Is the Trump Administration’s widening trade war hurting rail freight traffic at home?
One of Southern California’s busiest railroad towns will be a whole lot quieter a year from now.
While technology is driving the new era of railroading, the need for a rock-solid foundation is paramount. The foundation of the railroad industry is training. Just like the Roman Pantheon, an ancient building with a solid foundation and large round pillars that support the stone roof, the pillars of empowerment, compensation and technology must hold up the “roof” of railroading goals that support the desired outcomes like car-count, safety and velocity.
BNSF announced in December 2017 that it had fully installed and was operating under Positive Train Control (PTC) on all mandated subdivisions in advance of the Dec. 31, 2018 interim federal deadline. However, on June 13, it submitted a request to the Federal Railroad Administration for an alternative schedule, a two-year extension to Dec. 31, 2020, because “full implementation status cannot be achieved until all non-BNSF trains and/or equipment operating on its PTC-equipped lines are also PTC-compliant.”
Rail freight continues to benefit from tight trucking capacity as spot market demand for highway haulage exploded this month.
Amtrak, working with BNSF, will the week of June 11 implement Positive Train Control (PTC) on BNSF-owned subdivisions that host the Southwest Chief and California Zephyr, marking the first activation on host-owned territory used by Amtrak. Full PTC activation on BNSF routes that host these two long-distance trains is expected by the end of August.
Freight traffic on U.S. Class I railroads totaled 1,319,420 carloads in May, up 3.2% from the same month a year ago.
A major Canadian grain shipper announced it has received BNSF Railway site certification status at its Saskatchewan terminal.
The latest carload report is good news for Class I railroads, but does it indicate coming headwinds for the U.S. economy?
Railroads continue to benefit from a multiplicity of issues throttling the trucking industry, as tight capacity and higher rates push more traffic to the rails.