Saturday, December 03, 2005

Manufacturer plans facility here

Longmont’s Tanco Engineering builds, repairs oil storage tanks
By Christine SteeleThe Daily Reporter-Herald

A Longmont company has chosen Loveland over other area locations for a new manufacturing facility and corporate headquarters.Tanco Engineering Inc., which builds and repairs storage tanks for oil giants Shell, Exxon and others, on Wednesday bought 5 acres of industrial-zoned land between Boise and Madison avenues from Loveland Midtown Properties LLC for $637,719.

Access to the new industrial development, east of Madison Avenue and the now-closed Great Western Sugar Factory, will be from Boise Avenue.
The land now is a farm field bordered on the south by a railroad track and Eighth Street, and on the north by 11th Street.

Tanco vice president Paul LoBello said the company has expanded at its Longmont location several times since the early 1980s and has outgrown the space.

Company executives began shopping for land six months ago, he said, and looked at property in Longmont, Windsor and unincorporated Larimer County.

Representatives chose the Loveland site for its business convenience and quality of life for employees.

“We probably could have done it cheaper and been out in the county somewhere,” LoBello said, “but pretty much anything we need is right there,” he said of the location.

Most of the company’s 200 employees work in the field, LoBello said, but the availability of restaurants, jogging trails and other services for those who work in the company’s manufacturing facility and corporate office is a plus.

“We look for a quality of life for our employees.”
LoBello said access to the railroad would allow the company to bring materials in by train by installing a rail spur at the new facility, which will save money on transportation costs.

Most of the 25 jobs at the new location will be transfers from the Longmont site, but LoBello said he expects some attrition because of the move.

New employees will likely come from the Loveland market. As the company grows, LoBello said he expects to add jobs, particularly in manufacturing, where salaries range from $30,000 to $50,000.
“The oil companies are doing well, so we are doing well,” he said. “We have grown steadily over the last 10 years.”

Sales have tripled in volume during that time, LoBello said, and his staff has nearly tripled as well.
The company could hire up to 10 people for its manufacturing facility once it is completed, LoBello said.
Welders are almost always in demand to work in the field on oil storage tanks across the country.

The company works in 35 states, including Alaska and Hawaii.
The move will also benefit other Loveland businesses, LoBello said, because the company buys locally when it can.

Freeman Architects of Loveland will design the new facility.
Construction will begin in the next six to eight months. The project is expected to take between 18 months and three years to complete.
Joe Palieri of Chrisland Inc. represented Tanco Engineering Inc., and Nathan Klein of Loveland Commercial LLC represented Loveland Midtown Properties LLC.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

All aboard!

By TERESA WICKENS, The North Platte Telegraph11/19/2005

Wanted by the close of day today: 68 new hires at the Union Pacific Railroad.Train service personnel are the high priority. Twenty five are needed and a new class starts Monday, Nov. 28 in North Platte.

A first of its kind hiring and job fair for the UP started Friday at 4 p.m. and, within an hour, more than 120 people had signed in at the front desk. The fair continues today from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., with candidates being interviewed and tested.

Some are offered jobs, though they still have to pass medical and physical tests and a background check.

A recent change means UP would prefer not to hire smokers. In June, UP banned all smoking on railroad property, and Director of Employment Jolene Jefferies said the ban is for the safety of employees and their health. In Omaha, applications from smokers are automatically rejected.

The railroad accepts applications through an on-line process, and according to Jefferies, applicants could receive a notice for an interview before 10 a.m. today."We had people lining up at 1 p.m." yesterday, Jefferies said. "I am ecstatic at the response."

As a government contractor, UP is an affirmative action employer. Jefferies said UP's diversity makes it stronger.She approaches a lot of veterans from the army and the navy to recruit them for the UP, saying trained electricians and mechanics are valuable.

