Railroad Week in Review:
First Quarter 2008
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in Review, 1/4/2008
Canadian National continues its buying spree with the acquisition of
the 202-mile Athabasca & Northern in Alberta. Patriot Rail has made
its third acquisition, the 34-mile Utah Central Railway. RailAmerica
beefs up sales force in Northeast. Value Line ranks the rail industry
51st in earnings growth potential for 2008. Byron Wein, Chief Investment
Strategist for Pequot Capital, cites potential for recession in 2008;
weak short lines at risk. BNSF makes Forbes Best-Managed Companies
list in the transportation category. Who exactly is TCI?
in Review, 1/11/2008
this week ran a Q&A on commodity pricing and the implications for
Class Is and short lines are significant. Greenbrier, with its unusual
fiscal year for this industry, reported Q1 earnings (November close)
that missed the estimates. Short lines garner $millions in grants and
loans. Wellsboro & Corning gets a new operator.
VDRPT has finished its Economic Assessment report on the proposed regional
intermodal facility near Roanoke. Credit Suisse rail analyst Jason Seidl
writes, 2007 was nothing short of a volatile year." Watco
acquires the operations of Reload Inc. Providence & Worcester and
GATX team up in equity-leasing agreements.
in Review, 1/18/2008
Conflict in the air at MWARS: the need for more rail capacity
vs. the threat of investment-limiting legislative and regulatory proposals
by certain special-interest groups. A visit to the South Shore's freight
operations. PWX redux. Short line performance measurement at CSX.
in review, 1/25/2008
It's earnings time again. CSX leads off breaking the $10 billion annual
revenue mark for the first time. CN takes a 3% yoy revenue bath. NS
hits record revenues even though volumes were not what one might have
liked. UP ups quarterly revs 6% yoy on essentially unchanged volumes.
Chart comparing the four for the full year. Not pretty.
in Review, 2/1/2008
The relationship between operating income and eps. BNSF revenues up,
vols down, ops income flat. CP revenues flat, vols up 3%; the railroad
is running better than ever. Tony Hatch on BNSF and UP results. Greenbrier
buys wheel supplier. Tables.
in Review, 2/8/2008
KCS turns in a strong, understandable performance with lots of operating
cause and effect. Icahn moves on GBX; combo with his ARII in the wind?
Bulls and Bears -- Goldman upgrades KCS, Zacks takes CSX down. PSAP
takes a good step forward toward getting rid of the demurrage annoyance.
in Review, 2/15/2008
Genesee & Wyomings 2007 results for the fourth quarter and
impressive. CSX holds its 19th annual short line confab the
longest-running show in the business -- this coming week. Reader feedback
whats working and what needs improving. Anonymous shortline managers'
criticism unwarranted and not helpful to the good of the order.
in Review, 2/22/2008
Notes from the CSX short line conference. The disconnect between what
railroad lobbyists say in DC and actual rail-shipper working relationships.
Why railcar manufacturing and demand are leading indicators for the
railroad business as a whole. Car cycle time a key and recurring theme.
Week Six traffic for short lines and Class Is.
in Review, 2/29/2008
What the future may bring for coal-hauling short lines. Tony Hatch writes
about the FY 2007 results and their implications for 2008. Morgan Stanley
and Bear Stearns comment on the truck-load scene and I relate both to
the merch carload trade. More take-aways from the CSX short line meeting.
How Bay Colony Rail increased carloads by a factor of six in 20 years.
in Review, 3/7/2008
More on the migration from north to south and how it affects short lines.
Finding the opportunities. Credit Suisse and RW Baird write about changes
in the truckload sector. Patriot Rail adds a fourth property. CSX Chair
Michael Ward holds forth on TCI before Congress and CNBC. Shortline
takes from BNSF Analysts Day. How long can we keep charging more and
more for less and less?
in Review, 3/14/2008
Tony Hatch reports on the Railroad Equipment Conference. Lessons for
shippers, lessors and users. Bear Stearns observations on car supply.
UBS and BSC provide very different takes on the Congressional hearings
on TCI and CSX. Over-supply in the truckload sector through Q1? Does
the Dow Theory still apply? The folly of stripping out food and fuel
from "core" inflaton related to the folly of looking at RR
ops costs ex-fuel. Canadian Short Line conferences in the same week
in May. Short line merch carload gains through Week 9 mask Class I organic
losses in the category.