Federal Railroad Administration

Washington, DC, United States

Federal Railroad Administration

Washington, DC, United States
SEARCH FILTERS
Time filter
Source Type

Wendy J. Buckley Honored as a Lifetime Member by Strathmore's Who's Who Worldwide Publication Elkton, MD, May 03, 2017 --( About Wendy J. Buckley Ms. Buckley is the President and Founder of Specialty Transportation and Regulatory Services, which is a hazardous materials consulting service that ensures hazardous materials make it safely from their origin to their destination without harming people or the surrounding environment in compliance with the Federal and State regulations throughout the United States, Canada, and around the world. She makes it her mission to help companies develop cost-effective ways to comply with federal and state regulations in a safe and efficient manner. In addition to serving the needs of her clients, Ms. Buckley oversees all operational and administrative tasks, including business development, promotions, payroll, contract bids, and estimating. She also serves as the Human Resources Director responsible for hiring the very best people committed to providing the highest level of service. She is passionate about personal safety and ensuring that her employees and clients are kept safe while working. She is affiliated with several industry trade groups committed to promoting safe transportation and handling of all dangerous goods. Born on September 4, 1978 in New York, Ms. Buckley obtained a B.S. in International Business from Strayer University and an M.S. in Environmental Safety and Health Management from the University of Findlay in 2014. She holds a Master Certificate in Project Management from Villanova University. While in college, she volunteered at a local fire department which ended up lasting 10 years and gave her an initial glimpse into the world of hazardous materials, first as a firefighter and later as a member of the hazardous materials response team. It also reinforced her commitment to public service. She later served as a Hazardous Materials Safety Inspector for the Federal Railroad Administration, followed by a stint with the State of New Jersey Department of Transportation as the sole Railroad Hazardous Materials Inspector. Ms. Buckley was then invited to work for Amtrak’s Inspector General as an Inspector, then as the Instructor for a premier hazardous materials training firm. Finally, she served as the sole Hazmat Specialist for North American Regulatory Affairs at the largest laboratory supply distributor in the world. Ms. Buckley is working with a publisher to produce a book on hazmat compliance for everyday use. She is a monthly guest on a Radio Show on Sirius XM146 called “Road Dog News.” In her spare time she enjoys art classes, family activities and her dog, Brutus. For further information, contact About Strathmore’s Who’s Who Worldwide Strathmore’s Who’s Who Worldwide highlights the professional lives of individuals from every significant field or industry including business, medicine, law, education, art, government and entertainment. Strathmore’s Who’s Who Worldwide is both an online and hard cover publication where we provide our members’ current and pertinent business information. It is also a biographical information source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms throughout the world. Our goal is to ensure that our members receive all of the networking, exposure and recognition capabilities to potentially increase their business. Elkton, MD, May 03, 2017 --( PR.com )-- Wendy J. Buckley of Elkton, Maryland has been honored as a Lifetime Member by Strathmore’s Who’s Who Worldwide Edition for her outstanding contributions and achievements in the field of transportation.About Wendy J. BuckleyMs. Buckley is the President and Founder of Specialty Transportation and Regulatory Services, which is a hazardous materials consulting service that ensures hazardous materials make it safely from their origin to their destination without harming people or the surrounding environment in compliance with the Federal and State regulations throughout the United States, Canada, and around the world. She makes it her mission to help companies develop cost-effective ways to comply with federal and state regulations in a safe and efficient manner. In addition to serving the needs of her clients, Ms. Buckley oversees all operational and administrative tasks, including business development, promotions, payroll, contract bids, and estimating. She also serves as the Human Resources Director responsible for hiring the very best people committed to providing the highest level of service. She is passionate about personal safety and ensuring that her employees and clients are kept safe while working. She is affiliated with several industry trade groups committed to promoting safe transportation and handling of all dangerous goods.Born on September 4, 1978 in New York, Ms. Buckley obtained a B.S. in International Business from Strayer University and an M.S. in Environmental Safety and Health Management from the University of Findlay in 2014. She holds a Master Certificate in Project Management from Villanova University. While in college, she volunteered at a local fire department which ended up lasting 10 years and gave her an initial glimpse into the world of hazardous materials, first as a firefighter and later as a member of the hazardous materials response team. It also reinforced her commitment to public service. She later served as a Hazardous Materials Safety Inspector for the Federal Railroad Administration, followed by a stint with the State of New Jersey Department of Transportation as the sole Railroad Hazardous Materials Inspector. Ms. Buckley was then invited to work for Amtrak’s Inspector General as an Inspector, then as the Instructor for a premier hazardous materials training firm. Finally, she served as the sole Hazmat Specialist for North American Regulatory Affairs at the largest laboratory supply distributor in the world.Ms. Buckley is working with a publisher to produce a book on hazmat compliance for everyday use. She is a monthly guest on a Radio Show on Sirius XM146 called “Road Dog News.” In her spare time she enjoys art classes, family activities and her dog, Brutus.For further information, contact www.starshazmat.com About Strathmore’s Who’s Who WorldwideStrathmore’s Who’s Who Worldwide highlights the professional lives of individuals from every significant field or industry including business, medicine, law, education, art, government and entertainment. Strathmore’s Who’s Who Worldwide is both an online and hard cover publication where we provide our members’ current and pertinent business information. It is also a biographical information source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms throughout the world. Our goal is to ensure that our members receive all of the networking, exposure and recognition capabilities to potentially increase their business. Click here to view the list of recent Press Releases from Strathmore Worldwide


