Editor’s Note: This opinion piece is in response to my invitation for “reasonable, fact-based, non-political opinions on Precision Scheduled Railroading by experienced railroaders from both the agreement and non-agreement sectors, to encourage
Regarding the “point-counterpoint“ debate originally published in Fortune about Precision Scheduled Railroading and reproduced in Railway Age, with Brannon and Gorman on the “for” PSR side, and Rep. DeFazio (D-Ore.) not exactly on the “against”
Editor’s Note: Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR) continues to be, in a word, controversial. This operating method traces its origins to the late Hunter Harrison and the Illinois Central in the early 1990s.
I spent about a half-decade of my railway career working with several intermodal freight logistics luminaries: Marvin Manheim of Northwestern University’s Transportation Center, Penn State Professor of Logistics Kant Rao and Bryan Stone of Intercontainer, with contributions from Rick Hill and Dick Andino, pioneers of ship-to-rail intermodal at APL. These folks and others helped shape my view of moving containers along complex links and nodes among different modes and terminals.
Here are a few observations about the often operationally complex competitive rail carload service that many shippers and public advocates would like federal regulators to shove down the throats of the railroads: “reciprocal switching,” or as the Association of American Railroads calls it, “forced access,” a “misguided” method that could, ultimately, undermine the railroads’ ability to reliably serve customers.
The most recent big news in freight transportation is President Joe Biden’s Executive Order to boost competition in rail and maritime shipping, possibly setting the industry on course for seismic change.
In 1913, three years prior to taking his seat on the Supreme Court, Justice Louis Brandeis wrote in Harper’s Weekly that “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.”
Having worked into Washington D.C. Union Station from the South my entire Amtrak career as a locomotive engineer, I’m excited yet apprehensive about the acquisition of dual-power and battery-hybrid motive power and integrated trainsets from Siemens Mobility, because it’s going to require the type of commitment to maintenance and service that’s historically been haphazard at Amtrak, at best.
A glimpse of actual progress teased the passenger rail industry July 6 when the Canadian government unveiled previously obscure details of its long-running High Frequency Rail (HFR) program.
At Cowen and Company, we are adjusting our rail models in advance of second-quarter earnings reports due later this month from the Class I railroads. The models reflect carloads in the quarter, mix, fuel, FX (foreign exchange) and cost implications as the supply chain remains tight.