Old 01-19-2010, 10:48 PM   #1
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Default Question for all RR workers.....

I am looking for the real pulse on how RR traffic is doing in the supposedly improving economy. My thought, what better way than to ask the very people that live and breathe the industry on a daily basis. The images of all those idle engines sitting in yards across the country last year still are clear in my mind and I wonder if things are improving at any rate or are we stabilizing down near the bottom still?

Warren Buffett made a big bet on BNI last November and in his words "a bet on America" and I'm curious to know if the industry has possibly seen the slowest days in recent memory? Thanks for any insight to this matter!

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Old 01-20-2010, 12:46 AM   #2
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While 95% of the industry is seeing a slight trend toward recovery, the other 5% are not. The problem is, the 5% in the red (badly) are in the process of or, already have lost their main customer base. Anyone that has the balls or the cashflow to pretty much outright purchase a Class I carrier is clearly smart. Why? Simple, they have already spent their alotment on capital improvements during the economic downturn and are now in recovery mode, smart to buy after the cash is spent and they have only profit to gain. Most Class I and Class II's are relying on their shortline partners to keep each of them going at this stage of the game, without a big profit, it is just guaranteed cashflow. However, all carriers big and small are marketing VERY aggressively at this point and all of them are seeing the benefit of this slowly. Nobody can win a war overnight.

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Old 01-20-2010, 01:02 AM   #3
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UP's Q3 net income was up 10% from Q2. (Q4 unavailable)
I'm to lazy to look up more. But that ^^ is a good sign.

Who is doing praticularly bad, RFE?
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Old 01-25-2010, 04:23 AM   #4
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I work for the BNSF in Minneapolis, hired out april of 2006. I was laid off twice in 2009, from April to July, and again in November, and I just got recalled last week, along with about 25 others, so around here things are supposedly picking up. Too bad there's still about 50 more on furlough, hopefully they make it back sometime in the next 2 years.
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Old 01-25-2010, 04:28 PM   #5
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From AAR
2009 saw declines, most of them quite steep, in every major category of rail carload traffic as well as intermodal. Total carload traffic on U.S. railroads is at its lowest levels since at least 1988 when the AAR’s data series began. Intermodal traffic in 2009 was at its lowest level since 2002.
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Old 01-25-2010, 06:06 PM   #6
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I've been told my numerous sources that the export coal demand is about to shoot through the ceiling, thus meaning a considerable increase in trains around these parts of WVa. can be expected. 100 units on CSX have been removed from storage this week. A set of nearly 10-15 locomotives from Waycross made a trip up here to Huntington to be placed back into service.

Looks like KY, WV, & VA could see a substantial increase in traffic here in the upcoming weeks. Time will tell.

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Old 03-06-2010, 02:23 AM   #7
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The UP stored a string of about 20 car racks in a yard visible from I-15 in Orem, Utah. Just today I noticed that they were gone. They had been standing for nearly two years and had accumulated their share of graffiti. If this is any sign, I'd say vehicle loadings may be up.
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Old 03-06-2010, 09:38 PM   #8
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I've been told my numerous sources that the export coal demand is about to shoot through the ceiling, thus meaning a considerable increase in trains around these parts of WVa. can be expected. 100 units on CSX have been removed from storage this week. A set of nearly 10-15 locomotives from Waycross made a trip up here to Huntington to be placed back into service.

Looks like KY, WV, & VA could see a substantial increase in traffic here in the upcoming weeks. Time will tell.

Chase

Chase, I also heard from sources in Pa. that new coal contracts will be increasing traffic over the Horseshoe Curve area too. Also, since I follow the market, the coking coal price just went from $129/ton to $200/ton with a deal to BHP and a Japanese steel manufacturer! Many coal stocks rallied big time yesterday like PCX and JRCC. Wish I had the time to head to Pa. and film the added coal trains grinding up the West Slope! I hope the layed off RR workers get called back if they haven't already.

Thanks for the replies, Rich
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:30 PM   #9
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I've been told my numerous sources that the export coal demand is about to shoot through the ceiling, thus meaning a considerable increase in trains around these parts of WVa. can be expected. 100 units on CSX have been removed from storage this week. A set of nearly 10-15 locomotives from Waycross made a trip up here to Huntington to be placed back into service.

