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FW: Weekly Rail Recap for the Week Ending Saturday, February 23, 2002

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  • Gino & Kelly DiCarlo
    WEEKLY RAIL RECAP For the week ending SAT, February 23, 2002 By Dave Mears (NOTE: The expression ffd at the end of a news item means for further details
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 2, 2002
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      WEEKLY RAIL RECAP
      For the week ending SAT, February 23, 2002
      By Dave Mears

      (NOTE: The expression "ffd" at the end of a news item means "for further
      details" and usually represents what I believe to be the most helpful news
      resource if a reader wants more information on a particular item.)

      THE WEEK'S TOP NEWS (in chronological order):

      (SUN) Railroad Development Corporation observed its 15th anniversary. The
      Pittsburgh, PA. based railway conglomerate, headed by Henry Posner, operates
      or has interest in railroads in South America, Europe and Africa, as well as
      the Iowa Interstate Railroad in the U.S. A photo documentary of RDC's
      history is available on their website. (ffd: www.rrdc.com
      <http://www.rrdc.com> )

      (MON) The New York City Transit Authority's L Line began operation of the
      first of a new fleet of computer controlled subway cars. The cars utilize a
      new train control system managing train speed and distance between trains,
      which a NYCTA spokesman said was installed on the L Line because its
      operation is independent of other subway lines and so is best for testing
      purposes. (ffd: New York Daily News)

      (MON) The National Association of Railroad Passengers reported that Amtrak
      gained U.S. passenger market share between January, 2002 and January, 2001,
      while U.S. airlines lost market share. For domestic air travel, ridership
      dropped 14.7 percent and passenger miles dropped 12.8 percent, while Amtrak
      ridership increased 4.5 percent and Amtrak passenger miles increased 5.0
      percent. (ffd: NARP)

      (TUE) Passenger car manufacturer Bombardier announced that it had received
      orders for 30 bi-level cars. The orders were placed by the North San Diego
      County Transit District, the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority,
      the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission and the Fort Worth Transportation
      Authority, all for current or future commuter rail operations. (ffd:
      Bombardier Corp.)

      (WED) In one of the worst rail accidents ever, 361 persons were killed and
      scores more injured in a fire aboard an Egyptian passenger train. The
      accident occurred near the town of al-Ayatt, approximately 45 miles south of
      Cairo. Although the cause of the fire was still under investigation,
      authorities believed that it may have been started by a malfunctioning
      portable gas stove used for cooking aboard the train. (ffd: wire services)

      (WED) 16 Amtrak employees were arrested in New York, NY. The employees, who
      clean and maintain passenger cars at Amtrak's Sunnyside Yard in Queens, were
      accused of using credit and phone cards taken from the wallets and purses of
      passengers who had inadvertently left them aboard Amtrak trains. (ffd: New
      York Daily News)

      (WED) Norfolk Southern instituted a "matched consist" policy requiring like
      locomotives to be run together to maximize overall performance. NS
      established six categories of locomotives that may be run together: Group Y
      for yard switching units, Group 1 for 4 axle units used in yard, local or
      road service, Group 2 for 4 axle units used in merchandise and intermodal
      service, Group 3 for conventional 6 axle units, Group 4 for high-adhesion 6
      axle units and Group 5 for alternating current SD80MAC units. Each group
      includes specific locomotive models. (ffd: NS Corp.)

      (THU) The National Reparations Coordinating Committee, which is considering
      lawsuits against companies who profited from slavery before 1865, identified
      4 North American railroads - Canadian National, CSX, Norfolk Southern and
      Union Pacific - whose predecessor companies used slave labor. A Committee
      spokesman said that 94 early American railroads had been identified as
      having leased slaves from slave owners to build rail lines. (ffd: USA Today)

      (THU) Kansas City Southern filed suit in federal appeals court to block
      Canadian National/Illinois Central's new rail line to the ExxonMobil plant
      complex in East Baton Rouge, LA., construction of which was recently
      approved by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board. KCS, which presently has
      exclusive direct rail access to the complex, had earlier served extensive
      discovery requests on CN/IC relating to the new line, which the STB ruled
      were
      unnecessary for CN/IC to produce. (ffd: STB)

