Denver-based OmniTRAX has presented awards to 35 short line railroad customers that shipped or received “qualifying loaded cars with no accidental releases in the previous year.”
CSX, the second Class I railroad to report fourth-quarter 2020 financial results, earned $760 million, or $0.99 per share—virtually flat with the 2019 period’s $771 million, or $0.99 per share. The earnings include a $48 million charge, or $0.05 per share after-tax, related to early retirement of debt.
The Biden Administration has appointed 39 key members of the U.S. Department of Transportation, with more to come. Among them are Amit Bose, Deputy Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and Nuria Fernandez, Deputy Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Both have held the positions previously.
Union Pacific (UP) reported Jan. 21 that it earned $1.38 billion, or $2.05 per diluted share, in fourth-quarter 2020—comparable to fourth-quarter 2019’s $1.4 billion, or $2.02 per diluted share. Excluding a previously announced $278 million pre-tax, non-cash impairment charge related to its Brazos yard investment, adjusted fourth-quarter 2020 income was $1.6 billion, or $2.36 per diluted share.
Kansas City Southern (KCS) and NorthPoint Development will develop the Wylie Logistics Park—adjacent to the Class I railroad’s David L. Starling Wylie Intermodal Terminal—in the Dallas metropolitan area.
Brightline West hopes to begin construction of its $8.4 billion, 168-mile California–Las Vegas high speed line in the second quarter of 2021.
MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) has added a live chat feature to its TrainTime® app, as another way for riders to get information or report problems.
Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in on Jan. 20 as the 46th President and the first woman Vice President of the United States, respectively. The Association of American Railroads (AAR) has extended its support.
BNSF has set a $2.99 billion capital plan for 2021, with the largest portion going toward maintaining the core network and related assets, the railroad reported Jan. 20. The 2020 plan, at $3.08 billion, followed a similar strategy.
Total U.S. rail traffic was 528,547 carloads and intermodal units for the week ending Jan. 16, 2021—up 5.8% compared with the same week last year, building upon intermodal’s continued strength, the Association of American Railroads reported on Jan. 20..
Perseverance is a virtue, and 2020 required all the perseverance one could muster. The pandemic, the disruption of the workplace and of ordinary commerce, trade disputes, our unsettled politics—all contributed to a year that affected every American citizen and business.
My two previous reports in this series showed that companies and a union who could benefit directly from various DOT grants made highly favorable statements about Pete Buttigieg. That means little on its face, because the statements came from entities who could say little else. Advocates for the riders on Amtrak and transit are not bound by that constraint, and they have endured other DOT heads who have not been particularly favorable to the riders who are their constituents. I will conclude this series by reporting some comments from those advocates, examining Buttigieg’s political future, and proffering some suggestions about how he can help the riders (assuming that the Senate confirms his nomination).
A year ago, news was emerging from Wuhan, China about a new, dangerous form of flu. My stepson and his Chinese-born wife wisely cancelled their planned trip to China to celebrate the Chinese New Year with her family. Since then, we have all experienced significant disruption to our lives.
In my last report, I looked at Pete Buttigieg, President-elect Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Transportation, and what he would bring to the post. I looked at his own concepts as he expressed them in his acceptance speech, how he might serve USDOT’s business constituents, and his background. Part of that background is the time he spent as mayor of South Bend, a post he occupied starting in 2012. As I will describe in this article, he can claim some credit as an urbanist with his “Smart Streets” policy for the city’s downtown area, but local bus service remains limited, and the passenger trains that ostensibly run to South Bend do not go anywhere near downtown.
Staring into the 2021 abyss, the outlook for rail-hauled chemical traffic looks like a mixed weather forecast: “Early morning fog, changing to overcast skies, with a high-pressure system moving in later for sunny skies.” The fundamental assumption is that the COVID-19 pandemic will gradually abate as immunization shots take hold.