Looks like KY, WV, & VA could see a substantial increase in traffic here in the upcoming weeks. Time will tell.
Which means a meltdown on the C&O East of Richmond because it was single tracked in the 1990's and the yards in and around the Tidewater downsized, whereas NS still has ample capacity and multiple tracks in and out of Norfolk
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Old 03-13-2010, 10:02 PM   #10
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Default CSX Dopuble Track East of Clifton Forge

CSX holds trackage rights on the Buckingham Branch Railroad (the old Mountain and Piedmont Subdivisions) which, in essence, creates a double track mainline between Clifton Forge and Richmond. Loads will travel east on the James River line and empties will return on the Mountain line.
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Old 03-14-2010, 01:23 AM   #11
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Which means a meltdown on the C&O East of Richmond because it was single tracked in the 1990's and the yards in and around the Tidewater downsized, whereas NS still has ample capacity and multiple tracks in and out of Norfolk
Single track does not equal meltdown...
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Old 03-14-2010, 01:37 AM   #12
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Single track does not equal meltdown...
It just means you have to manage your capacity more wisely...when you run trains, how much spacing between them, etc. I forget what line on CSX it was (I want to say the former Clinchfield main) that used a "slot" system in which all trains going in one direction would be two sidings apart, allowing for the trains coming in the other direction to occupy every other siding. All of the trains going one direction would run to the second siding, meeting the train going the opposite direction in the first siding, and they'd keep alternating like that. I guess they were able to wring quite a bit of capacity out of the single track main using that technique. If you need further evidence, look at NS' Rathole.
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Old 03-16-2010, 04:52 PM   #13
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Single track does not equal meltdown...
It has happened many times on the C&O between Richmond and Newport News over the past 15 years or so because of decreased track and yard capacity. Any dramatic increase in trains will = meltdown...

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CSX holds trackage rights on the Buckingham Branch Railroad (the old Mountain and Piedmont Subdivisions) which, in essence, creates a double track mainline between Clifton Forge and Richmond. Loads will travel east on the James River line and empties will return on the Mountain line.
Which does not help the situation EAST of Richmond

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It just means you have to manage your capacity more wisely...when you run trains, how much spacing between them, etc. I forget what line on CSX it was (I want to say the former Clinchfield main) that used a "slot" system in which all trains going in one direction would be two sidings apart, allowing for the trains coming in the other direction to occupy every other siding. All of the trains going one direction would run to the second siding, meeting the train going the opposite direction in the first siding, and they'd keep alternating like that. I guess they were able to wring quite a bit of capacity out of the single track main using that technique. If you need further evidence, look at NS' Rathole.
I'm not saying it cant be done, but having seen this happen many times in the last 10-15 years, I know what is coming. Maybe I am wrong though. Also you have to realize that this line now hosts a few passenger trains, which the Clinchfield and Rathole do not, which makes your dispatching less flexible if you want to keep any semblance of schedule for Amtrak.

The SCL used to have a coal loadout at Portsmouth, but I think it is long gone after they gained access to Newport News in the CSX merger.

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Old 03-16-2010, 10:06 PM   #14
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It has happened many times on the C&O between Richmond and Newport News over the past 15 years or so because of decreased track and yard capacity. Any dramatic increase in trains will = meltdown...



Which does not help the situation EAST of Richmond



I'm not saying it cant be done, but having seen this happen many times in the last 10-15 years, I know what is coming. Maybe I am wrong though. Also you have to realize that this line now hosts a few passenger trains, which the Clinchfield and Rathole do not, which makes your dispatching less flexible if you want to keep any semblance of schedule for Amtrak.

The SCL used to have a coal loadout at Portsmouth, but I think it is long gone after they gained access to Newport News in the CSX merger.
Sorry, but, that is because of poor dispatching and crew management.... If there is (are) ample passing sidings and an aspect indicated signal system, yeah, it can be done. If the territory is all paper Track Authority movements, it may be difficult.

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Old 03-17-2010, 10:16 PM   #15
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A representative from a major carrier advised they'd recently recalled 750 T&E employees who were on furlough.

