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Old January 30th, 2007, 11:48 AM   #1
Coccodrillo
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UNITED STATES | Freight Railways

Hi, does anybody know some figures about freight trains in the USA?

Like the millions of tonnes transported by rail on major mountain passes, the grade of their railways, the number of daily trains (if possible, counting also passengers trains) and weigth and lenght of these trains, to compare with europeans lines.
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Old January 30th, 2007, 12:26 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coccodrillo View Post
Hi, does anybody know some figures about freight trains in the USA?

Like the millions of tonnes transported by rail on major mountain passes, the grade of their railways, the number of daily trains (if possible, counting also passengers trains) and weigth and lenght of these trains, to compare with europeans lines.
it was recently stated here that 38% of US freight went by rail, and that was far above the situation in Europe. Interestingly, in Japan, freight goes by road and the people take the train.
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Old February 27th, 2007, 04:56 AM   #3
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U.S. railways carried 427 billion ton-miles of cargo annually in 1930. This increased to 750 billion ton-miles in 1975, and had doubled to 1.5 trillion ton-miles in 2005
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Old February 27th, 2007, 10:54 AM   #4
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Thank you.

Do you know also how many goods transported the busiest railway in the USA (in million of tonnes, not tons-mile or tons-km, to compare with Europenan lines - even if I know yet that American's railways are more heavily used).
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Old September 13th, 2008, 09:27 AM   #5
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U.S. railroads see coal boom continuing
11 September 2008
By Nick Zieminski

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. railroads expect shipments of coal to remain strong for the foreseeable future, supporting the rail sector's double-digit earnings growth in coming years, industry executives said on Thursday.

Railroads, including CSX Corp, Union Pacific Corp., Norfolk Southern Corp. and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp, all highlighted coal shipments as a key growth area in presentations at a transports conference.

CSX raised its 2008 profit forecast, citing pricing and industry momentum, and said long-term earnings growth would be higher than previously expected, sending its shares up more than 10 percent. Other rail stocks also rallied.

Shipments from the U.S. Appalachian coal region to Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports, which account for 29 percent of CSX revenue, should remain strong for the next few years, CSX Chief Financial Officer Oscar Munoz told the Dahlman Rose Transportation Conference on Thursday.

"We have in hand the demand that we see," he said, citing long-term contracts. "It's tangible, not hoping and wishing."

CSX also raised its 2008 capital expenditure budget to $1.75 billion, from $1.6 billion, partly because of increased spending on new coal train cars.

CSX RAISES FORECAST

Railroads have benefited in recent quarters from global demand for metals, fertilizers and ethanol, offsetting softer shipments of autos, some consumer products, and freight related to housing. They have also invested in productivity improvements and picked up business from trucking by emphasizing the relative fuel efficiency of shipping by rail.

Strong momentum is expected to continue beyond 2008, Jacksonville, Florida-based CSX said. It expects 2008 earnings of $3.65 per share to $3.75 per share, up from its earlier outlook of $3.40 to $3.60 and above the $3.57 expected by analysts polled by Reuters Estimates.

CSX said it expects compound annual earnings growth of 20 percent to 25 percent through 2010 over 2008.

CSX shares rose $5.92, or 10.8 percent, to close at $60.77. Burlington added $4.93, or 5 percent, to end at $104.37. Union Pacific Corp gained $4.83, or 6.5 percent, at $78.64. Norfolk Southern was up $3.01, or 4.6 percent, at $68.48. All trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Dow Jones Transports index was up 11 percent year-to-date, counting Thursday's advance of 3.4 percent. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index finished 1.4 percent higher.

"Domestic and export markets continue to provide opportunities for expansion," Longbow Research analyst Lee Klaskow said in a research note. "The solid coal market should benefit Norfolk Southern as well."

GLOBAL DEMAND

Coal demand has soared in recent years among steel producers in emerging markets like China, and among power producers. Exports are up 63 percent this year, helped by a weak U.S. dollar and production limitations in Australia, Norfolk Southern said.

World demand for coal is expected to jump another 57 percent by 2030, western rail giant Union Pacific said.

