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Weekly Rail Recap for the Week Ending Saturday, May 18, 2002

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  • Gino & Kelly DiCarlo
    WEEKLY RAIL RECAP For the week ending SAT, May 18, 2002 By Dave Mears (NOTE: The expression ffd at the end of a news item means for further details and
    Message 1 of 1 , May 21, 2002
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      For the week ending SAT, May 18, 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):

      (MON) Flooding in areas of the U.S. Midwest temporarily interrupted some
      rail operations there. Early in the week, Burlington Northern Santa Fe's
      line between Kansas City, KS. and Ft. Madison, IA. was flooded out, but
      floodwaters receded and the line was returned to service on Wednesday. Also
      on Wednesday, Norfolk Southern's main line through Decatur, IL. was flooded
      out. (ffd: BNSF Corp., CRTS)

      (MON) Railcar operator GATX announced that its Mexican subsidiary GATX de
      Mexico had completed acquisition of 2,700 cars from Joseph Transportation
      Co. A GATX spokesman said that the acquisition increases GATX de Mexico's
      fleet to 6,200 cars, making it the largest railcar lessor in Mexico. (ffd:
      GATX Corp.)

      (MON) Norfolk Southern announced that it had reached agreement with the
      Delaware River Port Authority to construct a new intermodal terminal on a
      portion of the former Philadelphia, PA. U.S. Naval Shipyard. The new
      facility will be located adjacent to CSX's Greenwich Yard intermodal
      terminal and the Port Authority's Ameriport intermodal terminal, which is
      served by
      Canadian Pacific. Under the agreement, the Port Authority will finance the
      $16 million cost of construction and setup and be repaid by NS over 20
      years. (ffd: NS Corp.)

      (MON) The transport ministry of Canada and the U.S. Department of
      Transportation signed a memorandum of cooperation on rail-highway grade
      crossing research. Under the agreement, grade crossing research information
      will be exchanged between Canada's Transportation Development Center and
      USDOT's Federal Railroad Administration for a period of 3 years. (ffd:
      Canada TDC)

      (TUE) The Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad was struck by the Brotherhood of
      Maintenance of Way employees over contract issues. Later in the day, a
      federal judge issued a temporary restraining order halting the strike, which
      allowed IHB to resume normal operations. (ffd: CSX Corp.)

      (TUE) A Canadian Pacific freight train derailment near Wanamie, PA. trapped
      2 crew members in the train's derailed locomotive for over 8 hours.
      Rescuers had to dig a 15 foot tunnel into the mud in which the derailed
      locomotive was resting to reach the crew members, who were then removed and
      taken to a nearby hospital. (ffd: wire services)

      (TUE) Amtrak's Silver Meteor passenger train struck a logging truck at a
      grade crossing in Coosawhatchie, SC. The collision derailed 10 of the
      train's cars, all of which remained upright. 14 passengers aboard the train
      suffered minor injuries. (ffd: wire services)

      (WED) The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers filed suit against the Union
      Pacific over UP's use of remote control locomotives in its Des Moines, IA.
      and Hinkle, OR. rail yards. The suit, which was filed in a U.S. district
      court in Denver, CO., alleges that UP's introduction of remote controlled
      locomotives represents a "drastic, arbitrary change in work assignments"
      should have first been negotiated with the BofLE. A UP spokesman declined
      to comment specifically on the suit. (ffd: Omaha World Herald)

      (WED) The Association of American Railroads, in partnership with U.S.
      freight railroads, launched a new communication campaign designed to improve
      the rail industry's image. An AAR spokesman said that the campaign will
      focus on 3 main themes: the rail industry's significant contribution to the
      economy, the societal benefits of moving freight by rail and the important
      strides railroads have made in using technology to improve efficiency,
      safety and environmental protections. The AAR also debuted a new web site
      supporting the campaign, tomorrowsrailroads.org. (ffd: AAR)

      (WED) Operation Lifesaver held its annual Congressional Appreciation Awards
      at Washington, DC.'s Union Station. Awards were presented to U.S. Reps.
      Jack Quinn (R-NY.) and Bob Clement (D-TN.) for their efforts on behalf of
      rail-highway and rail-pedestrian safety. The ceremony also premiered a new
      video, "Emergency Responders: Your Safety First", for use by emergency
      personnel responding to crossing and trespasser accidents. (ffd: OLS)

