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Rail News: Railroading Supplier Spotlight

Updates from Keolis, Wabtec, FreightCar America, ARI and Parsons Brinckerhoff


• Australia’s Queensland Government has selected the GoldLinQ consortium for an 18-year public-private partnership to design, build, finance and operate the Gold Coast light-rail system under a contract worth $1 billion. GoldLinQ includes KDR Gold Coast Pty Ltd., a joint venture between Keolis and Downer EDI, which will operate and maintain the system; Bombardier Transportation Australia Pty Ltd., which will design and supply light-rail vehicles and rail systems; McConnell Dowell Constructors (Australia) Pty Ltd., which will provide infrastructure and building works; and Plenary Group Pty Ltd., which will serve as financial arranger and commercial adviser. The eight-mile route will feature 16 stations.

• Wabtec Corp. has obtained a $21 million contract from mining company Rio Tinto to provide electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) braking equipment for a portion of the company’s freight cars and locomotives in Australia. The equipment is slated for delivery later this year or in 2012. Wabtec will supply about 3,600 car sets of ECP equipment that will enable Rio Tinto to retrofit its fleet of iron ore cars, most of which feature Wabtec’s standard pneumatic brakes. In addition, Rio Tinto will install ECP brakes on six locomotives.

• FreightCar America Inc. reported a net loss of $1.3 million, or 11 cents per diluted share, in the first quarter compared with a net loss of $3.3 million, or 28 cents per diluted share, in the same period a year ago. Revenue soared to $72 million compared with $19.5 million in first-quarter 2010. The company delivered 875 rail cars, of which 858 were new, compared with 321 new and leased cars delivered a year ago. The company registered 4,027 units ordered in the quarter compared with 3,656 in Q1 2010; the total backlog reached 5,206 units in the quarter compared with 3,600 units a year earlier. “Our sales and volume for our manufacturing segment for the first quarter of 2011 reflects modestly improving market conditions and measured increases in demand for coal-carrying rail cars,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Whalen in a prepared statement.

• American Railcar Industries Inc. (ARI) has obtained a contract worth $9.6 million from the Indian Railways to design and develop rail cars for service in India. The contract calls for ARI to assess the operating conditions for freight-car traffic, design four new car types for heavier axle loads and build six prototypes, according to ARI. In addition, ARI will provide training to Indian Railways personnel on the design, testing, manufacturing, quality assurance and maintenance of the cars.

• Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) has appointed David Bitter supervising architect in Atlanta, where he will assist the Dulles Rail Consultants team with final review and completion of documentation required for preliminary engineering of the Dulles MetroRail project in Washington, D.C. Bitter has more than 25 years of experience in the design and construction of transit and other projects. PB also named Dirk Braxton lead mechanical engineer in Los Angeles, where he will be responsible for mechanical designs of the Westside Subway Extension project. Braxton joins PB after a 23-year career with MTA New York City Transit.

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More News from 5/9/2011