Week 38: Intermodal Saves the Day—Sort Of

Intermodal gains mostly offset carload declines for U.S. and North American freight rail traffic for the week ending Sept. 19, 2020, reducing the weekly decline to less than 2%, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported on Sept. 23. Traffic for the year’s first 38 weeks was still down significantly compared to 2019, however.

Rail Safety Week and Infrastructure Investments Go Hand in Hand

As a lifelong railroader, I’m especially pleased to join Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI) and others across the nation in observing Rail Safety Week (RSW). In addition to Canada, this year we also welcome our colleagues in Mexico in helping all of us in North America to raise the profile of rail safety awareness.

Are Intermodal’s “Green Shoots” Signs of Recovery?

THE FINANCIAL EDGE, RAILWAY AGE SEPTEMBER 2020 ISSUE: The rail industry continues to twist as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. To say that the length of the pandemic either has or will exceed most people’s initial expectations would be an understatement. So as the market continues to scuffle along, “Financial Edge” tried to look for some “green shoots” to provide some sense that there will be a return to normalcy sometime in the future.

USDOT Awards $1 Billion for 70 Infrastructure Projects

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) will distribute $1 billion among 70 surface transportation infrastructure projects in 44 states through its Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Discretionary Grants program. The Fiscal Year 2020 program is for planning and capital investments.

North American Rail Freight Down 10.5% Through 37 Weeks: AAR

The Association of American Railroads now has 37 mostly painful weeks of traffic data. The decline, driven by a sputtering global economy suffering from the impacts of COVID-19, the worst health crisis since the 1918 H1N1 pandemic, saw total traffic (carload and intermodal) fall 10.5% in North America—11.2% in the U.S., 8.1% in Canada (where the coronavirus appears to be under much better control than its neighbor to the south), and 9.6% in Mexico.

BNSF’s Katie Farmer Breaks Through the “Glass Ceiling”

For the first time in the nearly 200-year-old history of North American railroading, a woman has been named chief executive of a Class I railroad. On Jan. 1, 2021, BNSF Executive Vice President Operations Kathryn M. “Katie” Farmer will succeed Carl R. Ice as President and Chief Executive Officer. She will also assume leadership of BNSF’s Board of Directors. Ice will retire at the end of 2020 and remain on the company’s board.