The Railroad Week in Review:
Second Quarter 2011

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  • Week in Review, June 24
    The STB regulatory witch hunt produces no witches. Notes from Tony Hatch and Rick Paterson. AAR carload volumes year-to-date thru Week 24 nothing to write home about, being about even w GDP. Short lines doing OK; RA and GWR lackluster in sequential and YOY numbers. Heat-and-eat reigns supreme. A short-haul coal success story from the Iowa Pacific in the UK. Why Don Phillip's August Trains column on Amtrak fits the freight rails, too.
  • Week in Review, June 17
    CP Investors Update in NYC Monday a huge success, full of operating insights and tidbits for short lines to key in on to improve CP partnerships. Further thoughts on NS Investors Day in Altoona two weeks ago.
  • Week in Review, June 10
    Notes and conclusions from NS Investors Day in Altoona: why NS is a technology-based railroad, why home-grown is best, where the business is coming from and how we'll make money on it, road maps for short lines. AAR May carloads. Corn belt railroads outlook.
  • Week in Review, June 3
    Class I commodity carload vols slipping week-to-week and year-over-year; some thoughts as to why and some bright spots. FEC joins AAR; excerpts from Fred Frailey's FEC item in July Trains mag. Reader feedback on rail vs. truck share of inter-city ton-miles; further proof that ex-coal the rail share lags. Railcar lease market update -- why a lease uptick by car type may or may not indicate an uptick in commodity tonnage.
  • Week in Review, May 27
    If the rail share of inter-city ton-miles is 42 percent, what portion of that is truly truck competitive? What happens to share if you take out coal? We hope to begin a discussion with WIR readers. Notes from all over on shortline and Class I railroad traffic trends. Oil and gas exploration and production companies' dependency on railroads to move materials still on the increase. An update on the truckload carrier industry.
  • [No Week in Review May 20]
  • Week in Review, May 13
    Dennis Gartman on the employment scene and what it means for for consumer spending. Pan Am Railways halves transit times in Northern Maine corridor. Why market-based pricing may force some rail users off the rails. GWR April carloads up 12 percent all-in, North American carloads up 11 percent on coal and paper-related commodities. AAR comps.
  • Week in Review, May 6
    Earnings season is over so it's time to reflect, starting with the March numbers from the AAR. A look at volume trends over the trailing six quarters suggests a slowing in the rate of increase quarter-to-quarter. CSX stock split, increased dividend, share buy-back: what made it possible, what it portends for other Class Is. Insights from the NS earnings call transcript.
    Week in Review, April 29
    CN shows how they prepared for the winter and exceeded customer expectations. NS wows Wall Street with numbers that were so strong the share price gapped up 10% at the next day's opening bell. RailAmerica has gotten costs under control and is turning to top-line growth. GWR shows how the right acquisitions can grow revenues, operating income and shareholder value.
  • Week in Review, April 22
    CSX revs up 13% on 7% more loads, KCS revs up 12% on 7% more loads, UP revs up 13% on 5% more loads, CP revs flat on 3% fewer loads -- winter weather a killer. Merch carloads up everywhere. All but CP saw reduced ORs, tho paying 35% more per gallon of diesel fuel took points out of what the OR improvement could have been with flattish fuel.

  • Week in Review, April 15
    Providence & Worcester 2010 revenues up 26% to $27.3 mm; ops expense up just 13%. Operating loss trimmed to $1.2 mm from #3.1 mm a year ago. Comp & benefits remain the big drag at >50% of revs. RailAmerica buys three Alabama short lines from Gulf & Ohio. Watco leases ex-GM&O line in Alabama from NS. TVRM to switch new VW assembly plant in Chattanooga. Iowa Pacific picks up ex-D&H line in upstate NY. Continuing the rail-pricing thread.
  • Week in Review, April 8
    What L'Affaire Sokol tells us about short lines doing business with BNSF. Why we may see more Rule 11 billing; pros and cons for shippers and short lines. Schwab's Liz Ann Sonders on the economy. Larry Kaufman on Captive Shippers.
  • Week in Review, April 1
    New Orleans Public Belt Railway to reorganize. UP opens DDG hopper-container export transload near Bakersfield, Calif. BNSF offers smart-phone apps for shippers. CP upgrading rights-of-way, adding staff in No Dak. Share prices for Wabtec, car builders on a tear as car-building outlook gets better. $200 oil by November? Senior staffing changes positive for both Pan Am Rail and Mass Bay Commuter Rail.


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