• Traffic Continues to Grow - Wall Street Journal

  • General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.
General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.

Moderator: Robert Paniagua

  by Gilbert B Norman
From one who was employed in the railroad industry during its "darkest hour' namely during the 70's when one third of the mileage was operating under bankruptcy protection, it is heartening to read an article such as appearing in Today's Wall Street Journal. I think reporter Daniel Machalaba brings good insight to the issues confronting the industry today. The Journal's site is by subscription, but here nevertheless is a brief passage from Mr. Machalaba's reportage:

  • MULVANE Kan. -- The chief executive of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. wasn't happy when he found out during a visit here last month that a stretch of new railroad tracks being installed to help ease freight congestion might not start carrying trains until September.

    "August," Matthew Rose snapped back, in a message to employees of the second-largest U.S. railroad by revenue to speed up work on the eight-mile-long project to meet their boss's deadline.

    The push shows how much BNSF and other major U.S. railroads have riding on improving notorious bottlenecks in their networks in time for the next peak shipping season, which begins this month and builds through the summer and fall in an effort to stock shelves before the holiday shopping season. Still, some customers worry that current expansion projects still won't be enough to ensure timely deliveries.

    Cargo shipments from Asia to the U.S. have been growing by about 10% a year, and much of the freight that arrives by ship and is headed for the Midwest or East Coast is transferred to trains for the final leg of its journey. Meanwhile, a lack of drivers is causing some trucking carriers to shift shipments to trains, and demand is surging for coal that moves by rail to electric utilities. Trains now carry 41% of U.S. freight as measured in ton-miles, or one ton moved one mile, up from 35% in 1986, according to the Association of American Railroads, a trade group.

  by Gilbert B Norman
Here is an Associated Press article covering the same topic as the WSJ piece noted above.

Courtesy of the BLET, this article can be read in its entirety:


  by Aji-tater
I really don't know much about the BNSF but there were recently an couple articles about CSX stock being upgraded by various analysts. In talking to both shippers and railroaders I keep hearing CSX is not getting the job done. I was shown the results of a survey of one category of CSX customers and it was overwhelmingly negative. Year to year results were poorer, transit times were said to be longer, and many other negative comments although there were a few positive ones. Some of the comments by the analysts sounded like they came right from CSX but it sounds like there is a gap between how CSX sees itself and how its customers see it. Things are probably not as bad as some shippers think and not as good as management claims but somewhere in between. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future, if CSX has any smarts at all {and I think they do} let us hope they are planning improvements.

I do not mean this post as a "bash" at CSX but it is interesting that you can get such different views from reputable sources.

  by slchub
Meanwhile, on the Caliente Sub (UP Vegas to Milford) we have about 70 miles of track slow ordered to 40 MPH for almost a year now, and on the Cima Sub (UP Vegas to Yermo) we have 1.5 miles of track in 70 MPH territory slowed to 25 MPH since June of last year. And they complain about velocity being down. I also love how half of the Herritage units look like crap. A disgrace to see the American flag covered in soot.

  by UPRR engineer
Got the "good" mainliner attitude i see there slchub... showing up aint no fun if ya talk like that in switch shanty.

  by UPRR engineer
You could always quit, pushing carts at Wally World is surely more fun then railroading with the UP. Ive kicked a couple carts in there parking lot. :-D

  by GN 599
I am surrounded by the U.P. On the sub we have trackage rights on its basicly 80 miles of 40 m.p.h track. I have an SP timetable from 73 and the speed for freights was 65. I talked to one of their track guys and word from the top is to budget them just enough money to keep it going. This is on their I-5 corridor. I can only imagine what its like on the other ends. BNSF has been dumping alot of money on maintenence projects this year. Sounds like the U.P. needs to get on the ball. I guess it dont matter they dont even have the manpower to run the trains they have now. I guess they dont realize that in alot of places they might have some bodies if it didnt take two or three crews to get a train over the road. Us working types dont get their ''big picture'' I guess!

  by UPRR engineer
Our problem here is a lack of track guys to stay on top of everything. With the oil boom taking place here all the labor work force runs to work the oil field. Then the people who dont want to work make and sell meth. Every business in this area is short handed. The job postings in the paper jumped from half a page, to six or seven full pages looking for people to work.