originated 15,390 carloads, up 24.2% percent from the year, and 6,915
trailers and containers, up 37.4%.
Total North American rail volume for the first 21 weeks of
2010 on 13 reporting railroads was
7,729,358 carloads, up 10.2% from last year, and 5,412,142 trailers and
containers, up 11.9%.
Canadian Pacific told analysts at its annual investors day in Vancouver Wednesday that it remains undecided on building a line to the Powder River Coal Basin in Wyoming, an option it acquired in 2008 with acquisition of the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern. DM&E had advanced the planned line through the Surface Transportation Board and past numerous environmental obstacles.
Jane O'Hagan, CP’s vice president for marketing, said no decision is likely to be made before the United States clarifies positions that will affect the future of coal as a major source of energy—and that’s just one of several hurdles.
“Market volatility, coupled with the politics of coal-generated energy and CP’s requisite conditions for investment, such as mine access, long-term contracts, and assembly of the right-of-way, have not been met,” said O'Hagan.
CP officers seized the occasion to describe a number of actual and potential initiatives that would increase the railroad’s productivity and efficiency at relatively modest cost. One is continuing to shrink the system without significant loss of business. On CP’s current line-abandonment map are 1,400 miles of track in Canada and the northern United States targeted for action in the next 18 months.
Surface Transportation Board Chairman Dan Elliott Wednesday said Canadian National must hold to the terms STB announced when CN acquired the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway. “We are fully behind that decision,” said Elliott, “and we will defend it in court.”
That includes a requirement that CN fund the bulk of the cost of railroad overpasses in Lynwood and Aurora, Ill., which CN reportedly has challenged.
Elliott met with a group at the New Lenox, Ill., village hall, including some representing The Regional Answer to Canadian National (TRAC), which still opposes the acquisition and seek STB’s decision approving the purchase to be reversed. Opponents argue that impact on the environment and their communities have been more than anticipated. Elliott did not suggest such a reversal was likely, however.
CN spokesman Patrick Waldron said 22 communities along the EJ&E route have signed voluntary mitigation agreements with the railroad. CN has committed $60 million in mitigation projects altogether, exclusive of the two overpasses in contention.