Archive for the ‘Other News’ Category

The Andersons Rail Business Did Well in 2016

February 18, 2017

The Andersons reported this week that its rail business led its 2016 revenue even though on the whole the Maumee, Ohio, company said it was disappointed in its results overall.

OhioDuring 2016, The Andersons said its rail business earned $32.4 million in pretax revenues while the ethanol business was second, generating about $24.7 million in revenue.

The company said that it sold underperforming facilities and closed some grain facilities.

The rail operations include locomotive and railcar sales and leasing as well as rolling stock repairs.

Lease income fell to $2.9 million in 2016 from $4.5 million in 2015. However, The Andersons said revenue from car sales and the repair business rose.

In 2016, the company reported $4.7 million in car sales compared to less than $1 million in 2015. The railcar repair business generated $2.1 million last year, compared to about $1.5 million in 2015.

Pa. Company Helps Develop Larger Gondola

February 18, 2017

A Pennsylvania-based rail car manufacturer has teamed up with National Steel Car to develop a high-capacity gondola to haul cottonseed and wood chips.

PennsylvaniaCurry Rail Services of Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, said the cars will have a gross rail load of 286,000 pounds and a payload of 106.5 tons, with a level cubic capacity of 7,200 cubic feet.

By comparison, the current fleet of cottonseed cars is comprised of cars with a 263,000-pound GRL, 6,800-cubic-foot capacity and a 94- to 95-ton per-car payload.

The new cars will come with dual-hinged ends, and doors that swing open from the end top chord. They can also be built with fixed ends and rotary dump capability.

Indiana Rail Line May Become Trail

February 15, 2017

The rail line used to host the Indiana State Fair train may be pulled up and converted into a trail.

IndianaHamilton County officials are considering abandoning the former Nickel Plate Road branch line and making the right of way a hike and bike path.

The Fair Train, operated by the Indiana Transportation Museum, last operated in 2015 when it carried more than 10,000 passengers.

However, the Hoosier Heritage Port Authority, which owns the rail line, would not allow ITM to operate the Fair Train or any other trains on the line in 2016.

The HHPA says that the line needs $5 million in safety investments before it can be used for rail service again.

The line extends from the fairgrounds along 38th Street in Indianapolis northward through Fishers and Noblesville.

The museum is based in Noblesville but in recent years the Fair Train has originated in Fishers.

If built, the trail would be similar to the Monon Trail, which uses a former Monon Railroad right of way that in the 1980s hosted the Fair Train.

Jeffersonville Port Handled 2.2M Tons in 2016

February 14, 2017

During 2016, the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville handled 2.2 million tons of cargo, making it the third consecutive year the port has exceeded 2 million tons of cargo.

In a news release the port said that its annual shipping total was 17 percent higher than the previous five-year average.

Ports of IndianaMajor cargoes handed at the port include steel, grain and fertilizer.

Steel shipments last year in 2016 were the second highest in port history.

There are 14 companies at the port that process or handle steel, aluminum, lubricants or plastics that support the top six automakers in the United States, port officials said.

The port is served by CSX and the Louisville & Indiana Railroad.

Hopkins Air Travel Rose in 2016, But CAK Sank

February 13, 2017

It was a year for Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to takeoff, while Akron-Canton Airport continued sinking in the Northeast Ohio air travel market.

Cleveland HopkinsPassenger statistics released last week showed that Hopkins served 8.42 million passengers in 2016, an increase of 4 percent over 2015.

Akron-Canton served 1.4 million travelers, a drop of 9.5 percent from 2015.

The two airports are flying in different directions with Cleveland steadily gaining airlines and new flights while Akron-Canton has been losing flights more often than it has gained them.

That fact will be illustrated this month when Allegiant Air begins serving Hopkins while pulling out of Akron-Canton.

The biggest blow at Akron-Canton has been the loss of flights by Southwest Airlines, which plans to cease flying to CAK this summer.

Southwest now flies three times a day between Akron-Canton and Atlanta, but starting in June two of those flights will move to Cleveland.

The only gain Akron-Canton has enjoyed in the past year is the arrival of Spirit Airlines, which also serves Cleveland.

Air traffic also increased in 2016 at airports serving Pittsburgh, Columbus and Cincinnati.

Traffic rose by 2.2 percent at Pittsburgh International Airport to 8.3 million.

John Glenn Columbus International Airport saw traffic rise by 7.8 percent to 7.3 million.

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport posted a traffic increase of 7.2 percent to 6.8 million.

MDOT to Seek Proposals to Conduct Feasibility Study of Ann Arbor-Traverse City Rail Service

February 11, 2017

A request for proposals to evaluate intercity railroad passenger service between Ann Arbor and Traverse City has been issued by the Michigan Department of Transportation.