News Article | October 28, 2016
Site: www.theenergycollective.com

Safety laws meant to protect the American public against oil train explosions, pipeline leaks and other deadly risks have been repeatedly held up by slow-moving federal regulators, a newly released Department of Transportation internal audit has concluded. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) — charged with overseeing 2.6 million miles of pipelines and the handling of a million hazardous material shipments a day — missed deadline after deadline as it attempted to craft the safety rules and regulations that give federal laws effect, auditors from the DOT inspector general’s office wrote in their Oct. 14 report. “PHMSA’s slow progress and lack of coordination over the past 10 years has delayed the protections those mandates and recommendations are intended to provide,” the report concluded. Out of 62 rules or studies that PHMSA was legally required to complete by a specific deadline, the agency missed its mandatory deadlines 45 times, auditors wrote, or over 70 percent of the time. When deadlines were recommended but not required, PHSMA‘s track record was even worse. “[S]ince 2005, PHMSA has missed deadlines for responding to 115 of 118 NTSB [National Transportation Safety Board] recommendations and 10 of 12 GAO [Government Accountability Office] recommendations,” auditors found. Sometimes, delays were caused by poor planning, with PHMSA neglecting to coordinate with other federal agencies that might raise safety concerns, like the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration, to prevent disputes from arising. And sometimes, delays emerged because PHMSA failed to take the common sense steps that big projects generally require. “In implementing non-rulemaking mandates and recommendations, program offices rarely: developed plans; established priorities; identified team member roles and responsibilities; created timetables; or justified and documented delays,” the auditors wrote. The inspector general’s auditors highlighted five ways that the troubled agency could clean up its act, and PHSMA agreed to take most of the steps that the auditors recommended. But PHMSA‘s response came under fire from public safety advocates, who argued the agency was slow-walking the plans meant to help it speed up. “I am pleased that PHMSA has accepted the IG [inspector general] recommendations, but the key is in their implementation,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), “and already PHMSA says it won’t be able to implement the recommendations until December 2017, far too long to address such significant concerns and to ensure the health and safety of our communities and the American public.” The auditor’s probe of PHMSA‘s slow progress was launched in May of 2015, at the request of Rep. DeFazio, the top Democrat on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “In multiple pipeline accident investigations over the last 15 years, the NTSB has identified the same persistent issues–most of which DOT has failed to address,” Mr. DeFazio said at the time. “Each time, Congress has been forced to require PHMSA to take action, most recently in the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011. Yet three years later, almost none of the important safety measures in the Act have been finalized, including requirements for pipeline operators to install automatic shutoff valves and to inspect pipelines beyond high-consequence areas.” A year later, many of those same rules were still not finalized, the auditors found. The agency blew past deadlines when it came to steps to address oil train safety and rules on responding to spills of oil and other hazardous materials, auditors found. Pipeline standards also moved slowly. Federal safety experts have long recommended that gas pipelines connected to apartment buildings and other multi-family residences be equipped with an automatic shut-off valve that that can stop a gas leak from turning into a deadly explosion. Federal law required PHSMA to decide whether new or upgraded pipes must be equipped with the valves, which cost a couple hundred bucks, within two years. But nearly three years after its deadline had run out, PHMSA still had yet to make a move. And a proposal to map the nation’s network of tens of thousands of miles of so-called “gathering lines,” or smaller pipes that connect oil and gas wells into large interstate pipeline systems, also remains uncompleted. “PHMSA should at least know what’s out there: how many gathering lines, what the pressure is, how old they are and what the risks are,” Susan Fleming, director of the physical infrastructure program at the Government Accountability Office, told Politico last year. PHMSA‘s slow progress has long frustrated lawmakers. For example, a 2011 law required PHMSA to conduct 42 rule-makings and studies — but more than a quarter of those projects remained incomplete as of July of this year. “We cannot achieve the intended objectives of the Pipeline Safety Act until it has been fully implemented,” Energy and Commerce Chairman Rep. Fred Upton told The Hill in March. Last year, investigative reporters from Politico published a damning look at PHMSA‘s track record and why it’s been so slow to move. The agency is underfunded and understaffed, they found, writing that its annual budget of $145.5 million is “less than what the Pentagon  spent on a single jet engine maintenance contract last year.” It’s also closely tied to the industries it’s supposed to regulate — in part because of PHSMA‘s very design. By law, new PHMSA rules must be reviewed by advisory committees that in practice have become heavily weighted with industry reps, Politico found. “Advisory committee meetings are largely friendly affairs, a review of thousands of pages of transcripts shows, almost wholly devoid of resistance to industry-driven projects that craft voluntary standards for PHMSA,” reporters Elana Schor and Andrew Restuccia wrote. And while PHMSA is one of the Department of Transportation’s smallest agencies — despite its life-or-death responsibilities — problems run deeper than just a lack of staff or the agency’s high turnover rate. There is also a culture inside the agency that Politico labeled a “can’t do” mentality. “They’re understaffed to provide adequate oversight of the industry, but I don’t believe they’re understaffed to move a regulatory framework,” Jim Hall, former head of the National Transportation Safety Board told Politico. “They’ve just lacked the will to do so.” One year ago, a massive leak began at the Aliso Canyon gas storage site near Porter Ranch, California. It ultimately spewed almost 100,000 metric tons of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere and drove thousands of nearby residents and businesses to evacuate the surrounding area for months. This summer, a newly enacted law, the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act of 2016 (PIPES Act), charged PHMSA with launching over a dozen new studies, reports, and rule-makings — including figuring out how to prevent more leaks from storage facilities like Aliso Canyon.


