Digest: FreightCar America to transfer all production to Mexico
News Wire Digest of October 20: DART and Trinity Rail Express to increase rail service; MBTA Downgrades Revenue Forecast for 2021
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Tuesday morning rail news:
FreightCar America Moves Production to New Plant in Mexico, Secures $ 40 Million Loan
Rail equipment maker FreightCar America will move all manufacturing to Mexico under the measures announced on Monday. The company has finalized the purchase of its partner’s 50% stake and is now the sole owner of its new plant in Castanos, Mexico, where all railcar manufacturing will be based by February 2021. The company will close two factories in the United States. She has secured a $ 40 million loan from a global investment firm and will add a member of that firm among two new members to its board of directors. The other new member will be Jesus Gil, general manager of the Castanos plant and rail industry veteran who has managed the operations of two of FreightCar America’s main competitors. He will hold a special online meeting of shareholders to finalize the financing of the loan by the end of November. “We are emerging from a prolonged period when our business was hampered by high costs, sustained losses and a generally contested competitive position,” said Jim Meyer, President and CEO of the company. A press release. “We are now entering a new chapter, where our business will be supported by a unique new production facility designed specifically for our needs, a highly experienced and cost-competitive workforce, and a significantly improved competitive profile that includes a $ 25 million reduction in annual fixed costs achieved through the closure of our two facilities in Cherokee, Alabama (“Shoals”) and Roanoke, Virginia. “
DART and Trinity Railway Express increase service
The Dallas Area Rapid Transit and Trinity Railway Express passed schedule changes on Monday, with DART returning to regular levels on some routes and improving frequencies on others to 90% of pre-pandemic levels. DART light rail lines will operate at 20-minute intervals on weekdays until 7 p.m. and at 30-minute intervals thereafter; weekend service remains unchanged. Details are available here. Trinity Railway Express, the Fort Worth-Dallas commuter rail service jointly operated by DART and the Fort Worth Trinity Metro, also resumed full service levels on the week before the pandemic starting Monday. Weekend service remains unchanged. Scheduled are available here.
MBTA Downgrades Revenue Projections, Paving Way for Even Bigger Deficit
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is downgrading its revenue forecast for 2021 as riders return to transit more slowly than expected, which could mean the agency will face an even larger deficit in the summer next. The Boston Globe reports that MBTA officials now forecast that fare revenue will not reach more than 38% by next June, and a model used by the state of Massachusetts suggests that figure could be as low as 24%. The agency had previously forecast that tariff revenues would reach 60% of normal. MBTA braces for service cuts in 2021; these reductions will be finalized by the end of the year.