union_pacific_logo SANTA TERESA, N.M. — A $400 million Union Pacific railroad facility near a young New Mexico border town could open next year, according to the company.

Union Pacific spokesman Aaron Hunt said Tuesday that construction near Santa Teresa is ahead of schedule and the facility could be operational in 2014. It had been slated to open in 2015.

Read the complete story at the Kansas City Star.

CSX_logo

CSX Corporation announced July 16 second quarter net earnings of $535 million or $0.52 per share. For the second quarter of 2012, CSX earned $512 or $0.49 per share. According to these figures, CSX is up a profit of $23 million over last year’s earnings for the same quarter.

CSX attributes these profits to overall revenue growth, service and efficiency results, and other items such as tax and real estate. Revenue for the second quarter 2013 was a total of almost $3.1 billion. CSX was at an operating income of $963 million and an operating ratio of 68.6% for the quarter.

Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the more efficient the railroad.

CSX is up from last quarter, having reported a net income of $459 million or $0.45 per share. Revenue for the first quarter was at $2.96 billion, quite a bit less than this quarter’s reported $3.1 billion.

 

union_pacific_logo Union Pacific Corporation announced July 18 that performance for the second quarter 2013 was the best they have ever reported at a net income of $1.1 billion or $2.37 per diluted share, an increase of five percent over last year’s second quarter earnings. Earnings for the same quarter last year were only $1 billion or $2.10 per diluted share.

UP saw an increase of operating revenue to $5.5 billion, while last year’s operating revenue for the same quarter was only $5.2 billion. The freight revenue was also at a five percent increase and their operating ratio of 65.7 percent was the best ever recorded at 1.3 points higher than the second quarter last year; and 0.9 points better than the previous best-ever record which was set in the third quarter of 2012.

Second quarter earnings are also up from the first quarter of this year. UP reported increased revenue of $5.29 billion for the first quarter, a great deal less than this quarter’s reported $5.5 billion.

 

KCS_rail_logo Kansas City Southern (KCS) reported July 19 record revenues as well as record carloads for the second quarter 2013. KCS announced that the second quarter was up six percent over the second quarter 2012 with $579 million in revenues. Carloads saw an increase of three percent over last year as well.

The railroad saw an operating income of $179 million, 12 percent higher than the same quarter of the previous year and an operating ratio of 69.0 percent, a 1.5-point improvement.

Revenue growth for the second quarter was led by a 26 percent increase in Energy, a 20 percent increase in Automotive and a 13 percent increase in Intermodal revenues over last year. Revenues from Chemicals & Petroleum and Industrial & Consumer grew by 11 percent and four percent respectively over last year’s second quarter.

KCS saw a decrease in revenues from Agriculture and Minerals, which decline by 18 percent, due to droughts and a decrease in grain volumes. 

 

CN_red_logo Canadian National Railway (CN) announced July 22 that profits are up for the second quarter 2013 over the same quarter of 2012. Net income for the second quarter was C$717 million or C$1.69 per diluted share. Net income for the same quarter last year was only C$631 million or C$1.44 per diluted share.

CN reported a net gain of C$13 million that resulted from a gain on a non-monetary transaction with another railway. Excluding this transaction, it’s reported that CN saw an increase of diluted earnings per share (EPS) of 11 percent to C$1.66 for the second quarter. The same quarter last year was at C$1.50.

Revenues saw an increase of five percent to C$2,666 million that was reportedly driven by a five percent increase in revenue ton-miles and a two percent increase in carloadings.

CN reported that operating income increased six percent to C$1,042 million with an operating ratio (defined as operating expenses as a percentage of revenue) improvement of 0.4 of a point to 60.9 percent.

“We executed strongly during the second quarter, with service and operating metrics on a steady improvement trend. This performance underscores our agenda of Operational and Service Excellence, which is key to achieve solid revenue growth at low incremental cost. … Despite slower volume growth than anticipated, the CN team will maintain a keen focus on growing revenues faster than the overall economy as well as on tightly managing costs to meet our full-year financial outlook,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Claude Mongeau. 

