AAR Closing Performance Data Website

A website that provided railroad performance measures has been shut down by the Association of American Railroads.

The railroad trade group said the site, which reported weekly Class I figures for terminal dwell, average train speed, and cars online, had outlived its usefulness.

The site was created following Class 1 railroad megamergers of the 1990s.

Canadian Pacific and CSX Transportation stopped providing information to the AAR site after they changing their metrics to a non-standard methodology.

CP, CSX and Canadian National  report weekly performance data in their own formats on their own websites.

Kansas City Southern and Union Pacific report weekly AAR-standard data on their websites while Norfolk Southern has begun providing monthly performance data on its website.

BNSF provides detailed network updates every other week.

All Class 1 railroads still provide AAR-standard performance metrics weekly to the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, which makes that information available to the public.

Some believe that ending the user-friendly Railroad Performance Measures site makes it more difficult for shippers to gather rail performance data.

Shippers and regulators use that date to monitor the rail network as a whole and individual railroads.

When train speeds decline and terminal dwell increase over a period of weeks, it might be a sign of congestion and service problems.

“It does make it harder on shippers and other industry participants to be able to compare how carriers are doing,” Todd Tranausky, a rail analyst with FTR Transportation Intelligence told Trains magazine.

“With each carrier adapting its own methodology, you can only really compare the carrier to itself over time and not to other carriers. It also puts the onus on shippers to pull the data from the STB’s website, and to reconfigure existing systems they had in place to easily pull the data off the RPM website to point to the STB’s spreadsheets and formatting. I think shippers care from the standpoint of it making it harder to have transparency into how carriers are doing and performing. The more sophisticated shippers will find the STB data and update their systems accordingly, but the smaller shippers will be turned off by it as one more example of carriers not wanting to be open and work with them on service performance.”

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