News Article | February 24, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

ST. CHARLES, Mo., Feb. 24, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- American Railcar Industries, Inc. (ARI or the Company) (NASDAQ:ARII) today reported its fourth quarter and full year 2016 financial results. Jeff Hollister, President and CEO of ARI, commented, “As we navigate through this current down cycle, we rely on revenues from our lease fleet and railcar services business to partially offset the softness in the market for new railcars.  Given the strategic growth of our railcar leasing segment over the past five years, we are better positioned to weather the current market than we were during the previous downturn as we now have a lease fleet of 11,268 railcars that provide a steady stream of revenues. We remain committed to manufacturing quality hopper and tank railcars and continue to adjust our production rates as needed in an effort to align them with industry demand. In addition, we continue to monitor the FRA directive closely. After actively cooperating with the FRA and expressing our concerns with the Original Directive issued on September 30, 2016, the FRA issued a Revised Directive on November 18, 2016 that both changes and supersedes the Original Directive. While significant uncertainty in the industry still exists in connection with the Revised Directive and its implementation, we continue working with the FRA, our customers and industry groups to comply with the Revised Directive, as it is currently stated.” Total consolidated revenues were $167.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2016, a decrease of 36% when compared to $260.9 million for the same period in 2015. This decrease was due to decreased revenues in the manufacturing segment, partially offset by increased revenues in the railcar leasing and railcar services segments. Manufacturing revenues were $114.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2016, a decrease of 45% compared to the same period in 2015.  This decrease was primarily driven by the impact of fewer railcar shipments for direct sale with a higher mix of hopper railcars sold. Given the decrease in both hopper and tank railcar demand and a shift in production to a larger mix of specialty railcars, railcar shipments have decreased while average selling prices have increased. During the fourth quarter of 2016, ARI shipped 1,005 direct sale railcars and 307 railcars built for the Company's lease fleet, compared to 1,885 direct sale railcars and 45 railcars built for the lease fleet during the same period in 2015.  Railcars built for the lease fleet represented 23% of ARI’s railcar shipments during the fourth quarter of 2016 compared to 2% for the same period in 2015.  Because revenues and earnings related to leased railcars are recognized over the life of the lease, ARI's quarterly results may vary depending on the mix of lease versus direct sale railcars that the Company ships during a given period. Manufacturing revenues for the fourth quarter of 2016 exclude $30.8 million of estimated revenues related to a higher volume of specialty railcars built for the Company's lease fleet compared to $5.4 million for the same period in 2015.  Estimated revenues related to railcars built for the Company's lease fleet increased due to a higher quantity of railcars built for the lease fleet during the fourth quarter of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015.  Such revenues are based on an estimated fair market value of the leased railcars as if they had been sold to a third party, and are not recognized in consolidated revenues as railcar sales. Rather lease revenues are recognized in accordance with the terms of the contract over the life of the lease. Railcar leasing revenues were $33.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2016, an increase of 2% compared to the $32.7 million for the same period in 2015. The primary reason for the increase in revenue was an increase in the number of railcars on lease, partially offset by a slight decline in weighted average lease rates compared to the same period in 2015. ARI had 11,268 railcars in its lease fleet at the end of 2016 compared to 10,362 railcars in its lease fleet at the end of 2015. Railcar services revenues for the fourth quarter of 2016 were $19.1 million, an increase of 8% over the $17.7 million for the same period in 2015. The primary reason for the increase in revenue was an increase in customer demand and volume associated with additional capacity resulting from the Company's expansion projects in its repair network that became operational and continued to ramp up in 2016. Consolidated earnings from operations were $37.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2016, a decrease of 39% over $61.6 million for the same period in 2015. Consolidated operating margins decreased to 22.3% for the fourth quarter of 2016 compared to 23.6% for the same period in 2015. These decreases were primarily driven by lower earnings from operations in the Company's manufacturing segment. Manufacturing earnings from operations were $19.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2016, compared to $42.4 million for the same period in 2015. This decrease was due to fewer overall railcar shipments for direct sale, as discussed above, more competitive pricing on both hopper and tank railcars and higher costs associated with the lower production rates at the Company's tank railcar facility. As the Company adjusts its production schedules and output of new tank railcars, it continues to monitor and control overhead spending and employee levels. Estimated profit on railcars built for the Company’s lease fleet was $1.8 million and $3.3 million for the fourth quarter of 2016 and 2015, respectively, and is excluded from manufacturing earnings from operations.  Profit on railcars built for the Company's lease fleet is based on an estimated fair market value of revenues as if the railcars had been sold to a third party, less the cost to manufacture. Partially offsetting this decrease was a reduction of the loss contingency established as of September 30, 2016 of $17.0 million to $12.3 million as of December 31, 2016, for a total reduction of expense of $4.7 million, resulting in an increase to earnings per share of $0.17. This reduction in the loss contingency primarily reflects the changes made by the FRA from the Original Directive to the Revised Directive that reduced the number of railcars that are currently required to be inspected and repaired, if necessary. Railcar leasing earnings from operations were $22.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2016 compared to $22.9 million for the same period in 2015.  This decrease was due to a slight decline in weighted average lease rates compared to 2015, partially offset by an increase in the number of railcars on lease. Railcar services earnings from operations were $2.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2016 compared to $3.3 million for the same period in 2015.  This decrease was primarily due to an unfavorable change in the mix of work at our repair facilities during the fourth quarter of 2016, partially offset by an increase in demand and volume, as discussed above. Selling, general and administrative expenses were $10.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2016 compared to $10.1 million for the same period in 2015. This $0.4 million increase was primarily due to increased incentive compensation expense, partially offset by lower costs for consulting and bad debt expenses. Net earnings for the fourth quarter of 2016 were $22.3 million, or $1.16 per share, compared to $36.2 million, or $1.82 per share, in the same period of 2015. This decrease was driven primarily by decreased consolidated earnings from operations, partially offset by a reduction in the effective tax rate during the fourth quarter of 2016, resulting in an increase to earnings per share of $0.11. EBITDA, adjusted to exclude share-based compensation and other income related to short-term investment activity (Adjusted EBITDA), was $51.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2016 compared to $75.8 million for the comparable quarter of 2015. The decrease was primarily driven by decreased earnings from operations as discussed above.  A reconciliation of the Company’s net earnings to EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA (both non-GAAP financial measures) is set forth in the supplemental disclosure attached to this press release. Consolidated revenues for 2016 were $639.1 million compared to $889.3 million in 2015.  The Company shipped 3,922 railcars for direct sale and 914 railcars for lease in 2016 compared to 6,270 railcars for direct sale and 2,633 railcars for lease in 2015. Railcars built for the lease fleet represented 19% of ARI's railcar shipments in 2016 compared to 30% in 2015. Consolidated earnings from operations for 2016 were $130.1 million, a decrease of 43% from $226.7 million in 2015. Consolidated earnings from operations for 2016 and 2015 excluded $9.5 million and $87.7 million, respectively, of profit on railcars built for the lease fleet that is eliminated in consolidation. Consolidated operating margins were 20.4% in 2016 compared to 25.5% in 2015.  These decreases were primarily due to fewer overall direct sale shipments, with a higher mix of more hopper railcars in 2016, which generally have lower margins than tank railcars, combined with higher costs associated with the lower volumes of tank railcars.  Also contributing to these decreases was the loss contingency recognized during 2016 of $12.3 million related to the Revised Directive, as discussed above, partially offset by increased earnings due to the growth in the railcar lease fleet. Selling, general and administrative expenses were $32.3 million in 2016 compared to $30.9 million in 2015. This $1.5 million increase was primarily due to increased consulting expenses and higher depreciation, partially offset by lower bad debt and incentive compensation expense. Net earnings in 2016 were $72.7 million, or $3.74 per share, compared to $133.5 million, or $6.39 per share in 2015 due to decreased earnings from operations and a $0.9 million decrease in earnings from joint ventures as demand for the components our joint ventures produce is primarily tied to the industry's new railcar demand. Adjusted EBITDA was $188.0 million in 2016, a decrease of 33% from $278.9 million in 2015.  The decrease was primarily driven by decreased consolidated earnings from operations, in addition to the decrease in earnings from joint ventures for 2016 compared to 2015. The Company’s earnings have contributed to cash flow from operations of $180.5 million in 2016. As of December 31, 2016, ARI had working capital of $239.6 million, including $178.6 million of cash and cash equivalents. As of December 31, 2016, the Company had $571.0 million of debt outstanding, net of unamortized debt issuance costs of $4.9 million, and borrowing availability of $200.0 million under a revolving loan. The Company paid dividends totaling $31.0 million during 2016.  