William Vantuono

William Vantuono

With Railway Age since 1992, Bill Vantuono has broadened and deepened the magazine's coverage of the technological revolution that is so swiftly changing the industry. He has also strengthened Railway Age's leadership position in industry affairs with the conferences he conducts on operating passenger trains on freight railroads and communications-based train control.

Website URL:

Following Canadian Pacific’s favorable first-quarter 2012 earnings report last week, Pershing Square Capital Management stepped up its attack on CP President and CEO Fred Green (pictured) and his management team with a strongly worded letter to shareholders that some industry observers are calling an obviously self-serving and misleading manipulation of numbers.

The Association of American Railroads today reported that rail carload traffic for the week ending April 7, 2012, fell 7.7% compared to the prior-year week, with U.S. railroads originating 270,974 carloads. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 231,153 trailers and containers, up 1.1% compared with the same week last year.

Nine of the AAR’s 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, led by: petroleum products, up 33.3%; primary forest products, up 11.8%; and stone, clay and glass products, up 11.2%. The groups showing a significant decrease in weekly traffic included iron, steel and scrap, down 18.1%; grain, down 16.6%, and coal, down 16.1%.

Weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was down 5.2% compared with the same week last year. In the West, weekly carload volume was down 9.3%, compared with the same week in 2011.

For the first 14 weeks of 2012, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 3,950,064 carloads, down 2.9%t from last year, and 3,159,598 trailers and containers, up 2.4%from last year.

Canadian railroads reported 75,089 carloads for the week, down 3.4% compared with the same week last year, and 50,454 trailers and containers, up 1.6% compared with 2011. For the first fourteen weeks of 2012, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 1,061,371 carloads, up 4.7% from the same point last year, and 683,388 trailers and containers, up 6.5% from last year.

Mexican railroads reported 11,999 carloads for the week, down 16% compared with the same week last year, and 7,141 trailers and containers, up 1.3%. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 14 weeks of 2012 is 188,344 carloads, down 6.5% compared with last year, and 121,958 trailers and containers, up 21.2%.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 14 weeks of 2012 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads totaled 5,199,779 carloads, down 1.6% compared with last year, and 3,964,944 trailers and containers, up 3.6% compared with last year.

Thursday, 12 April 2012 15:24

UP cites safest hazmat shippers

Union Pacific has named 74 companies as annual Pinnacle Award recipients for chemical transportation safety.

Now in its sixth year, Norfolk Southern’s “Train Your Brain” public safety program has reminded more than half a million people “to be smart and alert around highway-rail grade crossings and to avoid trespassing on railroad property,” the railroad notes.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012 13:30

Canadian Pacific proxy battle heats up

The stage has been set for Canadian Pacific’s annual shareholders meeting on May 17, where hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management will attempt a takeover of CP and replace the railroad’s president, Fred Green, and board of directors with its own candidates.

Regan Smith, driving the no. 78 Furniture Row/CSX Play it Safe Chevrolet, rebounded to a 16th-place finish in the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway on April 1. 

The late-race turnaround “was a result of sound pit strategy, quick pit stops, and a combination of patient and savvy driving,” the team said.

Highlights from Kansas City Southern President and CEO Dave Starling’s remarks upon receipt of the Railroader of the Year Award, Union League Club, Chicago, Ill., March 13, 2012. “Railroading in North America: This Generation to the Next”

Kawasaki Rail Car USA, Inc. is currently assembling the prototype trainset of the Washington Area Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) new 7000 Series Metrorail rapid transit cars in Kobe, Japan.

Canadian Pacific will be moving additional Bakken crude oil by unit train from a planned industry logistics hub served by its North Dakota network.

 The Van Hook, N.D., facility, to be developed by U.S. Development Group (USD), will handle crude oil and related products from the Bakken formation and will have initial capacity of up to 35,000 barrels per day at eight automated truck unloading positions.

Three Class I railroads—Union Pacific, Norfolk Southern and CSX—and Berkshire Hathaway, parent company of BNSF Railway, have been named by Fortune magazine as among the world’s “Most Admired Companies” in 2011. UP, NS, and CSX were ranked No. 1, No. 3 and No. 6, respectively, among transportation, logistics, and trucking firms, while Berkshire Hathaway was named No. 3 overall on the 50 most admired companies. Together, UP, NS, CSX, BNSF comprise the “Big Four” Class I’s.

Fortune describes its Most Admired list “the definitive report card on corporate reputations. The industry rankings reflect the opinions of executives, directors, and analysts who are asked to rate companies in their own industry on nine different criteria. These aspects include innovation, people management, use of corporate assets, social responsibility, quality of management, long-term investment, financial soundness, quality of products and services, and global competitiveness.” To arrive at the top 50 overall, Fortune’s research partner, the Hay Group, asked 4,100 executives, directors, and securities analysts to select the 10 companies they admired most. The survey included 673 companies from 32 countries.

How far our “bricks and mortar” industry has come in the space of a few years! Is it any surprise? Not to this magazine!

5
Page 5 of 295