Digest: FreightCar America to shift all production to Mexico

News Wire Digest for Oct. 20: DART, Trinity Rail Express increase rail service; MBTA revises 2021 revenue projections downward
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Tuesday morning rail news:

FreightCar America to move production to new factory in Mexico, secures $40 million loan
Rail equipment manufacturer FreightCar America will shift all manufacturing to Mexico as part of moves announced Monday. The company has completed purchase of its partner’s 50% interest and now is sole owner of its new Castanos, Mexico, plant where it all railcar manufacturing will be based by February 2021. The company will close two U.S. plants. It secured a $40 million loan with a global investment firm, and will add a member of that firm as one of two new members of its board of directors. The other new member will be Jesus Gil, general manager of the Castanos facility and a veteran of the railcar industry who has managed operations for two of FreightCar America’s primary competitors. It will hold an online special meeting of stockholders to complete the loan funding by late November. “We exit a prolonged period when our business was hampered by high costs, sustained losses and a generally challenged competitive position,” company president and CEO Jim Meyer said in a press release. “We now enter a new chapter, where our business will be supported by a single new production facility designed specific to our needs, a highly experienced and cost competitive workforce, and a significantly enhanced competitive profile that includes a $25 million reduction in annual fixed costs achieved through the closures of our two facilities in Cherokee, Ala. ('Shoals'), and Roanoke, Va.”

DART, Trinity Railway Express increase service
Dallas Area Rapid Transit and Trinity Railway Express enacted 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 on 20-minute headways weekdays until 7 p.m. and on 30-minute headways thereafter; weekend service remains unchanged. Details are available here. Trinity Railway Express, the Fort Worth-Dallas commuter rail service joinly operated by DART and Fort Worth’s Trinity Metro, also resumed full pre-pandemic weekday service levels as of Monday. Weekend service remains unchanged. Scheduled are available here.

MBTA makes downward revision to revenue projections, setting stage for even larger deficit
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is revising revenue projections for 2021 downward as riders return to public transit more slowly than expected, which could mean the agency faces an even larger deficit next summer. The Boston Globe reports that MBTA officials are now projecting fare revenue will reach no more than 38% by next June, and a model used by the state of Massachusetts suggests the figure could be as low as 24%. The agency had previously projected fare revenue would reach 60% of normal. The MBTA is preparing for service cuts in 2021; those cuts will be finalized by the end of the year.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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