"Western coal is one of the most abundant natural resources in the world," Union Pacific's CFO Robert Knight said. "Demand for coal will continue to drive volumes."

Shipments of energy-related products, including coal, are up this quarter, helping offset lower auto volumes, Union Pacific said. It expects about $5 billion in energy-related revenue this year, up from $4.3 billion in 2007.

"We're very bullish on coal," Tom Hund, CFO of Burlington Northern Santa Fe, told the transports conference. Burlington ships coal from the Powder River Basin (PRB) area in Wyoming and Montana, almost all of it for domestic energy production. Coal accounts for 22 percent of Burlington revenue.

Burlington did not update its earnings forecast but said it expects long-term, double-digit earnings growth to continue.

Half of U.S. power generation comes from coal, versus about 20 percent each generated by nuclear and natural gas plants, and coal is expected to become even more dominant.

Western coal will account for the bulk of that increase in coming years, Hund said, because it is easier to dig up and less of it is exported. As a result, Burlington is seeing more interest from East Coast utilities.

"We'll continue to see PRB coal migrate east," Hund said.
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Old September 13th, 2008, 12:04 PM   #6
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If anybody want to compare the European rail freight situation with other parts of the world, I will suggest to also look at South Africa and Australia. Also do not forget Canada, Russia, Brazil and India.

South Africa compares well with Europe with shorter distances than that of the USA and a network that is electrified for all the main corridors. The smallest of freight trains in South Africa is bigger that biggest (excluding Ore trains in Sweden) than the freight trains in Europe. The biggest freight trains in South Africa will transport up to 30 000 tons of Iron ore in one train that is 3.5 kilometer long. These long trains use Electronically controlled Pneumatic brakes and the Federal Railroad Administration of the USA is taking the South African standard and this will now becomes the American standard. Remember that the South African network is narrow gauge with a gauge of only 1067mm or 3 foot 6 inches.

The Rail freight company, Transnet Freight Rail (TFR), is the second most profitable railway company in the world after America Latina Logistica (ALL) in Brazil. ALL achieves an Operating Profit margin of 42%, TFR a margin of 30% followed by Indian Railways with 27% and then Canadian National with 24%. Interesting is that ALL in Brazil mostly run their freight trains on 1 meter gauge lines. During my last visit to ALL it was interesting to see representative of at least 3 of the biggest USA freight companies looking at the processes and technology of ALL as they were achieving better productivity figures that any USA railway.

Average freight rates is most probable the lowest in South Africa due the high usage of electric traction - TFR spend only 10% of total expenditure on Energy - the lowest in the world and the energy cost per tonnekm in South Africa is about a third of that of the USA. Europe will be able to replicate this with electrified networks although the ratio of diesel freight trains to electric freight trains in France and Germany (Europe) is higher than that of TFR in South Africa.

Just for those interested parties, TFR in South Africa transports more freight by rail than France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Switserland and Austria combined. This is achieved even with a population of less than 15% of that of the countries listed combined.
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Old September 13th, 2008, 06:16 PM   #7
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Canada and the USA are essentially one country when it comes to their freight railroad networks - the integration of their physical plants, technical standards and operating companies is that great.

Also, yes, North American freight railroads are straining under their traffic loads, this after making major cutbacks and rationalizations during the second half of the 20th century.

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Old September 14th, 2008, 01:36 AM   #8
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I think to some degree Mexico could also be included...I think, does anyone know for sure?

They do use the same kinds of locomotives and rolling stock and a few companies own track on both sides of the border
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Old September 14th, 2008, 05:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zaphod View Post
I think to some degree Mexico could also be included...I think, does anyone know for sure?

They do use the same kinds of locomotives and rolling stock and a few companies own track on both sides of the border
Yepper, you can include Mexico in that, too, their railroads are fully interoperable with those of the USA and Canada and have STRONG ownership ties with the USA. When Mexico de-nationalized the NDEM (Ferrocarriles Nationales de Mexico) a few years back, its various lines were purchased by several consortia backed by other USA-based railroad companies (Mexican law requires that at least 51% of the shares be held by Mexico-based owners). The largest chunk is with the Kansas City Southern.

