Breaking News

CP Tooting Its Own Horns—For Others

Most of us are aware of the heroic and dedicated work performed around the clock by health care workers and first responders in the daily battle against the coronavirus, which has had its grip on our planet for the past several months. Moreover, many have likely seen various tributes to these front-line workers in the form of neighborhoods around the world singing, playing music, banging pots and pans, and making noise to honor these professionals. The FDNY has even assembled fire trucks at various hospitals and medical centers with emergency lights flashing and sirens blaring.

Answering the Call: BNSF Keeps Supplies Moving in Times of Crisis

Editor’s Note: The following story was posted on the Rail Talk area of the BNSF website. It is shared here in its entirety, with permission. We think it presents a useful example of what the rail industry is doing as an essential service in the national supply chain, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. — William C. Vantuono

Fitch Downgrades NYMTA Bonds, Removes “Rating Watch Negative”

Fitch Ratings downgraded approximately $800 million of outstanding TRB Series 2020C (transportation revenue bonds, climate bond certified) to be issued by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) from AA- to A+ and outstanding TRB anticipation notes to F1 from F1+, but removed the agency’s long-term rating from Rating Watch Negative status. The Rating Outlook is Negative.

Opinion

As 1918 Shows, Railroads Have Been Through This Before

Editor’s Note: In 1918, the world was dealing with a deadly coronavirus pandemic, the “Spanish Flu.” Longtime Trains Editor and Publisher Kevin P. Keefe, now retired and a columnist for Classic Trains, sent me his April 2, 2020 “Mileposts” blog, in which he extensively references Railway Age. It is reposted here with permission, with some added photos. “It’s great to have a 170-year-old magazine around!” he said in his note to me. Actually, it’s 164, but who’s counting? Thanks for the shout-out, Kevin. – William C. Vantuono.

“A Fluid, Unknown Rail Freight Market”

This is not a forecast. It’s a prudent warning. The continuing COVID-19 pandemic and our social reaction so far are driving our business culture toward a high-risk economic impact. Stay-in-place warnings and increasingly mandated government requirements will drive down income and gross domestic product (GDP). Fundamentally, the American economy will likely face choosing survival spending tactics.

Stimulus Package: A Trillion Here, a Trillion There

And so we have agreement in the Senate on a stimulus package to rescue the U.S. economy from the economic ravages of the COVID-19 virus. And now it’s on to the House for passage, perhaps later this week. The sheer size is stunningly immense at some $2 trillion, give or take a few billion.

A “Sully” Moment For Amtrak’s Anderson

As America increasingly is sheltering in place, losing unprecedented numbers of jobs and retirement savings, fearful of COVID-19, and facing a stress level unfamiliar except to those who have endured war zones, Amtrak and its workforce face only unpleasant choices if the railroad and their jobs are to survive. Fare-paying passengers have vanished—almost entirely on Northeast Corridor Acela trains; significantly on all others.