The UP's union job opportunities sheet lists eleven jobs that require journeyman status.Jefferies explained that journeymen who can verify experience do not have to take the five-hour aptitude test. Apprentices can come in right out of high school, and if they pass the aptitude test, the railroad will train them for the job.An apprentice diesel mechanic can start at $14.72 an hour; a journeyman at $21.43 an hour.

Casey Dyer is a new resident in North Platte, and the Director of Mechanical Maintenance at UP. He wants to fill carman positions, and said the fair this weekend is a great way to get employees."I get a lot of referrals from current employees, family and friends," he said.Schooling for the skilled trades at the railroad is conducted locally at Mid-Plains Community College.

"That makes training so much easier," Dyer said. "We have one room that we use to train on the equipment."

Getting to the training means dotting a lot of i's and crossing a lot of t's. Applicants can get rejected if they make an error, according to Tom Hunt, a 27-year UP employee.He likes the hiring and job fair, though, and believes they need to do it more often.

His son filed an application, and according to the computer, he was asked in for an interview in March. Hunt said his son never received an interview notice.Hunt was there Friday, with his son, to take him back through the process."Make sure the past addresses and all dates are correct," Hunt told his son as he headed to a computer.If his son gets an interview, Bill Blakney could be doing it.

He said the fair format is great for those who come a long distance, as there is a quick turnaround for potential employees.The railroad will be losing 50 percent of its employees in coming years through attrition and retirement, increasing the need for new employees, according to Blakney.Jefferies said UP will be hiring 20 train service people a month, after this weekend's 25 new hires.The fair is at North Platte Community College, 1101 Halligan Drive.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Intermodal train service delayed

Posted: Wednesday, Nov 16, 2005 - 03:21:21 pm PSTBy Matthew WeaverHerald staff writer

Area in 'limbo' while Burlington railroad sorts through issues
COLUMBIA BASIN -- Customers are ready to use the Port of Quincy's intermodal train system, but rail service difficulties have pushed its start date into the new year.

On behalf of the Central Washington Alliance for Rail Freight Transportation (CWARFT), Pat Boss sent letters last week to Sen. Patty Murray and Gov. Christine Gregoire, to express concerns about Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway's "recent decision to drop its dedicated refrigerated intermodal train service from Central Washington to the Puget Sound.

"With fuel prices being really high and (Snoqualmie) Pass being mostly closed, we had calculated that this was the year when intermodal service to the coast was going to really take off," Boss said in an interview last week. "All the signs were pointing that way."

Boss claimed that BNSF offered a service plan to the Port of Quincy which promised it would begin shipping containers from the port's intermodal facility -- conceived as a way to relieve strain on the roadways between the Columbia Basin and sea ports and to develop inland area ports to receive shipments from developed areas -- and disperse them from the inland when the port had commitments to ship 30 containers a week.

Those commitments were in place, Boss said, when the company informed the port that it would have to get back to them because of a problem within the system -- not enough engines or containers in the area. The intermodal facility broke ground in July 2004, and first shipments were originally estimated to take place earlier this year, but have not yet occurred.

Even though Burlington indicated that it might be willing to replace the dedicated refrigerated intermodal train service with a merchandise or manifest train, Boss said in his letter that CWARFT is concerned that the service would not be as consistent as an intermodal train.

"The timing's terrible; the holiday season is a time when a lot of produce moves (and) exports usually are higher because this is kind of the new shipping season," Boss said. "It's a lot harder to get trucks because a lot of people are shipping, and then you've got the issue of the passes being a little bit uncertain because of the rock slides. So it would have been fantastic, had the service been put into effect like the railroad had promised."

Now shippers and processors not only have to find trucks, but also figure out if they can get over the pass in a timely manner, Boss said.
"We believe the state needs to intervene and urge the railroad to strongly reconsider putting an intermodal program in central Washington again," he said.

Boss added that the area would be placed in a long-term awkward economic situation if the railroad does not commit to stopping in Grant County, whether heading east or west.

