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Rail News: Railroading Supplier Spotlight

Updates from Midwest Railcar, Railinc, Bombardier, Voith, Michael Baker and H.J. Skelton


• Midwest Railcar is adding 2,400 newly built and pre-owned rail cars to its fleet. Newly commissioned 3,250-cubic-foot covered hoppers will increase the fleet by 1,800 cars during 2011 and 2012. So far this year, Midwest Railcar has added 900 new small-cube covered hoppers and secured contracts for 900 additional new cars in 2012. Additionally, in the past six months, the company has acquired more than 600 pre-owned general purpose cars. The 2,400-unit increase marks the “most significant acquisition in the company’s history,” Midwest Railcar officials said in a prepared statement.  

• Railinc’s first phase of the comprehensive equipment performance monitoring (CEPM) program is under way and on target for implementation in January 2012, company officials said in a prepared statement. CEPM will provide a new database of rail-car equipment component information. The data will provide “better information that can be used to develop faster and more cost-effective component recalls, prevent derailments, lower operating costs and improve equipment maintenance planning,” Railinc officials said. The program’s first phase, CEPM-Wheelsets, is designed to centralize the registration of wheelset component details and identifies the application of wheelset components. Railinc plans to release an update to its Umler™ system in mid-August to enable wheel shops to register wheelsets in the Umler Component Registry.

• Yesterday, the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) went on strike at Bombardier Transportation’s plant in Thunder Bay, Ontario, after negotiations broke down over proposed changes to a pension plan, particularly for new workers, according to a CAW press release. Talks have been ongoing since April. The 700 workers represented by CAW Local 1075 have been working without a new contract since the previous contract expired on May 31. The plant manufactures bi-level, subway and streetcars.

• Voith Turbo GmbH & Co.’s SZ-370 double-stage helical final drive units will be installed on 364 new rail cars that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority plans to introduce into service in 2012. In addition, Voith’s helical final drive units will be installed on 160 new Nippon Sharyo Highliner II cars that Metra is scheduled to introduce into service in 2015, Voith officials said in a prepared statement.

• Michael Baker Corp. has appointed G. John Kurgan chief operating officer and Michael Zugay, chief administrative officer. Kurgan will be responsible for the day-to-day operations and business development of the company worldwide. He has 36 years of experience with Baker in various capacities, most recently as executive vice president and transportation business line manager. Zugay’s new duties will be added to his current responsibilities as executive vice president and chief financial officer. In his additional role, he will manage and control all corporate costs. Prior to joining Baker in 2009, Zugay was senior vice president and chief financial officer of iGate Corp.

• On Monday, H.J. Skelton (Canada) Ltd. announced the Toronto Transit Commission has ordered another Rawie Sliding Friction Bumping Post Type 18ZEB for Toronto’s high-speed track. The heavy-duty dual-head bumping post is designed to stop runaway 444,000-pound trains at speeds up to 21.9 mph, according to the company.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/10/2011