Freight

Are We Genuflecting Too Much to Wall Street?

The six Class I railroads that practice the marketing-term model called Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR)—all of the “Big 7” except BNSF—are now reporting third-quarter financial results in the remaining days of October. There is, however, an opportunity for a more holistic quarterly briefing. There is an argument for a new checklist of service metrics that would be of interest mostly to customers and, perhaps, public policy groups. However, instead of a balanced scorecard from the carriers, we are mostly seeing accounting reports that cater exclusively to analysts.

The Rail Pulse platform will help shippers, car owners/lessors and railroads better manage consists, incidents and maintenance.

Monitoring North America’s Rail Pulse

Norfolk Southern, Genesee & Wyoming, Watco Companies, GATX Corp. and TrinityRail are developing a telematics platform for railcars to provide real-time car location and condition/health monitoring data. Called “Rail Pulse,” it will help shippers, car owners/lessors and railroads better manage consists, incidents and maintenance. Rollout is expected by year-end 2022.

Senate Commerce Gets An Earful of Rail

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on Oct. 21 convened a hearing on the state of the U.S. passenger and freight rail network. Railroad, shipping and union representatives provided testimony, which included the impacts of COVID-19, legislative considerations for surface transportation reauthorization, and Amtrak’s ongoing struggles. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) is Chair of the Committee. Following are highlights from the presenters, with downloadable PDFs of their full written testimony.

TRRA ASLRRA Veterans Engagement Honoree

The American Short Line Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) has selected the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis (TRRA) as its 2020 Veterans Engagement Award winner for “focused and sustained efforts to recruiting veterans for employment, and for the railroad’s efforts beyond their workforce in supporting U.S. Veterans and their families in their community.”