• Super Steel Reorganization, Exits Passenger Biz for good

  • General discussion about locomotives, rolling stock, and equipment
General discussion about locomotives, rolling stock, and equipment

Moderator: John_Perkowski

  by Tadman
If you're curious about the history of Super Steel and/or the passenger locomotive biz, here's a good article. It explains why Super Steel went under and why they left the passenger business but are avidly pursuing sub-contract work for EMD.

http://www.thefabricator.com/article/fa ... fabricator

"Super Steel owns an empty 180,000-sq.-ft. plant in Milwaukee. A for-sale sign hangs on the gate. This could be seen as a remnant of the overleveraged, pre-financial-crisis era. The fabricator exited receivership several years ago. The financial crisis forced the company to downsize significantly, from a head count high of 650 in 2008 to only 185 in the beginning of 2010.

But then you look at its bustling main facility a few miles away, all 450,000 sq. ft. of it. Today this plant alone has the capabilities to generate more than double the revenue produced previously from three facilities—two in Milwaukee and one in Glenville, N.Y., near Schenectady. In the months and years since the financial crisis, the organization has transformed.

Super Steel went back to its roots of quick-turn contract fabrication and successfully balanced it with its product line work for the freight rail industry. In short, the company found the right mix of people and work to grow. Managers expect revenues to reach $70 million by the end of 2013."

Super Steel is the name behind the turboliner rebuilds and the DE/DM30 fleet, as well as the manufacturer of most SD70 cabs.

  by Matt Johnson
If SS wants to be more of a subcontractor/pure fabricator rather than a vertically integrated firm with in-house design capability, it might make sense to try to cash in on the energy boom. The article does mention that the company has diversified across several industries. I don't know how long the domestic natural gas boom will last, but for now apparently it's producing a lot of demand for industrial fabrication work from what I've read. Large construction firms like Fluor often contract out to smaller fabrication providers.
  by Tadman
Matt, I think you hit the nail on the head. It seems they're betting on a lot of fast turnaround fabricating for big projects and repair jobs.
  by byte
Although Super Steel is best known for being in charge of the Turboliner rehabs and assembling the LIRR locomotives, they probably made most of their money quietly assembling 300+ Nippon-Sharyo gallery cars in Milwaukee for Metra/CalTrain/VRE/CSS. It's not explicitly stated in this article but N-S's decision to operate its own plant was likely the biggest factor in forcing Super Steel to find other ways of being profitable.

This article appears to be from a metal fabrication industry trade publication, and you always have to take what trade publications publish with a grain of salt - more often than not what you're reading is nothing more than a glorified PR piece. A few years ago I was affiliated with an academic group which afforded me access to current issues of Railway Age, which I perceived to be the "real thing" compared to the railfan magazines available to everyone. However, I quickly got bored with the manner in which their articles are written (all through rose-colored glasses) and the complete lack of criticism its articles offered to any party or cause within the rail industry. If you want real journalism on North American rail topics, the best place to find it is in a copy of Trains, not an industry trade publication.