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May 21, 2009 - McKenzie Valve

Over the last twelve years, I’ve watched proudly as McKenzie Valve and Machining Company developed into a lean manufacturing success. Today, using 5S tools and visual management technologies, McKenzie is extremely efficient, while producing high quality products.

This success would not be possible without their dedicated workforce of machinists, welders, technicians, and other support staff who maintain a safe environment, well-maintained equipment, and a clean, well-organized workplace.

Please read the article, and feel free to visit for more information.

Greg Cieslak
UTLX General Manager - Repair

February 26, 2009 - HM-246

HM-246 is written as a result of petitions to allow shippers of Poison Inhalation Hazard (PIH) and Toxic Inhalation Hazard (TIH) commodities to obtain new tank cars in the interim period until a car design meeting the NPRM crashworthiness requirements is finalized. PHMSA is amending the Hazardous Material Regulations for rail transportation of PIH materials for new cars built within the interim period, only. The Interim car design will feature thicker steel inner tank shells and/or outer tank jackets, full head shields, and additional protection for top fittings, nozzles, and valves. DOT estimates that the fleet of Interim PIH cars will number about 2,000. Read more...

February 2, 2009 - Health and Safety Initiative

It is with pride in our company’s respect for the health and safety of all our Tank Car People that I’d like to share our newest safety initiative. Union Tank Car has long been an industry leader in caring for our employees’ safety and health – above and beyond the levels mandated by federal regulation. Our new program “Incident and Injury-Free” (IIF), operates on the assumption that even just one accident is too many.

Please click here to read the article.

Here’s wishing you an incident-free year - both at work - and at home.

Jim Shirvinski
UTLX General Manager - Manufacturing

January 8, 2009 - AAR Circular OT-5 K

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) has issued a revised AAR Circular OT-5 K “Rules Governing Assignment of Reporting Marks, Mechanical Designations, and Application for the Use of Private Equipment” that supersedes Circular OT-5 J. These new rules are effective January 1, 2009.

Changes from the previous version address a new internet-based system for loading authority submissions, and for the first time, a new requirement that loading authorizations will be required for tank cars. Applications for authorizations to load tank cars must be submitted, subject to the provisions in Circular OT-5 K, during a one year period beginning January 1, 2009. Due to the specific nature of the information contained in the OT-5 Loading Authority Application, it is the shipper’s responsibility to file these requests with the originating railroad utilizing the “Railinc” system as described in the attachments below. Information on AAR Circular OT-5 K, can be found at At UTLX, Mr. John Kieras, Director of Railroad and Industry Relations, is the primary contact at phone number 312-431-5084.

Getting Setup for: Circular OT-5 K   OT-5 K Publication   OT-5 K Letter to private car shippers and owners

December 19, 2008 - The Importance of Correctly Reporting Last Contents

All safe work starts with knowing the chemicals we may come into contact with when performing tank car qualifications and repairs.

It has long been established that shipping by rail is one of the safest methods to transport hazardous materials. Our company is in the business of manufacturing, leasing, and maintaining railroad tank cars so they are ready for safe, efficient service. As part of our effort to keep our – and all - tank car service personnel working safely, we teamed with one of our customers to make a training DVD on the importance of reporting correct - and specific - last contents information to repair service centers.

Please read more about the employees who developed the training DVD at

To receive a free copy to share with your department or customer, please contact Lorraine Weiss at or 312-431-3111, ext. 3047.

Careful review of this important safety topic might save a life.

John C. Kolb
Manager – Safety & Health

July 10, 2008 - Streamlining and Simplifying Our Business

At Union Tank Car, we are constantly working on developing “better ways” to serve our customers by streamlining and simplifying our business.

Over 1,500 different commodities are transported in UTLX tank cars, and one type of gasket – Durlon® 9000 – is suitable for over 99 percent of those shipments. So we are standardizing our gasket specifications in order to further improve our ability to deliver both new and existing tank cars to our customers on an even more timely basis.

Please read the story to see how by standardizing on one type of gasket can benefit our customers, now and in years to come.

W. L. Snelgrove
Vice President – Sales & Customer Service

June 30, 2008 - Union Tank Car Restructures Marketing & Sales

After almost 40 years of leadership to Union Tank Car Company, its Canadian affiliate, Procor Limited, and the tank car industry, Bill Snelgrove will be stepping back from his day-to-day line responsibilities as Vice President – Sales and Customer Service on June 30, 2008. He will maintain an ongoing advisory role to the UTLX Leasing Business Unit, and will independently represent UTLX Manufacturing, Inc. for the sale of new tank cars to other railcar leasing companies.   Read the complete article...

