The Railroad Week in Review:
First Quarter 2012


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Week in Review, March 30
CP's Green Team strikes back, taking on the Pershing arguments one by one. ASLRRA Annual Convention offers up some exceptional sessions on shortline cost control and revenue enhancement. RW Baird on trucking outlook. UBS coal outlook. Providence & Worcester posts $1 million net income for 2012 vs $267K loss in 2011.

Week in Review, March 23
BNSF 2012 capex of $3.9 billion to add capacity: how short lines can capitalize on it. John Larkin on crude by rail. Watching NS ops up close and personal. Annual US oil consumption on downward slope. CSA regs start biting truckers.

Week in Review, March 16
Tony Ingram and Ed Harris talk up CP prospects on BMO Capital conference call. Velocity and volume graphs pro and con. Hunter Harrison and Paul Hilal lay out plans for CP at JPM transports conference. RailAmerica and Genesee & Wyoming Feb carload comps. RailConnect Index shows short line vols flat ex-intermodal. Why farmers are holding, not shipping, corn. Koraleski, others move up at UP to cover for Jim Young while he copes with his cancer.

Week in Review, March 9
CSX Short Line Workshop v23.0 another winner. Content mix just right, an expanded trade show, more operational support reach-out. How coal numbers affect AAR car- counts for the week, trailing four weeks and year-to-date. CP teams up with US Development Corp in North Dakota Bakken crude oil hub. NEARS announces Spring 2012 program for May.

Week in Review, March 2
Warren Buffett's Annual Letter to Shareholders is chock full of comments on what makes BNSF work -- these excerpts can help short lines that connect with BNSF stay ahead of the curve. I also excerpt some notes from The Berkshire Hathaway 10-K re BNSF's 2011 results. The 2012 CSX Shortline Workshop begins Sunday. Here are some tidbits to keep in mind as you think about what questions you will ask at the senior managers' presentations. Railway Association of Canada's Cliff Mackay succumbs to cancer.

Week in Review, February 24
I'm plugging the 2011 Rail Trends booklet from the Railway Association of Canada. Tons of useful data, though they curiously omit any mention of operating ratios. Comparing North American Class I Jan 2012 volumes by commodity with RMI's RailConnect shortline car count. Separate comments on RA and GWR Jan revenue units. How to use usraildesktop.com for competitive carload data by STCC and railroad to build a shortline franchise.  

[No Week in Review for February 17]

Week in Review, February 10
Pershing Square gang beats up on CP. Why I'm not convinced Fred & Company ought not to keep doing what they're doing. DM&E for sale if Pershing wins proxy fight? GWR, RailAmerica report OK fourth quarter and full year 2011 results; no home runs, many singles and a tepid outlook for 2012.

Week in Review, February 3
RailAmerica acquires two railroads, starts steps to pay off expensive debt. Pershing Square announces webcast of CP aims. Why dividends and share buy-backs count. PAL puts dispatching "in the cloud." FEC to develop intermodal terminal at Fort Lauderdale, wins top grade for Hialeah auto ramps.  

Week in Review, January 27
A whirlwind week of earnings calls. Two sets of numbers to look at: railroad results and relative financial positions. NS, UP share top honors, CP brings up the markers. David Brown leaves CSX unexpectedly. No CP conference call comment allowed re Pershing Square. John Betak announces railroad management webinar series out of Univ of Texas. Jim McClellan releases Volume I, My Life with Trains.

Week in Review, January 20
UP kicks off the 4Q2011 earnings season with record sales, operating income, eps and operating ratio by doing all the right things even in a lackluster economy. GWR and RA December carloads do not impress. Reading & Northern business development successes do. Frac sand is running in unit trains Nebraska-Pennsylvania in four days over three short lines and two class Is using run-through power and dedicated train sets. Carload outlook for 2012 in the 2-5% range per a pair of Wall Street notes.

Week in Review, January 13
CB Board sticking with Green, gets nod from the investor community. Full year 2011 car-counts are in; intermodal cleans up, merch carloads a mixed bag by commodity. Four reasons to watch stock reports for companies that use the railroads. Harriman Award to end. Will NS make it 23?

Week in Review, January 6
How to cope with a ho-hum 2012 where vols are flat and money is tight. CP conversation heats up. Why knowing your short line's ROE is essential. Another look at the D&H: recent events lead me to believe I was flat wrong in my Dec 16 WIR remarks. UBS calls CSX, NS, UP "star performers" for 2011.

 

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