Short Lines & Regionals

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.”

Bypass Build Slated for Lac-Mégantic

Few will forget that horrific day, July 6, 2013, when a crewless, runaway Montreal, Maine & Atlantic crude oil train with five locomotives and 75 loaded DOT-111 tank cars carrying volatile Bakken crude rolled into Lac-Mégantic, Quebec and derailed. The resulting fireballs and explosions (contrary to popular belief, the derailed cars did not explode; their contents ignited after the tanks had been breached) killed 47 people, and a large section of the downtown area was destroyed. The tragedy’s aftermath, as well as accidents involving other CBR trains in the U.S. and Canada, led to a long regulatory process resulting in the stronger DOT 117 tank car as well as several changes to CBR operating regulations.

Defining Private Railcar Storage Best Practices

There are things the regulators don’t tell you about marshaling and storing freight cars, such as how to detect rail head wear. Most railroad executives would not know how to do this. This commentary will include a few pointers that your favorite Class I railroad salesperson won’t typically pass on as business intelligence. Bad things can and do occasionally happen in rail yards. Therefore, it is prudent risk management to consider these matters ahead of time.

Charting U.S. Rail Freight Through a Troubled First Half

Over the next few days and then amplified by mid-month investor reporting, we will learn more about how U.S. rail freight is trending. Association of American Railroads six-month data is out. In the interim, Susquehanna Financial Group (SFG) data scientists have circulated their freight market view. As well, we’ve added some FreightWaves SONAR intermodal data to the mix.