Class I Railroads

Class I Railroads

More than 600 freight railroads operate in the United States. The seven “Class 1” railroads — railroads with 2017 revenue of at least $464 million — accounted for around 68 percent of US freight rail mileage, 88 percent of employees, and 94 percent of revenue that year. Each Class I railroad operates in multiple states over thousands of miles of track. The largest railway carriers, they account for the majority of the rail infrastructure in the country, according to the Association of American Railroads.

The seven Class 1 railroads are BNSF Railway Co., CSX Transportation, Grand Trunk Corporation (Canadian National’s operations), Kansas City Southern Railway, Norfolk Southern, Soo Line Corporation (Canadian Pacific’s operations), and Union Pacific Railroad.

 

Commentary

Despite private sector-based gains, the Surface Transportation Board, the agency in charge of overseeing private US freight railroads, has taken steps to impose onerous regulations on railroad operators that would erase much of the industry’s progress over the last 40 years.

News & Analysis

UP to resume service on nearly 60 lanes it cut in 2018
28 Jan 2020
Union Pacific Railroad will resume service on nearly 60 previously eliminated lanes beginning Feb. 1, a move it linked to its precision scheduled railroading operation, but others said was designed to win back lost market share.
27 Jan 2020
Despite stiff truck competition, East Coast ports have taken aggressive steps to capture more intermodal cargo and spend significant capital to build out rail infrastructure.
CN taking more hands-on approach to create ‘Prince Rupert’ of the east
24 Jan 2020
CN’s new approach to developing the ports of Halifax and Quebec comes after its limited success in growing intermodal volumes out of the Port of Montreal.
New services, auto growth to drive Mexican intermodal gains in 2020
17 Jan 2020
Despite Mexico’s sluggish economy, the intermodal sector could see benefits in 2020 from the expected implementation of the United States Mexico Canada Agreement and new rail services.
02 Jan 2020
Union Pacific Railroad has been suffering technical issues with its gates at Chicago’s Global 4 terminal, causing major congestion and delays in cargo deliveries.
02 Jan 2020
After an unprecedented volume decline in 2019, continued excess trucking capacity, further transitioning to precisions scheduled railroading, and slowing economic growth portends another difficult year for the US intermodal market.
31 Dec 2019
US intermodal, particularly domestic volume, has a tough road ahead given low spot truckload rates that will continue to push freight to the highway, but the sector could see some improvement in the second half.
17 Dec 2019
Traffic problems that slowed trucks in BNSF’s Lot 16 outside of Chicago have been resolved through a partnership between the railroad and an Intermodal Cartage-owned yard operator.
05 Dec 2019
The Port of Baltimore has moved a step closer to sending double-stacked trains to the Midwest through the Howard Street Tunnel, securing the last portion of the $466 million needed to fund the project.
26 Nov 2019
Barring a major turnaround in December, BNSF Railway and CSX Transportation will record their lowest annual intermodal volumes this year since 2016, and two other Class I railroads could possibly join that list.
26 Nov 2019
The week-long strike by workers at Canadian National Railroad will end Tuesday after the railroad and Teamsters reached a contract agreement that will go to the union membership for ratification.
21 Nov 2019
With a new connection to the deepwater port in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canadian Pacific Railway is ramping up the competition with rival Canadian National for inland intermodal cargo from the east coast of Canada.
20 Nov 2019
Business leaders urged the Canadian government to help resolve the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference’s strike against Canadian National Railroad as the job action entered its second day.
20 Nov 2019
Asset-monitoring technology will help Canadian Pacific and intermodal shippers to locate and better utilize the railroad’s chassis pool.
07 Nov 2019
Unless the Los Angeles-Long Beach ports attract more cargo, they could wind up stuck with a hefty bill for the intermodal corridor’s bond debt, a report says.
05 Nov 2019
As spot intermodal rates begin to save shippers more money than earlier in 2019, shippers are seeing reduced savings on contract business.
24 Oct 2019
The third blockage this year of the main rail line into the Mexican Port of Lázaro Cárdenas, which is operated by Kansas City Southern of Mexico (KCSM) will likely add to shipper fears that moving cargo by rail is unreliable.
17 Oct 2019
CSX Transportation and Union Pacific Railroad reported weak intermodal volume for the third quarter, but insisted their networks are lean, efficient, and ready to fully capitalize when the market rebounds.
16 Oct 2019
J.B. Hunt Transport Services said its intermodal volume was flat in the third quarter, a positive given the 4.5 percent decline in total intermodal volume across the industry.
10 Oct 2019
Two refrigerated intermodal carriers, Marten Transport and KLLM Transport, have acquired 53-foot containers as US Class I railroads have been disincentivizing intermodal trailer use.
08 Oct 2019
Despite weak intermodal volume in the third quarter, there is a glimmer of hope for rail shippers as a sequential bump in truckload spot rates have provided additional cost savings.
07 Oct 2019
The US Surface Transportation Board is urging railroads to work closely with shippers to address concerns about demurrage practices.
03 Oct 2019
Intermodal volumes did not recover in the third quarter, prompting questions of what railroads can do to win back shippers, other than waiting for a recovery in trucking.
30 Sep 2019
YRC Freight is building its own fleet of domestic containers — to reach 600 by year’s end — for use on BNSF Railway lines connecting West Coast ports with the US heartland.
12 Sep 2019
Trains began running again into the Mexican Port of Lazaro Cardenas Thursday, two days after protestors halted train traffic at the port, raising anew concerns of reliability of the country’s railroad system in moving freight.
11 Sep 2019
The Cass Truckload Linehaul Index has gone negative for the first time since March 2017, a signal that in addition to spot rates, contract rates are starting to suffer as well; intermodal prices are also expected to go negative in October.
11 Sep 2019
The US intermodal industry is currently in the midst of a down cycle after volumes and rates surged in late 2017 and early 2018, but there are opportunities for railroads to accelerate the potential rebound if they are able to take advantage.
09 Sep 2019
The Journal of Commerce has learned Amazon has acquired 53-foot containers, signaling an intention to tender intermodal volume directly to Class I railroads without an intermediary and marketing itself as an end-to-end supply chain solution for small retailers.
04 Sep 2019
Union Pacific Railroad has dropped its plan to levy fines against trucking companies for canceling or missing ingate reservations to enter intermodal ramps in California, Oregon, and Washington.
28 Aug 2019
Union Pacific Railroad and CSX Transportation, struggling to recover volume after service cuts, are reaching out to shippers and logistics providers about reinstating direct service to Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Columbus, Ohio, sources tell JOC.com
23 Aug 2019
The Port of Virginia will shift more vessel calls to the Virginia International Gateway (VIG) terminal so shippers using rail can receive their cargo faster.
Prince Rupert looks ahead to next million TEUs
14 Aug 2019
Sponsored: Port of Prince Rupert President and CEO Shaun Stevenson discusses the capacity challenges of early growth, hitting the 1 million TEU milestone, and plans for 2019 expansion.
13 Aug 2019
The port of Savannah’s intermodal terminal expansion project is about 40 percent complete as rail volumes set a new record in July.
12 Aug 2019
Sponsored: CN president and CEO JJ Ruest discusses working with customers on individual priorities and investing in both talent and, at the Port of Vancouver, rail expansion with the Centerm and GCT Vanterm projects.
08 Aug 2019
Canadian National Railway and CSX Transportation will launch a new international intermodal service linking Montreal and Toronto to New York.