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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

CSX, CPR report fourth-quarter advances; BNSF experiences quarterly retreat


Fourth-quarter financial reports are starting to trickle in from Class Is, and so far the earnings news is mostly good.
CSX Corp. Jan. 21 reported $65 million in fourth-quarter net income, climbing 20 percent compared with $54 million in fourth-quarter 2000. CSX officials believe lower fuel prices and cost cuts helped increase income.
However, the company’s quarterly revenues slipped to $2.01 billion compared with $2.05 billion in 2000.
Meanwhile, Canadian Pacific Railway Jan. 21 reported $261 million in fourth-quarter operating income, rising 12 percent compared with the 2000 period. The railroad also posted net income of $118 million, which dropped $7 million compared with 2000 due to interest expenses associated with CPR's spin-off from Canadian Pacific Ltd. and foreign exchange gains in the prior year.
CPR, too, reported $951 million in total quarterly revenues, increasing $23 million or 2 percent, and $689 million in operating expenses, which declined $6 million compared with 2000. The railroad’s quarterly operating ratio improved 2.4 points to 72.5.
"Our spinoff was an outstanding success. We executed this major change without losing focus on our long-term business plan," said Robert Ritchie, CPR president and chief executive officer, in a prepared statement. "Going forward, I expect more from our overall financial performance."
But the quarterly financial news wasn’t particularly good for Burlington Northern Santa Fe, which Jan. 21 reported $472 million in operating income, dropping 13 percent compared with $544 million in 2000.
Revenues, too, fell to $2.3 billion compared with $2.34 billion in 2000, in part because BNSF lost General Motors Corp’s automotive contract to Union Pacific Railroad.
"Despite the U.S. recession, BNSF generated $443 million of free cash flow, a 3 percent improvement over last year," said Matthew Rose, BNSF president and chief executive officer. "BNSF's continued focus is on revenue quality, operating expense efficiencies and free cash flow while providing transportation services that consistently meet customers' expectations."

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More News from 1/22/2002