Archive for August 2015

Technical hurdles as CSX pushes towards intermodal growth with No U.S. Master Rail Plan

An 11 year plan. 7 years just to get permitting and financing in place. ====================

The Virginia Avenue Tunnel in Washington DC. is a $400 million project. CSX broke ground on in May.

The Virginia Avenue Tunnel is a critical project in the CSX broader $850 million National Gateway initiative. It is a public-private partnership between CSX, six states and the nation’s capital city. National Gateway is in effect a multiphase, 11-year undertaking to move more freight by rail between selective East Coast ports and the Midwest states. CSX is the plan developer and leading champion.

The entire Gateway Project involves double-tracking some CSX existing routes and increasing the vertical clearance for some tunnels and bridges. A CNBC report by Morgan Brennan for CNBC points out that seven of those years have been dedicated to permitting and complying with regulations. (@MorganLBrennan)

Interestingly, this is a private rail company strategic plan. The government agencies are helping finance and modify or delay the project with regulations and permits. But the government is not the leader.

WHY? CSX is looking to quadruple its rail freight carrying capacity in the 110-year-old single-lane Virginia freight rail tunnel. The tunnel is about one mile long underneath part of the city of Washington, D.C. Technically, a second parallel track will be added to allow two trains to pass at the same time. The vertical clearance height will also be increased to allow for double stacked container trains. To increase the vertical height, the tracks will actually be lowered. Today, CSX trains are restricted to the less efficient single-level intermodal train operations.

A change to double stack can have a 35% or better productivity. Reports indicate that the most challenging part of this engineering feat will be to construct these changes while the tunnel continues to allow some two dozen trains to pass per day.

The entire $850 million National Gateway initiative mirrors a similar bold move completed earlier by the Norfolk Southern for 1) its Norfolk to Ohio double stack corridor project and 2) its Shenandoah Corridor public-private partnership plan.

IN CONTRAST

In much of the rest of the world, these kind of plans are created by the government. In the U.S. business model, it is the reverse process. Private investor lead companies are the lead champions.

The entire North American double stack container train revolution was initiated in 1983 by a commercial deal between American Presidents Lines the ocean carrier and the Union Pacific railroad. Later on, various state and local governments joined in with the private railroads to expand the stack train network.

The federal government has also gotten involved. But there is no giant federal and state government master plan at work. And yet, more than 20% of the U.S. network is today stack capable.

Even without a government master plan, the United States (and Canada) are the world leaders in modern doublestack container train movements.

Investors take up hedge risk in high speed Spain-France project. // What could go wrong?

To the chagrin of a creditor group that includes Avenue Capital Group, BlueMountain Capital Management and Neuberger Berman, the rescue of a troubled very high speed passenger railroad whose loans they bet on has failed to materialize.

The group bet on a funding to save a premier advertised Spain to France high speed rail line. TP Ferro was a 2003 joint venture between Spain’s Actividades de Construccion & Servicios SA and Eiffage SA of France. They won a prestige 50-year concession for a 44-kilometer rail line to link Figueres, in Spain, and Perpignan, on the French Mediterranean coast. The goal was to fund that small link to connect Barcelona and Madrid to the rest of Europe’s high-speed train network. What could go wrong?

Quite a bit actually.

Delays and geo-polotical issues with the rail project has left them holding losses in TP Ferro Concesionaria SA. And according to Bloomberg reporters the investors have little recourse promise from the the Governments in Spain and France. Neither government wants to lend a hand to international investors, banks and construction companies.

Avenue, BlueMountain and Neuberger Berman bought some of TP Ferro’s 445 million euros ($492 million) of loans at about 70 cents on the euro last year. Now that is valued at about 50 cents, according to two people familiar with the matter. The rail company filed for insolvency proceedings on July 17 after the governments turned down its bailout requests and an international tribunal rejected its bid for compensation.

WHAT NOW?