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Old September 14th, 2008, 05:16 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coccodrillo View Post
Hi, does anybody know some figures about freight trains in the USA?

Like the millions of tonnes transported by rail on major mountain passes, the grade of their railways, the number of daily trains (if possible, counting also passengers trains) and weigth and lenght of these trains, to compare with europeans lines.
As for some of your original questions, the maximum major mainline grade that I am aware of is about 3% on UP and BNSF as the descend from Cajon Pass into the Los Angeles, CA metro area (roughly along I-15 north of San Bernardino, CA). This trackage is INTENSELY busy, too.

The World's busiest freight railroad is Union Pacific's mainline between Gibbon, NE and Sutherland, NE (this is about 900-1000 km west of Chicago). This line averages 120-130 freight trains per day and includes the World's largest and busiest railroad yard, located at North Platte, NE. Many trains on this line (ie, loaded coal trains) will normally go about 2 km long and weigh upwards of 14.000-15.000 t. Other trains on this line (ie, containers) will easily go over 3 km long.

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Old September 14th, 2008, 01:40 PM   #11
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Do you know the weight of goods transported in a year by these trains (without counting the weight of waggons), especially on the line with 3% grade?

I would compare this traffic with similar European railroads, for sure with few freight traffic compared to American oens.
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Old September 15th, 2008, 01:54 AM   #12
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In a total numbers, UIC statistic for freight millions tonne-kilometres in 2007 are:
United States 2820
China 2211
Russia 2090
India 480.99
older figures (2005,2006)
European Union 382.7
Canada 352.1
Ukraine 240.8
Brazil 232.3
Kazakhstan 191.19
South Africa 108.51
Germany 89.69
Mexico 54.39
Australia 46.04
Belarus 45.72
Poland 42.65
France 42.12

for rail share of freight transport, OECD 2005 figures are (coastal shipping excluded, pipelines included in total):
United States 40%
Russia 56%
Canada 38%
Germany 18%
Mexico 10%
Australia 42%
Poland 33%
France 17%
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Old September 16th, 2008, 04:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HigerBigger View Post
If anybody want to compare the European rail freight situation with other parts of the world, I will suggest to also look at South Africa and Australia. Also do not forget Canada, Russia, Brazil and India.

South Africa compares well with Europe with shorter distances than that of the USA and a network that is electrified for all the main corridors. The smallest of freight trains in South Africa is bigger that biggest (excluding Ore trains in Sweden) than the freight trains in Europe. The biggest freight trains in South Africa will transport up to 30 000 tons of Iron ore in one train that is 3.5 kilometer long. These long trains use Electronically controlled Pneumatic brakes and the Federal Railroad Administration of the USA is taking the South African standard and this will now becomes the American standard. Remember that the South African network is narrow gauge with a gauge of only 1067mm or 3 foot 6 inches.

The Rail freight company, Transnet Freight Rail (TFR), is the second most profitable railway company in the world after America Latina Logistica (ALL) in Brazil. ALL achieves an Operating Profit margin of 42%, TFR a margin of 30% followed by Indian Railways with 27% and then Canadian National with 24%. Interesting is that ALL in Brazil mostly run their freight trains on 1 meter gauge lines. During my last visit to ALL it was interesting to see representative of at least 3 of the biggest USA freight companies looking at the processes and technology of ALL as they were achieving better productivity figures that any USA railway.

Average freight rates is most probable the lowest in South Africa due the high usage of electric traction - TFR spend only 10% of total expenditure on Energy - the lowest in the world and the energy cost per tonnekm in South Africa is about a third of that of the USA. Europe will be able to replicate this with electrified networks although the ratio of diesel freight trains to electric freight trains in France and Germany (Europe) is higher than that of TFR in South Africa.

Just for those interested parties, TFR in South Africa transports more freight by rail than France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Switserland and Austria combined. This is achieved even with a population of less than 15% of that of the countries listed combined.


South Africa has roughly the same area/size as France+Germany+Poland(plus add luxembourg + nederlands + belgium) put together ... these 3(6) countries are roughly the double of the SA traffic ... and consider that neither is a large raw materials provider nor a big railfreight user (france's railways are actualy losing a great share every year).

