Blogs

  • Blog Post: A Rare Class-1 Rail CEO Gathering ...

    A rare trio spoke in August before an important annual professional gathering that represents all transport modes: Three leading Class-1 CEOs – BNSF’s Matt Rose, Kansas City Southern’s Mike Haverty, and Norfolk Southern’s Wick Moorman – spoke at a forum called “Balanced Regulation & Freight Railroads"...
  • Blog Post: TRAINS cover breaks new ground

    by Matt Van Hattem, Senior Editor If you’ve ever stopped to glance at the cover of a fashion magazine (admit it — we all have), you may also know that the “photo” is often a composite of different pictures of the same model, knit together seamlessly with the magic of photo editing software. At Trains...
  • Blog Post: Rush Loving on Why Buffett Bought BNSF

    Guest post from Rush Loving Two weeks ago, when Warren Buffett announced his purchase of Burlington Northern Santa Fe, a number of journalists seemed surprised that anyone would want to buy a railroad. "A railroad might strike many people as a bit old-fashioned-more 19th century than 21st,"...
  • Blog Post: Rush Loving: What Kind of Owner Will Warren Buffett Be?

    By Rush Loving --UPDATED-- A lot of people at Burlington Northern Santa Fe are probably wondering what Warren Buffett will do to their company once Berkshire Hathaway completes its purchase in the next few months.. Everyone in the railroad industry knows all about predators who come seeking quick profits...
  • Blog Post: A mid-winter thaw

    Last week, I was reading Slate Magazine’s Moneybox column by Daniel Gross , in which he makes the case that recovery will come sooner and stronger than we expect. Much as I’d like to believe him, I think we all have doubts right now about how long it’ll be before the economy we live on returns to normal...
  • Blog Post: What's bigger than coal in rail's future?

    Within eight years, the biggest producer of oil in the world will be … yes, the United States of America. Bigger than Saudi Arabia and any of the other sheikdoms. So says the International Energy Agency , a Paris-based organization that The Wall Street Journal describes as a highly regarded source...
  • Blog Post: Winter's parting insult

    For BNSF Railway, the winter just now fitfully fading away in the upper Midwest was one for the record books, or at least the recent record books. I was in North Dakota this week, curious to see if any of the congestion remained. I found very little of that, other than loaded oil trains staged between...
  • Blog Post: Engine with a whole lotta hurt

    Never a dull moment at Ellinor, Kan. Ellinor is the place, population zero, west of Emporia where BNSF Railway's Transcon to California separates from the route to Colorado and then down to Albuquerque, N.M. Several decades ago I stood in a farmer's field at Ellinor, watching freights whiz by, and was...
  • Blog Post: Bouncing through The Great State

    When last you heard from me, Mark the Amtrak red cap in Chicago had met my four-hours-late Lake Shore Limited and hustled me onto the Texas Eagle , which was being held for our tardy train. Also held were all the other westbound streamliners trains that afternoon. Good hustle! I was impressed. But what...
  • Blog Post: Freight cars fly two miles!

    It’s just incredible, the power of a Midwest thunderstorm these days. Why, just this week storm winds were reportedly the cause of one BNSF Railway freight train being blown off the tracks at the east end of the Waynoka, Okla., yard and derailing another passing train as well. But we have a...
  • Blog Post: Why your next trip will induce heartburn

    I’ve said before that any train I’m on can be as late as you like. I believe my exact words were “more train-riding pleasure for the same low price.” Well, forget that. I’ve changed my mind. Even idiots like me have their limit, and mine has been breached. Any train more...
  • Blog Post: The tough new rules of oil by rail?

    Railroads came to Washington this week to make the case at the White House against what could be tough new rules being drawn up by the U.S. Department of Transportation for handling crude oil. The proposals, which have not yet been made public, may involve slowing crude oil trains to a top speed of 30...
  • Blog Post: Our railroads are a MESS

    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 and Canadian Pacific strain under their government’s...
  • Blog Post: The demise of crude by rail is greatly exaggerated

    Some of my correspondents — smart people, all — have gotten a case of the jitters regarding crude oil by rail. They point to the North Dakota Pipeline Authority, the keeper of statistics for Bakken shale production, which says rail’s market share of oil leaving the state fell from a...
  • Blog Post: Visionary railroading in 2014

    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, but never so high as last Friday. You should take...
  • Blog Post: Last-minute decisions (and the Dining Car From Hell)

    How would you solve this problem? You've used a jillion Guest Rewards points to book bedrooms on the Coast Starlight from San Jose, Cal., to Los Angeles, the Sunset Limited to New Orleans and the Crescent to Washington, D.C. The Starlight arrives in LA at 9 p.m., the Sunset leaves at 10 p.m., and therein...
  • Blog Post: Cuff notes* on a rainy day

    I'm writing this in western Pennsylvania, less than an hour after leaving Pittsburgh. Out my window is a dark day, with rain and mist--not the best way to end a four-day trip across the country. I'd rather it be the other way around, that is, raining across the Sierra Nevada range and sunny in the Alleghenies...
  • Blog Post: Foolishness disguised as journalism

    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 blog, so that you can reach your own conclusion....