February, 2009 - jstagl - Editors' Posts - MyProgressiveRailroading

February, 2009

Editors' Posts

Editors' Posts
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  • UTU's Szabo the next FRA Administrator?

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    The next FRA administrator might be Joseph Szabo. At least according to a Bloomberg news report issued yesterday. The United Transportation Union’s state director for Illinois is President Barack Obama’s top candidate for the job, the report...
  • Class Is cite workforce, production cutbacks during 4Q conferences

    • 1 Comments
    Because of steep traffic declines associated with weak freight demand, the Class Is are shrinking their workforces and whittling down their rolling stock fleets. Senior executives at the six largest Class Is broached the subject during their fourth...
  • Indiana Honda plant a prime example of short lines' marketing potential

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    On Dec. 2, a monumental event occurred in the short-line industry. A Central Railroad Co. of Indiana (CIND) train moved the first batch of vehicles to be transported by rail from a new Honda Motor Co. automotive plant in Greensburg, Ind., to Cincinnati...
  • CSX's '09 agenda includes ONE Plan overhaul

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    Make a good thing better. That’s what CSX Corp. is aiming to do with the ONE Plan. Since the Class I rolled out the operational planning/execution software tool in second-half 2004, the railroad has reduced train starts about 6 percent, eliminated...
  • Crude oil key to Watco short lines' traffic growth

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    There are several traffic segments that pose the biggest carload-growth opportunities for short lines. Ethanol, certainly, is No. 1. Intermodal traffic, which has been soft throughout 2008, still is a top draw. And old standbys coal and grain remain high...
  • For NS, a few steps to self improvement

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    It’s hard to find your way on a long journey on an unfamiliar route without a road map. For Norfolk Southern Corp. , the directional tool that will guide the Class I down the right self-improvement path the next few years is “Track 2012.”...
  • Railroaders among the ranks of the unemployed

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    In August, the U.S. unemployment rate reached 6.1 percent — the highest level in five years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rate has steadily risen after reaching 5 percent in April and 5.7 percent in July. U.S. employers shed...
  • Rail-car supply more of a concern to shippers than the economy, informal poll shows

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    The North American economy isn’t strengthening, but it isn’t weakening a whole lot, either. And rail-car supplies are getting tighter. At least, according to the opinions of two dozen rail shippers. With an assist from the helpful folks...
  • NS shifts automotive equipment gears to match car-buying pattern shifts

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    As is the case for all Class Is, automotive traffic volumes are down at Norfolk Southern Corp. — way down. Automotive carloads dropped about 12 percent in the second quarter to 116,300 units after tumbling 11 percent in the first quarter to 119...
  • No horsing around: Operation Lifesaver promotes crossing safety to equestrian set

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    When you think about the potential victim of a grade crossing accident, a motorist or truck driver comes to mind. But a horse? Yet, a collision between a train and horse tow vehicle or trailer at a crossing often causes a horse fatality, according...
  • Two chemical shippers turn to their customers to help foot transportation bills

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    Railroads and trucking firms long have added fuel surcharges to shippers’ freight bills to compensate for diesel cost escalations. But now, with diesel prices and surcharges at record levels, two chemical shippers are passing their staggering transportation...
  • Networking opportunity: NS and 10 New York short lines to jointly test market ‘single-line’ moves

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    Record attendance and an all-time-high number of railroad representatives were hot topics in the exhibit hall, general session ballroom and break-out session salons at the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association’s (ASLRRA) annual meeting...
  • The after-effects of 'after train hits car'

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    As I was perusing the headlines on the news wires April 28 — something I do every morning to keep up with rail industry doings — I noticed this one from the AP: “Driver, 3 Children Unharmed After Train Hits Car in North Florida.”...
  • No more state funds for crossing repairs means Michigan short line adopts surcharge

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    Railroads long have been passing on higher diesel costs to shippers through fuel surcharges, but how about the cost to maintain grade crossings? Saginaw Bay Southern Railway (SBS) has instituted a surcharge of $20 per car to cover a portion of expenses...
  • Word on the Street: U.S. railroads are solid, fundamentally speaking

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    Even though the Standard & Poor's 500 index is down about 6 percent so far this year, the Dow Jones transportation average is up about 4 percent. What’s a major factor behind the healthy transportation index? U.S. railroads, which are...
  • Research rules in a capacity context at AAR's annual TTCI event in Colorado

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    Greetings from Pueblo, Colo., a town local officials refer to as the “City of Excellence” and Association of American Railroads (AAR) officials call research city. It’s here that AAR subsidiary the Transportation Technology Center Inc...
  • Beijing Olympic Games no boon for North American intermodal industry

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    The Summer Olympic Games are coming to Beijing, China. Excitement is building among athletes preparing for the August games, people arranging vacations and purchasing tickets for the worldwide event, and NBC officials readying plans to televise the 29th...
  • Signs point toward a recession, not a rail traffic rebound

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    Oh-for-four is bad in baseball and recessionary terms. Each of the four monthly indicators used to determine whether the U.S. economy is entering a recession — inflation-adjusted retail sales, job growth, income growth and industrial output —...
  • Escalating rates might motivate more rail shippers to switch modes

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    Bank of America Securities’ fourth-quarter survey of 1,400 rail shippers revealed a growing trend that should concern railroads. More shippers are considering diversions to other modes. Conducted in November, the survey showed 67 percent of the...
  • Short-line tax credits. One, two or three more years? How about forever

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    Dec. 31 is fast approaching and short liners have more at stake that day than their New Year’s Eve plans. The federal tax credit law expires when the clock strikes midnight. Since the law was enacted in 2005, short lines have used tax credits...
  • At massive Bailey Yard, every minute counts for coal trains. And UP is saving hundreds of hours with in-train wheel replacements

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    From 12 days to 12 minutes? I have to admit I was skeptical when three Union Pacific Railroad senior executives said Bailey Yard cut the time to change wheelsets on empty coal cars that much by performing the work in the field instead of in a shop. ...
  • A routine crossing check that was anything but routine for BNSF's Rodriguez — and the man he saved

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    Salvador Rodriguez paid attention to the details — moreso than most of us would have in today's mind-your-own-business society — and saved a man's life as a result. After a recent routine grade crossing equipment check in Hinsdale...
  • 'Highway in the sky' monorail not necessarily a big reach

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    Planes, trains and automobiles. The three transportation modes are somewhat interconnected, as the title of Steve Martin's 1987 movie suggests. But what if you converted planes to trains as part of a monorail system aimed at reducing the number of...
  • Signs of an ethanol bust? More like a slightly quieter boom

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    You can never get enough of a good thing. And for railroads and tank-car builders, ethanol has been a very good thing. During the past few years, many railroads have posted double-digit increases in ethanol-related traffic and the handful of builders...
  • Short lines prove they’re long on industrial development

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    When Southeast Aggregates searched high and low for a distribution facility site in Georgia earlier this year, a city offering long-term business growth potential was priority No. 1. A close second? Rail access. The company, which operates an aggregate...