Railroad Week in Review:
Second Quarter 2007
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in Review, 4/6/2007
Mexican truckers, major league baseball and some short-line railroads
have in common. Canadian National first quarter earnings are expected
to be off 5-10% yoy. Norfolk Southern estimates that 1Q07 diluted eps
will be down about 3% yoy. The UMWU has gone on strike at two App coal
mines served by NS and CSX. Greenbrier (GBX) will likely post a loss
in its fiscal second quarter.
in Review, 4/13/2007
Buffett buys BNSF -- what does it mean for short lines? Who get a seat
at the hedge fund table? JB Hunt downgrade has implications for the
box car trade. Short line short takes.
in Review, 4/20/2007
CSX and UP lead off Earnings week with strong stories well presented.
Michigan's Marquette Rail to purchase onboard wireless computers for
its locomotive fleet. GWR March carloads. Class I traffic volumes uninspiring
and likely to remain so for the nonce.
in Review, 4/27/2007
ASLRRA Annual Meeting in Baltimore a smashing success, host hotel sold
out, some break-out sessions over-subscribed. A few observations and
lessons learned. Class I earnings calls ended this week; commentaries
and charts herewith.
in Review, 5/4/2007
Kathryn McQuade decamps from NS to become COO of Canadian Pacific. GWR
reports Q1 revs up 16% on 2% more revenue units, eps up 3% yoy. Patriot
Rail acquires Montana's Rarus rail, the former BA&P of 1950s traction
fame. Rick Paterson on rails' room for more debt; my comments on one
neat way to use it.West surpasses east in share of national freight
revenues; Further opportunity for shrinking the number of shortline
in Review, 5/11/2007
Florida East Coast railroad and parent to be taken private by Fortress
in a $3.5 bn transaction to close in 3Q07. Notes from the 8th annual
Bear Stearns Transportation Conference. Watco acquires Millennium car
in Review, 5/18/2007
The hedge fund feeding frenzy continues; what it means for short lines.
CSX' Oscar Munoz gets an "A" for his financial presentation.
Debbie Butler, Fred Ehlers move up at NS. Reader feedback.
in Review, 5/25/2007
CN Analyst Day in Toronto a huge success; lessons for shortlines. Class
I and shortline revenue units still down in Week 18 (May 5) and YTD.
FreightCar America orders off creating share-buying opportunity.The
Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC) has OKd $1.2 mm in grants
loans; where it went and why. The list of money-management funds taking
positions in the Class I rails continues to grow; implications for the
in Review, 6/1/2007
what the private-equity guys are doing and what short
lines should be doing. Why revenue unit volume counts. UBS says private
equity may not work in Canada. How to use usraildesktop.com to
fine-tune the short line traffic base. Notes from NARS. Observations
on covered hopper demand for corn and DDGs from Peter Nesvold, railcar
analyst at Bear Stearns. Coal hopper orders down at FreightCar America.
in Review, 6/8/2007
Norfolk Southern brings good news for shippers, short lines and investors
to its NYC Analysts Day. Some lumber buyers say they are getting more
product out of eastern US and Canada partly due to rising rail rates;
an opportunity for short lines to hook up lanes? A cautionary note on
TIH from New England. Rails having second thoughts about some of their
aggressive pricing practices? Carlyle Group takes major RMI stake. A
help-wanted listing from Amtrak. Seriously.
in Review, 6/15/2007
It looks like the DME sale is for real; several indicators converging.
GWR same-store loads fall ten percent. Auto load decline more parts
than finished vehicles; why it impacts short lines disproportionately.Amtrak
detours in NC while ridership zooms upward in CA. Would that NS had
more ops performance data in its Analysts Day presentation. Reader comments
on the Crescent Corridor and the merch carload trade. Positive investor
notes for UNP, TRN, GBX.
in Review, 6/22/2007
Larry Kaufman writes on customer service vs returns on investment. How
shortlines can improve Class I response time to new business rate questions.
The DM&E pot continues to boil. Rail freight traffic for the week
ending June 15. CTA threatens re-regulation north of the border.Penna
RR T&HS places high-speed rail commemorative plaque in Princeton.
IAIS runs double-headed steam freights; ex-Reading 2100 arrives in the
Tri-Cities for display and ops. UBS on why RR investors may switch to
cash flow from PEs.
in Review, 6/29/2007
Morgan Stanleys William Greene writes, We were surprised
again this quarter at the degree of weakness in rail volumes."
Take-aways for shortlines. Bear Stearns "more cautious" on
are still hungry and any perceived rail service lapses or over-reaching
rate increases will find shippers heading for the highwaymen. GWRs
Portland & Western will receive some $2.5 mm in Oregon State funds
to upgrade 12 miles of century-old track between Hagg Lake and Hillsboro.
GWR to exit Mexico.
Housatonic River Railroad (HRRC) has scored a first: achieves REN
certification. Larry Kaufman on the DM&E saga. UBS publishes third
annual Short Line Survey. A cautionary note for today's would-be rail
regulators from from Jervis Langdons Presidents Letter
from the Rocks 1967 Annual report.
takes the other side of the CTA argument. Amtrak and UP agree on track-related
service matters. Hank Wolf, Vice Chair and CFO at Norfolk Southern,
retires tomorrow after 34 years with the company, having begun his
railroad career with the N&W in 1973.
A double issue
this week as I'm taking next week off.