Thursday, September 29, 2016

ARS Canada Rolling Stock Hiring

ARS Canada Rolling Stock acquired the assets of the former Industrial Rail Services / IRSI in Moncton back in October 2015, and they are now hiring. They intend to create 200 jobs in their first phase, according to ARS' CEO Arturo Contreras (CBC article).

They intend to produce 1,500 cars in their first year of production, an ambitious target. They intend to produce grain hoppers and tank cars.

Rail Cars

Canada's grain hopper fleet (the "Trudeau hoppers") is aging and many will need to be replaced in the next 10-15 years. ARS Canada intends to be in that market.
ARS Canada grain hopper drawing

Another market they are aiming for is the pending obsolescence of the DOT-111 tank cars. These cars, made notorious by the Lac-Megantic rail disaster, will no longer be allowed to carry crude oil in Canada after November 1. Tank car owners will need new TC-117 tank cars and ARS Canada has plans to be in that market too.
ARS Canada TC-117 tank car drawing

The Chinese Connection

ARS is reported to be a partnership between CRRC Meshan Inc. (a Chinese company also known as China Southern Railway or CSR) and CNR (China Northern Railway).

CRRC is the largest freight car manufacturer in the world, and is currently building 284 cars for Boston's subway.

I'm wondering if ARS will be using or adapting Chinese designs for its freight cars. This would lead to some unique new looks for Canadian railways!

IRSI, Reborn?

IRSI, 2003
They will be based in the former IRSI facility located at 299 Humpyard Road in Moncton. After IRSI went into receivership in April 2012, the facility dwindled and eventually closed.

ARS will have the main building, the former CN diesel shop, 125,000 square feet with 18 service bays, as well as the machine shop, paint shop and more.

I imagine many former IRSI employees will be applying for the open positions, so it may end up being IRSI 2.0.

Government Support?

There has been no announcement yet from the province, but I imagine there has been some subsidies and/or loan guarantees promised by the NB government. The government lost $20 million from loans and loan guarantees to IRSI, so let's hope this doesn't happen again with ARS.

The Future

Keep an eye on ARS in the next few months. Currently ARS doesn't have much of an investment beyond buying the IRSI facility (no doubt at fire sale prices). I imagine they will ramp up quickly if and when they get a contract to build new cars, or service existing rail car fleets.

I wish them well!


BWBandy said...

Interesting. I did not know any of this. I might have to do some further reading.

steamheat said...

Interesting News - Moncton certainly has a very good railway history of providing quality work - Hopefully this new venture will carry on the tradition -

Chris BIGDoer Doering said...

Informative write up there Steve. You'd think, given they're thirty to forty years old and horribly beat up, those Trudeau hoppers would need replacing now. Like right now. I wonder how they could be expected to last another decade or so? Nice to see the east coast get a new car builder since Trenton shut down.