Railroad News

UP and KCS: A tale of two PSR interpretations — analysis by Tony Hatch

Tony Hatch is an independent transportation analyst and consultant, and a program consultant for Progressive Railroading’s RailTrends® conference.

Last month, two western (well, west of the Mississippi) railroads reported above-consensus first-quarter earnings: Kansas City Southern, which grew year over year (YOY) by 18 percent (adjusted, versus Street estimates of around 10 percent); and Union Pacific Railroad, in its weather-dominated quarter, by 15 percent YOY (versus around 12 percent). KCS lowered its operating ratio by 160 basis points (bps) to (adjusted) 64.2, and UP lowered its OR by a point — having absorbed a 160bps weather impact — to 63.6. It was also noted that “at Union Pacific, we do not include real estate sales in our OR.” Zing! But more than the results — it was the differing tones and tenors of the earnings' webcasts that struck me.

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KCS appoints new leaders of chemical and petroleum, industrial and consumer groups

Kansas City Southern has reorganized its leadership in charge of the chemical, petroleum, industrial and consumer commodity groups, the Class I announced today.

KCS has appointed Ginger Adamiak vice president of energy and chemical products, adding chemical and petroleum in the United States and Mexico to her responsibilities. She previously served as VP energy, industrial development and innovation.

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KCS revises two service metrics

Rail News Home Kansas City Southern 5/1/2019 Rail News: Kansas City Southern
image As part of the railroad's precision scheduled railroading transition, Kansas City Southern has revised the definitions of two service metrics it uses to measure operating performance, KCS officials announced on Monday. "Operational Cars Online" (formerly "Cars Online”) is a metric representing the number of rail cars on the KCS network that are not at a customer’s location. "Gross Velocity (formerly "Train Speed") is a metric measuring the average velocity of a train between its origin and destination, calculated as the sum of the miles traveled divided by the sum of total transit hours.  Transit hours are measured by calculating the difference between a train's origin departure and destination arrival date and times broken down by segment across the train route. This metric includes all time spent at intermediate locations between a train origin and destination, including all crew changes, terminal dwells, delays and incidents. “These revised metrics will give stakeholders a more accurate understanding of [our] operational performance as we strive to improve customer service,” KCS Executive Vice President of Precision Scheduled Railroading Sameh Fahmy said in a prepared statement.  

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KCS posts 'strong' Q1 results

Kansas City Southern today reported record first-quarter revenue of $675 million, up 6 percent from the prior year on a 1 percent decline in volume.

KCS attributed an overall decline in carload volumes primarily to service interruptions at Lazaro Cardenas in Mexico that were caused by teacher protests, company officials said in a press release.

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KCS to use crew management software for U.S. operations

Rail News Home Kansas City Southern 3/27/2019 Rail News: Kansas City Southern
imageKansas City Southern will expand its deployment of the CloudMoyo crew management (CCM) software solution to its U.S. operations, the Class I announced yesterday.The software is already in place at KCS' Mexico operations. The next generation global CCM is designed to leverage the scale of the Microsoft Azure Cloud platform, harness the power of advanced analytics, and use artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to optimize crew assignments and reduce dwell time for trains and crew, according to a KCS press release.“KCS’ vision is to consistently be the fastest-growing, best-performing, most customer-focused transportation provider in North America. The planned expansion of the CCM solution from Mexico to the U.S. supports this growth vision while delivering a seamless user experience,” said KCS Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer Brian Hancock.KCS officials anticipate the CCM solution will help the railroad bypass lengthy deployment schedules, they said. It will enable KCS crews in the United States and Mexico to work more effectively and securely across geographical locations, while still being flexible to operate independently on regional basis, they added.

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