Archive for the ‘Railroad News’ Category

Squires to Retire in 2022 as NS CEO

December 3, 2021

Alan Shaw (left) will replace James Squires as NS CEO in 2022.

Norfolk Southern CEO James A. Squires plans to retire on May 1, 2022.

He will be succeeded by Alan Shaw, who is currently an NS executive vice president and the chief marketing officer.

Shaw will assume the position of NS president immediately as part of the transition plan. In a news release, NS said its top managers will report to Shaw.

In addition to his CEO duties, Squires serves as president and chairman of the board of directors.

NS also said Ed Elkins, vice president of industrial products, has been promoted to the positions of executive vice president and chief marketing officer.

Shaw has worked at NS for 27 years in marketing, operations and finance. He was been chief marketing officer since May 2015.

Squires was appointed CEO by NS in 2021 to replace the retiring Charles “Wick” Moorman.

He was named chairman of the NS board in October 2015.

Previously Squires served at NS as executive vice president administration, executive vice president finance and chief financial officer, senior vice president finance, senior vice president law, and vice president law.

U.S. Rail Freight Down 4.5% in November

December 3, 2021

U.S. rail freight for November was down 4.5 percent the Association of American Railroads said this week.

Railroads during the month handled 917,787 carloads, rising 2 percent or 17,996 carloads when compared with November 2020.

They also handled 1,028,039 containers and trailers, a decline of 9.6 percent or 108,705 units compared to last year.

Total carload and intermodal originations for the month were 1,945,826, a decline of 90,709 carloads and intermodal units over the same month last year.

John T. Gray, AAR’s senior vice president, said coal enjoyed robust growth due largely to the price of natural gas used to generate electricity having doubled this year.

Gray noted that coal carloads through November have been up 11 percent.

“Chemicals, grain and commodities related to steel making have also all showed solid carload growth this year,” he said in a statement.

AAR said 15 of the 20 freight categories that it tracks have posted gains through the end of November.

Between January and November, U.S. Class I railroads have handled 10,874,439 carloads, up 7 percent or 710,728 carloads compared with the same period in 2020.

Intermodal traffic on a year-to-date basis has been 12,917,662 intermodal units, up 6.4 percent or 775,257 containers and trailers.

The combined traffic has been 23,792,101 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 6.7 percent.

During November AAR said gains were posted by coal, up 20,731 carloads or 8.6 percent; chemicals, up 5,563 carloads or 4.4 percent; and crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 5,067 carloads or 7.4 percent.

Losing ground were motor vehicles and parts, down 8,186 carloads or 14.1 percent; grain, down 7,901 carloads or 7.4 percent; and all other carloads, down 3,355 carloads or 14.6 percent.

All comparisons are with November 2020 figures.

Baldwin ‘Shark’ Sighting Reported in Michigan

December 3, 2021

A Baldwin RF-16 locomotive was moved out of its storage shed this week in Michigan, Railfan and Railroad magazine reported.

Social media reports indicated that former Delaware & Hudson No. 1216 was moved around a yard of the Escanaba & Lake Superior.

The magazine said it is unclear why the locomotive was moved.

The 1216 is one of two “Sharks” that have been stored in Michigan since the early 1980s. Also in storage is ex-D&H No. 1205.

The two units are the only survivors of the 160 locomotives of this type built by Baldwin.

Some of those “Shark’s” worked on the Monongahela Railroad in southwest Pennsylvania before being retired.

The article can be found at  https://railfan.com/elusive-baldwin-shark-emerges-after-four-decades-in-storage/

Amtrak Service Cuts Eyed for January

November 30, 2021

Amtrak now expects to announce this month if it will need to impose service reductions in the wake of crew shortages that may occur if not enough employees are vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine.

Trains magazine reported Monday on its website that employees received a letter stating that they are expected to have received their first vaccination shot by Dec. 8 and to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4.

Amtrak has said employees who failed to meet the Jan. 4 deadline will be terminated. Those who miss the Dec. 8 deadline will be allowed to remain in service until early January before being let go if they remain unvaccinated.

Unions representing Amtrak workers have sued the passenger railroad over the issue.

Any service reductions will be detailed in mid December and become effective in January.

Amtrak has indicated service cuts may be needed on routes that lack enough operating personnel to move the trains.

As of Nov. 22, 88.2 percent of Amtrak workers have received at least one shot.

The schedule expected to be released this month will be based on vaccination status of operating personnel at that time.

The article can be read at https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews/news-wire/amtrak-limits-track-friday-sale-service-reductions-possible-in-january-as-unions-file-suit/

Mexico Approves CP-KCS Merger

November 27, 2021

The Mexican Federal Economic Competition Commission on Friday approved a proposed merger of Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern.

Mexican approval was needed because KCS has rail lines in that country.

The merger, which involves CP buying KCS, must still be reviewed by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, a process that is expected to take about year.

