Sunday, December 27, 2009

Siemens prepped for more US light rail, high speed

* Siemens to build 200 light-rail cars in US over 3 years
* Midwest likely high-speed winner given political weight

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Dec 23 (Reuters) - The U.S.-based transport arm of Siemens AG (SIEGn.DE) has ramped up production to feed growing demand for urban light-rail systems and also has its eyes on a nascent U.S. push for high-speed rail.
Siemens Mobility, created to combine the German company's rail, logistics and signaling divisions, is the light-rail leader with over a third of the U.S. market, according to Robin Stimson, vice president for strategic business development.
He said its plant just outside Sacramento, California, which produced about 25 light-rail cars annually five years ago, made 58 this year and is set to build about 200 more over the next three years -- with capacity for more.
Also competing for U.S. light-rail business are Ansaldo Breda, a unit of Italian group Finmeccanica (SIFI.MI), Skoda of the Czech Republic, Canada's Bombardier (BBDb.TO), Spain's CAF (CAF.MC) and Japan's Kinki Sharyo (7122.T).
A major obstacle to light-rail growth, however, was a lack of coordination between municipal and state authorities when tackling transport problems, Stimson said, and he hoped Siemens could foster cooperation with the united Mobility division.
"We'd like to bring these folks to the table," he said in an interview at the rail plant late on Tuesday.
The facility is producing cars for Norfolk, Virginia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Salt Lake City, Utah; Denver, Colorado; and Edmonton, Alberta.
California lawmakers at the Capitol building nearby, following voter approval of a nearly $10 billion high-speed rail bond offering last year, are now trying to tap federal funds dedicated to development of fast trains around the United States.
Stimson said Siemens had bought property just north of its plant, where joists had been built during the now-collapsed California home-building boom, and referred to it as the "high-speed lot."
While California faces some obstacles in securing right of way for its trains, Stimson was encouraged by recent moves in Florida to help attract federal high-speed funds.
Ahead of an initial disbursement of money by the Federal Railroad Administration next month, Stimson said he believed the Midwest corridor branching out to cities from a Chicago hub would likely be a big contender for money given that the president and transport secretary were both from Illinois.
(Reporting by Braden Reddall; Editing by Richard Chang)

Boeing Delivers Four Next-Generation 737-900ERs to Lion Air

SEATTLE, Dec. 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) delivered four Next-Generation 737-900ER (Extended Range) airplanes to Lion Air in December. The new jetliners will be deployed to increase frequencies on existing routes and to replace older airplanes in the fleet.
Lion Air, a Jakarta-based private carrier in Indonesia, is the launch customer of the 737-900ER. The airline operates an all-Boeing fleet, which includes MD-80s, MD-90s and 747s. It has a fleet of 41 737s including Classics and Next-Generation models.
Shown here are three of the four airplanes as they are being prepared for delivery to Lion Air. The unique photo opportunity occurred at the 737 Customer Delivery Center at Boeing Field in Seattle.
Photo and caption are available here:
Neg. K64824-03
Linda Lee

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