The Railroad Week in Review:
Third Quarter 2012


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Week in Review, September 28
Canadian Pacific is on the mend, says Morgan-Stanley, though my early read says many are taking a wait-and-see attitude. NS took some heat from Wall Street when it reduced third quarter earnings estimates. Providence & Worcester second-rater results -- belatedly here -- show nine percent fewer "conventional" carloads; commodity detail was lacking in the 10-Q. Pacific Northwest Assn of RR Shippers convened in Eugene, Ore. Message is first mile/last mile service consistency and customer interface still need work.

Week in Review, September 21
Housing prices and lumber demand. Trends in paper and other STCC 26 carloads. ASI-Transmatch forest products charts. Why I omit intermodal revenue units from my weekly car-counts derived from the RMI RailConnect Index report.

Week in Review, September 14
Janet Weiss, head of Investor Relations for Canadian Pacific, gives an encouraging update at this week's Credit Suisse Transport conference. RailAmerica's August carloads increase 2.9 percent year-over-year. Genesee & Wyoming reports August North American carloads dip 4.4 percent year-over-year; files an 8K noting that the STB has accepted GWR's August 6, 2012 control application seeking approval to control RailAmerica and its railroads. A fine progress report from California's Santa Maria Valley Railroad president, Rob Himoto. A Vermonter reminisces, triggered by last week's WIR pix. Univ of Penn Press publishes 1000-page history of PRR -- and it's only Part I. Off to PNWARS next week.

Week in Review, September 7
This week you get a tour of my favorite part of New England: the northern end of the Connecticut River Valley. The dynamic duo of Phil Hastings and David Morgan gave me my first taste of this land when they covered it in their Trains series "In Search of Steam" back in 1953 or so. The Vermont Railway runs the line as their Washington County Railroad and -- judging from the train, seems to be having some success with it. Read on. The Wolfe Trahan Third Quarter Shippers survey tells us there are encouraging signs about shippers moving their goods over the the railroads and away from the trucks. Consistent service and reasonable transit times combined with competitive pricing seems to be doing the trick.

Week in Review, August 31
Back from a vacation that included some serious rail-fanning -- see the lead open boxcar door story -- and some time out of Philly. The world did not stop for want of my watching and good things abound: W&W completes a $10 mm track extension to access 6,000 more carloads a year, Gary Marino and Friends going global, RA and GWR getting their arms around local coal. Shortline feedback suggests there are many talented people out there successfully beating the bushes for new business. However, I sometimes wonder if operating practices and financial controls are keeping up. Somebody please send me the data that proves me wrong,

[No Week in Review August 17 and August 24 - Vacation]

Week in Review, August 10
BNSF 2Q2012 revs up 5.7% yoy to $5.1 bn on 1.6% more revenue units, RPU up 4%, operating ratio down 3 pts to 71.7. Ethanol loads flattening out as gasoline sales meet the blend wall. Schwab sees little change in the soft manufacturing environment. Why coal continues to be in the doldrums.

Week in Review, August 3
RailAmerica increases total sales 12% on 8% more freight billing across 4% more revenue units. Labor and fuel costs decrease as percent of revenue. Some positives emerge re coal. Genesee & Wyoming sees 4% sales increase en toto even as Ohio overhead coal takes revenue units down 7%. North America/Europe franchise accounts for 76% of revenue units and 66% of sales. Expands iron ore franchises in Canada, Australia. RailAmerica merger map. Why CN share prices may be getting ahead of themselves. Pushback on short lines as draymen.

Week in Review, July 27
Commentary on GWR-RA combo. RA and GWR June, 2012 carloads -- boring. Class I earnings comps, boring again. Table. STB changes the rules in Captive Shipper proceeding; implications for short lines.

[No Week in Review July 20 - NS Shortline Meeting]

Week in Review, July 13
YTD revenue-unit comps for short lines and Class Is show merchandise carload vols holding their own. Table. Further thoughts on railroad share price valuations -- the stronger the railroad the better the short line's chance to improve its own results. Preview of NS Annual Short Line meeting this week.

Week in Review, July 6
Hunter Harrison officially in at CP -- I think rates need to go up and short lines can help. RMI's ton-miles data comes with the subscription -- there is NO added fee for the reports. How to use them to run your business. California's Richmond Terminal operator visits Fairless facility (WIR 6/29) and finds the Ashross system ideal. Auto sales beat estimates; implications for rails. Railroads gaining share though carload service perceptions lag reality.

 

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