About the USA ... considering that the USA + canada are about the same size than Europe from Portugal(west) to the Urals (middle of russia in the east) with only 1/2 the population ... everything has to be shipped by container from one large urban region to another somehow .. usualy it's done by train.

Theres no need to overextend the european railway networks to acomodate quilometers long trains ... simply add enough trains to haul the cargo more easily.

Example ... hour local coal trains run in a roundabound using the current railways (300km between the port and the power station) with 3 to 4 trains of "only" 2000ton per direction each day ... do you think that a 10.000 ton train per day train would be more usefull ??? For that you either needed a segregated railway our you ended up with the kind of ultra restrictive railway directives of FRA in the USA ... so this way we get both 2000ton coal trains and 230km/h high speed trains in the same railway (and at the same time) ... and considering that the majority of the freight in europe is being moved less than 500km.

And remember ... SA is in south africa ... 3rd world (expression not to be taken that way) so not everything is overpriced like in Europe (starting by the high electricity costs).

Everything has its own reasons for being ... long trains are an american/canadian/sa/australia feature ... in europe's environment they are basicaly useless since direct door to door express freight is much more simple to handle.
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Old September 18th, 2008, 09:26 PM   #14
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America needs to expand its freight rail lines and improve the bottlenecks that make increased use of rail for freight shipment difficult.

The Chicago-NW Indiana region is a key chokepoint in America's freight rail system.
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Old September 20th, 2008, 03:46 AM   #15
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Seen this and rememberedthis thread:

Quote:
The Ministry of Transport in Jordan unveiled its railway development plan at the end of July which would see two lines totalling 1 018 km built by 2013. A north-south route would run from the Syrian border to Aqaba via Mafraq, Amman and Ma’an, whilst an east-west route would run from Mafraq to the Iraq border via Irbid and Azraq. A link with the north-south line in Saudi Arabia is also envisaged. Total cost is put at 2·9bn dinars for the infrastructure and 1·4bn for rolling stock.

Participating in a ceremony on August 4, when Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad marked the start of work on a 4·1 km tunnel to carry the Tehran – Tabriz line through the capital’s suburbs, RAI Managing Director Hassan Ziari said he hoped work could start soon on electrification of the Tehran – Mashhad route, which will require the purchase of 70 electric locomotives capable of 200 km/h operation.

Studies have started for a new line in Angola, running north for almost 1 000 km from Luanda through the provinces of Bengo, Uíge and Zaire. It would connect with the Chemin de Fer Congo – Océan line from Pointe Noire to Brazzaville, in the Republic of Congo, and then continue to Angola’s northernmost province, Cabinda, which is physically isolated from the rest of the country. A similar project began in the 1940s under a Portuguese initiative, but only 10 km of track was laid.

The provincial government in Zhejiang announced on August 16 that it has approved construction of the planned Shanghai – Hangzhou maglev route, which will extend the existing Pudong Airport shuttle to 199·4 km. However, the start of work has been put back to 2010, with opening now envisaged in 2014, and the planned 30 km cross-city section in Shanghai to serve Hongqiao Airport has been dropped.

Eastern Cape Department of Transport in South Africa has invited expressions of interest in the supply, maintenance and operation of 'high speed inter-city passenger trains’ for the re-opened Kei Rail line to Mthatha (RG 6.08 p372). The intention is to cut the journey time for the 282 km trip from 10 h to around 5 h, which is still only an average speed of 56 km/h.

An Environmental Impact Statement for a proposed 320 km passenger railway between Victorville in California and Las Vegas in Nevada is due to be completed by the end of this year, according to Victorville Mayor Terry Caldwell. Launched in 2006, the privately-promoted DesertXpress envisages 200 km/h trains operating along existing rail corridors or beside Interstate 15.
See the differences ???

Offtopic: nothing beats multiple diesel locos hauling a quilometers long coal train to feed a power station wich will allow an electrified comuter/subway to operate.
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Old September 23rd, 2008, 05:34 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoosier View Post
America needs to expand its freight rail lines and improve the bottlenecks that make increased use of rail for freight shipment difficult.

