Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Class 1 Railroads’

Class 1 Rail Employment Fell in January

February 22, 2018

Employment on U.S. Class 1 railroads in January fell 2.76 percent compared with January of 2017.

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board said railroads employed 144,329 workers in mid January, which was a decline of 0.75 percent since mid-December.

Five of the six employment categories reflected workforce decreases in mid-January compared with mid-December.

That included executives, officials and staff assistants, down 3.62 percent to 7,830 employees; transportation (train and engine) down 1.29 percent to 59,684; maintenance of way and structures, down 0.99 percent to 32,132; transportation (other than train and engine) down 0.78 percent to 5,581; and maintenance of equipment and stores, down 0.12 percent to 26,564.

The professional and administrative category rose 3.18 percent to 12,538 in mid-January compared with mid-December, but was down 4.94 percent compared with January 2017.

Four other employment categories also reflected workforce decreases last month when compared with mid-January 2017.

Executives, officials and staff assistants category was down 13.73 percent; maintenance of way and structures, down 5.98 percent; transportation (other than train and engine), down 5.58 percent; and maintenance of equipment and stores, down 5.24 percent.

Year over year, transportation (train and engine) increased 2.83 percent.

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U.S. Class 1 Employment Fell in December

January 24, 2018

Employment at U.S. Class I railroad fell last month the U.S. Surface Transportation Board reported this week.

The railroads employed 145,416, which was down 0.37 percent since November and 3.19 percent compared with December 2016 figures.

Five of six employment categories reflected workforce decreases in December compared with November.

Those categories were maintenance of way and structures, down 1.83 percent to 32,454 employees; executives, officials and staff assistants, down 1.06 percent to 8,124; transportation (other than train and engine), down 0.79 percent to 5,625; professional and administrative, down 0.25 percent to 12,151; and maintenance of equipment and stores, down 0.13 percent to 26,595.

Transportation (train and engine) rose 0.44 percent to 60,466 employees.

The same five employment categories saw workforce decreases in mid-December compared with 2016. The number of employees in the executives, officials and staff assistants category fell 9.59 percent; professional and administrative, down 7.41 percent; maintenance of equipment and stores, down 6.01 percent; maintenance of way and structures, down 5.67 percent; and transportation (other than train and engine), down 5.02 percent.

The transportation (train and engine) category reflected a 1.6 percent increase in December compared with the previous year.

Tentative Contract Reached with 5 Unions

December 12, 2017

The National Railway Labor Conference has reached a tentative contract agreement with five railroads labor unions.

The pact, which covers wages, benefits and other issues for more than 31,000 employees, now must be approved by union members.

The unions involved include the Brotherhood Railway Carmen, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the Transportation Communications Union and the Transport Workers Union.

The latter union represents a limited number of employees in this bargaining. Terms of the contract were not announced.

The Conference represents 30 railroads, including five of the Class 1 railroads operating in the United States. Contract talks between the unions and the Conference began in 2015.

In a news release, the Conference said it now has reached new contract agreements with unions representing 116,000 employees, or 80 percent percent of the 145,000 employees in this bargaining round.

The agreement has already been ratified by union members of the American Train Dispatchers Association; Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen; Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, and International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers ─ Transportation Division including Yardmasters.

Talks continue with a coalition representing the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees, and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers.

STB Finds 4 Class 1 RRs Revenue Adequate

September 7, 2017

Four Class I railroads were revenue adequate last year, the U.S. Surface Transportation Board has determined.

That means that Norfolk Southern, BNSF, Union Pacific and the Soo Line (the U.S. subsidiary of Canadian Pacific achieved a rate of return on investment equal to or greater than the Board’s calculation of the average cost of capital to the freight rail industry.

The STB determined that the 2016 railroad industry cost of capital was 8.88 percent. The revenue adequacy figure was calculated for each of the Class I freight railroads in operation as of Dec. 31, 2016, by comparing this figure to 2016 ROI data obtained from the carriers’ Annual Report R-1 Schedule 250 filings.