"With Grant County being the biggest agricultural county in the state, and one of the biggest export counties, it's silly that we can't have consistent dedicated intermodal service," he said.

Boss met with the vice president of Burlington in Anaheim, Calif., on Monday and called it a "good news, bad news" meeting. The railroad is probably not going to be able to offer any service by the end of the year, and is possibly offering some sort of service early next year, although they wouldn't say what kind, he reported.

"Unfortunately for Quincy and Grant County, we're in limbo because all the new locomotives they're bringing on line are going back east," he said.
While Burlington is a big railroad, and the county a big agricultural production area, Boss said that the railroad sees Grant County as a small area on their radar screen.

At issue, he said, is whether the railroad will pass through the state or make a commitment to pick up shipments in places like Quincy or Wenatchee and take them to the ports of Tacoma or Seattle.

"If they're not going to make a commitment, then I guess we're going to have to really rethink what we're doing for transportation from eastern Washington to western Washington, (and) widen freeways to six or seven lanes, because there's going to be thousands of trucks on the road," Boss said.

"The county and central Washington as a whole needs to really be working with the governor's office and legislators to emphasize that it's critical for our economic development and our ability to create jobs that we have good inland rail service, to take our products from the county to the ports."

"BNSF has not offered dedicated intermodal service for this market," said Burlington spokesman Gus Melonas of the area. "However, we are further discussing this with management and associated parties at this point, so the matter is under further review."

"It'll work itself out eventually, but we have customers ready to go right now," Port of Quincy commissioner Patric Connelly said, noting that other areas are in the same situation. "We can't offer them a train. The railroad's not giving anything up right at the moment. Hopefully, it'll get itself turned around pretty quickly, but we don't have any ideas of when yet."

Art Scheunemann, senior vice president for business development at Northwest Container, operator of the Quincy intermodal facility, said that his company has a seven-year agreement with Burlington Northern to provide service, part of which is development of a dedicated service.

Burlington is in the process of finalizing a service plan, Scheunemann said.
"We're a little bit behind the schedule we had originally set, but still moving forward," he said, noting that hopes were for the intermodal to get off the ground by Dec. 7, but he doesn't think that's going to happen at this point.

The concern is mainly to get the service plan completed, so service and business can begin at the intermodal facility, Scheunemann continued.
"Obviously we need a train to do that," he said, adding that the service plan also has to meet Burlington Northern's needs as well. "We want to get it right from the beginning; we don't want to go in fits and starts. It's imminent; there's no question about that."

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad

SIOUX FALLS (AP) - If the Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad's application for a $2.5 billion federal loan for a three-year coal train project is approved and shareholders go along, ''we could be laying track next year,'' Kevin Schieffer, DM&E president, said Saturday.

The project would bring several thousand construction jobs to the affected states and add about 2,000 permanent DM&E jobs, Schieffer said.

The Sioux Falls-based railroad says it could haul 100 million tons of coal a year from Wyoming to eastern power plants.The loan would come from a little-used program that Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., had amended to be tailored to the railroads' needs.''This is a loan. It isn't a government subsidy,'' Schieffer told reporters.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Norfolk Southern Corp., the fourth-largest U.S. railroad, is adding about 2,400 employees this year!

Asian Imports

Norfolk Southern Corp., the fourth-largest U.S. railroad, is adding about 2,400 employees this year and will continue to add workers next year, Chief Executive Charles Moorman said this week. The Norfolk, Virginia-based company's rail-and-truck traffic grew 9 percent this year and will continue to grow at a strong pace as Asian imports increase and higher fuel costs make shipping solely by truck more expensive.

``I'd be comfortable saying we'll grow that business at a reasonable rate,'' Moorman said in a Nov. 1 interview.

Source from Bloomberg News

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Lima locomotive steamed up for comeback

Lima locomotive steamed up for comeback
Four years ago, Nickel Plate No. 765 was all over the floor, or in some cases halfway across the country. Now, the Lima-built locomotive is back on the tracks and ready to go back to work. This weekend, at the culmination of a four-year, $720,000 restoration, No. 765 will be steamed up and available for inspection at the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society.

