Railroad Week in Review:
Third Quarter 2003
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ending September 26, 2003
CP's Neal Foot advocates scheduled operations for the world's railways.
UP schedules analyst conference for Sep 30. NS initiates voluntary separation
program for non-agreement personnel. Housatonic RR launches new website.
AAR designates Atlanta "Freight Rail Smart Zone. FEC completes stock reclassification.
KCS seeks binding arbitration in dispute with TMM.
ending September 19, 2003
Three themes from Norfolk Southern. More on train performance. BC Rail
closing in on final selection of its new operator. GWR and RRA report
August carloads. AAR four-week trend as comparison. What works and what
ending September 12, 2003
Morgan Stanley notes that 3Q03 STB service metrics continue to lag last
year's performance. Why the late get later. Rail traffic for Week 35
(ended Aug 30) rose a mere 0.7% yoy with carload up 0.7% and intermodal
up 0.8%. CN to take a 4% rate increase applicable to about 40% of its
open tariffs, effective Oct. 1, 2003. RailAmerica to apply for up to
$75 mm in RRIF-dollars for upgrades on three of its railroads. FEC to
reclassify Class A and Class B common stock into a single class of common
stock. CSX Chief Operating Officer Al Crown to retire.
ending September 5, 2003
Rail industry does well in new stock price highs this week. Short haul
opportunities in scrap paper and steel. Looks are everything in marketing,
and on that score the rails have a long way to go, starting next door
to Capitol Hill. Why not all Class Is are created equal when it comes
to shortline support. Kansas City differences with TMM expand.
ending August 29, 2003
Growing the carload business was the main theme of this week's Union
Pacific shortline conference in Omaha. The importance of Brand and Product
Management. KCS to close downtown Kansas City transload center and open
newer, bigger, better facility at Coburg Yard Sep 1. KCS takes legal
steps to solve the TMM impasse. St. Lawrence & Atlantic's Auburn (ME)
intermodal ramp now an official "Port of Entry."
ending August 22, 2003
The Blaster worm blasts CSX operations, shutting down the entire railroad
Wed morning. P&W cash flow statement revealing. AAR carloadings for
Week 33 (August 16) drift south by 1.2% yoy. KCS dealt setback as TMM
shareholders do not approve sale of its TFM interests to KCS. STB to
hold hearings on simplifying abandonment proceedings that apply to "small"
railroads. Trucking stocks remain an impressive group on the technical
trends. Merchandise carload implications of downtrend in manufacturing
employment. A further word on intermodal ramp operations.
ending August 15, 2003
We pause and reflect on what 2Q03 earnings results really mean. Providence
& Worcester earnings turn positive, though cash flow after capex and
divs gets hammered. GWR and RRA July carloadings increase double digits
in some key lanes while the AAR numbers are more negative than positive.
CN stock hits 52-week high in US dollars, though in Canadian dollars
the yoy increase is more subdued. Ditto CP. Full year stock price appreciation
for BNSF, CSX, GWR, NS and UP underwhelm. FEC does better; RRA and KSU
are down a bunch.
ending August 8, 2003
Pinsley's Florida Central and CSX team up with the Winter Garden Auto
Auction to put more than 300,000 vehicles a year on the railroad and
off the Interstates. Morristown & Erie wins operating contract bid for
two state-owned lines in Maine. UP to sell Overnite LTL trucking unit
in IPO. KCS and TMM clear Hart-Rodino waiting period. Railinc offers
web-based system meeting FRA's Air Brake Test reporting requirements.
IANA says domestic loadings still lag international volumes. Three shortline
ending August 1, 2003
The second quarter earnings season concluded on a positive note as FEC,
GWR, KSC and RRA all reported nice bumps in revenues. So much better
than the Big Six Class 1s in fact it makes one wonder if gains in the
shortlines -- most of whose carloads touch a class 1 someplace -- are
covering organic losses in the larger roads' traffic bases.
ending July 23, 2003
We cover earnings week them in alpha order: BNSF, CN, CP, CSX, NS and
UP. The common thread is intermodal as leader, except that UP's powerful
carload franchise overshadows its intermodal business. The chart at
the end compares The Six on yoy changes in railroad revenues, rail operating
income, the operating ratio, and corporate net income.
ending July 18, 2003
Shortlines can now meet the FRA Air Brake Test Date requirement via
the Internet. What's telling about shortline and regional railroad membership
in the AAR and IANA (Intermodal Assn. of North America). British Columbia
Rail this week collected four bidders for its semi-privatization. BNSF
completes the Seadrift Connection in Texas and gets STB green light
to go ahead with the line extension into the chemical-rich Bayport Loop
near Houston. And BNSF increases annual dividend by 25% to 60 cents,
a yield of 2.1% at today's share price.
ending July 11, 2003
Why there's room at the intermodal table for creative and aggressive
shortlines. Why Yellow Frieght is buying Roadway. Help Wanted Part II:
further details on our quest. Why during Earnings Week particular attention
must be paid to the spread between operating income and net income.
Why to beware thinly-traded stocks.
ending July 4, 2003
CSX and CN team up on a new intermodal terminal in Memphis.
BNSF is reducing forces still further in Topeka. AASHTO's "Listening
to America" TEA-21 report is a must-read -- and you can get it on the
web. CSX launches yet another track blitz to do two month's worth of
work in nine days.