If TP Ferro’s debtholders, which also include lenders Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, ING Groep NV and Bankia SA, fail to reach an agreement with the owners and governments to restructure the debt in court, the working theory is that the company will be liquidated and its concession to operate the railway will end. That would leave TP Ferro with no assets.
Bloomberg notes that about 92 percent of companies that enter insolvency proceedings in Spain are liquidated, according to rating company Axesor’s most recent data.

For a more detailed report log onto Bloomberg and read the entire report “Hedge Funds Near End of the Line for Bailouts on Railway Bet”, by Luca Casiraghi and Katie Linsell.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-28/hedge-funds-near-end-of-the-line-for-bailouts-with-railroad-bet

BRAZIL — more signs of severe economic recession from a Bloomberg report

The reported numbers are from a story authored by Christiana Sciaudone

August 17, 2015

“In the midst of its deepest economic and political crisis in a generation, Brazil is contending with a business climate so punishing that major projects across numerous sectors are being frozen or shrunk, while small businesses slash prices and shift focus.”

“Political instability is enormous, and it’s paralyzing Brazil,” said Eduardo Fischer, co-chief executive officer at homebuilder MRV Engenharia & Participacoes SA, in an Aug. 5 interview.

In Brasilia, the nation’s capital, “decisions and actions that need to be taken are being delayed, questioned or defeated, and nothing happens.”

Multiple economists are predicting that the Brazil economy will contract about 2 percent this year,.

National unemployment is at a five-year high.

Brazil’s real is the worst-performing major currency in the world this year.

The airline has seen corporate demand drop by as much as 40 percent.

Embraer, the best-selling regional jet aircraft manufacturer had been counting on new products to boost revenue…    … and is also awaiting payment of $370 million…  Its production of new models can be expected to see a year long delay…  or longer.

Brazil’s auto manufactures also have watched demand plummet, with sales down 20 percent in the first half of this year compared with the same period in 2014…

Both GM and Volkswagen AG are temporarily shuttering local factories and putting workers on leave.

Long ago announced new Brazilian railway projects…  …can expect more delay and uncertainty in this economic climate.

So far, the recently announced BRICS new development bank is offering no solutions.  And a once promised Brazilian foreign aid to Ethiopia railways looks to be unofficially “unlikely”.

Much of this was predictable if proper due diligence has occurred during the many project reviews.  The signs of risks were there.

For a full report — log onto http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-18/from-planes-to-cafes-brazil-s-economy-on-hold-as-crisis-deepens

Governor Wolf of Pennsylvania Releases Oil Train Safety Report // Here is quick summary

Governor Wolf of Pennsylvania has released Oil Train Safety Report August 17, 2015

The report was written by Dr. Allan Zarembski . It focused on the safety of Pennsylvanians and protecting people from the potential of Bakken crude oil train derailments.

“I would also like to thank Dr. Zarembski for his hard work in writing this report and for producing numerous recommendations that will help my administration prepare.” Dr. Zarembski, who was hired by the governor in late-April and started in mid-May, is an internationally recognized expert in the area of railway track and structures, vehicle-track dynamics, failure and risk analysis, safety, railway operations, and maintenance.

Dr. Zarembski presents 27 recommendations.

———————————–

The report acknowledged that while the recent actions taken by the railroad industry and the Department of Transportation have been of great value, there is still concern about the level of risk present on these rail lines.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania asked the University of Delaware to look at the current level of risk and advise as to how to reduce the risk of a CBR incident in the Commonwealth.

For those derailment categories that are high risk, i.e. with a significant number of annual occurrences or significant potential for occurrence of major tank car failure, the University of Delaware team identified opportunities for improvement in inspection and/or maintenance practices, based on state of the art industry practice as well as specific practices of railroads operating CBR trains in the State of Pennsylvania.

In the area of Tank Car Breach/Rupture Risk, the assessment examined the proposed improvements to the tank car such as: Improved head shields Increased tank shell thickness/external jacket Valve Protection (top and bottom valves) and possible reduction in train speed.