February 5, 2008 - Inspecting Rail Tank Cars, by Mary Ruth Johnsen, editor, Inspection Trends, Summer 2007

When you visit the new UTLX Manufacturing, Inc., plant in Alexandria, La., you’ll see rows of gleaming ebony tank cars awaiting delivery (Fig. 1) and a massive manufacturing space filled with workers, equipment, and dozens of tanks in various stages of assembly. However, you won’t see any vats of chemicals awaiting use or containers of spent chemicals. That’s because this new plant only uses digital x-ray equipment, with its resultant benefits of real-time, easier-to-analyze results, fewer environmental issues, and space savings.   Read the complete article...

August 28, 2007 - Through proactive preplanning, shippers can ensure the availability of tank cars to meet the requirements of their customers, while at the same time helping the repair business unit level shop workloads.

With the objective of returning UTLX railcars to our customers on an even-more timely basis, Union Tank Car continues to expand and improve our North American network of maintenance and repair capabilities. But with FRA mandated deadlines for tank car qualifications just around the corner, we will only be able to realize these efficiencies with our customers’ direct involvement and support.

Through proactive preplanning, shippers can ensure the availability of tank cars to meet the requirements of their customers, while at the same time helping the repair business unit level shop workloads.

In the link below, read about how we are working with our customers to avoid the qualification crunch.

W. L. Snelgrove
Vice President – Sales & Customer Service   Read article...

June 6, 2007 - Link Net Not Just for Customers

Our on-line resource Link-Net has made great strides since we first introduced it nine short years ago. Over that time, e-Business Director Bill Hansen has personally met with numerous UTLX customers to demonstrate how Link-Net’s capabilities and functions can help them to better manage their fleets.

But, Link Net is not just for customers, it’s a tool all of us at Union Tank Car should be familiar with and utilize to perform our jobs more effectively and efficiently. If you don’t have a password, need to ask a question, or would like to make a suggestion for improvement, Bill-e is your man. You can contact him at

In the link below, read about the on-going improvements and customer-driven features that have made our website the gold standard for the industry.

W. L. Snelgrove
Vice President – Sales & Customer Service   Read article...

March 1, 2007 - BNSF Private Equipment Registration System

BNSF has introduced a new Private Equipment Registration system for infrastructure planning purposes, and also serving as OT-5 authority for cars subject to OT-5. Lessees will be required to register their private cars that load on the BNSF. Registrations should be completed by March 31, 2007.   Read article...

September 15, 2006 - Cotton Fields to Tank Cars

On what was once a 122-acre cotton field outside of Alexandria, Louisiana is now the world's most advanced tank car manufacturing facility.

With a planned production of 70 cars a week - one tank car every working hour - UTLX Alexandria is raising not only the speed of manufacturing, but quality and safety too.

With production at the plant "sold out" into 2008, the "tank car people" take great pride in UTLX's most recent commitment to the industry and their customers. Read article...

August 21, 2006 - Dedicated mobile repair service continues to gain popularity

Union Tank Car's dedicated mobile repair service continues to gain popularity with customers from coast to coast. They value having UTLX rail car maintenance expertise at their plant locations, keeping railcars on the tracks and out of repair shops.

By clicking on the link below, you can read a detailed account of how Georgia Gulf, with a fleet of 4,000 cars, uses UTLX on-site service to save valuable time when tank car and covered hopper availability is at a premium. In today's marketplace, a railcar not being utilized is product not being shipped. On-site service also offers the bonus of daily inspections and maintenance, significantly reducing the frequency of cars being bad-ordered by the railroad. Read article...

August 4, 2006 - Dow Chemical, Union Pacific and Union Tank Car Announce Collaboration on Future Vision for Secure Transportation of Chemicals

The Dow Chemical Company, Union Pacific and Union Tank Car Company concluded meetings this week where leaders of the three companies reaffirmed their commitment to safe and secure rail transportation of chemicals.

Dow, Union Pacific, and Union Tank Car assembled a joint project team to drive forward a process for the development of a next-generation rail tank car for highly hazardous chemicals. Read article...

July 17, 2006 - UTLX Repair Shop is Star Site of OSHA Cowboy Voluntary Protection Program

Chicago, IL - Union Tank Car Company’s Evanston, Wyoming Repair Shop has been approved by Wyoming OSHA for Star Status in the Cowboy Voluntary Protection Program (CVPP) at the highest level of participation. The Star Program recognizes employers that have implemented an effective occupational safety and health program that includes the active participation of all employees. Read article...

June 23, 2006 - Union Tank Car’s Alexandria Louisiana Manufacturing Plant is Operational.

Chicago, IL - UTLX Manufacturing, Inc. has proven its ability to manufacture quality railroad tank cars at its new facility in Alexandria, Louisiana. “Currently we have about a dozen completed 30,000 gallon cars on hand that have passed final inspection and are qualified for service,” said Blaise Horban, Director of Operations. “The two-car-per-day rate of production is a level that allows us to ensure the absolute quality of every car while we train new TANK CAR PEOPLE to work safely. Product quality and work safety are the highest of our start up goals.” Read article...

