Greenbrier also reported a high level of liquidity, with the company possessing $US 830m in available cash at the end of the year, increasing by $US 100m in the fourth quarter alone. In addition, net debt was reduced by $US 360m during the second half of the year.

The company credits its figures to orders worth $US 1.6bn and covering 16,600 units. 40% of orders came from international markets. Greenbrier also delivered 21,700 units for the year - the second highest amount in the company’s history. However, the company also reduced its global workforce by 6500 employees (40%) during the fiscal year, with the intention of managing its costs.

Israel: Knorr-Bremse has acquired an additional 19.8% share of Israeli sensor and obstacle detection start-up Rail Vision for $US 10m, giving it a 36.8% total share in the company. The acquisition reinforces Knorr-Bremse’s partnership with the company, which includes the development of remote control shunting locomotives in collaboration with Swiss freight operator SBB Cargo.

Norway: The Ministry of Transport and Communications has extended its emergency financial support scheme for rail operators for an additional eight months until June 30 2021, due to continued low demand for rail travel as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Under the new scheme, the government will reimburse 85% of financial losses incurred by operators until the end of the scheme’s lifespan. However, if an operator can turn a profit during the period, they may keep 50% of the amount paid to them, following an audit by the Norwegian Railway Directorate.

Germany: German Rail (DB) has initiated arbitration with the German Locomotive Drivers Union (GDL), following the rejection of negotiations by the union in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic’s economic impact on the operator. DB previously successfully negotiated a package with the Railway and Transport Union (EVG) in September.

United States: New Jersey Transit (NJT) has approved a new $US 2.6bn operating budget for fiscal year 2021 and a five-year capital plan. The new operating budget envisages approximately 14% of revenue coming from fares, with the rest derived from commercial revenue and state and federal resources. The three-year state operating subsidy is $US 836m (73%) more than during the 2016-18 three-year fiscal period.

The FY 2021-25 capital plan will continue a programme of maintenance for stations and other infrastructure, upgrades to the North East Corridor, fare modernisation, safety initiatives, rolling stock purchases, Positive Train Control (PTC) implementation and support for local transport.

Lithuania: State-owned operator Lithuanian Railways (LTG Group) has proposed a €38m dividend to the government for 2019, following net profits of €58.1m for the year.

Germany: Vossloh has reported an Ebit of €24.5m for the third quarter, compared with €11.4m for the same period in 2019, with a total Ebit for the first nine months of this year amounting to €54.5m. This corresponds to a higher Ebit margin of 8.8%, compared with 4.8% for the previous year. Vossloh has also reported sales of €617.7m for the first nine months, compared with €662.1m for the same period in 2019, due to the coronavirus pandemic impacting levels of demand.

Due to strong earnings performance for the quarter, Vossloh has raised its Ebit margin guidance from 7-8% to 7.5-8.5% for the fiscal year. Sales are also now expected to reach €870m for 2020. However Vossloh says that this target is still below previous expectations of sales of at least €900m. The company says that these targets are dependent on no further factory shutdowns as a result of the pandemic.

Britain: The XRail engineeering group has announced the completion of its acquisition of the City Survey Group surveying firm, a principle contractor for infrastructure manager Network Rail. The company will enhance the range of specialist services which XRail offers, in particular in measurement, modelling and investigation.

Germany: The government of North Rhine-Westphalia has awarded €3.6m to the MonoCab OWL gyro-stabilised monorail project, which aims to develop low-cost rolling stock capable of operating in both directions on a conventional single-track line.

The East Westphalia-Lippe-based (OWL) project intended to provide a low-cost alternative to trains for rural routes, and is a partnership of OWL Technical University, Lippe State Railway, the Fraunhofer Institute, FH Bielefeld and the local government of Lippe.

Hungary: MÁV-START has announced that it will sell debts worth approximately Forints 3bn ($US 9.53m) incurred as a result of fines imposed for ticketless travel in 2013 and 2014. The fines cover a total of 192,000 penalties related to 52,000 trips, with the majority of cases worth between Forints 10,000 and Forints 50,000.