In the area of Regulatory Oversight, the assessment reviewed the current safety oversight capabilities and resources of the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission as well as those of other neighboring states and identified opportunities for improvement of safety and Emergence Response. The report noted that the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has primary responsibility for rail safety and inspection under a 1970 federal law which preempted rail safety regulation.

Recommendations

A total of 27 recommendations are presented in this report; divided into primary (18) and secondary (9) categories.

Here are the 18 Primary category recommendations .

Secondary categories include activities which are more difficult to implement or which may require action by a party other than the railroad or Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Primary Recommendations

Railroad:

1. It is recommended that the routes over which CBR trains operate in Pennsylvania be tested at a rate such that the service defect rate is maintained at 0.04 to 0.06 service failures/mile/year. In all cases, rail on these routes should be tested no less than three times a year.

2. It is recommended that the routes over which CBR trains operate in Pennsylvania be tested by a railroad owned Track Geometry Car at a minimum of four times a year.

3. It is recommended that the routes over which CBR trains operate in Pennsylvania be tested by a vision based joint bar inspection system at least once per year, this test to be in lieu of one of the required on-foot inspections, as permitted by FRA.

4. It is recommended that NS and CSX adopt the BNSF Railway voluntary speed reduction to 35 mph for crude oil trains through cities with a population greater than 100,000 people

5. It is recommended that the railroad have sufficient Wheel Impact Load Detector (WILD) units in place to monitor all loaded oil train cars along their entire route within Pennsylvania, such that any track location on an oil train route within the state should have a WILD unit no more than 200 miles preceding (in the loaded direction) that location

a. If a WILD measurement exceeds 120 Kips, the train should be safely stopped, the wheel inspected, and then if condition of the wheel allows, the train proceed at a reduced speed of 30 mph until the alerting car can set out at an appropriate location until repairs are made.

b. If the WILD measurement is greater than 90 Kips, the car should be flagged and the identified wheels replaced as soon as possible but no later than 1500 miles of additional travel.

6. It is recommended that the railroads have sufficient Hot Bearing Detector (HBD) units in place as to monitor all loaded oil train cars along their entire route within Pennsylvania, with a maximum spacing of 25 miles between Hot Box detectors.

7. It is recommended that the railroad have at least one Acoustic Bearing Detector unit in place to monitor all loaded oil trains along their entire route within Pennsylvania.

8. It is recommended that those yards and sidings that handle a significant number of CBR cars be inspected by the Railroad inspectors at a level of track tighter than the assigned FRA track class. Thus Yards that are FRA Class 1 should be inspected at a FRA Class 2 level to provide railroads with early warning of potential track conditions that can cause problems.

9. It is recommended that oil trains in Pennsylvania, not equipped with Electronically Controlled Pneumatic (ECP) Brakes, use two way end of train devices (TWEOT) or Distributed Power (DP) to improve braking performance.

10. It is recommended that CSX and NS complete their initial route analysis of High-hazard flammable train (HHFT) routes in Pennsylvania as quickly as possible, taking into account proximity to populated areas and safety considerations as outlined by DOT.

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:

11. It is recommended that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania designate appropriate state and local officials to work with CSX and NS to provide all needed information and to assist in the route analysis.

12. It is recommended that Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) inspectors, in co-ordination with FRA inspectors, focus on inspection of major CBR routes, to include track, equipment, hazmat, and operating practices. In particular, track inspectors should prioritize main line turnouts and yards and sidings that see a significant number of crude oil cars, to include both major railroads and the refineries themselves.

13. It is recommended that the Pennsylvania PUC and their track inspectors which are part of the PUC’s Transportation Division coordinate with the Federal Railroad Administration and try to schedule the FRA’s T-18 Gage Restraint Measurement System (GRMS) test vehicle to inspect all routes over which CBR trains operate in Pennsylvania at least once a year. This test should include both GRMS and conventional track geometry measurements.

