Railway Age’s October 2020 issue is now available digitally. In addition to the annual Railroad Financial Desk Book and breaking news on BNSF’s Katie Farmer breaking the “glass ceiling” to become chief executive in 2021, it offers four feature stories on safety.
- Safety Doesn’t Happen by Accident: Part I, the Case for System Safety
- FRA RD&T: Using AI to Improve Safety
- Hold It! Gauge-holding capability, resiliency, noise reduction, ease of installation and maintenance, low life-cycle cost, safety: Railroads rely on fasteners with these qualities to perform under heavy traffic
- TTCI R&D: A New Approach to Equipment Health Monitoring—MOTES (Remote Onboard Sensors)
The 2021 Railroad Financial Desk Book, written by Railway Age Financial Editor David Nahass, offers insights on the freight car market, and compares the situation to Shakespeare’s tragedy King Lear.
He writes: “The eponymous character, an elderly king, is overwrought due to the loss of respect, power and love that befalls him as he recklessly discharges his kingdom to his ungrateful daughters. In a last gesture to retain some portion of his former regal life, Lear demands to be attended by a company of knights. When challenged on his desire to retain his retinue, Lear screams the famous line, ‘Oh, reason not the need!’ Lear wants to know why he must explain himself and what he wants. After all, he was once the king. That moment in the play is the beginning of Lear’s shift over from sanity to madness.”
The madness, Nahass writes, is the Freight Rail Assistance and Investment to Launch Coronavirus-era Activity and Recovery (RAILCAR) Act, which he equates to the U.S. government’s 2009 Cash for Clunkers Program.
“Drama can be about folly,” Nahass continues. “This is the business of North American rail. It needs a strategy for growth. It needs a strategy to make freight rail a priority in North America. To create a strategy to incentivize the building of railcars in advance of the loads that need them is madness indeed.”