Busy, Busy, Busy!
Apologies for a ten day interval between posts, but it seems like track material is a hot commodity these days! Usually things pick up after the first of the year, but in 2006 things have been crazy. There are many unexpected projects to keep up on, RFQ's, and other situations to spend energy on. In short, business is good, and most everyone I speak with on the Railroad Supply side agrees.
Why? Right now, it is commuter rail. Last Autumn's gasoline price increases combined with Iranian extortion has led many to seriously investigate some sort of rail passenger transportation. Tennessee, Minnesota, and Oregon are all looking. Others are farther behind, but "getting aboard". The Detroits and the Austins still seem to be a lost cause.
Understand the timeframe. Politicians are "reactive", not "proactive". So now, the time is right for their sudden interest. Obviously, that's OK with me, as long as something gets to the table.
There are rumors that the Feds are diverting monies once earmarked for rail transit and commuter projects to the needs created by Hurricane Katrina. That will mean that local governments will have to write their own check. If these rumors come true, I believe the more visionary governments will grab their pens and do just that.