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 Michigan State University, 2014
By Professor Robert E. Gallamore
Adjunct Faculty
Railway Management Program
Broad Colleg...
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American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century
Who Was John R. Meyer (1927–2009)?
• Distinguis...
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American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century
Twentieth Century Limited circa 1904
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American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century
4
1890
• Rapid Growth of RRs in last
decades of...
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American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century
The Twentieth Century’s Macro Trends for Railro...
North American Railways
Copyright: Robert Gallamore, 2014Data Courtesy of Association of American Railroads
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American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century
Railroads Lead Other Modes in Ton-Mile Volume
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American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century
Twentieth Century Railroad Timeline
1991-2000
1...
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American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century
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American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century
Inland Waterways – Built and Maintained by Fed...
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American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century
Tulsa
Tennessee-Tombigbee
The US Inland Waterw...
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American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century
Inland Waterways – Built and Maintained by Fed...
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American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century
Public Roads Built with Fuel Taxes Aided
the M...
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American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century
Interstate Highways Overlap the US Railroad Ne...
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American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century
Amtrak (1971) Sought to Preserve Essential
Ser...
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American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century
Was Amtrak a Success or Failure ?
Or something...
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American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century
3R Act (1973) -- Northeast Restructuring Plann...
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American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century
Northeast Restructuring Culminated in Staggers...
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American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century
Index, 1980 = 1.0
What the Staggers Rail Act A...
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American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century(Class I freight, non-Class I freight, and pass...
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American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century
0.0
10.0
20.0
30.0
40.0
50.0
60.0
70.0
Total O...
Picture of Selected Profile and Performance Data from
AAR’s 2010 Analysis of Class I Railroads
Hundreds of Additional Data...
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American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century
Advancing Technology Gave Railroads Great
Prod...
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American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century
Technology Purchased with Improved Cash Flows ...
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American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century
• Locomotives
– Diesel-electric locomotives re...
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American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century
But More Capital Means ROI Has to
Improve Stil...
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American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century
Return on Investment is Crucial
R
O
I
IF ROI >...
0%
2%
4%
6%
8%
10%
12%
14%
16%
18%
1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009 2011
CostofCapital(Industry)orReturnon
Investment(Railroa...
Marginal Costs
Q
Average Total Costs
Threshold Costs Unless perfectly contestable, there are barriers
to entry and exit du...
• Overbuilding rail network in 19th
Century, account poor ICC oversight
• Milwaukee Road Pacific extension
• Harriman Empi...
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American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century
Six Transport Policy Principles
for the Future...
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American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century
Six Transport Policy Principles
for the Future...
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American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century
Takeaways
 US Railways are the “Enduring Ente...
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American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century
Questions?
Ending Observations?
robert@
gallam...
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TRF 2015 Atlanta Presentation on American Railroads

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Presentation to the Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Forum meeting in Atlanta on March 13, 2015

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TRF 2015 Atlanta Presentation on American Railroads

  1. 1.  Michigan State University, 2014 By Professor Robert E. Gallamore Adjunct Faculty Railway Management Program Broad College of Business Michigan State University A presentation on the new book American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century March 13, 2015 – Atlanta, Georgia
  2. 2. - 2 - American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century Who Was John R. Meyer (1927–2009)? • Distinguished Harvard Professor of Economics • Conrail and UP Board Member • Author (with Peck, Stenason and Zwick) of seminal work, Economics of Competition in the Transportation Industries (1959) • Chair of CEA Productivity Task Force (1973) • REG’s dissertation advisor (1968) A Presentation Based on American Railroads by Robert E. Gallamore and John R. Meyer © 2014 Harvard University Press