At the board meeting in February, the Company’s board of directors declared a cash dividend of $0.40 per share of common stock of the Company to shareholders of record as of March 17, 2017 that will be paid on March 24, 2017. The Company repurchased $28.6 million of shares of our common stock under its stock repurchase program during 2016.  Board authorization for approximately $164.0 million remains available for further share repurchases. ARI’s backlog as of December 31, 2016 was 3,813 railcars, with an estimated market value of $350.5 million. Of the total backlog, 1,637 railcars, or 43%, were subject to lease with an estimated market value of $152.2 million. ARI will host a webcast and conference call on Friday, February 24, 2017 at 10:00 am (Eastern Time) to discuss the Company’s fourth quarter 2016 financial results. In conjunction with this press release, ARI has posted a supplemental information presentation to its website. To participate in the webcast, please log-on to ARI’s investor relations page through the ARI website at americanrailcar.com. To participate in the conference call, please dial 877-745-9389. Participants are asked to log-on to the ARI website or dial in to the conference call approximately 10 to 15 minutes prior to the start time. An audio replay of the call will also be available on the Company’s website promptly following the earnings call. ARI is a prominent North American designer and manufacturer of hopper and tank railcars. ARI provides its railcar customers with integrated solutions through a comprehensive set of high quality products and related services. ARI manufactures and sells railcars, custom designed railcar parts, and other industrial products. ARI and its subsidiaries also lease railcars manufactured by the Company to certain markets. In addition, ARI and its subsidiaries provide railcar repair services through its various repair facilities, including mini-shops and mobile units, offering a range of services from full to light repair. More information about American Railcar Industries, Inc. is available on its website at americanrailcar.com or call the Investor Relations Department, 636.940.6000. This press release contains statements relating to the Company's response to governmental directives, expected financial performance, objectives, long-term strategies and/or future business prospects, events and plans that are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements represent the Company’s estimates and assumptions only as of the date of this press release. Such statements include, without limitation, statements regarding: various estimates we have made in preparing our financial statements, our plans, and the industry's ability, to address the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) directive released September 30, 2016 and subsequently revised and superseded on November 18, 2016 (Directive), our plans to manage our own lease fleet and terminate our contractual agreements with ARL, expected future trends relating to our industry, products and markets, the potential impact of regulatory developments, including developments related to the Directive, anticipated customer demand for our products and services, trends relating to our shipments, leasing business, railcar services and revenues, trends related to shipments for direct sale versus lease, our strategic objectives and long-term strategies, our results of operations, financial condition and the sufficiency of our capital resources, our projects to expand our manufacturing flexibility and repair capacity, our capital expenditure plans, short- and long-term liquidity needs, ability to service our current debt obligations and future financing plans, our Stock Repurchase Program, anticipated benefits regarding the growth of our leasing business, the mix of railcars in our lease fleet and our lease fleet financings, anticipated production schedules for our products and the anticipated production schedules of our joint ventures, our backlog, our plans regarding future dividends and the anticipated performance and capital requirements of our joint ventures. These forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated. Investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made and are not guarantees of future performance.  The payment of future dividends, if any, and the amount thereof, will be at the discretion of ARI’s board of directors and will depend upon the Company’s operating results, strategic plans, capital requirements, financial condition, provisions of its borrowing arrangements, applicable law and other factors the Company’s board of directors considers relevant.  Other potential risks and uncertainties that could adversely affect our business and prospects include without limitation: our prospects in light of the cyclical nature of our business; the health of and prospects for the overall railcar industry; risks relating to our compliance with the Directive, any developments related to the Directive and any costs or loss of revenue related thereto; risks relating to transitioning our management of our railcar leasing business from ARL and managing our lease fleet leading up to and after the ARL Sale; fluctuations in commodity prices, including oil and gas; the risk of being unable to market or remarket railcars for sale or lease at favorable prices or on favorable terms or at all; the impact, costs and expenses of any warranty claims we may be subject to now or in the future; the highly competitive nature of the manufacturing, railcar leasing and railcar services industries; the variable purchase patterns of our railcar customers and the timing of completion, customer acceptance and shipment of orders, as well as the mix of railcars for lease versus direct sale; risks relating to our compliance with, and the overall railcar industry's implementation of, United States and Canadian regulations related to the transportation of flammable liquids by rail; our ability to manage overhead and variations in production rates; our ability to recruit, retain and train qualified personnel; the impact of any economic downturn, adverse market conditions or restricted credit markets; our reliance upon a small number of customers that represent a large percentage of our revenues and backlog; fluctuations in the costs of raw materials, including steel and railcar components, and delays in the delivery of such raw materials and components; fluctuations in the supply of components and raw materials we use in railcar manufacturing; the ongoing risks related to our relationship with Mr. Carl Icahn, our principal beneficial stockholder through Icahn Enterprises L.P. (IELP), and certain of his affiliates; the risks associated with ongoing compliance with environmental, health, safety, and regulatory laws and regulations, which may be subject to change; the impact, costs and expenses of any litigation we may be subject to now or in the future; the sufficiency of our liquidity and capital resources, including long-term capital needs to support the growth of our lease fleet; the impact of repurchases pursuant to our Stock Repurchase Program on our current liquidity and the ownership percentage of our principal beneficial stockholder through IELP, Mr. Carl Icahn; the risks associated with our current joint ventures and anticipated capital needs of, and production capabilities at our joint ventures; the conversion of our railcar backlog into revenues equal to our reported estimated backlog value; the risks and impact associated with any potential joint ventures, acquisitions, strategic opportunities or new business endeavors; the integration with other systems and ongoing management of our new enterprise resource planning system; the risks related to our and our subsidiaries' indebtedness and compliance with covenants contained in our and our subsidiaries' financing arrangements and the additional risk factors described in ARI’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company expressly disclaims any duty to provide updates to any forward-looking statements made in this press release, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. EBITDA represents net earnings before income tax expense, interest expense (income), loss on debt extinguishment and depreciation of property, plant and equipment. The Company believes EBITDA is useful to investors in evaluating ARI’s operating performance compared to that of other companies in the same industry. In addition, ARI’s management uses EBITDA to evaluate operating performance. The calculation of EBITDA eliminates the effects of financing, income taxes and the accounting effects of capital spending. These items may vary for different companies for reasons unrelated to the overall operating performance of a company’s business. EBITDA is not a financial measure presented in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (U.S. GAAP). Accordingly, when analyzing the Company’s operating performance, investors should not consider EBITDA in isolation or as a substitute for net earnings, cash flows provided by operating activities or other statement of operations or cash flow data prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP. The calculation of EBITDA is not necessarily comparable to that of other similarly titled measures reported by other companies. Adjusted EBITDA represents EBITDA before share-based compensation expense related to stock appreciation rights (SARs) and other income related to our short-term investments. Management believes that Adjusted EBITDA is useful to investors in evaluating the Company’s operating performance, and therefore uses Adjusted EBITDA for that purpose. The Company’s SARs, which settle in cash, are revalued each period based primarily upon changes in ARI’s stock price. Management believes that eliminating the expense associated with share-based compensation and income associated with short-term investments allows management and ARI’s investors to understand better the operating results independent of financial changes caused by the fluctuating price and value of the Company’s common stock and short-term investments. Adjusted EBITDA is not a financial measure presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP. Accordingly, when analyzing operating performance, investors should not consider Adjusted EBITDA in isolation or as a substitute for net earnings, cash flows provided by operating activities or other statements of operations or cash flow data prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP. The Company’s calculation of Adjusted EBITDA is not necessarily comparable to that of other similarly titled measures reported by other companies.


