Florida East Coast Railway Runs Inaugural Of New GE Tier 3 ES44C4 locomotives

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.,  Nov. 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — On  Friday, November 21 st, Florida East Coast Railway (FECR) completed the inaugural run of its first two new GE ES44C4 locomotives.  Locomotives FEC 803 and FEC 804 provided state-of-the-art Tier 3 locomotive power to FECR Train 101; the company’s most expedited through-freight train, transporting automotive, carload and intermodal freight from    Jacksonville to Miami.


FECR team members worked to prepare the locomotives for the first run, ensuring smooth operations for the historic inaugural trip.  According to   David Kobryn, FECR Locomotive Superintendent, “Within days of these units arriving in    Jacksonville, our Mechanical Team had completed standard service procedures, equipped the units with WiTonix, and they were ready for service.”


The new locomotives also got positive reviews from the FECR operations team.”The new locomotives are quiet and comfortable in the cab.  Overall I was impressed by the way they handled,” said   Donald Wolff, FECR Locomotive Engineer.


Mark Baker, FECR Conductor, similarly said, “The new GE locomotives are quieter with a comfortable ride and loud horn.  The radio on the conductor side of the cab is a definite plus and good to have for emergencies.”


“What a thrill it was to be able to be part of the crew for this historic event with the new GE additions to the FECR fleet,” said   Eric Usina, FECR Road Foreman of Engines.  “These new GE locomotives exceeded my expectations in every way on this first run.”


Fran Chinnici, Senior Vice President of Mechanical, Engineering and Purchasing was onboard this inaugural run with his key staff members and GE personnel.  He said, “I am extremely pleased with the initial performance of these new locomotives and look forward to the many benefits these units provide, including fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.  This exciting time for FECR was made even more special by all the FECR rail fans waving and taking pictures up and down the route.”


Part of GE’s Evolution Series, the ES44C4 locomotives are designed using advanced engine technology that lowers fuel consumption while also controlling NOx and particulate matter (PM) emissions. The company will receive a total of 24 ES44C4 locomotives from GE Transportation before the end of the year.


“As we continue to grow and expand, it is critical that we have dependable and efficient horsepower to support the transportation of intermodal, carload, auto and port business.  With these new Tier 3 locomotives, we are well positioned to handle current and future customer needs,” said   James R. Hertwig, FECR President and CEO.


  About Florida East Coast Railway

 The Florida East Coast Railway (“FEC”) is a 351-mile freight rail line located along the east coast of Florida.  It is the exclusive rail provider for    Port Miami, Port Everglades, and Port of    Palm Beach.  FEC connects to the national railroad network in Jacksonville,    Florida, and provides carload and door-to-door intermodal solutions across    North America to customers who demand cost-effective and premium quality service. 


I’m sure  FEC founder Mr.Flagler is proud to see this.

As  a  former GE employee, I am glad too



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Let’s Help The Economy and Make More Fake Holidays

Here we are right between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Black Friday name was originally created by the Philadelphia Police as a code name for huge traffic jams on the day after Thanksgiving.  Retailers translated it into the day when our books go from red to black. Cyber Monday appeared later  and represented  customers who could not find what they wanted in the “brick & mortars” so they went online.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas  can often be hugely challenging for small businesses. Not only can  more-moneyed competitors afford the door-buster sales that attract shoppers, but they’ve got much bigger marketing budgets too. Therein lies the beauty of made-up holidays: There’s no competition.

There is certainly precedence. The International House of Pancakes, better known as IHOP, typically celebrates National Pancake Day on Shrove Tuesday, which this year took place on March 4–even though the breakfast staple has long been celebrated on Sept. 26. Next year, Shrove Tuesday is on Feb. 17–that is the day after Presidents Day and three days after Valentine’s Day. The company plans to celebrate the hotcake on March 3 instead.

