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1/25/2005



Rail News: BNSF Railway

BNSF registers best quarterly operating ratio in four years; adopts new name to reflect forward-moving resolve


Burlington Northern Santa Fe had a banner fourth quarter, posting its best quarterly operating ratio since 2000, and third-straight quarterly revenue and volume record.

Today, the Class I reported record fourth-quarter freight revenue of $2.9 billion, a 19 percent increase compared with fourth-quarter 2003. Quarterly earnings per share of 91 cents rose 49 percent, operating income of $191 million increased 40 percent and the railroad's operating ratio of 77.1 improved 3.5 points.

BNSF's quarterly carloads totaled 2.5 million units, an 11 percent increase compared with fourth-quarter 2003. However, quarterly operating expenses rose 15 percent to $2.3 billion primarily because of increasing fuel prices, and compensation and benefits costs.

"This performance, coupled with our continuing focus on expense control, produced all-time record quarterly earnings," said BNSF Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Matthew Rose in a prepared statement.

For full-year 2004, BNSF increased freight revenue more than 10 percent to $10.7 billion compared with 2003. But net income dropped 3 percent to $791 million, operating expenses rose 12 percent to $9.2 billion and the railroad's operating ratio worsened 2.2 points to 84.3.

With the momentum from a strong fourth quarter, and financial and operating metrics heading in a positive direction, BNSF is adopting a new name and logo to promote its forward-looking resolve — as well as commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Burlington Northern Railroad/Santa Fe Railway merger. Although the corporation will retain the name Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp., the railroad now will be called BNSF Railway Co.

"During the 10 years since the merger, much has changed in the railroad landscape," said Rose. "BNSF has identified itself as progressive, vital, approachable and resourceful, [and] we believe that our identity should reflect those core attributes."

BNSF Railway plans to phase in the new name over time. The logo will appear on locomotives and other rolling stock, as well as stationary, signage, the Class I's Web site and merchandise.

For more BNSF insight, see the January issue of Progressive Railroading.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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