News Article | November 28, 2016
Site: www.npr.org

Federal regulators say the nation's railroads are making slow and uneven progress in installing positive train control, technology that could prevent train crashes, and there is growing concern that several railroads may not make the government's deadline for implementing the system. Positive train control uses GPS, trackside signals, onboard computers and other technologies to slow down or stop a train that is going too fast. It is seen as a major safety improvement that can reduce the risk of human factors in crashes, such as an operator or engineer nodding off or missing signals because of distractions. Investigators say the system could have prevented the Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia that killed eight passengers and injured more than 200 others in May 2015. The National Transportation Safety Board concluded earlier this year that Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian was distracted by radio transmissions about rocks being thrown at and striking another train, causing him to miss a warning signal and run the train way too fast into a curve, where the train derailed. Railroads have until December 2018 to install and implement the complex technology on their fleets of locomotives and along thousands of miles of tracks, but new data released Monday by the Federal Railroad Administration shows many railroads are way behind schedule. "Unfortunately, we've got a very long way to go in terms of railroads finalizing and getting positive train control implemented," says FRA Administrator Sarah Feinberg. "We would have to see incredibly dramatic progress between now and the deadline two years from now in order for all the railroads to make it." According to quarterly reports filed with the FRA, as of Sept. 30, freight railroads have PTC installed and operational on 12 percent of their tracks across the country, up from 9 percent at the end of June. Passenger railroads have PTC up and running on 23 percent of their tracks nationwide, up from 22 percent at the end of the previous quarter. But those national figures don't tell the whole story, which is that some railroads are making significant progress, especially in the Western U.S., while others, particularly those in the East, have made little progress. Amtrak, for example, has installed positive train control on most of the 450 miles of track it owns between Washington, D.C., and Boston. SEPTA, the commuter rail service in the Philadelphia area, has PTC nearly fully installed and implemented throughout its system. But the nation's three busiest commuter railroads, all in the New York City area, lag far behind. The FRA's figures show Metro-North, the Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit — which together carry nearly 1 million commuters each day — have made very little progress installing and implementing PTC. Representatives for the railroads tell the Associated Press that the government data do not fully reflect their progress. The LIRR and Metro-North have trained more employees in the system, they've installed PTC technology on more than 300 train cars and they have placed more than 2,000 transponders along their tracks. Tom Prendergast, chairman of New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, says both the LIRR and Metro-North are moving "aggressively and diligently" to fully implement PTC before the December 2018 deadline set by Congress. Of the freight railroads, which own the vast majority of tracks in the U.S., BNSF appears to be making the most progress, with PTC installed on 38 percent of its track segments and 88 percent of its locomotives. Nonetheless, FRA Administrator Feinberg seems frustrated with the slow and uneven progress. "We have a technology available to us that will make rail travel safer and protect communities and protect passengers," she says. "Why in the world are we still waiting to get this technology implemented? It's high time that it be on every railroad." The technology for positive train control has existed for decades, but railroads resisted installing and implementing it until a Metrolink commuter train crashed into a freight train in 2008, killing 25 people. Investigators say the commuter train's engineer had been texting and missed a stop signal. Congress then mandated the technology be installed on all trains by 2015, but last year it extended the deadline by three years when it became apparent many railroads wouldn't make the deadline because of the complexities of developing and implementing the system. Freight railroads have already invested $7.1 billion in the complex technology and spend $100 million a month on development, testing and installation, according to the Association of American Railroads. The industry group expects the final costs to reach about $10.6 billion by the time the technology is fully operational on 60,000 miles of track from coast to coast. "The FRA's latest status update illustrates the complexities involved in developing, installing and then thoroughly testing this complex, revolutionary technology to ensure it is providing additional safety benefits," says AAR spokesman Ed Greenberg. "Implementing this developed-from-scratch technology remains a priority for the nation's freight rail industry with Class 1 freight railroads remaining on track at having PTC fully installed by the deadline" of December 2018, he said.