  3. 3. - 3 - American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century Twentieth Century Limited circa 1904
  4. 4. - 4 - American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century 4 1890 • Rapid Growth of RRs in last decades of 19th Century, and • Consolidation through mergers in second half of 20th Century • Today’s 7 major Class I & • Hundreds of short lines RRs
  5. 5. - 5 - American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century The Twentieth Century’s Macro Trends for Railroads • Expansion • Regulation and Deregulation • Legislation (at least 20 major laws affecting RRs) • War and Depression (macroeconomic effects) • Competitive Modes • Demand Shifts • Technology • Mergers and Restructuring
  6. 6. North American Railways
  7. 7. Copyright: Robert Gallamore, 2014Data Courtesy of Association of American Railroads
  8. 8. - 8 - American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century Railroads Lead Other Modes in Ton-Mile Volume
  9. 9. - 9 - American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century Twentieth Century Railroad Timeline 1991-2000 1981-1990 1971-1980 1961-1970 1951-1960 1941-1950 1931-1940 1921-1930 1911-1920 1901-1910 2001-2010 Renaissance Final Four mergers, ICC termination and STB start-up Mid-century mergers, Penn Central, Interstate Highways World War II – Peak passenger levels, Reed-Bulwinkle 1920 Act – Planned Mergers, rise of highways Harriman Empire dissolved. Federal Control in WWI Northern Securities split-up, Hepburn and Mann-Elkins Acts Demand shifts, post-war migration, regulatory rigidity Implementation / defense of deregulation. Staggers Rail Act deregulation, 1980s large mergers Amtrak, 3R Act, Northeast RR Reorg, Conrail, 4R Act The Great Depression, Transportation Act of 1940
  10. 10. - 10 - American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century
  11. 11. - 11 - American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century Inland Waterways – Built and Maintained by Federal Government, and Not Tolled until 1980 • Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway, and coastal system • Also riverine “brown water” inland system • Includes such uneconomic extensions as Arkansas River to Tulsa, Tennessee-Tombigbee to Mobile
  12. 12. - 12 - American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century Tulsa Tennessee-Tombigbee The US Inland Waterway System
  13. 13. - 13 - American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century Inland Waterways – Built and Maintained by Federal Government, and Not Tolled until 1980 • Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway, and coastal system • Also riverine “brown water” inland system • Includes such uneconomic extensions as Arkansas River to Tulsa, Tennessee-Tombigbee to Mobile • Waterway user charges small initially and still far less than full cost recovery • Based on per gallon fuel use = inefficient • American Railroads proposes segment charges to relate user fees to lockage and dredging costs
  14. 14. - 14 - American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century Public Roads Built with Fuel Taxes Aided the Motor Vehicle Mode • The “Good Roads” movement was to “get farmers out of the mud” • Federal, state, and local fuel excises developed local roads and intercity highways for cars and trucks • At first, divided highways were toll turnpikes in the East, later freeways in the West • Interstate and Defense Highways date from 1956 = 90% federal construction share, states own and maintain • Larger and heavier trucks alternately approved at state and federal level until “frozen” at 1991 levels • FHWA says heaviest trucks pay only ~ 60% of true costs
  15. 15. - 15 - American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century Interstate Highways Overlap the US Railroad Network
  16. 16. - 16 - American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century Amtrak (1971) Sought to Preserve Essential Service – Photo Credits: James W. McClellan Some Benefits from Integrated National Fleet and Marketing Perpetual Lack of Assured Funding No Consensus on Future Structure / Mission Only Northeast Corridor Service Seems Assured and Truly Needed But Most Immediate Goal Was to Relieve Burden of Passenger Deficits on Freight Railroads
  17. 17. - 17 - American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century Was Amtrak a Success or Failure ? Or something less than planned or hoped ? • Relieve freight railroads of passenger deficits • Preserve essential service / • Integrate operations for economies of scale & fleet • Save taxpayer $ vs. direct subsidy to RRs • Achieve long term consensus on pax rail funding • Provide state-of-the-art equipment fleet for future • Serve as long run alternative to highways and air lines
  18. 18. - 18 - American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century 3R Act (1973) -- Northeast Restructuring Planning Process • Established US Railway Association to make Preliminary and Final System Plans and select lines for Conrail • USRA proposed a “Three Systems East” solution, but Solvent railroads would not participate • Default was Big Conrail – approved by 4R Act • Selected lines conveyed to Conrail from Bankrupt Estates April 1, 1976 • Courts ruled these “takings” required Constitutional minimum payments by US to estates • Congress then passed Northeast Rail Services Act (NERSA) to assist Conrail start-up (trimmed lines, employees, commuter services) • Total bill to taxpayers ~ $8 billion • Conrail IPO 1987 (largest to that time)  $1.8 billion
  19. 19. - 19 - American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century Northeast Restructuring Culminated in Staggers Rail Act • Earlier regulatory reform efforts were too little, too late • ICC kept 4R Act changes from being effectively implemented • American Railroads asserts Staggers Rail Act of 1980 could not have passed without example of Conrail to show problem • AND Conrail could not have succeeded without Staggers Rail Act reforms • Staggers Act declared railroads needed “adequate revenues” • These were approved unless shippers could show inadequate competition and rates > about 180% of variable costs • Truly “captive” shippers could use alternative (hypothetical) “stand alone cost case” (SACC) procedures • ICC had to consider the effect of mergers on competition, and had to act within time limits
  20. 20. - 20 - American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century Index, 1980 = 1.0 What the Staggers Rail Act Accomplished The AAR provides data and frequently updates this chart after a design developed by R. E. Gallamore and J. R. Meyer in the late 1990s. See American Railroads, p. 424.
