NRC column: Optimize your fleet with the auction

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
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NRC Chairman Steve Bolte.

Railroad contractors are an opinionated bunch, but they will agree on this point: Having the right equipment makes all the difference when it comes to working safely, productively, and profitably.

Fleet and operations managers continually evaluate their equipment to ensure they have the right mix for the work ahead. That’s been a huge reason for the popularity of the NRC Railroad Equipment Auction. This highly anticipated annual event gives railroads and contractors the opportunity to sell and buy equipment to optimize their fleets.

We learned a valuable lesson last year when our virtual-only event broke all prior records. As a result, the 2022 Annual NRC Railroad Equipment Auction—the 18th in our history dating back to 2004—will be accessible to both virtual and in-person participants and held in
two parts:
April 22-27: A virtual “smalls” auction featuring smaller items such as scrap metal and tools begins on April 22 and closes at 3 p.m. EDT on April 27. Registered buyers can bid virtually; and
April 28: An in-person and virtual equipment auction begins at 9 a.m. EDT at Delta Railroad Services’ yard near Austinberg, Ohio. Registered buyers can bid on equipment in person or online.

Learn more about donating or consigning equipment and the complete schedule on the NRC website: https://bit.ly/33ggNtq.

Recent sourcing and supply-chain issues have made acquiring certain types of new equipment particularly difficult, with some lead times extending out a year or more. Contractors are already telling us they will be looking for railway equipment to fill the gaps, whether they put it into operation immediately or invest in repairs for the future.

Bryce Peterson, director of equipment and fleet operations at RailWorks Corporation, said the auction provides a valuable way to sell and buy specialized equipment. “The NRC Auction offers visibility to sell specialized equipment and an effective way to reach our intended audience,” he said. “And sometimes we need to upgrade our existing fleet with specialized equipment that is tougher to find. We’ve found it at the auction.”

Greg Spilker, vice president of sales & marketing with Maintenance of Way Equipment Solutions and a longtime NRC Auction committee member, encouraged prospective buyers and sellers to attend in person. “It’s perfect timing, with work just starting up, and a great place to connect with contractors and suppliers,” he said. “The auction offers an alternative to buying newer equipment. Many times you have the chance to find unique equipment that is not manufactured anymore along with parts for both older and newer equipment models.”

George Williams, senior vice president of Herzog’s Equipment Division and also an Auction committee member, affirmed the NRC Auction delivers more value than other auctions. “You can find equipment at this auction that is really not available on a daily basis. Plus, we know 90% of the sellers and can get an understanding of the condition of equipment,” he added. “It’s a spectacular event. We’re honored to support a worthy cause and it’s a bonus to find the equipment we need.”

I hope you will join us in person in Austinberg, but online participants are welcomed, too. Your support will enable the NRC to invest in high-quality safety training videos for our member companies and their employees.

Building a safer and stronger railway construction industry together.

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