Regulatory

Shareholder Value, or Public Safety?

Date: Sept. 27, 2019. News media outlets report potential life threatening situations with three different Class I railroad freight trains blocking railroad grade crossings, sometimes for hours at a time. These events seem to be increasing, both in number and length of time. Americans are not just inconvenienced. Lives are being place at great risk when a blocked crossing impedes emergency service providers from assisting people in need of help.

STB’s Cost of Capital Dilemma

NEWS ITEM: The Surface Transportation Board (STB) proposes to change the formula for computing the cost of the equity component of the railroad industry’s cost of capital. This is of consequence to railroads, shippers and investors because cost of capital is a determinant of railroad revenue adequacy and a threshold for a host of other regulatory limitations on rail ratemaking.

Takeaways, Locomotive and Railcar Conference Call: Cowen

According to Cowen and Company freight transportation analysts Jason Seidl (Managing Director and Railway Age Wall Street Contributing Editor), Matt Elkott and Adam Kramer, inquiries about new railcars appear to have risen slightly in the past month, while locomotive modernizations should remain solid, in the midst of a continuing weak new-build market. Industry-wide Precision Scheduled Railroading implementation has not been tested in a volume growth environment.

FRA: “A Shared Interest in Saving Lives”

Despite significant improvements over several decades, deaths resulting from highway-rail grade crossing incidents and illegal trespassing continue to account for about 95% of all rail-related fatalities in the U.S. annually. The number of fatalities has plateaued over the last ten years with a combined average of 750 per year excluding suicides. For the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), identifying effective and innovative ways to prevent these fatalities is a top priority, and the agency is seeking to expand and strengthen longstanding partnerships with railroads, states, communities, law enforcement and others to adopt solutions more quickly.

What PSR Is—and Isn’t: NEARS Talk

Out of a remote location in a corner of New England comes an interesting operations research view of what Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR) is, and is not. Peter Swan, a Ph.D rail and logistics expert from the Penn State School of Business Administration, spoke Oct. 3 at the NEARS (Northeast Association of Rail Shippers) Fall 2019 Conference in Burlington, Vt.

Comments on STB Ex Parte 711

To: The Honorable Ann D. Begeman, Chairman, Surface Transportation Board: I am submitting this testimony to be included in the consideration and record on Ex Parte 711, Reciprocal Switching. Having served 44 years in the railroad industry, both as a Class I marketing/rate department officer and as President and CEO of short line Maryland Midland Railway, I have a unique and comprehensive view of this entire subject.