At present CP and KCS continue to operate as independent entities, but if shareholders of both companies approve the deal later this month CP plans to place KCS into a blind trust owned by CP.

NICTD OKs Contract for South Shore Track Work

November 26, 2021

A $304.8 million contract has been approved for the double tracking of the South Shore Line in Indiana.

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District governing board approved the pact with a joint venture of the Walsh and Herzog constructions companies.

The project involves creating a second main track over 26.6 miles between Gary and Michigan City.

Once the work is completed, South Shore trains will no longer run in the street in Michigan City.

NITCD officials have said the running times to downtown Chicago will be reduced once the project is completed in 2024.

An earlier request for proposals for the project resulted in bids that came in far higher than agency officials had expected.

Consequently, NITCD’s board directed agency staff to rework the project to lower its cost.

This included breaking up the work into separate deals and buying raw materials needed so that the bidders would not have to factor the cost of those materials into their bids.

Some elements of the project were made optional and will depend on how much federal funding the agency is awarded.

During the time when the second track is being built, train service will be suspended on some South Shore segments and replaced by bus service.

Rail Freight Down 4.09% Last Week

November 26, 2021

U.S. rail freight for the week ending Nov. 20 was down 4.09 percent with intermodal volume being the primary culprit for the falloff.

Class 1 railroads handled 508,309 carloads and intermodal units for the week. The percentage decline is in comparison with volume handled in the same week of 2020.

Carload traffic was 237,244 carloads an increase of 1.6 percent but intermodal traffic was down 10 percent to 271,065 intermodal containers and trailers.

The Association of American Railroads said six of the 10 carload commodity groups that it tracks saw gains last week.

This included metallic ores and metals, up 1,838 carloads, to 21,524; coal, up 1,780 carloads, to 64,719; and chemicals, up 1,437 carloads, to 34,174.

Losing ground were miscellaneous carloads, down 1,009 carloads, to 9,064; motor vehicles and parts, down 887 carloads, to 14,690; and grain, down 710 carloads, to 24,494.

To date railroads have handled a cumulative volume of 10,665,348 carloads, an increase of 7.1 percent compared with the same period in 2020. They have handled 12,695,960 intermodal units, a gain of 6.7 percent.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 46 weeks of 2021 was 23,361,308 carloads and intermodal units, a 6.9 percent gain over last year.

New Kid on the Block

November 24, 2021

I found this freshly painted GP15-1 in a sharp livery for the New Castle Southern Railroad in its namesake city in Indiana.

It was at the head of a cut of covered cars that had been positioned on a siding next to a city street and a portable unloading device.

The NCSR began operating in September a 21-mile former Nickel Plate Road branch between New Castle and Beesons.

The short line leases the track from Norfolk Southern which earlier this year canceled the lease held by the C&NC Railroad, a.k.a., Connersville & New Castle, which had operated the branch since Dec. 22, 1997.

At Beesons the C&NC and now the NCSR make a connection with the Big Four Terminal, which operates a former New York Central (Big Four) branch to Connersville.

A portion of that former NYC route south of Connersville is now used by the White Water Valley tourist railroad to Metamora.

NCSR No. 1671 is owned by Indiana Boxcar Corporation and I was unable to determine its heritage.

Amtrak Unable to Add Much Capacity to Handle Thanksgiving Travel Demand

November 24, 2021

Amtrak trains are expected to operate at full capacity or near capacity this week as travelers head out for the Thanksgiving holiday.

However, unlike in past years, the passenger carrier will be unable to expand consists of most trains to accommodate additional travelers.

As reported by Trains magazine on its website, Amtrak’s ability to expand consists is limited by equipment and crew shortages that are a byproduct of actions the carrier took during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic when ridership plunged.

Additional equipment that used to be assigned to Midwest corridor trains also has been shifted to the Pacific Northwest to cover schedules of Cascades Service that once used the now sidelined Talgo equipment.

Some Amfleet II coaches have been assigned to Midwest service, thus resulting in shorter consist for Eastern long distance trains.

Unlike in past years, there will be no extra corridor service in Illinois and Michigan.

To read the article about how Amtrak is handling Thanksgiving travel this year compared with past years, go to https://www.trains.com/trn/train-basics/abcs-of-railroading/amtrak-trains-during-the-holidays/

Crew Shortages Affect Short Lines, Too

November 24, 2021

Crew shortages spurred by employees leaving for other jobs and a dearth of applicants for the openings they leave behind have spread to short line railroads.

As reported by Trains magazine on its website, executives from a number of short line holding companies told an industry conference that in some instances short lines have been able to hire former Class 1 railroad workers despite the lower pay and benefits offered by short lines.

Short lines also offer more predictable working hours with operating personnel often able to return home at night once they complete their shift.

A Genesee & Wyoming executive told the conference the number of workers leaving G&W railroads doubled during the third quarter.

The article can be read at: https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews/news-wire/train-crew-shortage-spreads-to-short-lines/