Jefferies to Oberman: Allow Me to Remind You—Again

Continual reiteration of statistical data and talking points is a necessary but often tiring aspect of being an industry trade association. The Association of American Railroads, one of the principal voices of the railroads, has over many years been presenting arguments supporting railroad economic, social and environmental benefits, and pushing back against those who would undermine “sound public policy and balanced regulation.” Now, AAR’s advocacy has encountered a different type of potential “adversary”—activist Surface Transportation Board Chairman Marty Oberman, who has been voicing strong opinions in public forums, most notably, shipper conferences.

AAR: No Single Solution to the Intermodal Problem

“Rail intermodal volume is clearly not what it has been and could be,” AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray noted in the association’s Oct. 6 rail traffic report, which found that September 2021 container and trailer volume dropped 6.7% from the prior-year period.

Pictured: Union Pacific’s Global 4 intermodal ramp in Chicago. “In 2021, the average time a chassis is on the streets before it returns to an intermodal ramp has elongated by 20% versus the same time last year,” says Elise Gosch, UP’s AVP-Marketing & Sales-Premium Intermodal.

Week 38: Intermodal Drags Down U.S. Rail Traffic Totals, Again

Total U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Sept. 25, 2021, was 511,713 carloads and intermodal units, a 1.3% decline from the prior-year period, with intermodal losses offsetting carload gains, according to the Association of American Railroads’ Sept. 29 report.

U.S. Intermodal: Drop-Off Spans Seven Consecutive Weeks

For the week ending Sept. 18, 2021, U.S. Class I railroads hauled 234,790 carloads, up 3.5% from the same point last year, but the 270,832 intermodal containers and trailers they moved fell 8.3% from 2020, the Association of American Railroads reported on Sept. 22.

Week 36: Intermodal Fall-Off Continues

Total U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Sept. 11, 2021, was 468,610 carloads and intermodal units, a 1.3% decline from the same point last year, with intermodal losses offsetting carload gains, reported the Association of American Railroads on Sept. 15.

Feud Over Proposal to Regulate Private Railcar Handling

Associations representing private railcar owners are rebutting responses to their request that the Surface Transportation Board institute a rulemaking updating the demurrage and accessorial rules governing the railroads’ use and handling of their equipment.

This methodology turns HI data (as plotted) into actionable control limits as shown in the table (inset).

Deterministically Setting Hunting Speed Restrictions

RAILWAY AGE, SEPTEMBER 2021 ISSUE: TTCI has developed a new method for railroads to optimize hunting speed restrictions. This method uses truck hunting detector (THD) data to assess hunting risks objectively and uniformly, and applies speed restrictions deterministically.

North American Rail Freight Up 9.2% Through 35 Weeks: AAR

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) now has 35 weeks of traffic data for 2021. Total traffic (carload and intermodal) rose 9.2% in North America—climbing 10.3% in the U.S., 6.3% in Canada, and 6.1% in Mexico from the same point last year.

Tank Car Safety Project Turns 50

The Railway Supply Institute (RSI) and the Association of American Railroads (AAR) are marking a milestone: 50 years of the Railroad Tank Car Safety Research & Test Project (Safety Project).

Dems to STB: ‘Thoughtfully, Thoroughly Consider Regulatory Action Impacts’

Thirty-nine Members of Congress, all Democrats, have sent a letter to the Surface Transportation Board urging it to “not take any action that would undermine the ability of railroads to make … investments now and into the future.”