MichiganKnown as the A2TC Train, the service is specified in MDOT’s 2011 Michigan State Rail Plan, which called for service to the northern part of the state.

The feasibility study will cost $160,000 of which half comes from a federal transportation planning grant. The other half will be split between the state and local agencies.

The not-for-profit Traverse City Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities led the drive to raise the local matching funds for the study.

Work on the study is expected to get underway in May.

MDOT Director Kirk Steudle said in a statement that demand for passenger rail service is “increasing because of high energy costs and increased congestion of highways and air travel.”

The A2TC route would serve Petoskey, Cadillac, Mt. Pleasant, Alma, Owosso, Durand, Howell and Ann Arbor.

It would connect with Amtrak’s Chicago-Detroit corridor at Ann Arbor.

The feasibility study is established to take nine months, but some officials are hoping it will be completed by November.

Burns Harbor Handled 2.6M Tons in 2016

February 11, 2017

Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor said this week that it handled 2.6 million tons of cargo last year, making 2016 the port’s third highest tonnage year in the past decade.

Ports of IndianaIn a news release the port said that major cargoes handled included steel, limestone, carbon products, grain and iron ore. Grain shipments soared 57 percent, while coal shipments climbed 11 percent.

The port also reported an increase in heavy-lift cargoes, saying that large-dimensional cargoes rose 25 percent last year.

These included multiple large cranes and containers of crane components from Europe, storage tanks and wind tower components and blades.

During the past year, Ratner Steel Supply Company said it would add 100,000 square feet to load and unload steel shipments at the port. That $8 million investment is expected to be finished in March.

The port said that during 2016 it invested nearly $2.5 million in infrastructure, including dredging and adding stabilization stones to two berths to increase the number of docks capable of handling full Seaway draft vessels.

Other capital improvements included replacing 2,000 feet of rail and rebuilding three switches. The port is served by Norfolk Southern.

Wasatch To Restore L&N Steamer

February 8, 2017

Wasatch Railroad Contractors will oversee the restoration of a former Louisville & Nashville steam locomotive in Kentucky.

KentuckyL&N 0-8-0 No. 2132 will be cosmetically restored for display in Corbin, Kentucky at the Corbin Railroad Museum. The restoration project also includes L&N steel bay window caboose No. 30.

The restorations, expected to be done in time for an August festival in Corbin, are expected to cost $294,224.

The L&N Railroad Historical Society also plans to hold its 2017 convention in Corbin in September.

No. 2132, a class C-1, is one of three L&N steam locomotives still in existence.

Indiana Port Sets Quarterly Record

February 7, 2017

The Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon has reported handling a record 2.5 million tons of cargo during the fourth quarter of 2016.

Ports of IndianaThat broke the record set in the fourth quarter of 2014. In a news release, the port said its fourth quarter 2016 volume was 44 percent higher than the previous record and is the highest quarterly volume for any port in Ports of Indiana history.

During 2016, the port handled 6.4 million tons of cargo, an increase of 34 percent from its previous five-year average and its second highest annual tonnage following the record 6.6 million tons in 2015.

The principal cargoes handled in 2016 were coal, grain, soy products, ethanol, dried distiller grains, minerals and fertilizer.

Salt shipments rose 32 percent, while talc and barite — two minerals used in the manufacturing of plastics and other products —were up a combined 23 percent.

In another development, two port companies announced or completed major expansions in 2016.

Consolidated Grain and Barge said it would invest more than $31 million to increase its soybean processing capabilities.

Valero Renewable Fuels, a producer of ethanol and a subsidiary of Valero Energy, completed a multi-million dollar project that provided new corn receiving equipment and a new distiller grain dryer system.

Intermodal Rose 1% in 4th Quarter of 2016

February 7, 2017

Intermodal freight volumes rose 1 percent during the fourth quarter of 2016 when compared with the same period in 2015, the Intermodal Association of North America said.

IANAIANA said in a news release that there were 4.35 million shipments during the fourth quarter, an improvement that occurred “despite an ongoing freight recession that permeated the transportation industry and resulted in lower intermodal volumes during the second and third quarters.”

Shipment declines during the second and fourth quarters resulted in a 2.1 percent decline in intermodal volumes in 2016 when compared with 2015. The total of 17.1 million shipments was the first full-year decline since 2008.

Domestic containers posted a 3.4 percent increase in the quarter. International shipments rose 0.6 percent. Declines continued in the trailer segment, which were down 9.2 percent in the quarter.

The seven highest-density trade corridors — which account for 63.3 percent of total intermodal volume — rose a collective 1.8 percent during the fourth quarter.

The Midwest-Northwest and Northeast-Midwest lanes saw the largest fourth quarter increases at 4.3 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively. Midwest-Southwest volumes, which were the highest, grew 1.4 percent. The South Central-Southwest lane, the only major lane to post a decline, fell 4.4 percent on container losses.