Roy Blanchard is a Contributing Editor for Railway Age and has written extensively on shortline operations, marketing and finance. Recent articles include a discussion of Paper Barriers, unique and creative coal projects, economics of car leasing, and how shortlines can differentiate themselves from the competition. Going further back, Blanchard wrote a Shortline Advocate series that ran for more than ten years. All these articles and more are available on line by clicking on the embedded links below.

Index to Articles

Roy Blanchard's Best Practices (formerly The Marketing Advocate) appeared in issues of Railway Age every other month September 1991 through June 2002, with occasional feature articles as well.

2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996 | 1995 | 1991-1994

2002 Columns

  • Making the Interchange Work
    June 2002 -- Making the interchange work better will help simplify the carload network by taking out inconsistency and random events
  • How Important is the RIA?
    April 2002 -- Some shortline acquirers may find it a tempting prospect to try to undo the non-compete agreements they signed with the sellers.
  • Planning, Perseverence, and Performance Measurement
    February 2002 -- At 130 carloads per mile per year the Eastern Idaho enjoys 13% better density than the average shortline, 72% more carloads per locomotive, and 78% more carloads per employee.

2001 Columns

Archives: 2000 Columns

Archives: 1999 Columns

Archives: 1998 Columns

Archives: 1997 Columns

  • Now What?
    January 1997 -- How secure is your business in the face of the Conrail merger? A look at customer value drivers and how to make sure your service provides them.
  • Are You Prepared for the Conrail Merger?
    March 1997 -- Weighing the competing CSX and Norfolk Southern proposals, and their implications for short lines.
  • Life After Conrail
    May 1997 -- A look at what the breakup of Conrail, with parts going to CSX and parts to NS, will mean for short lines.
  • Managing Your Customers
    June 1997 -- Another look at the dark side of demurrage.
  • CSX-NS-Conrail Deal: 120 Days and Counting
    July 1997 -- The Surface Transportation Board wants to preserve existing competition. Is this a hunting license for short lines looking for new access? When you have a case, and when you don't.
  • So--Are You Making Any Money?
    September 1997 -- These shortliners build revenue from the opportunities as hand.
  • CSX-NS-Conrail Deal: The Buzzer Sounds
    Now that the shortlines have filed their concerns, how will they fare?

Archives: 1996 Columns

  • So You Want to Buy a Railroad?
    January 1996 -- All that's left on the Monopoly board is the Short Line. Do you want to buy it? Are you in a position to buy it? And can you make it work?
  • One Stop Shopping?
    March 1996 -- When to rely on, and when to reach out beyond, your connecting class I partner.
  • What's Wrong With This Picture?
    May 1996 -- The typical boxcar cycle -- load release-empty-place for load -- is about 27 days. No wonder you can never find one when you really need it.
  • There's More Than One Way To Find a Boxcar
    July 1996 -- Shortlines looking for their class I partners to shield them from the effects of the dwindling boxcar fleet had better look to themselves for a long-term solution.
  • Remember Rule One
    September 1996 -- How the Iron Bound Railway and the Arizona & California are throwing away the old playbooks and designing service offerings to meet shipper needs.
  • Another Country Heard From
    November 1996 - From north of the border, a class I finds a new way of working with its short line partners. Is it working? Wall Street seems to think so.

Archives: 1995 Columns:

  • Don't limit yourself to one Class I connection
    January 1995 -- Access to more than one Class I means competitive access: it gives you and your shippers options, and encourages connecting Class Is to think twice before taking a particular piece of business for granted.
  • How to earn more money per train-start
    March 1995 -- Looking at yield per carload and yield per train-start offers a fresh new perspective on both the economics and the synergies of running a railroad.
  • How to uncouple demurrage charges from car-hire
    May 1995 -- Demurrage is not a profit center; it's a sign of a sick logistical system. The less of it you charge, the healthier your railroad and the happier your shippers.
  • It's time to shed those "ice cream shoes"
    July 1995 -- Management-by-Walking-Around builds short line value, but it takes work boots as well as tassel loafers to do it.
  • Value for all stakeholders
    September 1995 -- Why the publicly-traded Class II and III lines who consider the needs of all their stakeholders are consistently outperforming the slash-and-burn Class Is.
  • Creating customer value
    November 1995 -- A bias for action and a commitment to staying close to the customer drives these two successful short lines.

Archives: 1991-1994 Colums



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