November 4 - Industry Impact

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November 4 - Industry Impact

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Fri Nov 07, 2014 2:22 pm

First, let us please direct discussion relating to passenger railroading to the respective forums for such at this site.

I would think "first and foremost" issue to the railroad industry "post-election" will be the Keystone XL pipeline. This is a project that has been touted by Republican "mouthpieces" throughout the course of the North American oil industry renaissance. Save one time benefits for handling construction material such as prefabricated pipe lengths, it is hard to see how railroad interests can be anything other than adversely affected. How much oil traffic stands to be diverted I will defer to others. Suffice to say, this pipeline will not put the railroads out of the oil business, but I think North South roads such as IC and KCS will feel the sting. Of course, the oil merchants will lose with a pipeline, the capacity to be able to divert shipments to wherever the best price can be had for a trainload of crude.

Now on the other hand, with Senator McConnell (R-KY) likely to be the next Majority Leader, legislation could be enacted inimical to environmental interests yet favorable to the mining industry - particularly to the Appalachian region. Since there is no reasonable and practical alternative to handling coal any way other than rail, this could be an offset to the potential loss of oil traffic. However, even if the environmental interests should lose a round in the current political arena, they WILL rise again. The best hope is that the technology is in place or can be developed to "scrub" coal being used.

So food for thought as the Donkeys lick their wounds. Discussion, anyone?
Gilbert B Norman
 
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Re: November 4 - Industry Impact

Postby Cowford » Sat Nov 08, 2014 6:22 pm

Mr. Norman, I would guess that the direction of oil prices will have a greater impact on rail than the XL pipeline. 2015 well development projects are already being reviewed in the Bakken and other shale plays. Curtailment would affect frac sand, drilling pipe, propants, etc. In another area, there is already rumbling that the Repubs will pressure DOT to roll back some of the more impactful regs that have affected the trucking industry, including driving hours. (Susan Collins R-ME is a particular pro-truck senator that is leading the charge.) That wouldn't happen overnight (and I doubt that any substantial changes would actually make it through), but any such large-scale tampering there could have a big impact on the truck-rail competitive balance.
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Re: November 4 - Industry Impact

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Tue Nov 11, 2014 1:44 pm

Here is Railway Age's outlook:

http://www.railwayage.com/index.php/blo ... ml?channel

Brief passage:

What does Senate Republican control and the largest House Republican majority since the 1940s mean for railroad reregulation, Amtrak’s future, high- and higher-speed rail, transit funding, Positive Train Control (PTC), corporate tax reform, short line tax credits, the future of coal, and a minimum crew-consist mandate?


Rereg legislation was kaput well before this election. Amtrak, on the other hand, best find a secure hideaway that is “posted” against hunting, because come January, it will be open season on passenger train subsidies. The Republican-controlled House already has closed the books on high- and higher-speed rail funding; and Republicans, as a rule, aren’t too generous with transit. Legislative attempts to mandate two-person train crews? Fuggetaboutit


It is of course pleasing to learn that RA believes any rereg initiative is off the table; so far as crew consists, which appear will be handled at National level, it appears that the Class I's are of mind that two man crews are needed to move a train expeditiously - especially HAZMAT. Now if Labor has visions of forcing a third member aboard, that will not be well received.

I think this article is worth a read for anyone who is concerned about industry affairs beyond that of a hobbyist role. "Back in my day", Railway Age had a controlled subscription model; it seems that as soon as I left the industry, my subscription could no longer be renewed. Now their material is readily available on the web.
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