14. It is recommended that Pennsylvania PUC fill their existing track inspector vacancy with a qualified inspector with railroad experience. Given the fact that most major refineries are in the eastern part of the state, where SEPTA and Amtrak are located as well, it may be necessary to add a third inspector to the eastern part of the state, pending filling of the existing eastern vacancy.

15. It is recommended that PEMA continue to actively work with both railroads to roll out information sharing technology tools and make these tools available to all emergency responders on CBR routes (PEMA is actively working in this area). 16. It is recommended that PEMA coordinate full scale emergency response exercise involving emergency responders from communities along the key oil train routes.

17. It is recommended that PEMA work with and insure that all communities along the CBR routes have appropriate emergency response plans.

18. It is recommended that PEMA work with NS and CSX to obtain an inventory of emergency response resources along routes over which Crude Oil Trains operate to include locations for the staging of emergency response equipment (PEMA is actively working in this area). Secondary Recommendations Railroad:

//

For full access to the text of the report and al 27 recommendations, you can download the report at: https://www.governor.pa.gov/governor-wolf-releases-oil-train-safety-report/

 

As a disclosure, I assisted Dr Zarembski in the report research. This is Jim Blaze

MARC replacing electric locomotive commuter fleet with Tier-4 diesels

Tier 4 compliant diesel-electric commuter locomotives seen as more efficient than straight electric locomotives. Diesels will run under the electrified catenary wires of the Northeast Corridor between Perryville MD and Baltimore starting around 2017. The MTA plans to ask Maryland’s Board of Public Works for permission to piggyback on an Illinois DOT contract with Siemens to acquire the locomotives, for an estimated $58 million.

Amtrak, which has been maintaining MARC’s electric locomotive fleet since 1983, will no longer be able to provide the service as of June 2016 because it has retired its own HHP8 locomotives and is phasing out its AEM7s as new Siemens ACS-64 electrics enter service.

The Charger locomotives, which are based technically on the Siemens Eurosprinter, Eurorunner, and Vectron locomotive platforms, feature a 4,400-hp-rated 16-cylinder Cummins QSK95 diesel engine. The QSK95 complies with U.S. EPA Tier IV emissions regulations.

MARC’s four EMD/ASEA-produced AEM7s, like Amtrak’s, are approaching 30 years in age. Its six-unit HHP8 fleet, also like Amtrak’s, is only about 15 years old but has suffered from reliability and availability problems. According to a report in the Baltimore Sun, MTA says that replacing the electric fleet with diesels will improve MARC’s service reliability…” The existing electric locomotives operate only on MARC’s Penn Line (Northeast Corridor).

MARC’s electric fleet has a reported reliability rating of between 40% and 50%.

MARC’s diesel fleet, most of which was replaced about five years ago with 26 MP36PH-3C units from Wabtec subsidiary MotivePower Industries, has a reliability rating of 85%.

MARC’s Charger diesel locomotives are expected to be delivered by late 2017.

For more details, go to: http://www.railwayage.com/index.php/passenger/commuter-regional/marc-replacing-electric-locomotive-fleet-with-high-speed-diesels.html?channel=55&utm_source=WhatCounts+Publicaster+Edition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=RGN+8.13.15&utm_content=+MARC+replacing+electric+locomotive+fleet+with+high-speed+diesels Sent from my iPad

Transnet 7 year capital plan. Is it behind schedule?

Transnet Expects Capital Expansion To Cost R336.6 Billion

South Africa’s State-owned logistics firm Transnet expects its capital expansion plan will now cost R336.6 billion. This is an increase from R312.2 billion estimated year ago.

Transnet is 4-years into a 7-year plan to expand railways, pipelines and ports in South Africa. The increase is partly due to higher costs as the rand loses value against major currencies.

