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Rail News: Railroading Supplier Spotlight

Rail supplier news from Amsted, Maxwell, McDonald Transit, ARI and FreightCar America (Nov. 2)


Amsted Rail has entered into an agreement to acquire the Amsted Rail-Faiveley brake component business. The acquisition will include Ellcon's brake components, such as hand brakes, slack adjusters, empty load devices and ABU cylinders. In addition, Amsted will continue to offer the plastic pellet gate product line. The deal will better position Amsted to enhance its component systems, said Gary Wagner, the company's general manager of freight brake products.

Maxwell Technologies Inc. has announced the first commercial application of its lithium-ion capacitors, which were developed in conjunction with China Railway Rolling Stock Corp. (CRRC). The technology will be used for rapid energy regeneration in the trolley system in the capital city of the Hunan province in China. The capacitors can charge light-rail vehicles in 30 seconds and keep them going for five to 10 minutes, which ensures the trolley can restart quickly in stop-and-go traffic, Maxwell officials said in a press release. The technology combines ultracapacitor's high-power density with lithium-ion batteries' high-energy density for onboard energy storage systems. Compared to traditional ultracapacitors, lithium-ion capacitors triple energy density and reduce the energy system's weight by 50 percent, Maxwell officials said.

Robert Babbitt has retired as president of McDonald Transit. He'll stay involved with the company as a consultant to help ensure a smooth transition, McDonald Transit officials said in a press release. Babbitt started at the company in 1977 as a management intern and worked his way up in operating and administrative positions. He was appointed chief financial officer in 1981 and president in 2002. Under Babbitt's leadership, the company expanded operations to 17 states serving 32 fixed route, paratransit and shuttle clients. With RATP Dev America, Babbitt formed a streetcar operating subdivision known as RDMT, which operates streetcars in Tucson, Ariz.; and Washington, D.C.

American Railcar Industries Inc. (ARI) reported third-quarter net earnings of $7.7 million, or 40 cents per share, compared with $29.4 million, or $1.39 per share, in the same period last year. The decrease was primarily driven by decreased consolidated earnings from operations, ARI officials said in a press release. Total revenue for Q3 2016 was $145 million, down 16 percent from $172.7 million in Q3 2015. During third-quarter this year, ARI shipped 855 direct sale rail cars and 322 rail cars built for the company's lease fleet, versus 990 direct sale rail cars and 918 rail cars built for the lease fleet in the same period last year. The company's backlog as of Sept. 30 was 5,085 rail cars with an estimated value of $490.2 million.

FreightCar America Inc. reported third-quarter net income of $100,000 or zero cents per diluted share during the third quarter, compared with $14.8 million, or $1.20 per diluted share, in the same period a year ago. The company's third-quarter results include a pre-tax gain of $4.6 million related to the sale of the rail-car repair and maintenance services businesses. FreightCar America logged $113.5 million in quarterly revenue versus $241.1 million in 2015's third quarter.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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