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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Updates from Vossloh, J.L. Patterson, Veolia Transportation, Aralia Systems, IBM and Isis L.L.C.


• Vossloh AG reported high first-quarter earnings despite comparisons with a strong first-quarter 2008. Sales rose 0.2 percent to $382.6 million, while earnings before interest and tax rose 0.7 percent to $40.4 million and group earnings increased 4 percent to $26.9 million. The Rail Infrastructure Division posted sales of $201.2 million, up 3.2 percent, and Vossloh Fastening Systems reported a 76 percent surge in sales to $74.1 million. The company attributes the increase to robust domestic business, the ongoing shipment of rail fasteners for high-speed lines in China and a steep sales increase in Spain. Meanwhile, Vossloh Locomotives reported a 2.8 percent sales decline to $133.6 million. However, order intake rose from $95.8 million in first-quarter 2008 to $227.9 million in first-quarter 2009. Vossloh Switch Systems posted sales of $127.6 million, down 17.5 percent compared with Q1 2008's "exceptionally high" volume of $154.6 million and the Electrical Systems business recorded sales of $47.1 million, down 4 percent, Vossloh said.

• Transportation engineering firm J.L. Patterson & Associates Inc. has obtained a contract from Amtrak to analyze the feasibility of re-launching intercity passenger-rail service along the former Pioneer Route, which served Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming. The firm will evaluate several factors, such as operating and start-up costs, projected state subsidy requirements, route infrastructure needs, projected revenue and ridership, and proposed schedules. Amtrak eliminated the service in 1997 due to low ridership. However, the railroad is considering whether to re-establish the route because of the resurgence of rail travel.

• Veolia Transportation Services Inc. named Randall Jamieson director of safety, training and regulatory compliance. He will work directly with Austin, Texas' Capital Metro to ensure its soon-to-open MetroRail service will meet all operating, safety and regulatory compliance standards. Jamieson most recently served as a Federal Railroad Administration-certified motive power and equipment rail safety investigator for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), where he monitored compliance with federal railroad safety regulations, led railroad accident investigations, and worked with federal, state and government officials, as well as special interest groups, railroads and contractors, to support TxDOT's rail safety program.

• Aralia Systems Ltd. is deploying its intelligent video surveillance software at Maryland Transit Administration passenger-rail stations under the second phase of a video surveillance contract partially funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The software is designed to alert a user of unusual events, such as the intrusion of secured areas, loitering or unattended luggage. The system also stores a stream of captured video to allow for future analysis. Under the contract's first phase, Aralia installed the surveillance software at 11 stations and a monitoring facility last October.

• IBM won a contract to provide maintenance and logistics software to the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp. to help manage the agency's stations, track, rail cars, and signal and communication systems. The agency is using IBM's Maximo software for its maintenance management information system to help manage assets, projects, inventory, resources and purchases, as well as schedule work orders.

• Isis L.L.C. named Brent Hillyard a principal engineer. Based in Denver, he will lead signal engineering efforts for freight-, commuter- and light-rail projects.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/29/2009