The Chicago-NW Indiana region is a key chokepoint in America's freight rail system.
There are huge fights going on in Chicago right now with the city and the suburbs, trying to find routes to increase capacity. Every day there are literally thousands of freight trains around the Chicago area trying to squeeze through on the old infrastructure.

It can take as long for a train to move halfway across the country as it can take to snake through the Chicago metro area.
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Old September 26th, 2008, 04:34 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicagoago View Post
There are huge fights going on in Chicago right now with the city and the suburbs, trying to find routes to increase capacity. Every day there are literally thousands of freight trains around the Chicago area trying to squeeze through on the old infrastructure.

It can take as long for a train to move halfway across the country as it can take to snake through the Chicago metro area.
I experience the jam first hand. The at-grade crossings need to be removed. And I noticed how just in NW Indiana so many rail lines have been torn up over the past fifty years. That has to stop. Rebuild the rail lines!!

Ultimately, laying more track and separating passenger from freight traffic on rail lines is what will have to happen. It is an expensive solution, but it has to happen and the gains made in decreased transportation costs and shipping time will make up for the expense.
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Old October 20th, 2008, 09:44 AM   #18
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UNITED STATES | Freight

CSX CEO: slowdown could push customers to US rails

DETROIT, Oct 15 (Reuters) - A slowing U.S. economy could push more customers to opt for the low-cost option of shipping their goods by train, the top executive of No. 3 U.S. railroad CSX Corp said on Wednesday.

"If the economy does get a little tougher, then more people will turn to the railroads as a cheaper alternative," Chief Executive Michael Ward told Reuters in a telephone interview. "I think we're also going to see more trucking companies partner up with the railroads, with us providing the long-haul service and them taking goods the last few miles to customers."

He added that the U.S. housing and automotive sectors should "continue to be challenged throughout 2009," but that CSX's business should continue to perform strongly regardless.

"While I wouldn't say that we're recession proof, we are somewhat recession resistant," Ward said. "More than 50 percent of the goods we haul are daily essentials."

"People are still going to need to eat, they're going to need to heat their homes and have someone haul the trash away. That's where we come in," he added.

CSX's CEO said the railroad was well into the process of re-pricing its contracts for 2009 and was confident it could raise freight rates at a similar pace to the 6 percent to 7 percent annual average increases of the past few years.

"Broadly speaking, we can expect to see the same price increases as we've seen in previous years," Ward said.

Ward said so far CSX has not seen the credit crunch impact its customers' ability to ship and pay for goods, but added that the railroad was "monitoring the situation daily."

CSX's CEO spoke to Reuters the day after the Jacksonville, Florida-based company reported a higher third-quarter profit as strong pricing offset a 2 percent decline in freight volumes.

The company also said its full-year 2008 earnings per share would come in at the low end of its previously stated range of $3.65 to $3.75, due to the weakening of the U.S. economy.

The major U.S. railroads have all posted strong profits in recent quarters despite faltering retail and auto sales and the worst housing crisis since the Great Depression, thanks to solid pricing.

"Rail shares have been battered in the last month on concerns over the economy and longer-term pricing power," Deutsche Bank analyst Marcelo Choi wrote in a note for clients. "While there could be some risk to 2009 EPS, CSX and other (major U.S. railroads) have proven in the past that they can get strong pricing despite softer volumes.

"If this scenario continues to play out, we think shares are attractively priced," he added.

In a note for clients, Merrill Lynch analyst Ken Hoexter raised full-year 2008 earnings-per-share estimates for CSX to $3.63 from $3.60, "slightly below the company's EPS target range as we remain cautious on the economy."

In New York Stock Exchange trading, CSX shares were down $4.66, or nearly 10 percent, at $43.48.
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Old October 21st, 2008, 03:32 AM   #19
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Rail should be responsible for long haul freight shipment with trucks doing the short haul shipments.

Why companies weren't shipping goods via rail before the economic downturn is beyond me. It is a far more environmentally friendly and efficient form of transportation.
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Old October 21st, 2008, 04:29 AM   #20
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^ It's not as flexible and likely less profitable. The environment isn't always at the top of companies' concerns.
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