Frank N. Wilner

Frank N. Wilner

Frank N. Wilner is author of six books, including, Amtrak: Past, Present, Future; Understanding the Railway Labor Act; and, Railroad Mergers: History, Analysis, Insight. He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in economics and labor relations from Virginia Tech. He has been assistant vice president, policy, for the Association of American Railroads; a White House appointed chief of staff at the Surface Transportation Board; and director of public relations for the United Transportation Union. He is a past president of the Association of Transportation Law Professionals.

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Wednesday, 03 September 2014 07:26

Rail revenue adequacy? Well, sort of


The Surface Transportation Board (STB) ruled Sept. 2 that five Class I railroads—BNSF, U.S. affiliates of Canadian National and Canadian Pacific, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific—are revenue adequate. That is, they achieved a rate of return on investments used to provide railroad service that is at least equal to the average cost of that investment capital.

Monday, 18 August 2014 12:50

BLET in catbird seat over crew consist

News item: Vouchsafed to work jointly in gaining legislation or regulation mandating two crew members on every freight train are the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Union (SMART) and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET).

Monday, 07 July 2014 09:57

STB's newest: Status quo beware

Moving homogeneous electrons through wires, or freight in trucks over publicly financed highways, is hardly akin to moving cargo over privately owned and maintained railroads.

Thursday, 27 March 2014 08:01

Shipper hypocrisy mocks regulatory history

A recurring and intractable thread tying together railroad history is that when the choice has been between economic liberty and government intrusion, selecting the latter has repetitively discouraged capital investment, diminished service quality, adversely affected safety, and sooner than later caused hand-wringing among those most dependent on rail transportation.

Monday, 17 March 2014 08:04

Highway homicide affects railroads, too

This is about a highway homicide — and we know who dunnit. The perp long ago was identified by state and federal authorities. Yet Congress refuses to order the collar, closing its eyes to a mayhem playing out at every hour, on every federal-aid roadway and adversely affecting every taxpayer and every motorist in the wallet, while simultaneously turning on its head the concept of economic efficiency.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014 09:49

Where does the buck stop on HSR and Amtrak?

That President Obama mentioned not a word on high speed rail or Amtrak in his State of the Union speech reflects on the rather dreadful manner in which his administration has pursued the presidential vision in support of expanded rail passenger service.

Friday, 17 January 2014 15:25

Blame aplenty for high speed rail woes

Don’t assume, based on headlines, an obituary for high speed rail just yet. A more accurate analogy is an induced coma brought on by poor planning and implementation amidst an increased necessity to pare federal deficits.

News item: The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) ordered MTA Metro-North Railroad to have two qualified crewmembers in the lead cab until Metro-North’s signal system is updated to ensure automatic train control (ATC) slows trains automatically if the engineer fails to adhere to a speed reduction requirement greater than 20 mph below maximum allowable speed.
Monday, 14 October 2013 11:21

Amtrak update: Fire burn, cauldron bubble

What a fascinating October this has been for Amtrak.
Thursday, 26 September 2013 08:07

STB nominee Miller: A fresh perspective

Any notion that Debra (Deb) Miller, President Obama's nominee to succeed Frank Mulvey at the Surface Transportation Board, is a gullible "Dorothy from Kansas" should be ditched chop-chop.

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