News Article | October 28, 2016
Site: globenewswire.com

ST. CHARLES, Mo., Oct. 28, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- American Railcar Industries, Inc. (ARI or the Company) (NASDAQ:ARII) today reported its third quarter 2016 financial results. Jeff Hollister, President and CEO of ARI, commented, “Although we continue to see softness in the North American railcar market, our manufacturing facilities continue to operate efficiently, which we attribute to both our skilled workforce and our flexible operations.  In addition, our railcar leasing and railcar services segments continue to complement our core manufacturing business and provide us with a supplemental stream of revenue, helping to partially offset the impact and challenges of operating in a down market. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a railworthiness directive (Directive) on September 30, 2016 that addressed certain welding practices in one weld area in specified DOT 111 tank railcars manufactured by ARI and our affiliate, ACF Industries LLC. The FRA became involved as a result of one tank railcar manufactured by ARI having a leak identified in 2014. Since then, we have been actively cooperating with the FRA to review the one railcar and to inspect and analyze hundreds of others. We met with the FRA this week to express our concerns with the Directive and its impact on ARI, as well as the industry as a whole. We understand the FRA is reviewing our concerns. We are working with the FRA, our customers and industry groups to determine next steps to comply with the Directive. Throughout this process, we remain focused on the safety and quality of the railcars we manufacture.” Total consolidated revenues were $145.0 million for the third quarter of 2016, a decrease of 16% when compared to $172.7 million for the same period in 2015.  This decrease was primarily driven by decreased revenues in the manufacturing segment, partially offset by increased revenues in the railcar leasing and railcar services segments. Manufacturing revenues were $93.5 million for the third quarter of 2016, a decrease of 24% compared to the same period in 2015.  This decrease was primarily driven by fewer railcar shipments for direct sale with a higher mix of hopper railcars sold, which generally have lower average selling prices than tank railcars due to less material and labor content, and more competitive pricing on both hopper and tank railcars. Given the decrease in tank railcar demand and a shift in production to a larger mix of specialty railcars, tank railcar shipments have decreased. Hopper railcar production has also shifted to a larger mix of specialty railcars and demand for that market is beginning to soften, resulting in fewer overall shipments, although hopper railcar shipments for direct sale have increased with a lower percentage going to the Company's lease fleet compared to the same period in 2015. During the third quarter of 2016, ARI shipped 855 direct sale railcars and 322 railcars built for the Company's lease fleet compared to 990 direct sale railcars and 918 railcars built for the lease fleet during the same period in 2015.  Railcars built for the lease fleet represented 27% of ARI’s railcar shipments during the third quarter of 2016 compared to 48% for the same period in 2015.  Because revenues and earnings related to leased railcars are recognized over the life of the lease, ARI's quarterly results may vary depending on the mix of lease versus direct sale railcars that the Company ships during a given period. Manufacturing revenues for the third quarter of 2016 exclude $31.3 million of estimated revenues related to railcars built for the Company's lease fleet compared to $106.5 million for the same period in 2015.  Estimated revenues related to railcars built for the Company's lease fleet decreased due to a lower quantity of railcars shipped for lease. Such revenues are based on an estimated fair market value of the leased railcars as if they had been sold to a third party, and are not recognized in consolidated revenues as railcar sales.  Rather lease revenues are recognized in accordance with the terms of the contract over the life of the lease. Railcar leasing revenues were $32.8 million for the third quarter of 2016, an increase of 5% over the $31.2 million for the comparable period in 2015. The primary reason for the increase in revenue was an increase in the number of railcars on lease. ARI had 10,961 railcars in its lease fleet as of September 30, 2016 compared to 10,317 railcars as of September 30, 2015. Railcar services revenues were $18.6 million for the third quarter of 2016, an increase of 2% compared to $18.2 million for the same period in 2015.  The primary reason for the increase in revenue was the additional capacity resulting from the Company's expansion projects in its repair network that continue to ramp up in 2016. Consolidated earnings from operations were $16.1 million for the third quarter of 2016, a decrease of 68% from the $49.8 million for the same period in 2015. Consolidated operating margins decreased to 11.1% for the third quarter of 2016 compared to 28.8% for the same period in 2015. These decreases were primarily driven by lower earnings from operations in the Company's manufacturing segment partially offset by the growth of the Company’s lease fleet. Manufacturing loss from operations was $(6.0) million for the third quarter of 2016 compared to earnings of $30.3 million for the same period in 2015. The Company has evaluated its potential exposure related to the FRA Directive and has established a loss contingency of $17.0 million to cover its probable and estimable liabilities, as of September 30, 2016, with respect to the Company's remedial response to the FRA Directive, taking into account currently available information and the Company's contractual obligations in its capacity as both a manufacturer and lessor of railcars subject to the FRA Directive. Also contributing to the decrease were fewer overall direct sale shipments, as discussed above, more competitive pricing on both hopper and tank railcars and higher costs associated with the lower production rates at our tank railcar facility.  Estimated profit on railcars built for the Company’s lease fleet was $3.2 million and $24.7 million for the third quarter of 2016 and 2015, respectively, and is excluded from manufacturing earnings from operations.  Profit on railcars built for the Company's lease fleet is based on an estimated fair market value of revenues as if the railcars had been sold to a third party, less the cost to manufacture. Railcar leasing earnings from operations were $22.0 million for the third quarter of 2016 compared to $21.4 million for the same period in 2015.  This increase was primarily due to the growth in the number of railcars in the Company's lease fleet, partially offset by slightly lower lease rates on certain renewals. Railcar services earnings from operations were $2.8 million for the third quarter of 2016 compared to $3.2 million for the same period in 2015.  This decrease was primarily due to costs associated with the ramp up of operations at our recently completed expansion projects as well as higher depreciation expenses. Selling, general and administrative expenses were $6.6 million for the third quarter of 2016 compared to $7.8 million for the same period in 2015.  This $1.2 million decrease was primarily due to a decrease in compensation expense and lower consulting expenses, partially offset by an increase in share-based compensation expense and other corporate expenses.  The increase in share based compensation expense was driven by the increase in the Company's stock price of $2 per share during the third quarter of 2016 compared to a decrease of $12 per share during the same period in 2015. Net earnings for the third quarter of 2016 were $7.7 million, or $0.40 per share compared to $29.4 million, or $1.39 per share, in the same period in 2015.  This decrease was driven primarily by decreased consolidated earnings from operations. Earnings per share for the third quarter of 2016 was negatively impacted by $0.54 per share for the loss contingency recorded related to the FRA Directive, as previously mentioned. EBITDA, adjusted to exclude share-based compensation expense (Adjusted EBITDA), was $31.3 million for the third quarter of 2016 compared to $62.6 million for the comparable quarter in 2015. The decrease resulted primarily from decreased earnings from operations as discussed above.  A reconciliation of the Company’s net earnings to EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA (both non-GAAP financial measures) is set forth in the supplemental disclosure attached to this press release. Consolidated revenues for the first nine months of 2016 were $471.6 million compared to $628.4 million for the comparable period in 2015. The Company shipped 2,917 direct sale railcars and 607 railcars built for the Company's lease fleet during the first nine months of 2016 compared to 4,385 direct sale railcars and 2,588 railcars built for the lease fleet during the same period in 2015. Railcars built for the lease fleet represented 17% of ARI's railcar shipments in the first nine months of 2016 compared to 37% for the same period in 2015. Consolidated earnings from operations for the first nine months of 2016 were $92.8 million, a decrease of 44% from $165.1 million for the comparable period in 2015. Consolidated earnings from operations for the first nine months of 2016 and 2015 excluded $7.7 million and $85.5 million, respectively, of profit on railcars built for the lease fleet that is eliminated in consolidation. Operating margins were 19.7% for the first nine months of 2016 compared to 26.3% for the same period of 2015.  These decreases were primarily due to fewer overall direct sale shipments, more competitive pricing on both hopper and tank railcars, higher costs associated with the lower production rates at our tank railcar facility and the consolidated loss contingency recognized during the third quarter of 2016 of $17.0 million related to railcars sold to customers that are subject to the FRA Directive, as discussed above, partially offset by increased earnings due to the growth in the lease fleet. Net earnings for the first nine months of 2016 were $50.4 million, or $2.58 per share compared to $97.3 million, or $4.58 per share, for the comparable period in 2015, due to decreased earnings from operations and a reduction of $0.8 million from earnings from joint ventures as demand for the components our joint ventures provide is tied to the industry's new railcar demand. Adjusted EBITDA was $136.2 million for the first nine months of 2016, a decrease of $66.9 million from $203.1 million for the comparable period in 2015. The decrease resulted primarily from decreased consolidated earnings from operations, in addition to a reduction of earnings from joint ventures for the first nine months of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015. The Company’s earnings have contributed to cash flow from operations in the first nine months of 2016 of $148.7 million.  