June 22, 2006 - Customer Rohm and Haas levers its partnership

Customer Rohm and Haas levers its partnership with UTLX to maximum advantage.

The combination of a creative sale/leaseback structure and a stronger, safer monomer tank car design allows Rohm and Haas to concentrate on its core competencies, producing and shipping chemicals. Read article...

April 3, 2006 - Operation Respond's OREIS Mobile

Wallace Wireless and Operation Respond Introduce, Operation Respond's OREIS Mobile: On-Scene Access to Critical Hazardous Materials Data, for First Responders during Transportation Incidents.

First-to-market wireless solution, to provide critical hazardous materials data and on-scene guidance to First Responders to transportation accidents and incidents, with secure, integrated access to lifesaving guidance - anytime, anywhere. Read article...

January 13, 2006 - Union Tank Car Company hires for Alexandria plant

Union Tank Car Company help wanted ads will begin to appear in Central Louisiana newspapers on Sunday, January 15. Click here for more information.

October 24, 2005 - New FRA Safety Advisory

The FRA has released a Safety Advisory regarding time-sensitive shipments. This references the latest version of AAR Circular Letter OT-55-H. Click here to view this advisory.

September 28, 2005 - UTLX Employees Across the Country Join Katrina Relief Effort.

President Frank Lester shows off a check for $25,000 that Union Tank Car has sent to Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco. Frank wrote in a letter to the Governor, “Your friends at Union Tank Car are holding you in our highest thoughts and prayers. Please accept the enclosed check to assist the Louisiana families whose lives have been devastated by Hurricane Katrina.” Click here for the complete story and many more.

September 2, 2005 - Flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina may cause damage to railway equipment.

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Federal Railroad Administration has already received field reports of freight cars which have been in flooded areas and which have confirmed or suspected submerged journal bearings. Please click here for details of FRA requirements.

August 2, 2005 - Freight car lessors need a stronger voice.

Chicago, IL – The Private Car Owner Alliance – 11 members of the Railway Supply Institute who own and lease freight cars – has joined with the North America Freight Car Association (NAFCA) and the National Coal Transportation Association (NCTA) in asking the Association of American Railroads for broader representation on the AAR committees that make decisions affecting railroad freight car owners. Click here for the complete article.

Railway Age, July, 2005. Used with permission.

May 13, 2005 - Jim Shirvinski Named Manufacturing Vice President.

Chicago, IL – Jim Shirvinski has been promoted to Vice President of Manufacturing for UTLX Manufacturing, Inc. Initially, he will be responsible for construction of the new tank car manufacturing plant at Alexandria, LA. When the Alexandria Plant is operational, Shirvinski will be responsible for its daily manufacturing activities as well as for production at the two manufacturing operations at the UTLX plant at Sheldon, TX. The manufacturing plant in East Chicago, IN and McKenzie Valve Manufacturing in McKenzie, TN – along with Shirvinski – will report directly to General Manager Lou Kulekowskis. Click here for the complete article.

April 5, 2005 - Steel Going Up at UTLX Manufacturing Site.

Chicago, Illinois – Since UTLX Manufacturing’s ceremonial ground breaking for its Alexandria expansion almost four months ago, very little construction progress has been visible from Cappel Road or Route 1. That’s because much of the initial effort has been in preparation of the site. Between the rain showers, local contractor, Gilchrist, has hauled in roughly 200,000 cubic yards of red dirt so far to level the property. Much more fill is still required to establish the proper grade for the 800,000 square foot facility that is projected to be producing railroad tank cars by this time next year. Click here for the complete article.

February 16, 2005 - summary of the federal register notice regarding reflectorization

This article deals with the federal register notice regarding reflectorization of rail freight rolling stock. This applies to tank cars as well as other rail cars, and has a 10 year phase-in period. Click here to view the final rule.

January 12, 2005 - UTLX and Kelso Technologies Enter Joint Agreement to Produce Pressure Relief Valves

Union Tank Car Company and Kelso Technologies have entered into a five-year Joint Marketing and Development Agreement to manufacture and market Kelso's patented JS SRV line of pressure relief valves. The Agreement encompasses all aspects of valve development and manufacturing, as well as marketing, technical support, and service. Click here to view the news release or here to view the valve.

January 4, 2005 - Training for Emergency Response Workers

Tank Car People,

One of our corporate goals is to be the information source to our industry. Toward that objective, our company participates in the education of emergency response workers across the country.

In the attached article, which you can access via the link below, three UTLX tank cars were refurbished by the Firefighters Education and Training Foundation. These cars joined over two dozen others in a program that has trained more than 5,000 firefighters annually, helping keep our communities safer and lessen the risk associated with each call they receive.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy and safe 2005.

Bill Snelgrove
Vice President - Sales & Customer Service

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