      (THU) The governors of Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and
      Wyoming sent a letter of protest to Burlington Northern Santa Fe objecting
      to what they say are unfair preferential rates given to a small number of
      high-volume grain shippers. The letter criticizes BNSF's new lower rates to
      and from large grain elevators capable of loading approximately 110 rail
      at a time. In their letter, the governors urged BNSF to take additional
      steps to help smaller grain elevators to remain competitive. (ffd: wire

      (THU) The 5 other railroads in the Bangor & Aroostook rail system filed for
      bankruptcy; the Bangor & Aroostook itself filed for bankruptcy late last
      year. The filings clear the way for the eventual purchase of the 6 B&A
      family railroads, which is presently being negotiated with a consortium
      fronted by Rail World, Inc. and for a reported purchase price of
      approximately $62 million. (ffd: Bangor Daily News)

      (THU) The U.S. Department of Transportation announced that it would propose
      new security requirements for shipments of hazardous materials. A USDOT
      spokesman noted that the proposed new regulations would require that hazmat
      shipment paperwork include the name and address of each consignor and
      consignee, as well as the shippers' USDOT hazmat registration numbers. The
      spokesman said that comments on the proposed new regulations would be due at
      the USDOT's Research and Special Programs Administration office by June 3.
      (ffd: AAR)

      (THU) Mexico's Federal Competition Commission blocked the proposed merger of
      Mexican railway companies controlled by Grupo Mexico SA and Grupo Carso SA.
      The Commission ruled against the proposed merger on antitrust grounds,
      stating that the merged company would dominate 70 percent of Mexican
      international rail traffic and 64 percent of Mexican domestic rail traffic.
      (ffd: BofLE News)

      (SAT) Representatives of Union Pacific and the city of Council Bluffs, IA.
      dedicated the new home of the Union Pacific Railroad Museum collection. The
      collection will be housed in Council Bluff's former Carnegie Library
      building, which is presently undergoing renovation to accommodate the
      collection and is expected to open again in early 2003. The UP's museum was
      located in UP's headquarters building until 1996. (ffd: UP Corp.)


      (THU) For the week ending May 11, U.S. carload rail traffic was down 3.1
      percent from the comparable week last year, down 5.8 percent in the East and
      down 0.7 percent in the West. This week this year versus this week last
      year, notable traffic increases included nonmetallic minerals up 26.0
      percent, non-grain farm products up 13.0 percent and waste and scrap up 8.4
      percent; notable traffic decreases included coke down 28.3 percent, primary
      forest products down 15.2 percent, metallic ores down 13.0 percent and coal
      down 8.4 percent. Also for the week ending May 11, U.S. intermodal rail
      traffic was up 11.0 percent, representing the fifth consecutive weekly gain
      over last year. Also for the week ending May 11, Canadian carload rail
      traffic was down 0.3 percent, Canadian intermodal rail traffic was up 11.6
      percent, Mexico's Transportacion Ferroviaria Mexicana's carload rail traffic
      was down 25.1 percent and TFM's intermodal rail traffic was down 18.9
      percent, all when ranked with the comparable week last year.

      For the period January 1 through May 11, U.S. carload rail traffic was down
      3.5 percent, U.S. intermodal rail traffic was up 2.4 percent, Canadian
      carload rail traffic was down 3.5 percent, Canadian intermodal rail traffic
      was up 4.8 percent, TFM's carload rail traffic was down 4.2 percent and
      TFM's intermodal rail traffic was up 5.8 percent, all when ranked with the
      comparable period last year. (ffd: AAR)


      (THU) WFEC Railroad Company granted overhead trackage rights to the Kiamichi
      Railroad over WFEC's entire 14 mile rail line locating in Choctaw and
      McCurtain Counties, OK. The rights will allow Kiamichi to serve the Western
      Farms Electric Cooperative in Hugo, OK. (ffd: STB)

      (FRI) CSX filed to abandon 1 mile of line in Lima, OH. (ffd: STB)

      None of note this week.

      * * *

      (CORRECTION: In last week's edition, I referred to Metrolink's new "91 Line"
      as a new direct service between Los Angeles, CA. and Riverside, CA. In
      fact, direct Metrolink service between Los Angeles and Riverside has been
      available for several years over the Union Pacific route between these
      cities. The new "91 Line" service is over the Burlington Northern Santa Fe
      route between these cities, which until now had required a change of trains.
      Thanks to WRR Readers Les Dean and Rob Mandeville for their update here.)

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