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Rail News: Railroading Supplier Spotlight

Rail supplier news from GE Capital, FreightCar America, Alstom, Rockwell Collins, Greenbrier and NRC (Dec. 9)

GE Capital, Rail Services announced yesterday it is delivering 875 tank cars that meet the 2015 Safety Appliance Standard to customers. GE Capital is one of the first lessors to offer tank cars that comply with the Association of American Railroads' Safety Appliance Standard S-2044 that was adopted by the Federal Railroad Administration in February, GE officials said in a press release. All rail cars manufactured after January 2015 will be required to meet this new standard, which includes improvements to handholds, ladder treads, sill steps and running boards. The new standard is intended to make certain railroad procedures safer for employees, such as operating hand brakes and switching operations.

FreightCar America Inc. aims to expand its presence in Alabama's Shoals region through a previously announced $10 million expansion that calls for adding another production line for the company’s new types of rail cars. When fully operational in second-quarter 2015, the facility will have the capacity to build 6,000 to 8,000 rail cars annually, according to a FreightCar America press release. The new production line will increase the company's sublease of Navistar Inc.'s Cherokee, Ala., manufacturing facility to one-third of the plant.

Alstom signed an agreement with the Kazakh national railway company (KTZ) to acquire an additional 25 percent of KTZ's stake, thereby bringing Alstom's total share in the EKZ locomotive production joint venture to 50 percent. The venture has been awarded a $1.6 billion contract for the maintenance of freight and passenger electric locomotives over 25 years. With Alstom as a major shareholder, EKZ's scope will be extended to maintenance activities with the creation of a service center.

Rockwell Collins has obtained a contract from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) to develop the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system for the Foothill Gold Line Extension and the Exposition Line Phase 2 light-rail systems, according to a company press release. The new light rail SCADA system will be based on the company’s latest ARINC Advanced Information Management AIM® rail system. LACMTA is using the ARINC AIM rail SCADA and central traffic control functions to supervise and manage train operations, traction power and rail facilities for light-rail service.

The Greenbrier Cos. Inc. received new orders in first-quarter fiscal-year 2015 for 14,100 rail cars valued at $1.24 billion. Orders for the quarter — which ended Nov. 30 — included small-cube covered hoppers for sand and cement transportation, box cars, double-stack intermodal units, automobile carrying cars, gondolas and tank cars, both for crude oil and other commodity types. The orders include the 11,400 units received in September and October, which the company previously disclosed.

The National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) announced its board election results include new member Steve Bolte, senior director of North American sales at Harsco Rail who previously served as Progressive Railroading's publisher for 16 years. In addition, five incumbents were re-elected: Marc Hackett, director of ballast maintenance and roadbed services for Loram Maintenance of Way Inc.; Larry Laurello, president of Delta Railroad Construction; Greg Lippard, vice president of rail products and sales for L.B. Foster Co.; Scott Norman, VP of estimating and project development for Herzog Contracting Corp.; and Mike Choat, president of Railroad Controls Ltd., who was re-elected as secretary-treasurer and will be chairman in 2018-19.

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More News from 12/9/2014