      (FRI) The National Industrial Transportation League voted to open its
      membership to include transportation carriers. A spokesman for NITL, which
      sharply criticized the service failures following recent railroad mergers,
      said, "While shippers, carriers and third parties will continue to have
      disagreements, it is in all our best interests to work together." (ffd: AAR)

      STATS:

      (THU) For the week ending February 16, U.S. carload rail traffic was down
      0.4 percent from the comparable week last year, down 1.9 percent in the
      East, but up 0.8 percent in the West. This week this year versus this week
      last year, notable traffic increases included non-grain farm products up
      22.1 percent, lumber and wood products up 13.3 percent, motor vehicles and
      equipment up 12.6 percent and grain up 8.6 percent; notable traffic
      decreases include coke down 18.7 percent, primary forest products down 12.8
      percent and metal and metal products down 8.9 percent. Also for the week
      ending February 16, U.S. intermodal rail traffic was up 5.6 percent,
      Canadian carload rail traffic was down 4.8 percent, Canadian intermodal rail
      traffic was up 6.8 percent, Mexico's Transportacion Ferroviaria Mexicana's
      carload rail traffic was down 28.6 percent and TFM's intermodal rail traffic
      was down 14.6 percent, all when ranked with the comparable week last year.

      For the period January 1 through February 16, U.S. carload rail traffic was
      down 2.8 percent, U.S. intermodal rail traffic was down 2.1 percent,
      Canadian carload rail traffic was down 6.7 percent, Canadian intermodal rail
      traffic was down 1.7 percent, TFM's carload rail traffic was down 7.6
      percent and TFM's intermodal rail traffic was down 5.6 percent, all when
      ranked with the
      comparable period last year. (ffd: AAR)

      ACQUISITIONS, ABANDONMENTS AND ALIKE:

      (THU) Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern announced that it had concluded an
      agreement to purchase the 1,500 mile I&M Rail Link Railroad. In announcing
      the acquisition, DM&E's president, Kevin Schieffer, commented, "In the
      railroad world, Chicago is Rome, and this gets us to Chicago." (ffd: Wall
      Street Journal)

      (THU) Central Manitoba Railway announced that it had concluded an agreement
      with Canadian Pacific Railway to lease and operate CP's 58 mile Winnipeg
      Beach Subdivision Line between Winnipeg, MB. and Gimli, MB. (ffd: Cando
      Contracting Ltd.)

      (THU) Canadian National announced that it had sold the former Wisconsin
      Central's 23.7 percent ownership of Australian rail freight operator Tranz
      Rail. A CN spokesman did not immediately identify the buyer of the
      ownership stake. (ffd: Toronto Globe and Mail)

      (FRI) Pursuant to an earlier agreement, the Utah Transit Authority formally
      filed to acquire, from Union Pacific, approximately 63 miles of line in or
      near several Utah cities for possible future commuter rail or light rail
      transit operations. (ffd: STB)

      CHANGING PEOPLE AND PLACES:

      (WED) The U.S. Federal Railroad Administration appointed Robert Gould
      Associate Administrator-Public Affairs. Mr. Gould was most recently CSX's
      AVP-Public Affairs in Washington, DC. (ffd: USDOT)

      (THU) Amtrak's Board of Directors elected Meridian, Mississippi Mayor John
      Robert Smith its Chairman. Following his election, Mr. Smith, who has
      served
      on the Amtrak board since 1998, announced his commitment to preserving all
      Amtrak train services. (ffd: wire services)

      * * *

      (CORRECTIONS (2 of them!): In last week's edition, I meant to report that,
      for the period January 1 through February 9 and ranked with the comparable
      period last year, Canadian carload rail traffic was down 7.0 percent and
      Canadian intermodal rail traffic was down 3.2 percent; thanks here to WRR
      Reader Ken Annett. Also, the crossing collision that resulted in the $55.7
      million initial judgment against Canadian National/Illinois Central occurred
      in Bloomington, Illinois, not Bloomington, Indiana; thanks here to several
      WRR readers.)

      * * *

      Weekly Rail Recap is edited from public news sources and published weekly,
      usually on Monday or Tuesday, to the rail and transit industries and those
      interested in them.
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