Blogs

    Posted 2 months ago by Fred Frailey
    I don’t recall ever seeing so much of the railroad industry in such disarray. Examples are everywhere you look. Tens of thousands of new vehicles sit on lots in Detroit and Toledo, waiting for rail cars to take them to dealers. Canadian National...
    Posted 11 months ago by Fred Frailey
    A hurrah for the Republican congressman from suburban Orlando and frequent Amtrak critic. Maybe I need to revise my opinion of the man (for what I said about Mica in July, go here ). Amtrak has pledged to end its food service losses, which amounted to...
    Posted 10 months ago by Fred Frailey
    Last week I wrote about the problem that has brought a big piece of the costly process of installing Positive Train Control (PTC being collision-avoidance technology) on 60,000 miles of railroad to a grinding halt. That problem is the conflict between...
    Posted over 2 years ago by Fred Frailey
    “It’s sealed,” a securities analyst emailed me today about the fight to control the future of Canadian Pacific. Institutional Shareholder Services had condemned the stewardship of CP by its present board of directors and recommended...
    Posted over 2 years ago by Fred Frailey
    Developments last week deepened Amtrak’s dilemma about how to sustain its Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief. The states of Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico told the passenger train company they won’t ante up the $10 million of so needed...
    Posted over 1 year ago by Fred Frailey
    The one thing we can all agree on is that Fred is not perfect. I have been persuaded by you that I could have cast “CSX fillets the Auto Train for supper” in a less-combative tone that would have engendered a more civilized discussion. So...
    Posted 1 month ago by Fred Frailey
    My friend Keel Middleton is a veteran BNSF Railway engineer, working out of Wellington, Kan., on the 311-mile, mostly double-track district west to Amarillo, Tex., on the Chicago-Los Angeles Transcon. Keel has seen business levels at highs and at lows...
    Posted 27 days ago by Fred Frailey
    I subscribe 365 days a year to the New York Times (the real NYT, delivered to my driveway), so I obviously think well of it. Bear that in mind as I lay into the newspaper for a really shoddy job of reporting today, reproduced at the conclusion of this...
    Posted 1 month ago by Fred Frailey
    Be on notice: Any rational observer would predict that American railroads are in for a terrible winter a few months hence — that is, if it is a normal, mild winter of the sort we had before last winter. How can I say that in the middle of August...
    Posted over 1 year ago by Fred Frailey
    Edited April 23, 2013 By early next year or even sooner, Union Pacific will begin experimenting with locomotives fueled by natural gas. This follows tests that began last year on Canadian National and BNSF Railway’s announcement that it may decide...
    Posted 28 days ago by Fred Frailey
    Thanks to all of you who read and responded to my blog The Joe Boardman-David Gunn Summit . I enjoyed all your comments. C.P. Crosby, in particular, made me reflect on something: Why haven’t states that subsidize Amtrak trains lavished more attention...
    Posted over 2 years ago by Fred Frailey
    Guess what everyone is doing at Canadian Pacific HQ in Calgary? The place is like a besieged city that has sent up the white flag and now waits for the invading army to enter the gates and plunder. So yes, copier machines are running off copies of...
    Posted 16 days ago by Fred Frailey
    Carl Hiaasen is a great comic novelist. I've read them all. His books ( Sick Puppy, Lucky You, Basket Case, Strip Tease , among others) poke fun at the inanities of people in his native Florida — their petty crimes, feckless behavior, outrageous...
    Posted over 1 year ago by Fred Frailey
    I spent much of this week watching trains on the CSX North End Subdivision, between Richmond, Va., and Rocky Mount, N.C. Usually, you can count on spotting on this heavily trafficked, mostly single-track line the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, their...
    Posted 10 months ago by Fred Frailey
    Where is the National Transportation Safety Board when we need it? A critical collision has occurred in the railroad industry. It seems that the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 has broadsided the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008. For weeks...
    Posted 2 months ago by Fred Frailey
    Readers of this blog got to know columnist Sara Foss of the Schenectady Daily Gazette on June 19 in Why You May Yet Read by Candlelight . I was hard on Sara because she asked the wrong question (can crude by rail ever be totally safe?) of the wrong person...
    Posted over 1 year ago by Fred Frailey
    From a friend (a senior VP of a Class I railroad) comes this bit of mind candy: “Railfans care about the locomotive. Railroaders care about what’s behind it.” My instinctive reaction is wholly negative. What a put-down! Then I...
    Posted 2 months ago by Fred Frailey
    About a decade ago the Editor of Trains Magazine asked if I would like to write a monthly column. Before answering no, not yet, I tried to think of provocative ideas. Two came immediately to mind. One I called “Why Doesn’t Dick Davidson Know...
    Posted over 1 year ago by Fred Frailey
    Amtrak’s board of directors has extended Joe Boardman’s contract as president for two additional years. Boardman, who turns 65 in December, will remain at Amtrak’s helm until at least November of 2015. That’s fine with me. It’s...
    Posted 7 months ago by Fred Frailey
    Okay, where was I? In A traveling man’s further adventures , I wrote that I flew from Washington, D.C., to Chicago to ride the Pullman Rail Journey train, attached once a week or so to the rear of Amtrak’s City of New Orleans. Pullman is the...
    Posted 8 months ago by Fred Frailey
    I’ve been wondering, as you may have: How many serious incidents involving unit oil trains should you expect? The goal may be none, obviously, but we know a lot about railway accidents, and statistics provide answers. Something I read on the RBN...
    Posted 3 months ago by Fred Frailey
    The debate over the safety of handling crude oil by rail has become frustrating and almost pointless. Yes, tank cars that carry oil could be made more crashworthy, that is, if the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration would get off...
    Posted over 1 year ago by Fred Frailey
    I would never call John Mica stupid. The Republican congressman from Florida, representing the northern suburbs of Orlando, has been active in politics for almost four decades, first in the Florida House of Representatives, then as chief of staff to a...
    Posted over 2 years ago by Fred Frailey
    Hunter Harrison has wasted no time putting his imprint on Canadian Pacific. My friends at that railroad say he is already a making changes large and small. To my knowledge no one has been dismissed. That will come later. Harrison has been making his way...
    Posted over 1 year ago by Matt Van Hattem
    Putting together the illustrations for Trains magazine’s new “Railroad Maps” publication provided a great opportunity to delve into the extremes of North America’s railroad network. Inside “Railroad Maps,” you’ll...