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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Transportation— Covid Relief


Date: 06/29/22 16:31
Transportation— Covid Relief
Author: JOHNY5ALIVE

Good evening,

So I have been thinking and doing a little research, which is a very dangerous situation. What got me thinking was how bad the freight railroads are operating right now, literally and in the court of public opinion. I will concede that railroads have historically made some poor short sighted decisions and are also historically slow to react to market fluctuations and such. Hindsight is always 20/20 and it can now be said and debated that railroads made bad decisions and knee jerk reactions during the beginning stages of the Covid pandemic.

What I would like to point out and discuss which really hasn’t been put out there in the court of public opinion is the Covid relief funds. Airlines received close to $50 billion to keep employees on the payroll during Covid. However, look at the airlines now! They are operating just as bad if not worse than the freight railroads. Why? Because they claim they are also short of people. I don’t see the airlines being called on the carpet in the same manner as the freight railroads.

Best I can tell, Amtrak received $1 billion, and commuter lines received $15 billion to keep people employed. However, both also now have a shortage of employees to operate without cancellations and such.

The interesting part is I can’t find any information that freight railroads received any money/funds to keep employees on the payroll.

Why is that? I can’t find that freight railroads turned down any money. With the exception of the commuter lines all are for profit companies and with shareholders. All are common carriers but only the freight railroads seem to be getting the wrath of negative press, why is that?

Posted from iPhone



Date: 06/29/22 16:55
Re: Transportation— Covid Relief
Author: NKPSOUTHERN




Date: 06/29/22 17:29
Re: Transportation— Covid Relief
Author: Cole42

Not everyone flies, or takes the train as a commuter or Amtrak, so airlines or commuter agencies don't affect everyone.  But everyone goes to the grocery store, a home goods store, department store etc.  So a shortage of supplies affects just about everyone, and that makes the news.  Regardless of whose fault it is, everybody points at someone else and as the railroads haul a lot of goods (and we know how poorly they are performing) so news making shortages along with shippers' complaints of terrible service brings attention.



Date: 06/29/22 19:31
Re: Transportation— Covid Relief
Author: DevalDragon

You see negative press about all modes of transportation, not just freight railroads. I don't think freight railroads are being singled out here.



Date: 06/30/22 06:20
Re: Transportation— Covid Relief
Author: cjvrr

"....railroads made bad decisions and knee jerk reactions during the beginning stages of the Covid pandemic."

In what way?   the Feds, FRA and local government agencies mandated many of the restrictions such as masks, 6 foot separation and total shut down of some businesses.   

How could that be "bad decisions" by the railroads?  They were doing what they were told to do.



Date: 06/30/22 06:30
Re: Transportation— Covid Relief
Author: bobwilcox

Just how important are railroads to the wider economy? Just 7 cents of every dollar spent on freight transportation in the United States goes to BNSF, UP, NS, CSX or KCS.  The world has moved on in the last 100 years.

Bob Wilcox
Charlottesville, VA
My Flickr Shots



Date: 06/30/22 07:06
Re: Transportation— Covid Relief
Author: MC6853

COVID is nothing more than a scapegoat here... PSR management would have made those cuts whether there was a pandemic or not... The pandemic just gave them what they thought was an excellent excuse to make it happen...



Date: 06/30/22 08:33
Re: Transportation— Covid Relief
Author: JOHNY5ALIVE

cjvrr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> "....railroads made bad decisions and knee jerk
> reactions during the beginning stages of the Covid
> pandemic."
>
> In what way?   the Feds, FRA and local
> government agencies mandated many of the
> restrictions such as masks, 6 foot separation and
> total shut down of some businesses.   
>
> How could that be "bad decisions" by the
> railroads?  They were doing what they were told
> to do.

I’m not talking about COVID safety precautions…. Gee whiz. I am talking about all the furloughs they made during the beginning of the pandemic. Talking about business decisions here, and somebody has to try to turn the narrative into some political hack.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 06/30/22 08:57
Re: Transportation— Covid Relief
Author: Lackawanna484

Airlines have the additional complexity that their pilots are required to retire at age 65 (changed). So, when passenger and freight dropped off a cliff in 2020, the airlines had more pilots, flight attendants, machinists, and planes than they needed. Lots more.

So, they offered incentives for pilots etc to retire. Add five years to your age and service for crediting, that sort of thing.  Many older people jumped at the offer, which protected the jobs of some younger people. Layoffs still happened, but fewer with the accelerated retirement.

Combine that with government mandates dramatically increasing the hours of flight time needed to become a new commercial pilot, and the supply of pilots tightens dramatically. Add in an over optimistic scheduling of flights, and you have a really good mess.

If the railroads wanted to shrink the number of employees, they could go to Railroad Retirement and offer to pay the difference to allow people to retire on full retirement benefits at age 50, with 25 years service, etc.  It would cost them a bundle of money, so the current practice of squeezing employees to drive them off is cheaper



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/30/22 13:21 by Lackawanna484.



Date: 06/30/22 09:07
Re: Transportation— Covid Relief
Author: JOHNY5ALIVE

65 is the mandatory retirement age for pilots.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 06/30/22 09:45
Re: Transportation— Covid Relief
Author: cjvrr

Your initial post did not mention furloughs or other specific mis-steps you think the railroad took at the beginning of the pandemic.   No mention of politics in my post, just that mandates shut stuff down.   

JOHNY5ALIVE Wrote:

>
> I’m not talking about COVID safety
> precautions…. Gee whiz. I am talking about all
> the furloughs they made during the beginning of
> the pandemic. Talking about business decisions
> here, and somebody has to try to turn the
> narrative into some political hack.
>
> Posted from iPhone



Date: 06/30/22 10:24
Re: Transportation— Covid Relief
Author: Drknow

MC6853 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> COVID is nothing more than a scapegoat here... PSR
> management would have made those cuts whether
> there was a pandemic or not... The pandemic just
> gave them what they thought was an excellent
> excuse to make it happen...

MC6853 wins the internet today. 100% this.

Posted from iPhone



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