The Class I ROI figures were: BNSF, 10.11 percent; CSX, 8.62 percent;  Grand Trunk (including U.S. affiliates of Canadian National Railway), 8.60 percent;  Kansas City Southern, 6.23 percent; Norfolk Southern, 9.20 percent; Soo Line, 9.58 percent and Union Pacific, 13.39 percent.

U.S. Class 1 Railroad Employment Fell in July

August 22, 2017

The Surface Transportation Board reported that U.S. Class 1 railroad employment fell 0.7 percent in July when compared to the previous month.

The railroads had 147,540 workers in the United States as of mid-July, which was down 3.4 percent from the same period in 2016. Employment fell in all six employment categories.

The number of executives, officials and staff assistants declined 0.24 percent to 8,678; professional and administrative staff, 0.3 percent to 12,643; maintenance of way and structures workers, 0.57 percent to 33,849; maintenance of equipment and stores employees, 0.97 percent to 27,036; transportation (other than train and engine) ranks, 0.26 percent to 5,790; and transportation (train and engine) workers, 0.92 percent to 59,544.

When compared to 2016, the July 2017 figures showed that all employment categories except one posted declines.

The number of professional and administrative staff was down 7.7 percent; executives, officials and staff assistants, down 6.5 percent;  maintenance of way and structures, down 6.5 percent; maintenance of equipment and stores, down 5.1 percent; and transportation (other than T&E), down 5.3 percent.

The number of T&E employees rose 1.04 percent.

CSX Contends it has Cut Freight Transit Times

July 14, 2017

Despite some performance metrics showing mixed results, CSX management contends that it is making substantial progress in implementing its precision scheduled railroading operating plan.

CSX Chief Operating Officer Cindy Sanborn told Trains magazine that CSX has cut transit times by reducing the number of times that cars are handled en route.

She was responding to a report by the magazine that found that during June terminal dwell has increased 8 percent and average train speed fell by 4 percent.

Those figures were taken from reports that Class I railroads must provide to federal regulators.

“What you don’t see are the cars that used to go into that terminal . . . but don’t go into the terminal anymore,” Sanborn said.

She said that means that when a car is handled just once instead of twice, it arrives a day earlier, which reduces shipper costs.

The latter is primarily the case with shippers who own their own fleet of cars and reduce the size of their fleet because cycle times have improved.

CSX also contends that it is providing more consistent service. Sanborn said that through June 10, CSX was operating trains on-time 79 percent of the time.
Sanborn said reducing transit times has been the primary motivation for closing hump operations and shifting to flat-switching at major classification yards.

Before the implantation of its current operating plan, CSX road freights would pick up blocks of traffic bound for the nearest hump yard.

But now Sanborn said the only traffic going to a hump or classification yard is that which needs to go there.

She said that although locals are still pre-blocking traffic for the nearest hump yard, they also build blocks for additional destinations.

Those blocks are picked up by road trains and block-swapped or switched closer to their final destination.

Sanborn acknowledged that there will continue to be teething pains and issues that must be addressed as the railroad implements its operating plans.

The railroad’s operating team is constantly monitoring performance and is seeking to balance daily traffic flows by shifting some unit train traffic onto manifest freights.

This has been particularly the case with auto rack traffic and aggregate shipments that once traveled in dedicated trains.

Consolidating traffic has meant that CSX will be operating the same number of trains in each direction on every corridor, which Sanborn said will improve locomotive and crew utilization by reducing deadheading moves.

The railroad’s goal is to move the same tonnage on fewer trains.

Class 1 Rail Employment Down 0.14% in April

May 23, 2017

Employment at U.S. Class 1 railroads fell 0.14 percent in April, the Surface Transportation Board said this week.

Between mid-March and Mid-April there were 149,107 workers on Class 1s. That figure is a drop of 2.64 percent compared with figures from the same period in 2016.

Of the six employment categories, half reported decreases compared with mid-March. This included executives, officials and staff assistants, down 2.5 percent to 8,832 employees; professional and administrative, down 4.04 percent to 12,671; and maintenance of equipment and stores, down 0.28 percent to 27,849.

Rising during the period was employment of maintenance of way and structures, up 0.35 percent to 34,218 workers; transportation (other than train and engine), up 0.09 percent to 5,849; and transportation (train and engine), up 0.84 percent to 59,688.

