Breaking News

CSX Sets Operating Ratio Record in 3Q19

CSX announced 3Q19 net earnings of $856 million, or $1.08 per share, versus $894 million, or $1.05 per share in the same period last year—an EPS increase of 3%. CSX’s operating ratio set a new company record of 56.8%, improved from 58.7% in the prior year.

Opinion

Amtrak’s Traditional Dining Service Disappearing

Amtrak is no longer offering traditional dining car service on its trains east of Chicago and New Orleans. This is a sad development in the downward slide of Amtrak’s long-distance trains, especially under CEO Richard Anderson’s leadership. There have been a number of “obituaries” for Amtrak dining service, but they are misplaced in time. They have either come too soon, or they should have been written about 15 years ago.

Shareholder Value, or Public Safety?

Date: Sept. 27, 2019. News media outlets report potential life threatening situations with three different Class I railroad freight trains blocking railroad grade crossings, sometimes for hours at a time. These events seem to be increasing, both in number and length of time. Americans are not just inconvenienced. Lives are being place at great risk when a blocked crossing impedes emergency service providers from assisting people in need of help.

Short Lines: Custom, High-Growth Freight Service

Are short lines offering a better customer experience than Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR)? The Class I railroad business seems to be all about the benefits of PSR. That’s the name of a cost minimization business strategy introduced more than a decade ago at CN, now expanding as the service model at five of the other six large North American railroad companies (Norfolk Southern, CSX, Union Pacific, Kansas City Southern and Canadian Pacific). Class I’s annually earn more than a Federal Railroad Administration-set threshold of $500 million in revenues.

STB’s Cost of Capital Dilemma

NEWS ITEM: The Surface Transportation Board (STB) proposes to change the formula for computing the cost of the equity component of the railroad industry’s cost of capital. This is of consequence to railroads, shippers and investors because cost of capital is a determinant of railroad revenue adequacy and a threshold for a host of other regulatory limitations on rail ratemaking.

Man, Those PRR Pinstripes Look Awesome!

Railroads in many ways are unique because, regardless of how many years they’ve been in business, there is usually a storied history that can be recalled. The best way to do that is by applying classic paint schemes from predecessor companies, or “fallen flags,” to the railroad’s most visible public faces—its locomotives, among the largest land vehicles anywhere. Union Pacific and Norfolk Southern, among others, have done this to much acclaim. Now, New Jersey Transit, which I like to call my “home” railroad, has joined the fold, and the results, in my opinion, are simply beautiful, inspiring.