 

ns_Logo Norfolk Southern (NS) announced Tuesday, July 23 an 11 percent decrease in income for the second quarter 2013. Income was at $465 million for the second quarter of 2013 whereas they were at $524 million for the same quarter of 2012.

Diluted earnings per share were at $1.46, nine percent lower than they were in 2012 at $1.60 per diluted share.

The operating revenues for the railroad came in at $2.8 billion, three percent lower than in 2012. However, the operating ratio came in at 70.2 percent, which is four percent higher than the ratio reported for the second quarter of 2012.

Fuel surcharges came in at $306 million, $59 million less than last year’s reported amounts. General merchandise revenues rose to two percent to $1.6 billion. Coal revenues fell 17 percent to $626 million due to lower average revenue per unit and a four percent decline in volumes. NS reported that Intermodal revenues increased four percent to $588 million and volumes increased five percent due to continued domestic and international growth.

“In the second quarter, Norfolk Southern delivered solid results, supported by growth in our chemicals, intermodal, and automotive businesses, despite continuing weakness in the coal markets,” CEO Wick Moorman state. “We continue to focus on service efficiency and velocity, which is enabling us to control operating expenses and deliver superior performance to our customers.”

 

cp-logo-240 Canadian Pacific (CP) reports record highs in operating ratio Wednesday, July 24. The operating ratio came in at 71.9 percent, a 1,060 basis-point improvement and an all-time quarterly record for the railroad.

Operating income came in at C$420 million, an increase over the second quarter of last year by 76 percent.

Total revenues for CP were C$1.5 billion, an increase of ten percent; also a quarterly record. Operating expenses were low at C$1.1 billion, a decrease of four percent. CP reported a net income of C$252 million or C$1.43 per diluted share.

The second quarter of 2012 had a net income of only C$103 million or C$0.60 per share. The second quarter of 2013 had a 138 percent improvement in year-over-year earnings per share. 

 

MECCA, Calif. — Last week, a 10-month-old poodle-terrier mix was found tied to the railroad tracks.

An engineer spotted an old man walking near the railroad tracks and noticed that the man had left something behind. The engineer was able to stop the train in time using his emergency brakes and discovered the pooch still alive. The puppy’s hero remains unidentified.

Union Pacific Special Agent Sal Pina responded to the scene and questioned the perpetrator. It seems the family didn’t want the puppy and didn’t know what to do with him. The 78-year-old man was deemed to be senile and confused, seemingly not realizing what he had done, and no charges were pressed. He was released into the custody of his family with a warning that if the elderly man was ever spotted around the railroad tracks again Pina would file elderly abuse charges.

Pina said that the puppy tied to the tracks was “probably one of the worst things he’d seen,” adding, “I’ve never seen something like this.” 

The puppy – which was named Banjo after old traffic signals some of which can still be seen on various railways – was taken to a vet and given a bath.

He was then turned over to Riverside County Animal Services where he has been put up for adoption. 

“I would prefer to be someone who can treat him gently and give him the kind of love he needs right now, because he’s been through so much,” said Jo Marie Upegui, a veterinary technician who is caring for Banjo.

Banjo is described as being a very healthy and friendly pup by the vets who took care of him. Riverside County Animal Services is requiring interested adopters to email shelterinfo@rivcocha.org and share why their family would be the best for Banjo.

Pictures courtesy of Riverside County Animal Services

 

 

 

BNSF reported a 15 percent increase in profit forf the first quarter 2012 versus first quarter 2011, citing improved pricing and higher fuel surcharges.

BNSF’s first quarter 2012 operating ratio of 74.4 percent was one percentage point lower than for the first quarter 2011. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the more efficient the railroad.

BNSF operates in 28 states and two Canadian provinces.

 

Canadian National reported a 16 percent increase in profit for the first quarter 2012 versus first quarter 2011, saying its bottom line was helped by a mild winter and improved economic conditions.