Reports are that in the first 3 years, Transnet spent R92.8 billion.

So at about 43% of the 7 year timeline, the capital plan is at about 27% of the 7 year target. Will the pace of Transnet’s capital execution quicken in the face of the 2013-17 expected global commodities slowdown?

What is your opinion?

Reports are that Transnet now channels about 45% of its investment into maintaining existing assets and the rest to increase its capacity.

Recent government reports confirmed that there is quite a bit of differed rail maintenance to catch up with.

According to published sources, Transnet’s total capital expenditure spending over the last 3-years now stands at R92.8 billion with the rail mode accounting for 74% of the total spent.

Morgan Stanley’s “coined” Fragile Five Now looks like “The Troubled 10” as currencies drop in value

In a special report, Bloomberg points out that regardless of which economic list you use, Brazil has taken the worst currency hit with the real down more than 24% against the dollar this year and almost 34% since 2013.

South Africa has also taken a huge currency hit.

The bad news is that there is not much hope for a recovery lead by a Chinese trade based recovery plan. And the expected increase in the U.S. currency rate will likewise hurt.

(See Bloomberg, Aug 16, 2015)

Citigroup G-10 Currency Strategy Head Steven Englander discusses China and emerging markets. Forget the “Fragile Five.” These days, strategists at Morgan Stanley are worried about what could be called the “Troubled Ten.” To read the entire article, go to http://bloom.bg/1PtkTMm

Once considered a core economic strength, now dependent commodities trading ties make these nation’s susceptible to a slowdown in the world’s second-biggest economy. China.

Missing from the list but also hit hard with recent currency devaluation for other reasons is Russia.

Since the economic geo-politic phrase was coined in 2013… the Brazilian real, together with Turkey’s lira, South Africa’s rand, the Indian rupee and Indonesian rupiah, have suffered as rising global interest rates make it more difficult for the countries to finance their current-account deficits.”

How do you see this correcting?

How To Get The Best Scrap Metal Prices // Tips from Scrap Metal Junkie

There is a great deal of price variance when you abandon rail track and want to determine the salvage value as relay materials and / or as scrap materials.

This on line report gives you an idea of that market price volatility.

By playing the market, a seller of rail scrap can get a considerably higher price then just the base line estimate.  Here are some valuable economic lessons from published sources.

What Determines Scrap Metal Prices?

Scrap Metal Prices are a function of multiple market factors. These include, metal type, location, quantity of scrap metal, and the current market sometimes daily changing value for your materials.  In other words, the price you get paid by a scrap yard will depend on precisely what materials you are selling, where you are selling (what side of town, which side of the world, etc), how much scrap metal you are selling (pounds vs tons versus hundreds of tons), and how much the material is worth in the daily changing market at the “spot price”.

Scrap Metal Type:

Scrap metal is broken down into many different types of categories. For example, Copper, Lead, and Stainless Steel are all types of scrap metals that can be sold at a scrap yard, and each of these metals can get further subcategorized into copper wire, lead wheel weighs, or 18-10 grade stainless steel, for example. What is often not obvious to a railroader is that prices are volatile.

Also, a grade can be judged differently by different buyer at the same time. For example, what one scrap yard considers as bare bright scrap copper, or Rail #1 will at another competing scrap yard be considered as copper #1 or Rail #2. Keep this in mind when shopping around for better prices, because the last thing you the seller want is a quote for your materials that might be as much as ~40% reduction in price versus another competing buyer says the scrap metal junker.

Geographical location:

Without making too many generalizations, sellers can assume that scrap metal prices will always be highest in areas where there is the most competition. This means rural areas, areas far away from refineries, areas too far inland, etc will rarely have better pricing then those places where scrap yards can both fight for customers and haggle with refineries or steel plants. Keep this in mind when searching for the best scrap yard.

“Spending 1 more hour round trip and an extra $15 in gas to get to a further scrap yard may make you an additional 15% at the pay out window!”

