TTX has kept freight trains in the US, Canada, and Mexico on track since 1955. The company leases railcars and offers a slate of rail car management services. Its customers, railroad operators, opt to lease railcars from a pool rather than buy them in order to be more nimble in adjusting to changes in demand. TTX's fleet of 200,000-plus railcars comprises flat cars, boxcars, and gondolas that haul intermodal containers, vehicles, and commodities such as lumber, steel, and farm and construction equipment. Its operations are supported by the Southeastern Repair Division, which has facilities in Florida and South Carolina. TTX is owned by multiple North American railroads -- the company's primary customers.
Unlike other rail equipment lessors, growth is not the company's primary goal; cost containment and competitive pricing are. Its car pooling structure allows major railroads to share the ownership, management, and use of equipment operated by TTX. However, the toll taken by the economic recession on its pool participants is shared by TTX. The downturn in container shipments forced TTX in early 2010 to cut 20% of its workforce at a Southeastern Repair Division shop in South Carolina and jobs at a repair facility in Florida. Earlier in the year, TTX cut 200 workers at a plant in Mira Loma, California that converted large railroad freight cars to smaller ones.
Despite the decline in business, TTX is positioned to benefit as intermodal traffic recovers. Bolstered by proceeds from a $150 million bond sold in late 2010, it maintains a critical logistics center and fabrication plant. It also runs multiple repair facilities along with a string of field maintenance outposts. The company's fleet management and services include purchasing new equipment and parts for repair, maintenance, and modification. TTX's information technology segment monitors each car, tracks its movements, and records maintenance history for quality control.
Thomas Wells is steering the company through the troubled times. Succeeding Andrew Reardon, he assumed the role of TTX president and director in mid-2008, and subsequently, company CEO.
The company was originally formed as Trailer Train by the Pennsylvania Railroad to supply affordable rail freight cars. Although ownership percentages have changed over the years, all owners share the same level of access to equipment and services that TTX offers. The Department of Transportation's Surface Transportation Board (formerly the Interstate Commerce Commission), the government regulatory agency responsible for rail transportation, periodically calls for public comment on TTX's activities, which are exempt from antitrust and other laws. – less