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October 2015

Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

RailTrends 2015 preview — by Tony Hatch


Tony Hatch

In our industry, there are conferences that cover the shipper by region or commodity, labor, operations (network, rolling stock, information technology), suppliers, bankers, investors — but rarely do they overlap. With RailTrends®, we endeavor to break those silos (think of the great “1984” Apple ad) and unite the various stakeholder groups around the common themes and interests that need further review and exploration. We believe this year’s summit — to be held Nov. 19-20 at the W New York Hotel in New York City — is another silo buster.

Starting with the Progressive Railroading and RailTrends 2015 Railroad Innovator Award winner CSX Corp. Chairman and CEO Michael Ward, our speakers are global players, not spokesmen. We anticipate an audience of equally interesting, important and knowledgeable folks — perhaps RailTrends’ most enduring asset.

As ever, the program starts with a look at government doings and the railways with the esteemed heads of the Association of American Railroads (Ed Hamberger), Railway Association of Canada (Michael Bourque), American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (Linda Bauer Darr) and Railway Supply Institute (Tom Simpson). There also will be addresses from Surface Transportation Board Chairman Daniel Elliott and Acting Federal Railroad Administrator Sarah Feinberg.

Topics of discussion likely will include safety, infrastructure investment, positive train control, rail-car design, electronically controlled pneumatic brakes, truck size and weight, and other issues that are framing the industry’s near-term future.

NAFTA: It’s covered

The freight-rail industry is a continental one and we really have it covered. Joining us will be CN Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer JJ Ruest, Kansas City Southern EVP and CMO Brian Hancock, and Ferromex Director General Rogelio Velez.

We also will go Down Under with Aurizon VP of Corporate Development Andrew MacDonald and the Yanks in Oz: Watco Cos. CEO Rick Webb and Genesee & Wyoming Inc. Chief Financial Officer TJ Gallagher. Short lines are extensively represented: In addition to Messrs. Webb and Gallagher, and ASLRRA’s Darr, our lineup features Patriot Rail Corp. President and CEO John Fenton, and OmniTRAX Inc. CEO Kevin Shuba.

Of course, we also dive deep into intermodal, the once and future growth engine for the rails. The aforementioned certainly will talk about it; so will Union Pacific Railroad VP and General Manager-Intermodal John Kaiser and XPO (nee Pacer) Logistics President-Intermodal Paul Smith.

Meanwhile, we offer the fascinating case study of the Fortress Investment Group LLC’s All Aboard Florida (AAF) passenger-rail project, presented by AAF President P. Michael Reininger. We’ll also hear from AAF’s sister freight company in the Sunshine State, Florida East Coast Railway, via President and CEO Jim Hertwig. He’ll talk about the FEC’s use of gas-powered locomotives.

CSX's Michael Ward, Progressive Railroading's 2015 ‘Innovator’

RailTrends 2015 also features a few more of the industry’s finest thinkers — Oliver Wyman’s Rodney Case; my research partner and PLG Consulting President Taylor Robinson; FTR Associates experts Larry Gross (“the state of freight”) and Dick Kloster (rail cars); and noted 3PL authority Ben Gordon, managing partner of BG Strategic Advisors. And once again, we’ll feature our analyst panel, which comprises Avondale Partners Managing Director and Senior Transportation Analyst Donald Broughton and me (note how I separated us from the “thinkers” group).

And then there’s our keynote speaker, 2015 Railroad Innovator honoree Ward. During his dozen years at CSX’s helm, he has shepherded the Class I through a series of challenges and a whole lot of change. And we’re thrilled that he’ll be with us. We hope you will be, too. Please join us in New York City this fall as we bring down more silos! For more information, visit:


Browse articles on RailTrends Tony Hatch CSX Association of American Railroads Railway Association of Canada American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association CN Kansas City Southern Ferromex Watco Companies OmniTRAX Genesee & Wyoming

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