As of September 30, 2016, ARI had working capital of $241.1 million, including $198.0 million of cash and cash equivalents. The Company paid dividends totaling $23.4 million during the first nine months of 2016.  At the board meeting in October, the Company’s board of directors declared a cash dividend of $0.40 per share of common stock of the Company to shareholders of record as of December 9, 2016 that will be paid on December 22, 2016. Through October 26, 2016, the Company repurchased 482,699 shares of common stock at a cost of $18.3 million under its stock repurchase program during 2016. Board authorization for approximately $175.1 million remains available for further stock repurchases. ARI's backlog as of September 30, 2016 was 5,085 railcars with an estimated value of $490.2 million.  Of the total backlog, 1,904 railcars, or 38%, were subject to lease with an estimated market value of $179.1 million. ARI will host a webcast and conference call on Friday, October 28, 2016 at 10:00 am (Eastern Time) to discuss the Company’s third quarter 2016 financial results. In conjunction with this press release, ARI has posted a supplemental information presentation to its website.  To participate in the webcast, please log-on to ARI’s investor relations page through the ARI website at americanrailcar.com. To participate in the conference call, please dial 877-745-9389. Participants are asked to log-on to the ARI website or dial in to the conference call approximately 10 to 15 minutes prior to the start time. An audio replay of the call will also be available on the Company’s website promptly following the earnings call. ARI is a leading North American designer and manufacturer of hopper and tank railcars. ARI provides its railcar customers with integrated solutions through a comprehensive set of high quality products and related services. ARI manufactures and sells railcars, custom designed railcar parts, and other industrial products. ARI and its subsidiaries also lease railcars manufactured by the Company to certain markets. In addition, ARI and its subsidiaries provide railcar repair services through its various repair facilities, including mini-shops and mobile units, offering a range of services from full to light repair. More information about American Railcar Industries, Inc. is available on its website at americanrailcar.com or call the Investor Relations Department, 636.940.6000. This press release contains statements relating to the Company's response to governmental directives, expected financial performance, objectives, long-term strategies and/or future business prospects, events and plans that are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements represent the Company’s estimates and assumptions only as of the date of this press release. Such statements include, without limitation, statements regarding: our plans, and the industry's ability, to address the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) directive (FRA Directive) released on September 30, 2016, expected future trends relating to our industry and markets, our strategic objectives and long-term strategies, our projects to expand our manufacturing flexibility and repair capacity, industry, product and market trends, potential impact of regulatory developments, including developments related to, and any clarifications regarding, the FRA Directive, anticipated customer demand for the Company’s products and services and the Company's ability to adapt to evolving demand, the Company’s strategic objectives and long-term strategies, trends related to railcar shipments for direct sale versus lease, operating margins or manufacturing efficiencies, anticipated benefits from expansion and diversification of our businesses, plans regarding the growth of the Company’s leasing business and the mix of railcars, customers and commodities in our lease fleet, anticipated future production rates, the sufficiency of the Company's short- and long-term liquidity, the Company's ability to service current debt obligations and future financing plans, the Company's Stock Repurchase Program, the Company’s plans regarding future dividends, the Company’s backlog and any implication that the Company’s backlog may be indicative of future revenues. These forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results described in or anticipated by the Company’s forward-looking statements. The payment of future dividends, if any, and the amount thereof, will be at the discretion of ARI’s board of directors and will depend upon the Company’s operating results, strategic plans, capital requirements, financial condition, provisions of its borrowing arrangements, applicable law and other factors the Company’s board of directors considers relevant. Other potential risks and uncertainties include, among other things: the Company's prospects in light of the cyclical nature of the railcar industry; the health of and prospects for the overall railcar industry; the risk of being unable to market or remarket railcars for sale or lease at favorable prices or on favorable terms or at all; the market price of the Company's stock; the nature of other investment opportunities presented to the Company, cash flows, basing financial or other information on judgments or estimates based on future performance or events; risks relating to our compliance with the FRA Directive and any costs or loss of revenue related thereto, including risks that the FRA may not provide any further clarification regarding the FRA Directive; risks relating to the Company's compliance with, and the overall railcar industry's implementation of, United States and Canadian regulations related to the transportation of flammable liquids by rail released on May 1, 2015; fluctuations in commodity prices, including oil and gas; the highly competitive nature of the manufacturing, railcar leasing and railcar services industries; the variable purchase patterns of ARI’s railcar customers and the timing of completion, customer acceptance and shipment of orders; the Company’s ability to manage overhead and variations in production rates; the Company’s ability to recruit, retain and train adequate numbers of qualified personnel; ARI’s reliance upon a small number of customers that represent a large percentage of revenues and backlog; fluctuating costs of raw materials, including steel, and railcar components and delays in the delivery of such raw materials and components; fluctuations in the supply of components and raw materials that ARI uses in railcar manufacturing; the impact of an economic downturn, adverse market conditions and restricted credit markets; the ongoing risks related to ARI’s relationship with Mr. Carl Icahn, ARI’s principal beneficial stockholder, through Icahn Enterprises L.P (IELP), and certain of his affiliates; the sufficiency of our liquidity and capital resources, including long-term capital needs to further support the growth of our lease fleet; the impact of repurchases pursuant to ARI's Stock Repurchase Program on ARI's current liquidity and the ownership percentage of our principal beneficial stockholder through IELP, Carl Icahn; the impact, costs and expenses of any litigation ARI may be subject to now or in the future; the risks associated with the Company's current joint ventures and anticipated capital needs of, and production at the Company's joint ventures; the conversion of ARI’s railcar backlog into revenues; the risks associated with the Company’s on-going compliance with environmental, health, safety, and regulatory laws and regulations, which may be subject to change; the risks and impact associated with potential joint ventures, acquisitions, strategic opportunities or new business endeavors; the implementation, integration with other systems or ongoing management of the Company’s new enterprise resource planning system; risks related to our and our subsidiaries' indebtedness and compliance with covenants contained in the relevant financing arrangements; and the additional risk factors described in ARI’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company expressly disclaims any duty to provide updates to any forward-looking statements made in this press release, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. EBITDA represents net earnings before income tax expense, interest expense (income), loss on debt extinguishment and depreciation of property, plant and equipment. The Company believes EBITDA is useful to investors in evaluating ARI’s operating performance compared to that of other companies in the same industry. In addition, ARI’s management uses EBITDA to evaluate operating performance. The calculation of EBITDA eliminates the effects of financing, income taxes and the accounting effects of capital spending. These items may vary for different companies for reasons unrelated to the overall operating performance of a company’s business. EBITDA is not a financial measure presented in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (U.S. GAAP). Accordingly, when analyzing the Company’s operating performance, investors should not consider EBITDA in isolation or as a substitute for net earnings, cash flows provided by operating activities or other statement of operations or cash flow data prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP. The calculation of EBITDA is not necessarily comparable to that of other similarly titled measures reported by other companies. Adjusted EBITDA represents EBITDA before share-based compensation expense (income) related to stock appreciation rights (SARs). Management believes that Adjusted EBITDA is useful to investors in evaluating the Company’s operating performance, and therefore uses Adjusted EBITDA for that purpose. The Company’s SARs, which settle in cash, are revalued each period based primarily upon changes in ARI’s stock price. Management believes that eliminating the expense (income) associated with share-based compensation allows management and ARI’s investors to understand better the operating results independent of financial changes caused by the fluctuating price and value of the Company’s common stock and certain non-recurring events. Adjusted EBITDA is not a financial measure presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP. Accordingly, when analyzing operating performance, investors should not consider Adjusted EBITDA in isolation or as a substitute for net earnings, cash flows provided by operating activities or other statements of operations or cash flow data prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP. The Company’s calculation of Adjusted EBITDA is not necessarily comparable to that of other similarly titled measures reported by other companies.


