Search Results for: Bruce Kelly


“Saving America”

A Union Pacific locomotive engineer based in the Pacific Northwest who had just received his notice of exemption from travel restrictions proudly told Railway Age Contributing Editor Bruce Kelly, “We’ve gone from building America to saving it.” This UP field employee in Train & Engine Service has embraced his railroad’s slogan, “Building America,” and his heartfelt statement takes it to a higher level—from motto to mantra.

Capturing BNSF’s record crop season

Contributing Editor Bruce Kelly captures the growth of BNSF’s grain haul this summer: a westbound grain train at left in Marshall, Wash., just outside of Spokane, passing an empty grain train seemingly on its way to reload in BNSF’s record crop summer.


Water By Rail a No-Go for Now

Forty years ago, in September 1983, Southern Pacific launched a new service to haul crude oil from well sites in central California to a refinery south of Los Angeles. Some called it

Pictured: MRL manifest approaching Bozeman, Mont. (Bruce Kelly Photograph)

STB OKs MRL Rails’ Return to BNSF

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) on March 8 approved Montana Rail Link’s (MRL) petition to cease operating over main line between Huntley, Mont., and Sandpoint, Idaho, under a long-term lease with BNSF.

Amtrak’s recent winter meltdown was not the first time the passenger railroad faced widespread delays during the holiday travel season. On Dec. 31, 2021, Train No. 8 was some nine hours late when it passed Hauser Jct., Idaho, where the temperature was only 10 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s mild compared with the sub-zero weather the Empire Builder routinely faces on the northern plains. (Photo and Caption by Bruce Kelly)

What’s Triggering Empire Builder Service Setbacks?

Severe winter conditions were blamed for Amtrak suspending a number of its long-distance and regional trains across the nation’s Northern Tier and Midwest during the Christmas holiday week. Then came West Coast cancellations in the wake of heavy rains and flooding during the first week of January.

BNSF President and Chief Executive Officer Katie M. Farmer (BNSF Photograph)

2023 Railroader of the Year: Katie Farmer, BNSF

RAILWAY AGE, JANUARY 2023 ISSUE: Railway Age’s 2023 Railroader of the Year Award, the 60th annual, goes to a groundbreaking North American rail industry leader: BNSF President and Chief Executive Officer Katie M. Farmer.

Multi-Edged Difficulties

FINANCIAL DESK BOOK, RAILWAY AGE OCTOBER 2022 ISSUE: Welcome to the 2023 Railroad Financial Desk Book. The North American rail drama meter has finally backed off from the red line down to a more tepid level of yellow.


Will CP Enter the U.S. Northwest?

Imagine waking one day to hear the news that Canadian Pacific Railway, in its quest to expand market reach, has acquired hundreds of miles of Union Pacific trackage in the northwestern United States. Relax. No such deal has been announced—at least not yet.

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Takeaways From Cowen’s 2Q20 Rail Shipper Survey

“Shippers expect rail price increases of 2.3%, up 40bps sequentially, above rail cost inflation, but well below the survey’s average. Economic expectations are all higher sequentially; some remain below the survey’s average while some are very positive indicators. With PSR cost-cutting, growth opportunities and the ability to capitalize on supply chain near-shoring, Kansas City Southern remains our top rail pick.”

Resilient, Resourceful, Focused, Strong

RAILWAY AGE, APRIL 2020 COVER STORY: In crisis mode, America’s railroads appear sufficiently solvent, focused and managerially prepared to navigate through the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, other economic shocks, and whatever Congress and regulators may decide.

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BNSF Breaks Ground for Second Sandpoint Bridge

The first signs of physical progress have been made in BNSF Railway’s long-awaited plan to build a second bridge, nearly a mile in length, running parallel to its existing bridge across Lake Pend Oreille near Sandpoint, Idaho. Preliminary grading began in September 2019 on both sides of the lake to prepare the approaches to the new bridge. Within the city of Sandpoint itself, grade work has included the construction of a pedestrian tunnel—paid for by BNSF—which will safely maintain public access through railroad property to a popular beach and lakeside trail.

Ron Sucik at REF 2020: “The Fog of Intermodal”

RAILWAY AGE AT RAIL EQUIPMENT FINANCE 2020, LA QUINTA, CALIF: Did anyone “get it right” on 2019 intermodal traffic? What can be said about 2020? The industry needs to understand how the events of 2019 affected traffic volumes, and then consider the uncertainties of 2020—for example, the impact of the Coronavirus on world trade—to try and forecast what will happen this year. RSE Consulting President Ron Sucik, who retired from TTX following a long and distinguished career, offered his observations at REF 2020.

U.S. Rails Monitoring Canadian Crude

The derailment of two separate oil trains roughly two months apart near Guernsey, Sask., each spilling more than 300,000 gallons of crude onto the ground and one igniting into a smoldering inferno, plus the resulting 30-day mandatory speed limit on such trains imposed by Transport Canada (20 mph in urban areas, 25 mph elsewhere), have raised questions about not only the cause of those derailments, but also about the durability of the tank cars, and the volatility of the crude they were carrying. It should also raise questions, and awareness, about the transport of Canadian crude on the U.S. rail system.

Creel to Trudeau: “The Time For Rhetoric Has Passed”

Canada’s railroads, and by extension the Canadian economy, are suffering from the blockades that First Nations peoples have been imposing since early February in protest of planned natural gas pipelines. The effect on the Canadian economy runs in the hundreds of millions of dollars per day, according to calculations by railroad economist and Railway Age Contributing Editor Jim Blaze (see below). Canadian Pacific President and CEO Keith Creel has called upon Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to honor First Nations leadership’s request to engage in a dialogue.


Will Short-Haul Rail Intermodal Ever Work?

Premise: The golden age of railroads taking trucks off of the highways might be over. Why? Because the low-hanging fruit may already have been harvested. Translation: Most rail intermodal traffic may be in fewer than two-dozen origin-destination lanes across the United States. That was the low-hanging fruit. Now, It’s mostly in growth hypostasis.

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BNSF Bridge Proceeding in Idaho

The U.S. Coast Guard on Sept. 5 issued a FONSI (Finding Of No Significant Impact) on BNSF’s plan to construct a new bridge across Sand Creek and Lake Pend Oreille in Idaho, supplementing an existing structure and eliminating a bottleneck.