  21. 21. - 21 - American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century(Class I freight, non-Class I freight, and passenger). Train Accidents by Type Per Million Train-Miles Year Collisions Derailments Other Total 1980 1.67 8.98 0.78 11.43 1985 0.64 4.37 0.73 5.74 1990 0.52 3.52 0.69 4.73 1995 0.35 2.60 0.72 3.67 2000 0.33 2.92 0.88 4.13 2003 0.27 2.87 0.93 4.06 2004 0.31 3.16 0.93 4.40 2005 0.35 2.92 0.87 4.14 2006 0.25 2.70 0.74 3.68 2007 0.26 2.44 0.69 3.39 2008 0.25 2.31 0.65 3.21 2009 r 0.20 2.05 0.61 2.86 2010 r 0.18 1.90 0.62 2.70 2011 r 0.22 2.05 0.55 2.82 2012 p 0.21 1.76 0.42 2.39 per million train-miles has fallen 79 percent. The Federal Railroad Administration data below cover all U.S. railroads 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 Total Train Accidents Per Million Train-Miles Remarkable Improvement s in Railroad Safety Since Deregulation. Here’s Why:  Increased Cash Flow  Stimulates Reinvestment  New Capital Brings Technology Improvements Nine derailments per million train- miles in 1980. Less than two derailments per million T-M in 2012
  22. 22. - 22 - American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century 0.0 10.0 20.0 30.0 40.0 50.0 60.0 70.0 Total Operating Revenue and Expenses U.S. Class I Railroads, 1978-2010 Total Operating Revenues (billion) Total Operating Expenses (billion) Operating Ratio = Op. Expense / Operating Revenues. {Down = Good}
  23. 23. Picture of Selected Profile and Performance Data from AAR’s 2010 Analysis of Class I Railroads Hundreds of Additional Data Concepts are Available, and Annual data exist back to 1978. 3.1 Cents / Ton-Mile Operating Ratio = Op. Expense / Operating Revenues. {Down = Good}
  24. 24. - 24 - American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century Advancing Technology Gave Railroads Great Productivity and Safety Benefits • Railroads are defined as: – locomotives (engines with pulling or pushing power) – moving trains of rolling equipment (freight or passenger cars) – on fixed tracks and other infrastructure facilities (such as bridges) – under control (rules, dispatcher instructions, signal systems) • Railroads have been mis-characterized as having old or obsolete technology, but in fact they have remained young in their old age. • One indicator of railroad progress from 1900 to 2000 is that railroads today carry 10 times the ton-miles annually with one-sixth the employees as in 1900.
