The Railroad Week in Review:
Third Quarter 2003


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  • Week 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.
  • Week 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 doesn't.
  • Week 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.
  • Week 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.
  • Week 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."
  • Week 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.
  • Week 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.
  • Week 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 "tidbits."
  • Week 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.
  • Week 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.
  • Week 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.
  • Week 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.
  • Week 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.

 

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