In a similar competitive action, some sellers are actively selling their scrap metal on eBay!

Quantity of Scrap Metal:

On the surface, it is a simple concept; the more metal volume you have, the more it is worth. But further exploration shows that volume packaging is a tool which can be used to your advantage.

Current Spot Metal Prices:

These would be the prices that newly refined ore and scrap is being sold for. In some markets, steel scrap competes with billets. In general, the more money a steel mill can refine the scrap at because of higher finished steel prices, the more market leverage you the seller have at selling your scrap. This will not always be the case, but it could be. This means that the process to use often is estimating your scrap on hand value is to follow the pattern of changing spot price.

How To Negotiate the Best Scrap Metal Prices?

The easiest way to improve the market value of your scrap metal will be to somehow manipulate any of the 4 different parameters that scrap metal prices depend on to your advantage. Here are three simple techniques to getting better pricing, ordered from easiest to hardest; You will need to use all three to get the absolute best pricing!

Play the quantity: Every scrapper has encountered this scenario: You call up the scrap yard to check on the price of a certain type of metal; their first and only question “How much do you have?” When you buy/sell in bulk, you get better pricing, and the scrap yard is no exception. Try this on for size: instead of selling brass by the bucketful, try the barrel-full! Save up a 55 gallon barrel of brass (it doesn’t need to be full). A semi-full barrel of brass should weigh 1/4 ton – 3/4 ton depending on what type of brass components are in it. Same process works for steel rail scrap materials.

When you call up the scrap yard to ask what they pay for brass, they will be much more receptive to your price requests if they know you will be bringing in a 1/2 ton of brass, and hopefully will be happy to offer you 10% more than what they normally would!  This mentality can be applied to all metals.

Save up your shred metal and sell it by the trailer-full, or even dumpster-full! Or the train load.

Play the market: All things being equal, scrap metal prices will drop slightly in the summer and increase slightly in the winter. This is especially true in areas that have very cold winters that impede recyclers and scrappers from collecting and salvaging. Use this to your advantage! WARNING: this only works in scrap markets where there is not much volatility, meaning the price is not constantly jumping and falling without reason.

Play the scrap yards: Every scrap yard is willing to compete for your business, especially if your business is consistent! (Especially if you are scrapping full time!) It all dependents on how much material you are bringing in, and how consistently you are bringing it in. Start off by becoming a steady customer at a scrap yard that has proven itself to be of a high-caliber. This is the key! The better the scrap yard, the better they treat their customers.

Be sure to introduce yourself to the owner, and always save your scrap yard price tickets! ALL OF THEM! Total up how much metal you bring in per week, per month, per year, etc, and how much material that is for them. Use that as business intelligence to guide your price negotiations.

One way to be aggressive in getting the best price offer is to understand that sellers that bring their business to the scrap yard precut to scrap class measurements can receive a better price.

// If you have any questions about getting better scrap metal prices, or if your scrap metal prices are “fair,” there are experts you can turn to or you can register for a metal recycling forum.

Read more at: > http://www.scrapmetaljunkie.com/993/best-scrap-metal-prices

There are other examples of pricing rail scrap. Interested readers can review more about price of old rail materials by reviewing ICC abandonment cases, rail line subsidy negotiation hearings at the ICC or the STB, or by viewing net liquidation estimates occasionally published by Woodside Consulting or R L Banks as railroad experts.

You can also scan my rail blog to see examples of the trends in the street prices of scrap steel. Scrap steel that might have earned between $350 and $450 a ton in the past four years is now in the price range of $220 to $270.  Hanging onto scrap for a long term price rise in this case could have cost a seller as much as ~ 42% to ~51%.

NY governor Cuomo balks over new Amtrak tunnel to N.J. — Who Pays How Much for It?

“It is always seems to be about who writes the check.”