CN’s first quarter 2012 operating ratio of 66.2 percent was almost 3 percentage points better than its 69.0 operating ratio for the first quarter 2011. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the more efficient the railroad.

CN is primarily a Canadian railroad. Its U.S. holdings include what were formerly Detroit, Toledo & Ironton; Elgin, Joliet & Eastern; Grand Trunk Western; Illinois Central; and Wisconsin Central.

 

Canadian Pacific reported a 318 percent increase in profit for the first quarter 2012 versus first quarter 2011.

The key was a more than 10 percentage point improvement in CP’s operating ratio, which fell to 80.1 percent for the first quarter 2012 – down from 90.6 for the first quarter 2011. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the more efficient the railroad.

Canadian Pacific is primarily a Canadian railroad. Its U.S. holdings include Class I Soo Line and regional railroad Delaware & Hudson.

 

Even with sharply reduced coal loadings, CSX reported a 14 percent increase in profit for the first-quarter 2012 versus first-quarter 2011. CSX credited price hikes and increased shipments of automobiles, metals and intermodal (trailers and containers on flatcars) as the reason.

CSX said coal loadings for the quarter were down 14 percent, but automobile and auto-related traffic rose 18 percent.

The CSX first-quarter 2012 operating ratio of 71.1 percent was a record for the first quarter. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the more efficient the railroad.

CSX operates some 21,000 route miles in 23 states and the District of Columbia.

Kansas City Southern  reported a 17 percent improvement in profit for the first quarter 2012 versus first quarter 2011, with the railroad citing “robust” intermodal and automotive traffic along with “growing cross-border traffic with Mexico.”

KCS’s first quarter 2012 operating ratio of 71.2 was 2.6 percentage points improved from its operating ratio for the first quarter 2011. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the more efficient the railroad.

KCS operates some 3,500 route miles in 10 states in the Central and South-Central U.S., as well as Kansas City Southern de Mexico, a primary Mexican rail line.

 

Norfolk Southern reported a 26 percent improvement in profit for the first quarter 2012 versus first quarter 2011, citing pricing strength and an increase in intermodal traffic that offset a 6 percent reduction in coal traffic.

NS’s first quarter 2012 operating ratio of 73.3 was improved from the 74.9 percent operating ratio for first quarter 2011. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the more efficient the railroad.

Norfolk Southern operates some 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia.

 

Union Pacific reported a 35 percent improvement in profit for the first quarter 2012 versus first quarter 2011, with the railroad citing a 15 percent increase in shipments of automobiles and gains in the number of carloads of other industrial products that offset dampening demand for coal transport.

UP’s first quarter 2012 operating ratio of 70.5 was 4.2 percentage points better than for the first quarter 2011. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the more efficient the railroad.

Union Pacific operates some 32,000 route miles in 23 states in the western two-thirds of the U.S.

CHICAGO — Newspapers and television and radio stations here June 14 were asking Union Pacific, “Is this any way to run a railroad?” after a shortage of UP engineers caused the cancellation of six morning Metra commuter trains and inconvenienced thousands of passengers trying to reach their jobs here.

Metra pays UP to operate and staff the Metra trains on its west suburban line.

The Chicago Tribune reported that “half a dozen engineers were allowed to take vacation simultaneously, and another called in sick.” Additional engineers qualified to operate the commuter trains and called by UP had already exceeded their hours-of-service following signal maintenance delays Sunday and could not report for work.

Metra’s CEO told the Chicago Tribune the fault was with UP and its “poor manpower planning.”

A UP spokesman responded, “We are looking at our crew management team to find out what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

DePaul University Transportation Professor Joseph Schwieterman, who has written extensively on railroads, told the Chicago Tribune, “This is something we expect with an airline, but not with a railroad. The lesson is, UP needs to have better contingency plans.”

