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1/18/2006



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Our misinterpretation of Week No. 1 Class I service metrics



In a Jan. 13 online report, ProgressiveRailroading.com correctly reported Class Is’ average velocity but misinterpreted the large railroads’ total cars on line and system-wide average terminal dwell time as it was correctly stated in Smith Barney/Citigroup's ground transportation research report for the week ending Jan. 6.

During the period, Canadian National Railway Co.’s cars on line decreased 3.3 percent to 107,268 units compared with 2005’s first week. In addition, CSX Transportation’s cars on line dropped 2.9 percent to 226,539 units and Union Pacific Railroad’s cars on line fell 0.5 percent to 322,900 units. BNSF Railway Co.’s cars on line increased 9.9 percent to 214,559 units; NS’ rose 7.3 percent to 206,297 units; and KCS’ went up 3.3 percent to 26,694 units.

On Jan. 13, we incorrectly reported increases as decreases, and vice versa … which means we reported that three well-performing railroads were struggling on the “cars on line” front and the two Class Is that had posted higher car totals had recorded lower totals. We deeply regret the error.

Also during the period, CN’s system-wide average terminal dwell time of 11.7 hours dropped 15.8 percent compared with 2005’s first week. CSXT’s 28.2-hour and UP’s 29.7-hour averages decreased 6.9 percent and 6.3 percent, respectively, compared with 2005’s first week. NS’ average of 24.9 hours rose 3.3 percent and BNSF’s average of 24.7 hours increased 2.9 percent.

On Jan. 13, we once again reported increases as decreases, and vice versa. Again, we regret the error.

For what it’s worth: We correctly reported that CSXT’s average velocity of 20.1 mph decreased 6.9 percent; BNSF’s velocity of 23.8 mph fell 3.6 percent; NS’ velocity of 21.9 mph declined 2.2 percent; CN’s velocity of 27.1 mph increased 9.3 percent: and UP’s velocity of 22.2 mph rose 6.2 percent compared with 2005’s first week. Canadian Pacific Railway’s and KCS’ velocity data wasn’t available.


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