It hardly stops with pancakes. Besides the 11 federal holidays, Americans observe a long list of religious holidays, feasts, and anniversaries–from Ramadan to Purim. Additionally, each state may have its own variety of local holidays, from Pascua Florida Day, which refers to spring and the Easter Season, to Statehood Day in Hawaii.

And you can’t possibly forget the “Hallmark Holidays”–so named for the greeting-card company that popularized the practice of sending cards to loved ones on certain days of the year, like Mother’s Day. There are approximately 23 of those.

All told, Nationaldaycalendar.com recognizes 1,100 annual holidays, says Marlo Anderson, the founder of the Mandan, North Dakota-based national holiday tracker. He adds that his site doesn’t even cover all of the holidays in existence. “We research [each holiday] and if just six people post [about it] on Twitter, we’ll pass,” he says. “We don’t want to dilute the days we have on there with days that aren’t so recognizable.”

Still, there is room for more. If you can make a case for why your day ought to be in existence and you can fork over $1,500 to $3,500–the fee National Day Calendar charges for issuing a press release and a 13-by-19-inch framed proclamation–Anderson is all ears. Just ask talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres, who recently snagged her own national day, which also happens to be her birthday, January 26.

The question is, how do you turn your holiday into a payday? For starters, consider teaming up, suggests Hopkins. “If I were a little corner shop, I would probably work with other people and get everyone to agree to promote it,” he says. “It would be such a shame if you go through the trouble of creating a day that was only for your square block. I would rather the mom-and-pop shops get together.”

To further confirm the power of fictional holidays, consider the success of Cyber Monday (the Monday following Thanksgiving) and Small Business Saturday (the Saturday following Thanksgiving). The latter was created by American Express in 2010 to gin up sales at the nation’s small businesses, and last year it attracted $5.7 billion worth of purchases at independent merchants, according to the financial services giant.

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Senator Chuck Schumer: Champion of Rider Comfort

New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who I sometimes refer to as the Senator from Brooklyn, is about my favorite politician. Look at one of his projects:

He is urging MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) officials to consider “rider satisfaction” and incorporate community input into the design of the railroad’s new M-9 commuter-rail cars, which are scheduled to enter service in 2017.

The M-9 would be an evolution of the recent M-7 and M-8 EMUs now in traffic on LIRR and Metro-North respectively. The M-9 would be capable of operation from 750 V DC third rail used on LIRR and at the southern end of the Metro-North network, plus the 11 kV 25 Hz and 25 kV 60 Hz overhead power supplies used on the Northeast Corridor.

MTA expects the M-9 to feature a range of design modifications based on feedback on recently-procured vehicles, including enhanced passenger information and air-conditioning equipment. MTA is also reported to be evaluating the installation of onboard wi-fi. The car body is expected to be approximately 50 mm wider to give a more generous middle seat in a 2+3 arrangement.

The first tranche of EMUs to replace LIRR’s oldest M-3 trainsets, but subsequent orders are likely to be used to increase the fleet size ahead of the introduction of LIRR services to Grand Central under the East Side Access project, now scheduled to open in 2019.

M8 evolving to M9
M8 evolving to M9
Schumer asked LIRR officials to hold public meetings, create an “online suggestion box” or conduct a passenger survey to raise public awareness of the design of the cars, which will be built by Kawasaki, the senator said in a press release.

“For the amount of money that Long Island commuters pay to use the railroad, and the amount of time they spend onboard the railroad each week, they should expect a safe and on-time ride, but also a comfortable and convenient one,” said Schumer.

LIRR passengers can pay as much as $363 for a monthly train ride from stations such as Ronkonkoma, which is significantly higher than monthly passes for other transit systems, he said. Past reports have highlighted issues with “commuter comfort” along the LIRR, Schumer added.

