Class I

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.