4. Powder River basin coal...again served by the D M & E network that has secured trackage into the basin.
Deader than "Dear Leader" (Kim Jong Il ) The Powder River Basin is past its peak, particularly towards the US Midwest, East, and Southeast. Also Ontario is proceeding to close coal-fired powerplants. Any recovery in PRB shipments will depend on exports to Asia, which the DM&E concession is not suited towards.
Any proof coal is past its peak? As far as we on the DM&E know, CP is still buying property in Wyoming.
Here's another thing that really pisses me off about CP: They're ending business with small shippers along the line, apparently because while they make money, they get in the way from moving much bigger
money. But right now, this winter, DM&E traffic is incredibly slow. We haven't seen it this slow in years, and that's business that could be putting guys to work. Take Del Monte Foods in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, for example. Here's a place that sends out six boxcars every weekday full of canned vegetables. That's still 1,560 carloads a year
(give or take) that is revenue! And it only takes about a half hour to serve (I know because I've done it). Correct me if I'm wrong, but the folks running CP are capitalists, right? Isn't their goal to maximize
revenue? Yet here they are ending shipping relations with steady industries. Furthermore, this makes Del Monte reliant on trucks - which are simply too expensive given that Del Monte is shipping to points nationwide, and that's dangerous to a town in which Del Monte is the largest employer.
So the theory is that these smaller businesses - and the daily wayfreights that serve them - get in the way of higher priority trains. Maintenance certainly isn't an issue, because most of these industry tracks haven't been maintained in years - and are no more than fifty yards in length. It comes down to good railroading.
Before CP started changing how the DM&E operates, the daily wayfreight crews were largely the customer service agents to the company! They decided what needed to be done each day, and communicated directly with the industries. It made money! But when CP initiated its way of operating, crews were no longer allowed to do these things, but were rather dictated by "MYPM"s (managers, said as 'MIPP-em') who are miles away on the phone and have no experience with these things - let alone easily accessible to CP customer service agents and dispatchers. Additionally, there's dramatically decreasing faith in CP dispatchers. The rumors we've heard is that these guys are hired off the street - and it shows! Allegedly, some of them are former air traffic controllers. Trust me, that doesn't help.
Anyway, they're all completely disconnected. It's a damn crime and a shame. CP is actively creating a lose-lose situation. The industries suffer, the crews suffer, and the company suffers!
And people wonder why CP has a poor operating ratio??