MINERAL SPRINGS, N.C. — CSX conductor Phillip E. Crawford Jr., 33, and locomotive engineer James Gregory Hadden, 36, were killed early May 24 in a rear-end collision here involving two CSX freight trains, according to news reports. Mineral Springs is some 30 miles south of Charlotte.

Crawford was a member of UTU Local 970, Abbeville, S.C. He signed on with CSX in October 2005.

Two crew members on the lead train, which was hit from the rear, suffered minor injuries, reported the Charlotte Observer.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Railroad Administration are investigating the North Carolina train collision, and a member of the UTU Transportation Safety Team is assisting the NTSB.

A CSX spokesperson told the Associated Press that the rear-end collision occurred on northbound tracks and involved one train enroute to Hamlet, N.C., from New Orleans, and another enroute to Charlotte from southern Georgia. Each train was pulled by two locomotives; one pulling nine freight cars, and the other 12, said CSX.

In Ft. Worth, a BNSF switch foreman and UTU Local 564 member, Paul Young, 28, with almost seven years’ service, lost both legs and an arm after being hit by a train in BNSF’s Alliance Terminal of May 23. Young, a resident of Haslet, Texas, reportedly was performing a gravity switch at an ethanol plant at the time of the accident.

SAN ANTONIO — For the scores of Teamster Union members in their fourth week on the picket line here in a strike against Pioneer Flour Mill, times are tougher than usual.
UTU Local 756 (UP, San Antonio) Chairperson John Dunn understands the hardship, and as so often occurs among UTU members, Dunn became a point-of-light, personally stepping up to the plate on behalf of his striking Teamster brothers and sisters with a random act of kindness.
Filling his pickup truck bed with 10 cases of Gatorade he purchased at a local store, Dunn headed out to the picket line one afternoon in May to distribute the beverages to the striking Pioneer workers.
The flour mill has been using managers and temporary workers to operate during the strike, and Union Pacific is utilizing managers to switch cars of corn, wheat and starch across picket lines into the mill, according to the San Antonio Express newspaper.

GILA BEND, Ariz. — A westbound Union Pacific freight train hit a U.S. Border Patrol SUV here May 12 as two Border Patrol agents, reportedly chasing suspected undocumented immigrants, suddenly entered an unmarked private crossing in their unmarked SUV as the train approached.

Both Border Patrol agents were killed in the collision, which occurred about 80 miles from the Mexican border.

News reports say the train’s crew members saw the SUV driving parallel to the tracks “when the unmarked SUV suddenly turned south into the crossing.” The engineer reportedly blew his horn prior to the crash, trying to get the SUV driver’s attention.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department said the three-locomotive, 75-car UP train, enroute to Yuma, was traveling about 62 mph when it struck the SUV, pushing it about one-mile down the tracks.

News reports say sheriff’s deputies later arrested a group of eight suspected undocumented immigrants traveling on foot near the scene of the accident. They reportedly were carrying 315 pounds of marijuana.

Most major North American freight railroads reported strong earnings for the first quarter 2011 versus first quarter 2010.

Following is a wrap-up for the quarterly earnings reported by the railroads to the investment community.

Not included is BNSF, which is privately held and does not report its financial results to the investment community.

Mention is made of each railroad’s operating ratio. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the higher is profit.

Canadian National

Canadian National reported a 31 percent increase in first quarter 2011 profit versus first quarter 2010. This comes following a 19 percent increase in CN profit for calendar year 2010.

CN’s operating ratio for the first quarter 2011 was 69 percent, slightly better than the 69.3 percent reported for first quarter 2010. The railroad’s fourth-quarter 2010 operating ratio was 63.6.

CN is primarily a Canadian railroad. Its U.S. holdings include what were formerly Detroit, Toledo & Ironton; Elgin, Joliet & Eastern; Grand Trunk Western; Illinois Central; and Wisconsin Central.

Canadian Pacific

Canadian Pacific Railway was the only major North American rail system reporting a drop in profit for the first quarter 2011 compared with first quarter 2010. CP cited severe winter weather as the cause of its profit decline.

