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Rail News: BNSF Railway

For BNSF, another quarterly revenue record

BNSF Railway Co. remains on a quarterly earnings roll.

For second-quarter 2005, the Class I reported its 13th-consecutive quarter of year-over-year volume increases and the company’s sixth-consecutive quarter of double-digit freight revenue growth. The railroad also continued to reduce its operating ratio – “a trend we have been able to maintain for seven-consecutive quarters,” said BNSF Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Matthew Rose in a prepared statement.

For the quarter, BNSF had record freight revenue of $3.04 billion compared with $2.64 billion during the same period a year earlier. Revenue included $234 million in fuel charges -- a 260 percent hike compared with $65 million in second-quarter 2004.

Other revenue highlights included the railway’s Consumer Products division, which posted a 19 percent increase compared with the same period a year earlier, thanks in part to double-digit volume increases in the international, truckload, automotive and perishable sectors; Industrial Products, which, driven by strong demand in the building products, petroleum products and construction products sectors, had a 16 percent increased compared with second-quarter 2004’s total; and
Agricultural Products, which also posted a 16 percent increase compared with the same period last year due to strong corn, soybean and wheat export moves to the Pacific Rim.

For the quarter, BNSF posted operating expenses of $2.43 billion, 12 percent higher than the same 2004 period. The reasons: a 4 percent increase in gross ton-miles and 37 percent increase in fuel prices, even after factoring in a hedge benefit. Even so, BNSF’s operating ratio decreased four percentage points to 76.7 compared with second-quarter 2004’s 80.7.

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