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News Wire: Union Pacific reports record financial results

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Posted by Brian Schmidt on Thursday, July 22, 2021 11:15 AM

OMAHA, Neb. — Union Pacific reported record financial results on Thursday, including new marks for operating income, net income, earnings per share, and operating ratio.

“We pulled all three profitability levers simultaneously: volume, price, and productivity,” CEO Lance Fritz told investors and analysts on the railroad’s earnings call. The railroad improved its outlook and now expects volume growth of 7% for the full year, up from 6%.

https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews/news-wire/union-pacific-reports-record-financial-results/ 

Brian Schmidt, Associate Editor Trains Magazine

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Posted by caldreamer on Thursday, July 22, 2021 2:28 PM

I would love to see the IRS go into UP headquarters in Omaha and do an ENRON style audit of their REAL books not the ones' that they use fo con shareholders and investors.  

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, July 22, 2021 4:49 PM

caldreamer
I would love to see the IRS go into UP headquarters in Omaha and do an ENRON style audit of their REAL books not the ones' that they use fo con shareholders and investors.  

Suspect the same for all Class 1's.

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Posted by Juniata Man on Thursday, July 22, 2021 6:35 PM

I've concluded there is an inverse correlation between crappy service and improved OR. Later this year, if third quarter results are reported and OR's have worsened and service improved - we'll know for sure. ;-)

CW

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Posted by CMStPnP on Thursday, July 22, 2021 9:17 PM

Juniata Man
I've concluded there is an inverse correlation between crappy service and improved OR. Later this year, if third quarter results are reported and OR's have worsened and service improved - we'll know for sure. ;-) CW

Definitely a disconnect somewhere because my read of the earlier TRAINS discussions of UP was they were potentially in trouble.   Seems like they are doing relatively OK.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Thursday, July 22, 2021 10:49 PM

I think one must take into account some of the metrics are compared to last year's second quarter.  When everything slowed way down. 

Plus after last quarter's numbers they did some more cutting just when you thought they couldn't cut anymore.

Jeff  

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Posted by SD70Dude on Thursday, July 22, 2021 11:37 PM

jeffhergert

Plus after last quarter's numbers they did some more cutting just when you thought they couldn't cut anymore.

I've lost count of the number of times I've thought that. 

We don't have computers for crews to use in yard offices anymore (everything has to be done on the stupid phablet), and they even banned the printing of train lists to save on paper.  Eventually they were forced to back off a bit on that one after everyone pointed out that the first rule in the book (CROR General Rule A) says that we can't use the phablet while switching.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by jeffhergert on Friday, July 23, 2021 3:29 PM

Just the other day they changed the rule to allow engineers to use railroad-supplied electronic devices to retrieve information on rules, timetables, general orders while on a moving train.  Many conductors have been issued them, it's coming for the rest of us, too.  We still have the computers, but they'll eventually go away once everyone is "connected." 

Rumor is that eventually, they will use the railroad-supplied devices to call crews to work.

Jeff

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Posted by tree68 on Friday, July 23, 2021 8:33 PM

jeffhergert
  We still have the computers, but they'll eventually go away once everyone is "connected." 

I wonder if they'll turn the locomotives into wifi hotspots with a satellite connection, for those areas that don't have data coverage...

LarryWhistling
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Posted by kgbw49 on Friday, July 23, 2021 9:16 PM

Leveraging the PTC lineside broadcasters and the antennas on the locomotives in some way, I would suspect. All those antennas will still work as antennas on non-PTC lines.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Friday, July 23, 2021 10:53 PM

tree68
jeffhergert
  We still have the computers, but they'll eventually go away once everyone is "connected." 

I wonder if they'll turn the locomotives into wifi hotspots with a satellite connection, for those areas that don't have data coverage...

Doubt it, they're too cheap.  And pretty much every town, terminal and crew change point has cell service now, so you can download all your stuff when you come on duty.

I've found that our phablets can screw up and 'forget' all the stuff you have downloaded, or attempt to update themselves if you hit a spot of cell service, and then refuse to let you in to the operating manual and other files until they have finished updating, which is kind of hard if you lost service again.......

We still have paper TGBOs, at least for now.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by kgbw49 on Saturday, July 24, 2021 8:25 AM

One wonders how the common carrier obligation comes in to play. Railroads have been able to "pick and choose" their customers for quite some time now. Or maybe the question should be if it will ever come in to play again. It sure seems like the common carrier obligation has disappeared from the business.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, July 24, 2021 8:32 AM

kgbw49
It sure seems like the common carrier obligation has disappeared from the business.

Frankly, the 'common carrier obligation' should have disappeared decades ago, when effective competing modes to rail became pervasive enough.

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Posted by Juniata Man on Saturday, July 24, 2021 10:07 AM

In 40 years as a rail customer, I never really encountered any railroad that flat out refused to handle something. The easiest way for a railroad to demonstrate they don't want a particular piece of business is to simply price it so high it shifts to over the road. That keeps them compliant with their common carrier obligation.

Now; I did encounter many times a railroad would refuse to provide me with a Rule 11 or proportional rate and that's a violation of STB rules. In those situations though, it comes down to how many millions you wish to spend to be proven right. 

CW

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Posted by kgbw49 on Saturday, July 24, 2021 3:24 PM

All good and salient points!

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Posted by jeffhergert on Saturday, July 24, 2021 4:17 PM

Juniata Man

In 40 years as a rail customer, I never really encountered any railroad that flat out refused to handle something. The easiest way for a railroad to demonstrate they don't want a particular piece of business is to simply price it so high it shifts to over the road. That keeps them compliant with their common carrier obligation.

Now; I did encounter many times a railroad would refuse to provide me with a Rule 11 or proportional rate and that's a violation of STB rules. In those situations though, it comes down to how many millions you wish to spend to be proven right. 

CW

 

Other ways are to be slow to supply empties for loading.  Be slow in spotting loads at the customers facility.

Boone IA is home to Fareway grocery chain that operates in some midwestern states.  They have their major distribution center there.  It used to be rail served, sitting just north of the yard in Boone.  The C&NW drove off that business a couple of years before I hired out.  They had cars for Fareway but wouldn't give the yard engine track time on the main tracks to service them for over a week.

Fareway took the hint.  They stopped using rail and pulled out all the tracks.  Now the rail dock is gone, too.  Removed when they expanded and modernized the warehouse.

Jeff  

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Posted by SD60MAC9500 on Saturday, July 24, 2021 6:35 PM
 

Juniata Man

Now; I did encounter many times a railroad would refuse to provide me with a Rule 11 or proportional rate and that's a violation of STB rules. In those situations though, it comes down to how many millions you wish to spend to be proven right. 

CW

Curt sounds like the railroad you're were dealing with didn't want you peeking behind the scenes..

 
Rahhhhhhhhh!!!!
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Posted by Juniata Man on Saturday, July 24, 2021 7:55 PM

SD60MAC9500
 

 

 
Juniata Man

Now; I did encounter many times a railroad would refuse to provide me with a Rule 11 or proportional rate and that's a violation of STB rules. In those situations though, it comes down to how many millions you wish to spend to be proven right. 

CW

 

 

Curt sounds like the railroad you're were dealing with didn't want you peeking behind the scenes..

 
 

 

The irony is that shortly before I retired, CN, NS and UP were pushing Rule 11's. 

 

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