Muckety
 
 
 
 
 

Buffett wants to untie the Chicago rail knot

By Laurie Bennett

February 10, 2010 at 1:17pm

In the network that is America’s rail freight system, Chicago is a chokepoint.

As Bloomberg notes today: “Chicago, whose railroads made it hog butcher for the world a century ago, is a tangle of bottlenecks where a quarter of the nation’s rail freight stalls while trying to navigate the city.”

The Wall Street Journal reported last year that rail traffic through Chicago was so congested that freight was sometimes unloaded from trains on one side of the city, driven across town on trucks and reloaded on other trains.

Warren Buffett obviously believes there’s an answer to the problem, or he wouldn’t be bidding $26 billion for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. His offer is up for shareholder approval tomorrow.

Chicago rail hub
Chicago rail hub

Bloomberg notes that the California Public Employees’ Retirement System may provide a partial solution, by investing in two or three rail yards outside the city. The first, a Burlington Northern facility, opened in 2002. The second, a Union Pacific yard, is set to begin operations in September. Calpers is negotiating a possible third yard.

Buffett toured the new Burlington Northern yard before making his purchase offer for the company.

He and good buddy Bill Gates are both believers in railroads. The Gates Foundation and Gates’ personal investment arm, Cascade Investment, are investors in Canadian National.

Burlington Northern and Canadian National’s U.S. operations, along with other Class 1 railroads, account for 93 percent of the freight revenues in the American rail freight industry. Also included in this group:

  • CSX Transportation
  • Norfolk Southern
  • Union Pacific
Follow Muckety on Twitter Tweet This! Share on Facebook

Click here to sign up for the Muckety Newsletter

 Read related stories: Networking · Recent Stories · Transportation  

0 Comments

  • There are no comments yet, be the first by filling in the form below.

Leave a Comment

The relationship map to the left is interactive.
• Solid lines are current relations. Dotted lines are former relations.
• Expand items with + signs by double-clicking or by selecting multiple items in the map and pressing the "e" key.
• Move an item in the map by clicking and dragging.
• You can also delete items, separate boxes and save maps. Right-click on the map or select Map Tools for these options.
• Find out more about an item in the map by right-clicking on the item and choosing Information about...
• View map color key.
• This interactive map requires Flash player.


Become a fan of Muckety on Facebook

  • Search for stories
      
    Special Features

Follow Muckety on Twitter Follow Muckety on Twitter
Muckety has no direct connection to most of the people or organizations listed on these pages.
We are unable to forward personal messages or provide personal contact information.
We make every effort at Muckety to ensure that our data is correct and timely. However, relationships are in constant flux and we cannot guarantee accuracy. If you come across incorrect or outdated information, please let us know by email.
© 2017 Muckety LLC