It’s the same stuff, different year for U.S. rail traffic. Although our neighbors to the south are singing a different tune.
Short Lines & Regionals
2019 will be remembered as the year of Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR) and for the great traffic drought in North American railroading. PSR has indeed helped deliver the eye-popping levels of operating ratios (OR) that rail executives could once only dream about, and many of the Class I’s set record ORs throughout the year.
Railway Age is now accepting entries for its annual Short Line and Regional Railroads of the Year competition. Class II and III railroads are invited to submit entries describing outstanding achievement in one or a combination of areas.
Two experienced railroad professionals—Sarah Yurasko and Eileen Reilly—have joined the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) in legal and technology consulting roles, respectively. Yurasko is the Association’s new General Counsel, replacing Keith Borman, who retired after 15 years. Reilly’s company, Global Train Services LLC, has signed on as a consultant for Positive Train Control services.
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ended Jan. 11, 2020, and, for this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 501,624 carloads and intermodal units, down 9.6% compared with the same week last year.
OmniTRAX, an affiliate of The Broe Group, has promoted Sergio Sabatini to President and Gord Anutooshkin to Chief Operating Officer, effective immediately. Sabatini reports to OmniTRAX CEO Kevin Shuba and Anutooshkin to Sabatini.
Three recently released Cowen and Company reports—Fourth-Quarter 2019 Rail Equipment Survey and Rail Shipper Survey, and Rail Estimates—indicates that, though times are tough and rail freight traffic in most sectors has not begun to recover, “the sky isn’t falling.” Here’s what Cowen Managing Director and Railway Age Wall Street Contributing Editor Jason H. Seidl, along with analysts Matt Elkott and Adam Kramer, see it.
Freight rail traffic has historically been a useful gauge of broader economic activity. The fundamentals of a strong U.S. economy were present in 2019: solid job numbers, strong consumer spending, low interest rates, economic expansion and low inflation. But despite all the bright spots, one thing remained certain last year: trade policy created uncertainty. This uncertainty affected multiple sectors of the economy.
Strategic Rail Finance (SRF) principals Michael Sussman, John Elliott and Cliff Bassman assumed new roles starting in 2020.
The railroad industry estimates that advances in fault detection technology are preventing more than 700 road failures monthly on the North American system, based on 2019 preliminary statistics. Among the efforts to identify the causes of failure and further understand issues that affect freight rail performance and safety is the Association of American Railroads Asset Health Strategic Initiative (AHSI), data from which is shared with Railinc.