News Article | November 28, 2016
Site: phys.org

The Long Island Rail Road, New Jersey Transit and Metro-North all made scant progress on implementing GPS-based positive-train control in the quarter ending Sept. 30, according to new Federal Railroad Administration data. Over the last three months, the LIRR and Metro-North have trained more employees on the system, the data shows, but neither they nor NJ Transit installed it on any tracks. The railroads say the federal data doesn't fully reflect their progress and that they are still on track to meet a December 2018 deadline to install the technology, which is designed to automatically slow or stop trains that are going too fast. "Metro North and LIRR have aggressively and diligently moved forward to fully implement PTC on both railroads before the Congressionally mandated deadline," said Tom Prendergast, the chairman of New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The LIRR and Metro-North say they've installed PTC equipment on more than 300 train cars and placed more than 2,000 transponders along their tracks. NJ Transit says it's awaiting federal approval to acquire a slice of required radio spectrum and has testing scheduled for next year on a 6-mile stretch of track. Federal investigators have listed the lack of PTC as a contributing factor in at least 25 crashes over the last 20 years, including a Metro-North wreck in New York City in 2013 that killed four people and one involving Amtrak in Philadelphia last year that killed eight people. In both crashes, trains entered sharp curves at more than double the speed limit. Investigators are now looking at whether PTC could have prevented a fatal crash in September, in which a train plowed into a station going double the 10 mph speed limit. The railroad industry dropped opposition to PTC after a Metrolink commuter train whose engineer was texting ran a stop signal and collided head-on with a freight train near Los Angeles in 2008, killing 25 people. Metrolink, which carries about 40,000 daily riders, is now among the nation's leaders in PTC implementation. The railroad has the system operating on all but 3 miles of track that it owns. San Francisco's Caltrain, San Diego's Coaster and Seattle's Sounder commuter railroads all have PTC equipment installed on their locomotives, but none of them have the system fully implemented. Even the busiest West Coast commuter railroad, Caltrain with about 57,000 daily riders, is tiny compared with the East Coast behemoths. Caltrain owns 52 miles of track and has 67 locomotives, according to the federal data. The Long Island Rail Road, NJ Transit and Metro-North each own more than 300 miles of track, and together they operate more than 1,500 locomotives. SEPTA, in the Philadelphia area, operates the only northeast commuter railroad nearing full implementation. The transit agency's railroad division - the nation's fifth busiest with 134,000 daily riders, 108 miles of track and 288 locomotives - has PTC in place on all but one stretch of track, has equipment installed in all its trains and has completed training for all employees, according to agency and FRA data. Amtrak has installed positive train control on most of the 450 miles of track it owns between Washington and Boston. A 56-mile state-owned stretch between New Rochelle, New York, and New Haven, Connecticut, still doesn't have the technology. Freight railroads, which own the vast majority of track in the U.S., had PTC active on 12 percent of their tracks as of Sept. 30, up from 9 percent last quarter, according to the federal data. Ed Greenberg, of the Association of American Railroads, said the industry has spent more than $7.1 billion on PTC technology and expects final costs to reach about $10.6 billion by the time it is fully operational on about 60,000 miles of track. "The FRA's latest status update illustrates the complexities involved in developing, installing and then thoroughly testing this complex, revolutionary technology to ensure it is providing additional safety benefits," Greenberg said. Explore further: Railroads show little progress on key safety technology


News Article | November 12, 2015
Site: www.ogj.com

A flaw in the track caused a Canadian Pacific Railway train to derail the afternoon of Nov. 8 near Watertown, Wis., and spill a small amount of crude oil, the railroad said. The flaw was found as it conducted an investigation with the Federal Railroad Administration, it indicated.


News Article | November 8, 2015
Site: www.reuters.com

Twenty-five cars derailed about two miles (3.2 km) north of Alma, Wisconsin, a rural community close to the Minnesota border, at about 8:45 a.m. on Saturday, the railroad said. No injuries were reported. The train was hauling a variety of freight, including empty auto racks and tankers of ethanol. Five of the tanker cars released ethanol into the Mississippi, the company said. Four of them each leaked between five and 500 gallons, while the fifth released an estimated 18,000 gallons before crews stopped the flow on Saturday. "BNSF is continuing to monitor for environmental impacts and to work on scene with the multiple federal and state agencies involved," the company, a unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc [BRKa.N], said. In September, part of BNSF's main track in rural South Dakota was put out of service when seven cars of a 98-car train carrying ethanol derailed and started a fire. In Wisconsin, crews placed a containment boom along the shoreline of the river and started to pump the remaining product out of the cars, BNSF said on Sunday. Work on repairing the tracks can begin once the derailed cars are put upright. The railraod said it expected the track to return to service on Monday morning. Video images from local media showed the train cars sprawled across tracks on a narrow causeway that slices through the middle of the river, with water on either side. Duck hunters in the wetlands surrounding the area told local media they heard a loud boom at the time of the derailment early on Saturday. A voluntary evacuation was lifted later on Saturday and there was no threat to the public, BNSF said. "Our people are out there and they are investigating what caused the derailment," said Matthew Lehner, spokesman for the Federal Railroad Administration.


Clouse A.L.,Federal Railroad Administration
American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Rail Transportation Division (Publication) RTD | Year: 2012

The new concrete crosstie rules require, in FRA Class 1-5 track standards, specific performance requirements that address the unique characteristics of fastener reliability, concrete crosstie, and roadbed stability. [Inspectors] should be aware of the three modes of concrete crosstie failure: support, stability, and electrical isolation. The compressive strength of concrete and the amount of prestress in its section composition provide the strength and stiffness necessary to support expected wheel loads. There's a balance between excessive stiffness that can lead to higher stresses at the bottom of the crosstie and at the rail seat. Copyright © 2012 by ASME.


News Article | November 13, 2015
Site: www.sej.org

"Waterkeeper Alliance surveyed 250 bridges used by trains carrying volatile crude oil; there are more than 100K in the US". "A survey of 250 oil train bridges across America found that almost half showed signs of considerable deterioration, including missing or crumbling concrete, partially washed-away footings, rotted pilings and badly corroded steel beams, according to a report released Tuesday. Determining whether the problems found by three environmental groups pose a threat to public safety is almost impossible, however, because the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) rarely inspects the nation’s estimated 100,000 rail bridges, including some built more than 100 years ago. Instead the agency leaves that responsibility to the railroads, which don’t make their inspection records public. “Because the federal government has shirked its responsibility to regulate the safety of oil trains and the bridges they cross, we are shining a light on the need for immediate, independent inspections of all rail bridges that carry explosive oil trains,” said Marc Yaggi, the executive director of the Waterkeeper Alliance, one of the groups that produced the report."

Loading Federal Railroad Administration collaborators
Loading Federal Railroad Administration collaborators