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Norfolk Southern is Getting To Be A “Class” Railroad


Sometimes I take a look at the live camera on The Norfolk Southern at Chesterton, Indiana. LOTs of traffic, always moving right along. It is a mainline that looks like a mainline.
Norfolk Southern Corp. and Canadian Pacific subsidiary Delaware & Hudson Railway Co. (D&H) announced November 18, 2014 a proposed transaction under which NS would acquire 282.5 miles of a D&H line between Sunbury, Pa., and Schenectady, N.Y., for $217 million. CP would retain ownership of D&H’s line from Montreal to Albany, N.Y. 
The southern portion of D&H’s lines connect with NS’ network in Sunbury and Binghamton, N.Y., and would provide the Class I single-line routes from Chicago and the southeastern U.S. to Albany and its recently built intermodal terminal in Mechanicville, N.Y., NS officials said. NS also would gain an enhanced connection to its joint venture subsidiary Pan Am Southern, which serves New England markets…

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Studying Retail POS: The Difference Between a Swing, Miss and Home Run

This excellent article was written by David Matsil of Enhanced Retail Solutions. He is one of the real gurus of retail electronic commerce and a friend too.

The overwhelming conventional wisdom we hear when discussing the merits of a supplier’s deep dive of their retail partners’ items’ sell through is:

“We do it already”.

“We have a pretty good handle on our business”.

And yet…

You do not know what you don’t know.

Wouldn’t you want to understand your business as quickly and thoroughly as possible for discussions with your retail partner or when making merchandising decisions for your next line? You see, retail battles are won as much by intelligence as they are by quality of product.

And did you know that 41% of retail initiatives are not executed in the intended fashion?

Most companies study the business at chain level, yet only door level (each individual store of a chain) can indicate sold out stores as well as inventory that never made it out of the stockroom.

The best way to determine if you are studying the business to the fullest is to answer these questions:

  • Can you store all your data in one place and in one format?
  • Can you easily drill down to door level? Or would it take you all week?
  • Are you getting results like these?
    • Saving $100,000+ in markdown dollars.
    • 30% store execution improvement in two weeks.
    • Exposing a 12,000 unit/$720,000 sales opportunity.
    • Increasing Instock level from 85% to 98%.
    • Convincing a buyer to launch what becomes a $40+ million dollar/year business.
    • Using traiting to help push an additional 150,000 units.
  • Can you integrate Data Points such as product images, demographics, weather or your wholesale inventory?
  • Can you Integrate Outside Trends such as CPI, inflation rates or the price of gas?
  • Do you have interactive Dashboards to overview your business?
  • Can you create Visuals (charts, graphs, gauges) on the fly?
  • Can you easily filter your reporting?
  • Can you cull out door level opportunities and liabilities in seconds?

In Summary:

  • You get out what you put in. This is a discipline that pays dividends.
  • Think bigger, Think differently. Add science to your sales pitch. Reduce risk for the buyer. Tell them something they do not know.
  • Look granular: door level, sku level.
  • The Opportunities and Liabilities approach to store level analysis is the new normal: Retailers are not growing store count. This is where the growth comes.
  • Integrate multiple data points to highlight actionable opportunities that may otherwise go undetected.
  • Be creative: Make use of demographics, find holes in assortment.
  • Pictures say a thousand words.
  • Reconsider if you have the right tools for the job.

If you are not at the top of your game, you are handing your rival a competitive advantage.

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Grey Skys to Blue, How to Photoshop it – THE EASY WAY

Don is getting to be a popular guest author

Don Charisma

Have you ever taken a photo when it’s overcast, and when you got home, looked at it on the computer, and you were thoroughly disappointed ? – this has happened to me many, many times. Until now I didn’t know how to solve this annoying problem.

doncharisma, Blue Sky Before and After Blue Sky Before and After

Google is full with guides of how to make grey skies blue, but all of them seem more effort than they are worth, really I don’t want to replace the entire sky with a fake one.