CP’s calendar-year 2010 profit increased by 39 percent.

The railroad’s first quarter 2011 operating ratio soared to 90.6 compared with 82.3 in the first quarter 2010. CP’s fourth quarter 2010 operating ratio was 77.6.

CP said its 15,143 employee count increased by 613 during the quarter, but gave no indication of whether it would add employees the remainder of 2011.

First quarter 2011 train speeds fell by almost 14 percent and the number of train accidents soared by 57 percent — both attributed to a dramatic increase in the number of avalanches in the Canadian Rockies and winter-long blowing snow throughout CP’s North American rail network.

Canadian Pacific is primarily a Canadian railroad. Its U.S. holdings include Class I Soo Line and regional railroad Delaware & Hudson.

CSX

CSX profit jumped 30 percent during the first quarter 2011 versus the first quarter 2010, the railroad reported April 19. This comes on the heels of a 35 percent improvement in operating profit for calendar year 2010.

The CSX employee headcount rose in March to 30,464 employees, up 3 percent from March 2010, the railroad said.

The CSX operating ratio for the first quarter 2011 was a record low 72.5 for any first quarter. The fourth quarter 2010 CSX operating ratio was 71.1.

CSX operates some 21,000 route miles in 23 states and the District of Columbia.

Kansas City Southern

Kansas City Southern’s first-quarter 2011 profit was almost double that of the first quarter 2010. This followed an 82 percent increase in profit for calendar-year 2010.

The employee headcount remained constant at 6,080. The railroad did not indicate whether it would be increasing its headcount in 2011.

The KCS first quarter operating ratio declined significantly, from 75.2 percent the first quarter 2010 to 73.8 for the first quarter 2011. The railroad’s fourth-quarter 2010 operating ratio was 73.2.

KCS operates some 3,500 route miles in 10 states in the Central and South-Central U.S., as well as Kansas City Southern de Mexico, a primary Mexican rail line.

Norfolk Southern

Norfolk Southern reported a 26 percent increase in profit for first quarter 2011 versus first quarter 2010. This follows a 45 jump in NS profit for calendar-year 2010.

NS said it would add some 1,100 new workers during 2011, returning employment to the same level as in 2008.

NS operating ratio for first quarter 2011 was 77.1 percent, higher than the 75.2 percent in the first quarter 2010, owing, in part, to severe winter weather. The fourth-quarter 2010 NS operating ratio was 71.9 percent.

NS operates some 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia.

Union Pacific

Union Pacific profit rose 24 percent in first quarter 2011 compared with first quarter 2010, This follows a 47 percent jump in Union Pacific profit for calendar-year 2010.

UP said the railroad would increase its 43,000 employee headcount by about 4,500 in 2011.

The railroad reported a best-ever first quarter operating ratio of 74.7 percent — one of the more difficult for railroads because of winter weather. The fourth quarter 2010 UP operating ratio was 73.2.

Union Pacific operates some 32,000 route miles in 23 states in the western two-thirds of the U.S.

Union Pacific profit rose 24 percent in first quarter 2011 compared with first quarter 2010, the railroad reported April 20. This follows a 47 percent jump in Union Pacific profit for calendar-year 2010.

UP Chairman Jim Young said the railroad would increase its 43,000 employee headcount by about 4,500 in 2011.

The railroad reported a best-ever first quarter operating ratio of 74.7 percent — one of the more difficult for railroads because of winter weather. The fourth quarter 2010 UP operating ratio was 73.2.

Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the higher is profit.

Looking forward, UP Chairman Jim Young predicted significant volume growth in the second half of 2011. UP is “pretty confident right now we’re going to see a peak” that exceeds traffic volumes the second half of 2010, Young said. “We’ve started off strong in 2011 by achieving record results in the first quarter.”

Union Pacific operates some 32,000 route miles in 23 states in the western two-thirds of the U.S.