The existing Amtrak tunnel connecting New York City and New Jersey is a century old and in disrepair. Electrical wires corroded by Hurricane Sandy’s floods prompted hours-long delays last month that highlighted the tunnel’s condition and previewed what could become a chronic problem if nothing is done.

Yet Cuomo, a Democrat, sees little light ahead in this tunnel project. He balked at an invitation from U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to meet with him and New Jersey’s Gov. Christie to discuss the construction of a new tunnel, saying there was “no reason to meet now.” He told reporters recently that the outlook for the tunnel was “not especially bright.” If that’s true, then it’s bad news for millions of commuters, not just the 200,000 people who ride trains through the tunnel each day. Amtrak estimates that the existing tunnel – which has a single track in two tubes, one for either direction – has a life expectancy of about 20 years. The repair option of Closing one tube for a year of repairs would reduce the number of trains using the tunnel from 24 to six per hour at peak times, forcing tens of thousands of people onto ferries, buses, or cars…

A new tunnel would likely take a decade to build. There are several reasons offered by Cuomo as to why he is reluctant to start up the tunnel-boring machine. He said the project wouldn’t work unless Washington committed a sizable investment. An earlier tunnel proposal included $3 billion in federal funds, but was axed by Christie in 2010. 2) Cuomo says the feds are promising only “loans.” Instead of grants.

“If the federal government is serious that this is critical, which it is . . . we need federal funds,” Cuomo said last week. “They need to put their money where their mouth is.” New Jersey governor Christie has said he would support a new tunnel project if part of the cost were borne by the State of New York or New York City, neither of which pledged funds for the previous one. Cuomo’s tunnel stance is a departure for a governor who has seemed to revel in taking on big infrastructure projects. He used federal loans to finance the $3.9 billion Tappan Zee Bridge. Last month, he joined Vice President Biden to announce a $4 billion plan to rebuild LaGuardia’s cramped terminals.

There are several key differences between those projects and the tunnel, Cuomo noted. Private airlines will cover roughly half of the cost of the new LaGuardia. And while the Tappan Zee is a state bridge — it is also an essential part of the the State Toll Road System.

Governor Cuomo differentiates by stating that the new rail tunnel would be owned by Amtrak and used for only Amtrak and New Jersey trains. “It’s not my tunnel,” he told reporters last week. “Why don’t you pay for it?”

I saw this sort of “it’s not our traffic or trains” attitude back in 1998 while interviewing NY State legislative aids in Albany. From up the Hudson River, the view of the NEC and the tunnels is different. Very different.

As for the tunnels connecting to the Long Island rail system — yes that is seen differently from Albany political offices.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/20150816_Cuomo_balks_over_new_Amtrak_tunnel_to_N_J_.html#Yh2oY6W1fgotytPs.99 http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/20150816_Cuomo_balks_over_new_Amtrak_tunnel_to_N_J_.html

News report suggests that SouthGobi faces bankruptcy if unsuccessful to solve Mongolian tax dispute

Poor due diligence, global market demand issues, lack of modern rail transport —

A once promising Mongolian resource company falls on tough times…

SouthGobi was once worth more than C$3-billion, and its TSX-listed shares peaked at C$21.99 in 2008. The stock fell as low as C$0.34 in February 2015 It was trading at C$0.50 a share on Friday. (miningweekly.com) news report August 15 2015

Coal producer SouthGobi Resources continues according to news reports to seek an amicable resolution of its tax dispute with the Mongolian government.

Faint to reach a settlement might — with a court sanctioned financial penalty — trigger events of default with a Chinese funding partner and eventual bankruptcy say news reports.

SouthGobi, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto-owned Turquoise Hill Resources, had in a January been found financially liable as a ‘civil defendant’ for a penalty of about $18-million, following a criminal tax investigation case.

To review the full report, go to: http://m.miningweekly.com/article/southgobi-faces-bankruptcy-if-unsuccessful-to-solve-mongolian-tax-dispute-2015-08-14