Easiest other solution is just to take the picture on a nice sunny day. However that means missed photo opportunities 😦

Note: Photoshop is a great tool for editing photos, but it often feels like I need a PHD in Photography to drive it. The only way really is to start to “get my hands dirty” with it and start trying to do…

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Does Tiger Woods’ Latest Disgrace Mark a New Low for the Golf Business?

Just this week we ran a story about

Tiger Woods Blasts Satirical Golf Digest Article By Dan Jenkins

on the surface, it had nothing to do with golf — or even an authentic story, for that matter.

It was pretty nasty.

Why is this relevant to the investor? Well, this may mark the bottom for the golf business. Or it may show just how bad things are in the golf business, and how far they have to go to recover.

Tiger Woods is, basically, this generation’s only household golf name — sorry, Phil Mickelson. And he has slipped so far down the respect continuum that he is getting ridiculed in national publications by reputable writers.

And unfortunately, it’s not a bottom.

It’s only fitting that next week is the fifth anniversary of the night Tiger was chased out of his home as his seemingly ideal life crumbled. News was breaking about a string of extra-marital affairs, and his soon-to-be ex-wife wasn’t happy about it.

The bloom was off Woods’ Sunday rose-red Nike (NKE ) golf shirt.

The image of Tiger Woods would be damaged forever, and maybe his is game too — and maybe the entire game of golf as well. (Woods has not won a major tournament since that fateful Florida night.)

And the business of golf is in free fall. And participation is no longer growing.

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National Anthem: Follow Robert Merrill

We are re-blogging this ²because we found out Amy Malone is a follower of our blogs.



Have heard some TERRIBLE renditions of the “Star Spangled Banner” on ESPN and other places.
Maybe Congress should pass a law that anyone singing the American National Anthem, must FIRST review a film, DVD, CD or whatever of opera star Robert Merrill singing the National Anthem (much at New York Yankees games). This is what Francis Scott Key envisioned in what he wrote that was adopted as the American National Anthem, first by an Executive Order from President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 (which had little effect beyond requiring military bands to play it) and then by a Congressional resolution in 1931, signed by President Herbert Hoover.
Some singers know they cannot do it right. They fudge it poorly or substitute “God Bless America”. I love Kate Smith and I love Saranac Lake, New York  where she lived, but save it for the “7th Inning Stretch”.
Because of the…

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Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Updates Winter Operations Plan for New York

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has activated New York City Transit’s 2014-15 winter operations plan for subways and buses and the Staten Island Railway, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.

Updates to the plan include eight new R156 locomotives and 79 revenue trains with scraper shoes that will help reduce icing on the third rail; and increased personnel and enhanced communications equipment at the Incident Command Center, MTA officials said in a press release.


“By activating this winter operation plan, the MTA is doubling down on its preparations for inclement weather and taking important steps to help buses and trains avoid delays and keep commuters safe,” said Cuomo.

The snow-fighting equipment targeted for the subway system includes 10 snow-throwers, eight deicers, four jet blowers, 61 locomotives, and 22 heated/insulated rider cars that can be used to carry crews and equipment to snow removal sites. The cars are equipped with ice-scraping mechanisms to help keep the third rail clear and can be used as rescue trains. Signal equipment also has been winterized to protect nearly 220 miles of tracks.

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Relax and Rewind at Bryant Park

These blogs are great


If you want to get away from the city without actually leaving the city, Bryant Park is definitely the place to go.  The grounds are covered with gardens and a lawn that stretches as long as a football field, allowing city dwellers their nature fix.

The park offers a number of free activities that include ping pong, pétanque, a putting green, chess, backgammon, and other tabletop games like Scrabble and Monopoly.  All games and game pieces are provided free of charge.

The picturesque Le Carrousel in Bryant Park provides a European feel while playing sounds of French cabaret music.  Le Carrousel runs year long and costs $3 per ride.

During the summer months of June through September, Art Cart, which lends free professional quality art supplies to kids and adults alike, is available to those who want to draw or sketch while in the park.

Winter Village at Bryant Park is…

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