Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Inside the minds of Amtrak’s “host” railroads

Today’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette business writers have put together a dandy of a story on the shady business practices of a few operating lines. No link, because the newspaper is a subscription site. Here is a highlight. This will be widely reported elsewhere, I am sure.

— Five major freight-rail companies overcharged customers by more than $6.5 billion under the guise of fuel surcharges, according to a study commissioned by businesses that accuse U.S. railroads of anti-competitive behavior.

“This is the greatest train robbery of the 21st century,” said Jack Gerard, president and chief executive of the American Chemistry Council, which represents about 90 percent of the nation’s chemical makers. The amount was more than double what some railroad customer groups had expected.

The council commissioned an economic analysis that found the railroads’ fuel surcharges were excessive by more than$6.5 billion between 2005 and the first quarter of 2007. The study was based on regulatory filings and other estimates for Union Pacific Corp., Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp., Norfolk Southern Corp., Kansas City Southern and CSX Corp.

Filed under: Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy

2 Responses

  1. Assuming this is true why would it be a problem? If the rail companies charge more then the alternatives will become more attractive and they will lose business.

  2. Scott Mercer says:

    Patrick, some of the customers have contracts with the railroads, and getting out of them would cost them even more money. So they are stuck, and they get the shaft. Yet more corporations abusing the free market.

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