The restoration is the latest chapter in the saga of the 100-foot-long, 404-ton steam engine that was built in 1944 at the Lima Locomotive Works. No. 765 was initially put to work on the Nickel Plate Road, running mostly between Chicago and Bellevue, Ohio, for 14 years. She later enjoyed a second career pulling excursion trains over half of the United States.

In No. 765’s heyday, the Nickel Plate had a strong presence in Lima. A branch of the railroad ran through here on the way to St. Louis. Nickel Plate No. 779, the Lima-built Berkshire locomotive in Lincoln Park, is a sister to No. 765, built from almost identical blueprints.

Over the years, No. 765 was twice rescued from oblivion — once when the Nickel Plate retired its last steam engines in 1960, then again in the mid-1970s, after years of exposure and deterioration in a Fort Wayne park. The railroad historical society, formed in 1974, spent five years getting the locomotive running again. Starting in 1979, No. 765 pulled excursion trains as far north as Milwaukee, as far south as Atlanta, east to the Statue of Liberty and west almost to the Mississippi River.

After some 300 excursions hauling 250,000 people, the engine was taken out of service in 1993. “You can normally run one of these about 200,000 miles between major overhauls,” said Glenn Brendel, project manager for the latest restoration, “and we ran it out to the last dime.”

Between the mileage accumulated on the Nickel Plate and on the excursions, “a lot of things just wore out,” said Tom Nitza, president of the historical society. “The first restoration wasn’t nearly as extensive as what we’ve done now,” he said this week. “(The first time) we just did what we had to do to get it running.” This time, volunteers started by completely disassembling the locomotive.

“We had every part off of it that you can take off,” Nitza said. “… We had riggers come in and lift it off the wheels and had it sitting up on blocks.” Among other things, the boiler was subjected to ultrasound and stress tested at 400 points to make sure it was up to new federal standards. Some jobs had to be farmed out. The wheels were sent to Chattanooga, Tenn., for repairs. But most of the work was done at the organization’s home base in New Haven, Ind., just east of Fort Wayne, by 25 or 30 volunteers.

Few of the society’s members are railroaders. Nitza is in the trucking business and Brendel is a retired Air Force master sergeant. Finding the skills and know-how for the restoration, Brendel said, required “years and years of net-working.” These days, those skills are becoming increasingly rare. The railroad historical society has become a repository of knowledge that might otherwise be lost. “We’ve been in this business since the 1970s,” Nitza pointed out. “We know how to do a lot of things.”

The restoration was funded mainly by federal grants, with 12,000 hours contributed by volunteer workers. Calculat-ing the value of those hours, Nitza figures he’s looking at a million-dollar project. Now the society is negotiating for the use of tracks to conduct some test runs of No. 765. Excursions could resume in the spring.

The Nickel Plate Road disappeared in a merger in 1964. The Lima Locomotive Works was demolished in the 1990s. But it appears No. 765 is likely to live on for a long time. The railroad historical society is at 15808 Edgerton Road in New Haven, Ind. This weekend’s open house is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Railroad Job Tips

Many people email me and ask me about trade schools and if
they are worth the money.

Railroad trade schools are worth the money if you get the job.

If a railroad trade school does not offer an interview with a
railroad company then I would not suggest going to that school.

You want to make sure you go to one that is going to get
you an interview.

That is the whole purpose of going to the school.

If you graduate and don't get hired by the interviewing railroad
then don't worry about it.

You need to put in applications with the other railroad companies
and let them know that you just graduated from a railroad trade
school and you want a new career with the railroad.

Never give up and keep going to interviews.

Read my e-book on How to Get a Railroad Job and Make up
to $75,000 per Year!

You can get it here

Until next time see you on the rails.

Sean Martin