  25. 25. - 25 - American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century Technology Purchased with Improved Cash Flows from Deregulation Led the Rail Renaissance • Growth of traffic consumes existing capacity and often requires additional capacity expansion • Technology improvements typically come about with increased capital investments • New investments incorporate labor-saving and safety enhancements • New technology often facilitates operating innovations and yields profitable returns on investment This is the Virtuous Spiral of Deregulation  Productivity  Cash Flow  Reinvestment  Technology Deployment  Safety Improvement  Industry Growth
  26. 26. - 26 - American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century • Locomotives – Diesel-electric locomotives replacing steam – Fuel economy and emissions • Track and Structures – Welded steel rail – Maintenance-of-way mechanization • Rolling Stock / Freight Cars – Tapered roller bearings in sealed journals – Larger equipment – more weight on rail – Double-stack intermodal cars and containers • Control – Track circuits and lighted signals – Centralized traffic control (CTC) – Positive train control (PTC) Railroads Have Gained New Technologies in all Key Areas: Infrastructure, Equipment, and Operations --- Some Examples: Steam to Diesel-Electric Power
  27. 27. - 27 - American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century But More Capital Means ROI Has to Improve Still Further RR Cost of Capital RR Return on Investment Class I RR Cost of Capital vs. Return on Investment Note: In 2006, the Surface Transportation Board significantly changed the method by which it calculates the rail industry cost of capital. 2010 cost of capital is preliminary. Source: STB SLIDE 27 ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN RAILROADS
  28. 28. - 28 - American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century Return on Investment is Crucial R O I IF ROI > COST OF CAPITAL: • Capital spending expands • Stronger physical plant; more and better equipment. • Faster, more reliable service • Sustainability IF ROI < COST OF CAPITAL: • Lower capital spending • Weaker physical plant, equipment • Slower, less reliable service • Disinvestment
  29. 29. 0% 2% 4% 6% 8% 10% 12% 14% 16% 18% 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009 2011 CostofCapital(Industry)orReturnon Investment(Railroads) STB Revenue Adequacy Findings - 2000-2010 Industry Cost of Capital BNSF CSX GT-CN KCS NS SOO-CP UP
  30. 30. Marginal Costs Q Average Total Costs Threshold Costs Unless perfectly contestable, there are barriers to entry and exit due to sunk costs. USE CONGESTION PRICING TO RATION VOLUME TO AVAILABLE CAPACITY © R.E. GALLAMORE (2015) USE DIFFERENTIAL PRICING TO EXPAND MARKET & COVER TOTAL COSTS $ Figure 1. Costs, Competition and Pricing Average Fixed Costs Average Variable Costs
  31. 31. • Overbuilding rail network in 19th Century, account poor ICC oversight • Milwaukee Road Pacific extension • Harriman Empire split up; Central Pacific not left with UP, so Western Pacific was built. • Railroads prematurely took up much 2nd main track, then had to replace it; e.g. Southern Crescent, New York Central 4-track “water level” route, Chicago-St. Louis, Donner Pass. – But sometimes maintenance savings in interim (opportunity cost savings) made rail-banking worthwhile. • Chicago tangle not fixed in timely manner, so CREATE must now. • Monumental Penn Station torn down (1963) – Architectural gem lost. • Penn Central merger, and forced inclusion of New Haven • Failure to Rationalize [NOT Nationalize!] industry under 1920 Transportation Act • ICC handling of Rock Island merger with UP and SP • Rejection of USRA’s 3-System East plan, resulting in Big Conrail • ICC’s Value of Service rate-making kept long after rail dominance lost. • BN merger (1970) approved with few competitive conditions, hurting regional competition and Milwaukee Road ability to compete / reorganize. • 1940 Transportation Act - Inherent Advantages doctrine Lines Built or Not Built – Facilities Destroyed Policy or Strategic Mistakes We Were Lucky – Policy and Managerial Blunders Might have Derailed the Renaissance • RRs understand importance of passenger service to the public, but don’t embrace PTC the same way.
  32. 32. - 32 - American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century Six Transport Policy Principles for the Future 1. Let markets and efficiency principles guide policy 2. Allow RRs to earn adequate returns for reinvestment 3. Respect private property and franchise values 4. Take advantage of railroad fuel efficiency and relatively benign environmental impact 5. Encourage migration of cargo and passenger traffic to most efficient modes 6. In response to global climate change (GCC) challenge, encourage adaption of energy development and use to environmentally sustainable alternatives
  33. 33. - 33 - American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century Six Transport Policy Principles for the Future 1. Let markets and efficiency principles guide policy 2. Allow RRs to earn adequate returns for reinvestment 3. Respect private property and franchise values 4. Take advantage of railroad fuel efficiency and relatively benign environmental impact 5. Encourage migration of cargo and passenger traffic to most efficient modes 6. In response to global climate change (GCC) challenge, encourage adaption of energy development and use to environmentally sustainable alternatives
  34. 34. - 34 - American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century Takeaways  US Railways are the “Enduring Enterprises”; they survive more than they prosper.  Continuing investment, and with it – deployment of new technology – is key to competitive survival.  To warrant new investment, rate of return must improve, and that means real increases in revenue and lower costs.  Revenues will not increase to full potential without improvements in service reliability – and these will be based on information technologies.  Railway customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders, and the economy all benefit from smarter policies toward the industry.
  35. 35. - 35 - American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century Questions? Ending Observations? robert@ gallamore. com www. gallamore. com

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