The CSX Penninsula Subdivision is signalized and has some stretches of double track. CP still runs something like 12 or more trains a day via their route through Portal ND in non-signalized territory.
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Old 03-18-2010, 05:57 PM   #16
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The CSX Penninsula Subdivision is signalized and has some stretches of double track. CP still runs something like 12 or more trains a day via their route through Portal ND in non-signalized territory.
The problem in the past was less the fact that the line is mostly single track now, but the reduced yard capacity at N.N., what this meant is that most of the sidings would be occupied by trains waiting to be yarded and emptied. You could fleet trains in and out in 1 direction but throw Amtrak into the mix and you are less flexible. The N&W and all the other lines you mentioned do not have to deal with Amtrak, which I think is 3-4 a day each way between Richmond and N.N., which may not seem like much, but is.
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Old 03-19-2010, 01:15 AM   #17
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The problem in the past was less the fact that the line is mostly single track now, but the reduced yard capacity at N.N., what this meant is that most of the sidings would be occupied by trains waiting to be yarded and emptied. You could fleet trains in and out in 1 direction but throw Amtrak into the mix and you are less flexible. The N&W and all the other lines you mentioned do not have to deal with Amtrak, which I think is 3-4 a day each way between Richmond and N.N., which may not seem like much, but is.
Good thing that you are an expert and have all of the answers!
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Old 03-19-2010, 11:06 PM   #18
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Good thing that you are an expert and have all of the answers!
Very insightful post, as usual.
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Old 03-20-2010, 01:39 AM   #19
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Very insightful post, as usual.
And you, with your, "not quite but close"... Maybe you should go analyze the situation and hire a time study guy and then tell CSX that they are doing it all wrong. Single track CTC railroad can handle quite the capacity. It is called fleeting, but, I'm sure that you have already raised that crucial point..... And my last point, once again, you really have nill clue what you are talking about, seriously.

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Old 03-22-2010, 03:22 PM   #20
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And you, with your, "not quite but close"... Maybe you should go analyze the situation and hire a time study guy and then tell CSX that they are doing it all wrong. Single track CTC railroad can handle quite the capacity. It is called fleeting, but, I'm sure that you have already raised that crucial point..... And my last point, once again, you really have nill clue what you are talking about, seriously.
Glad to see you take the high road on this.
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Old 03-22-2010, 11:55 PM   #21
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Glad to see you take the high road on this.
Well..... I'm not the incorrect one.
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Old 03-24-2010, 03:07 AM   #22
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Well, I'm not trying to pour gasoline on the flames here , but figured I'd add my observations to the ongoing opinions of this thread seeing I did start this thing in a way. Having been to CSX's River Line Subdivision along the Hudson River in NY with their single track and multiple sidings having either Selkirk moving waves of trains south or batches coming north into Selkirk, trains may sit for a bit but I would hardly call it a meltdown. Even with the flow being stopped for a priority train coming the opposite way, the multiple sidings give the trains a chance to keep moving once things clear and I must say it makes for great photo chances given you are on the right end of the fleeting!

I would think after the slowdown some of the TOM's would like a challenge again in keeping the flow moving in a smooth fashion seeing traffic came down from higher levels, IMO.

I will add since starting this thread, Massey Energy Co. has agreed to acquire privately held Cumberland Resources Corp for their 416 million tons of coal!

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Massey....html?x=0&.v=5

Bottom line, I hope those layed off workers get their jobs back and more are created with the demand for American products and the rails move them all across the land.

Good luck all, Rich
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Old 03-24-2010, 01:44 PM   #23
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CSX frequently sends a few excess units through the DC area; presumably to balance power. On Tuesday 2/23 I saw a CSX general freight train handling several Dash-2 units DIC with tarps covering their exhaust stacks. I suspect they've been pulled for storage to be set up for operation.
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Old 03-26-2010, 04:10 PM   #24
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J, do you happen to remember the numbers of those two SD40-2's?

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Old 03-26-2010, 10:21 PM   #25
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Sorry do not. Where I'm located (office building on southside) I look down on 'em. Frankly don't know if they were 4 or six axles. They could be heading to Cumberland or somewhere north like Selkirk.
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