On a year-over-year basis, executives, officials and staff assistants were down 5.35 percent; professional and administrative, down 8.21 percent; maintenance of way and structures, down 5.45 percent; maintenance of equipment and stores, down 4.19 percent; and transportation (other than train and engine), down 6.15 percent.

Transportation (train and engine) was the only category to post an increase in employment on a year-over-year basis, rising 2 percent.

Class I Railroad Employment up in March

May 2, 2017

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board reported that U.S. Class 1 railroad employment rose by 0.32 percent between mid-February and mid-March. However, employment was still down by 2.86 percent compared with the same period in 2016.

Three employment categories saw declines this year, including executives, officials and staff assistants, down 0.44 percent to 9,058; maintenance of equipment and stores, down 0.05 percent to 27,927; and transportation (other than train and engine), down 0.73 percent to 5,844.

The number of professional and administrative workers rose 0.03 percent to 13,204; maintenance of way and structures, up 0.09 percent to 34,099; and transportation (train and engine), up 0.92 percent to 59,191.

Compared with 2016’s report, the number of executives, officials and staff assistants was down 3.36 percent; professional and administrative was down 5.17 percent; maintenance of way and structures was down 5.28 percent; maintenance of equipment and stores was down 4.99 percent; and transportation (other than train and engine) was down 5.82 percent.

The number of transportation (train and engine) workers increased 0.62 percent compared with mid-March 2016.

CN Net Income up 12% in 1st Quarter

April 26, 2017

Canadian National’s first quarter 2017 net income increased by 12 percent to C$884 million, while diluted earnings per share increased 16 percent to C$1.16, compared with the first quarter of 2016.

Adjusted net income increased 11 percent to C$879 million, with adjusted diluted EPS increasing 15 percent to C$1.15.

Operating income increased 7 percent to C$1.3 billion. Revenues increased by 8 percent to C$3.2 billion. Carloadings increased 9 percent and revenue ton-miles increased 14 percent. Operating expenses increased 9 percent to C$1.9 billion, mainly due to higher fuel prices and higher costs due to increased volumes of traffic. The operating ratio of 59.4 percent, was an increase of 0.5 of a point from the prior-year quarter. Free cash flow was C$848 million, up from C$584 million in the year-earlier quarter.

Revenues increased for coal (39 percent), grain and fertilizers (16 percent), metals and minerals (16 percent), automotive (10 percent), intermodal (7 percent), and petroleum and chemicals (1 percent). Revenues declined for forest products (3 percent).

CN said the increase in revenues was mainly attributable to higher volumes of Canadian and U.S. grain, frac sand, coal exports, overseas intermodal traffic, and finished vehicles; freight rate increases; and higher applicable fuel surcharge rates. These factors were partly offset by the negative translation impact of a stronger Canadian dollar on U.S.-dollar-denominated revenues. Rail freight revenue per carload decreased by 1 percent.

Class 1 Employment Rose in February

March 23, 2017

Class 1 railroad employment ticked up 0.28 percent in mid-February, but was down 3.48 percent when compared with the February 2016.

The U.S. Surface Transportation  Board said the railroads employed 148,843 in the United States as of mid-February.

Of the six employment categories, three reflected increases compared with January’s employment report.

The number of train and engine employees rose 1.05 percent to 58,650 employees; executives, officials and staff assistants were up 0.24 percent to 9,098; and professional and administrative employees were up 0.08 percent to 13,200.

Categories reflecting decreases were maintenance of way and structures, down 0.31 percent to 34,067 employees; maintenance of equipment and stores, down 0.33 percent to 27,941; and transportation (other than train and engine), down 0.41 percent to 5,887.

Compared with mid-February 2016, all employment categories reflected decreases. The number of executives, officials and staff assistants was down 4.03 percent; professional and administrative, down 5.87 percent; maintenance of way and structures, down 4.91 percent; maintenance of equipment and stores, down 5.8 percent; transportation (other than train and engine), down 7.07 percent; and transportation (train and engine), down 0.41 percent.