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Berkshire buying Burlington Northern railroad —

Berkshire buying Burlington Northern railroad —

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7 Responses

  1. Allan says:

    Welcome back Pat! I was beginning to think that this blog was dying out.

    Now to the topic at hand … How does this buyout affect Amtrak and passenger rail? Positively or negatively … or not at all?

  2. skiddie says:

    Is this Warren Buffet saying that with the federal involvement in passenger rail, he’s expecting significant growth in the passenger use of tracks? (or even natioanlisation, which often in the US involves payments to current infrastructure holders?)

    This is the BNSF stock price over the past 5 years.

    And UP

    See also the write-up in Railway Gazette:

  3. Chris G says:

    Yeah. We sold ours yesterday on the bump. Figured the rest of the gain wasn’t as big of a deal.

    As for the deal itself and the interviews with WB i’ve heard he has used quotes like “this is a bet on the future of the country” and things like that.

    I think he is expecting a lot of federal money going into BNSF rails to upgrade for passenger rail and instead of fighting it like UP likes to do they are accepting it and realizing that fed money for infrastructure helps all involved.

  4. It will likely have far less an effect on passenger rail, one way or the other, than the likely negative effect that this unfunded implementation of PTC will have. All the railroads are currently evaluating which routes they can reduce service on to avoid having to install PTC and from the railroad corporate point of view, passenger trains are not necessary traffic.
    As I see it, (and for the record my future jobs will involve PTC as does
    my current activity) many passenger routes will be diverted to other lines or dumped unless this legislation is amended to provide for public sector assistance, i.e. free federal money as my friend Bruce Richardson likes to put it. The PTC mandate is good, but it was rushed through following the Chatsworth, CA problem and when things are rushed, the result hurts everybody, often.

  5. HockeyFan says:

    BNSF has been a great investment for me. I bought it back in 2003. I was sold on their high speed intermodal service, double tracking the Transcon (if you build it, they will come), and mgmt’s forward looking vision…even considering electrification! A well run railroad can handle a few passenger trains (on time) in their system and CEO Matt Rose never bashes Amtrak.
    Any ideas anyone for new rail investments? I’m all ears.

  6. Nathanael says:

    “As I see it, (and for the record my future jobs will involve PTC as does my current activity) many passenger routes will be diverted to other lines or dumped unless this legislation is amended to provide for public sector assistance,”

    UP might try to do that — which is *illegal* — but BNSF has more political sense. Last I checked BNSF is largely fighting to make keep the PTC mandate from expanding to freight-only branch lines (as proposed by the FRA). Note that BNSF runs passenger rail almost entirely on busy multi-purpose mainlines — which include hazmat traffic — and will be the first target for PTC period, passengers or not.

  7. Joe says:

    What is it with the news media and railroads?

    Railroading has been around for a long time now yet it seems that the media rarely gets their facts straight. More often than not, it seems, the reports contain inaccurate or completely wrong information.

    Now I can understand that when a small-town newspaper or media outlet reports on a railroad-related story that there might be a mistake or two in the story. The reporter might not be railroad-savy. You see this often.

    I do have an issue when a major news organization makes a error when reporting a railroad news item. They are suppose to have a very talented staff of writers, and more importantly, vast resources and good editors. At the very least, they certainly can “Google” like the rest of the world.

    I was surfing the web today and came across this article from CNBC about Berkshire Hathaway acquiring BNSF Railway. The title is, mistakenly, “Berkshire Hathaway Gets Antitrust Clearance to Buy Burlington Northern.”. It should read: Berkshire Hathaway Gets Antitrust Clearance to Buy BNSF Railway Company, which is the right name of the company. Burlington Northern is the old company. But, it doesn’t end there. The graphic they chose to put with their image of Warren Buffett is the old Burlington Northern logo and not the current logo of the BNSF Railway Company!

    I would be happy to verify facts for any media company, for a small fee, of course. Contact me here.


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November 2009


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