September, the 600-foot station platform will be used to board and de-board Amtrak’s Cascades service trains. The platform will include lighting and landscaping designed to blend with downtown Stanwood’s current architecture.

• Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) has named Peter Sklannik manager of operations planning and special projects. He will be responsible for expanding the engineering firm’s presence in the high-speed rail and commuter-rail markets. Sklannik previously was chief operating officer for Trinity Railway Express and Virginia Railway Express, and held various senior capital program and government affairs positions at MTA Long Island Rail Road. PB also named David McAlister executive vice president and global director-strategic planning and development; and Paul Morris, EVP and global director-strategic consulting and sustainability. McAlister returns to PB after serving as senior VP and transportation group global director of operations for CH2M Hill the past three years. Morris rejoins PB after serving as VP of Cherokee Investment Partners the past two years.

• Invensys Rail Group subsidiary Westinghouse Rail Systems Australia (WRSA) obtained a contract from the Connex Mainco Joint Venture to provide signaling equipment and services for the Laverton rail upgrade project in the state of Victoria, Australia. The project is part of the Victorian Transport Plan, which aims to provide extra trains and services for the busy Werribee corridor by 2011’s end. WRSA will replace the existing relay interlocking at Laverton with a hot standby WESTRACE interlocking, and replace the existing manual unit level Newport panel with a new WestCad VDU control system. WRSA plans to design, test, install and commission the new control center and interlocking by September 2009.

• ExaDigm Inc. obtained a contract from Amtrak to provide mobile wireless payment terminals that can handle the onboard acceptance and real-time processing of card-based ticket payments. ExaDigm will deploy its XD2500 Mobile Wireless Payment Terminal for use by more than 1,600 conductors and assistant conductors on all passenger routes. Amtrak is implementing the terminal to provider passengers a faster and easier payment process, reduce credit card losses and lower the risk of credit card fraud, ExaDigm said.

• Wonderware obtained a contract from China’s Ministry of Railways to provide the Wonderware System Platform, which will become the Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) system used to operate the nation’s railway. Extending to 2020, the project involves the automation of all power monitoring points for a majority of the Chinese railroad system. The Wonderware SCADA project will integrate a large portion of China’s rail lines running from Beijing in the north to Guangzhou in the south. The project’s budget is estimated at $512 billion.

• Global Railway Industries Ltd. reported first-quarter total revenue of $14.7 million compared with $15.5 million in first-quarter 2008. The company also reported a net loss of $1.5 million vs. net income of $642,000 in the prior-year quarter and a loss per share of 10 cents vs. earnings per share of four cents.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/19/2009