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Rail News: BNSF Railway

BNSF sets revenue and income records in year's second quarter


Driven by all-time-high coal volume, BNSF Railway Co.’s second-quarter traffic jumped 9 percent to 2.7 million carloads, helping the Class I set revenue and income records. Freight revenue of $3.6 billion rose 18 percent and operating income of $863 million increased 22 percent compared with second-quarter 2005.

BNSF moved 613,000 coal carloads, a 14.4 increase percent compared with the same 2005 period and 5 percent rise over the previous high-water mark. Coal traffic helped the railroad boost carload volume for the 17th-straight quarter.

“Our coal customers’ stockpiles are not where they want them to be, but they have more confidence in our delivery [and] feel better than they did a year ago,” said BNSF Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Matt Rose during the railroad’s earnings conference this morning, referring to weather- and track-related delivery interruptions in May 2005. “And we had 4 percent price growth in coal in the second quarter, which has to be our best in a long time.”

Also during the quarter, BNSF’s earnings increased 32 percent to $1.27 per diluted share and operating ratio improved 0.7 points to 76.0 percent compared with second-quarter 2005.

However, quarterly operating expenses of $2.8 billion rose 17 percent primarily because of a $217 million increase in fuel costs.

In the year’s first half, BNSF’s freight revenue increased 18 percent to $7 billion, net income rose 30 percent to $880 million and operating ratio improved 1.2 points to 76.2 compared with the same 2005 period. Operating expenses totaling $5.5 billion went up 15 percent.