Baker, Ahles & Kaskovich

Arlington startup working on wireless braking system for freight trains

Federal regulators have recommended electronically controlled pneumatic braking systems for freight trains carrying crude oil.
Federal regulators have recommended electronically controlled pneumatic braking systems for freight trains carrying crude oil. MCT

As federal regulators roll out new safety guidelines for freight trains carrying crude oil, a young entrepreneur in Fort Worth thinks he may have a solution for railroads.

For the past year and a half, Jeff Tippey has been developing a wireless braking system for trains that will send signals to activate brakes on rail cars. His Arlington-based startup, InteliRail Systems, is lining up an engineering partner to speed up the development process and move toward tests with major railroads, he told us last week.

Last month, the Transportation Department unveiled new rules for oil trains, including one opposed by the railroad industry that would require tank cars to have electronically controlled pneumatic brakes by 2021. The industry has been in the spotlight after a series of fiery oil train derailments, including one last week in North Dakota.

Tippey, 30, received a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington and worked at Lockheed Martin and New York Air Brake. For the past year, he has been a client at the Tech Fort Worth business incubator, where he says he received help setting up a business plan and was connected with a retired BNSF executive who has acted as a mentor.

Tippey said his system will work with existing air brakes on the rail cars, which would cost only half as much as installing new ECP braking systems on cars. According to the company’s website, the InteliRail system “has the capability to reduce the stopping distance of a freight train by 40-60 percent.”

He said he has spoken with BNSF and discussed conducting tests in the near future.

“We are going to be significantly cheaper and easier to implement while providing all of the safety benefits of the other system,” he said.

A self-described nerd who has always liked trains, Tippey says he was working on train control systems when, one day, his eureka moment came to him when he woke up from a nap. In addition to selling his idea to railroads, he’ll need the blessing of federal regulators.

American executives cash in

With American Airlines’ stock trading around $50 a share, three of the carrier’s top executives cashed in some of their lucrative holdings.

The sales, disclosed in three recent filings, showed the executives netting over $33 million. President Scott Kirby made a net profit of $20,017,178.27; Chief Financial Officer Derek Kerr, $5,198,047.50; and Chief Operating Officer Robert Isom, $8,032,059.97.

All three continue to hold significant amounts of American stock (ticker: AAL) worth almost $100 million based on Monday’s closing price of $48.99.

WestBend has three more tenants

A restaurant and bar, a fashion boutique and a spa, all new names to the Fort Worth market, have leased in WestBend on University Drive.

HG Sply Co., Pax & Parker and Woodhouse Day Spa will open shop in the center this year.

HG Sply Co., a popular restaurant on Dallas’ Greenville Avenue, will have 3,800 square feet indoors and 5,000 square feet outdoors. It is slated to open in late 2015.

Pax & Parker, a Fort Worth-based retailer, will debut with a 1,364-square-foot shop. It is expected to open in the fall.

And Woodhouse Day Spa, a full-service spa founded in 2001 in Victoria, will expand to a 5,240-square-foot spot in the fall.

Tyler’s athletic wear recently announced its first Fort Worth store in WestBend. The Fresh Market is also opening in the shopping center.

“In the past month alone, we’ve announced more than 32,000 square feet of restaurant and retail tenants coming to WestBend, and leasing remains strong,” said Terry Montesi, CEO of Trademark Property Co., WestBend’s developer.

Andrea Ahles, 817-390-7631

Twitter: @Sky_Talk

Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727

Twitter: @SandraBakerFWST

Steve Kaskovich, 817-390-7773

Twitter: @stevekasko




Net profit

President Scott Kirby




Chief Financial Officer Derek Kerr




Chief Operating Officer Robert Isom








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