News

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.

Rail Transit In Slow Recovery

It has now been more than six months since the COVID-19 virus hit the United States and Canada, and also hit transit hard in both nations. The riders disappeared. On some systems, ridership dropped as low as 5% of prior levels. Service plummeted in many places, too. Here at Railway Age and its sibling publications, we kept track of the downward progress of everything on rails: freight and passenger/transit. This writer was on the team that documented rail transit’s decline. Ridership is beginning its slow upward climb; how far up it will eventually go is anybody’s guess. So is service; in some places more than others. This article will present a comprehensive look at how rail transit is returning.