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AAR Smartbrief - Association of American Railroads



New technology will keep rail at top of efficiency pyramid | AAR: Freight rail traffic, intermodal volume post gains in week ending March 22 | U.S. GDP growth is revised upward; jobless applications down



March 28, 2014



AAR SmartBrief


Daily news coverage of the railroad industry


Industry Update

New technology will keep rail at top of efficiency pyramid

Freight train.


Technological innovations have made trains the most efficient form of transportation in America, with freight being moved to rail instead of trucks. GE Transportation CEO Russell Stokes said during the Forbes Reinventing America conference that "[f]rom a longtime standpoint, the continued conversion from truck to rail will continue." GE has come up with algorithms for trains to cut fuel costs even further and enhance safety, and it has partnered with Norfolk Southern to create software that will serve as an overall traffic control system. "The state of technology with the modern locomotive has advanced tremendously. They are very sophisticated machines," NS CEO Wick Moorman said. Forbes (3/27)

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AAR: Freight rail traffic, intermodal volume post gains in week ending March 22
U.S. freight rail traffic continued to gain in the week ending March 22, the Association of American Railroads reported. Freight carload traffic posted an increase of 4.5%, intermodal volume increased by 10.6% and combined rail traffic rose 7.3%, all of which are improvements over the same period last year. Combined North American freight carload traffic continued to be down by 1.3%, compared with the same period in 2013; year-to-date shows North American intermodal volume is up 2.4%, as noted by AAR. RailwayAge.com (3/27), Transport Topics (3/28)

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Infrastructure & Economic Spotlight

U.S. GDP growth is revised upward; jobless applications down
Strong consumer buying is credited for an upward revision in U.S. fourth-quarter GDP growth, now pegged at an annualized 2.6%, up from the previously reported 2.4%. In another positive sign, fewer than expected Americans applied for jobless benefits last week because of a slower pace of firings as employers anticipate improved business. "Activity in the second quarter is going to represent something of a rebound from the first quarter," said Tom Simons, an economist at Jefferies in New York. Bloomberg (3/27), Bloomberg (3/27)

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Energy & Environmental Watch

EPA rules too costly for coal-dependent states, U.S. economy
The Environmental Protection Agency's new regulations for coal will cost the country 600,000 jobs and $2.23 trillion in GDP by 2023, according to a study conducted by the Heritage Foundation. National Economic Research Associates predict that coal-producing states such as Kentucky and West Virginia, along with manufacturing states such as Ohio and Michigan, will be hit the hardest. "It's a blunt instrument. And coal-dependent states are going to get hammered by it," said James Van Nostrand, head of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development at West Virginia University. NewsMax.com (3/27)

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Safety & Security

Crude-by-rail safety is priority for BNSF

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