Freightcar America Inc   (RAIL)
Other Ticker:  
    Sector  Transportation    Industry Railroads
   Industry Railroads
   Sector  Transportation

Freightcar America Inc

Business Description

We and our predecessors have been manufacturing railcars since 1901. We believe we are the leading manufacturer of aluminum-bodied railcars and coal cars in North America, based on the number of railcars delivered. Our BethGon® railcar has been the leading aluminum-bodied coal car sold in North America for over 20 years. Over the last 25 years, we believe we have built and introduced more types of coal cars than all other manufacturers in North America combined. The balance of our production consisted of a broad spectrum of railcar types that transport non-liquid commodities and products.

Our railcar manufacturing facilities are located in Cherokee, Alabama (“Shoals”), Danville, Illinois and Roanoke, Virginia. Our Shoals facility is an important part of our long-term growth strategy as we continue to expand our railcar product and service offerings outside of our traditional coal car market. While our Danville and Roanoke facilities will continue to support our coal car products, we believe the Shoals facility will allow us to produce a broader variety of railcars in a cost-effective and efficient manner.
We also refurbish and rebuild railcars and sell forged, cast and fabricated parts for all of the railcars we produce, as well as those manufactured by others. FreightCar Rail Services, LLC (“FCRS”) provides railcar repair and maintenance and inspections for all types of freight railcars. FCRS has repair and maintenance and inspection facilities in Grand Island, Nebraska and Hastings, Nebraska and services freight cars and unit coal trains utilizing key rail corridors in the Midwest and Western regions of the United States. As part of our strategic initiative to improve the contribution of the services business to our results of operations, management evaluated the long-term profitability of each of our railcar maintenance and repair shops during the fourth quarter of 2013 and decided to close our underperforming maintenance and repair shop in Clinton, Indiana. During the third quarter of 2014, those repair shop assets were sold to a strategic buyer. We also lease freight cars through our JAIX Leasing Company subsidiary.

We design and manufacture a broad variety of freight cars including covered hoppers, open top hoppers, gondolas, boxcars, intermodal and non-intermodal flat cars that transport numerous types of dry bulk and containerized freight products.

We have railcar production facilities in Cherokee, Alabama, Danville, Illinois and Roanoke, Virginia. Our facilities are each certified or approved for certification by the Association of American Railroads (the “AAR”), which sets railcar manufacturing industry standards for quality control. Our Shoals manufacturing facility delivered its first railcars during the fourth quarter of 2013 and provides a solid platform from which to pursue a broad range of non-coal car business including intermodal well cars, non-intermodal flat cars and various open-top hopper, covered hopper and gondola cars.

Our manufacturing process involves four basic steps: fabrication, assembly, finishing and inspection. Each of our facilities has numerous checkpoints at which we inspect products to maintain quality control, a process that our operations management continuously monitors. In our fabrication processes, we employ standard metal working tools, many of which are computer controlled. Each assembly line typically involves 15 to 20 manufacturing positions, depending on the complexity of the particular railcar design. We use mechanical fastening in the fitting and assembly of our aluminum-bodied railcar parts, while we typically use welding for the assembly of our steel-bodied railcars. For aluminum-bodied railcars, we begin the finishing process by cleaning the railcar’s surface and then applying the decals. In the case of steel-bodied railcars, we begin the finishing process by blasting the surface area of the railcar, painting it and then applying decals. Once we have completed the finishing process, our employees, along with representatives of the customer purchasing the particular railcars, inspect all railcars for adherence to specifications.

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