Oh ‘joy’…

As if things weren’t bad enough already…

LOS ANGELES, July 12 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden faces a deadline next week to intervene in nationwide U.S. railroad labor talks covering 115,000 workers, or open the door to a potential strike or lockout that could threaten an already fragile economy and choke supplies of food and fuel.

Full article, HERE from Reuters.

Out here in Tiny Town, we have a major BNSF line that runs through here. We’ve been seeing mile long trains, 2-3 engines pulling and 2 pushing, routinely over the last couple of years, but in the last six months we’ve seen even larger trains. They stretch at least 2 miles maybe a bit longer, with 5 or 6 engines, plus 1 more in the middle. Apparently there MUST be an engine every 8500 feet in a train!

The other thing we are seeing is more and more trains parked on a local siding, sometimes for 2-3 days at a time, blocking rail crossings. We didn’t see these very often before the WuFlu.

The other oddity, seen twice in the last month, is coal trains running back west carrying gravel, sometimes with only 2 engines total, which means they are S L O W, barely getting over 20mph. Normally those trains have a minimum of FOUR engines…

With the trucking issues with diesel cost and the availability of DEF, plus the stupidity in Cali with limiting old trucks from the pier, the stack of ships piled up offshore may double or triple if the railroad strike.

And what would happen to all that Cali produce? Or parts from China? Or oil from Canada? Or produce coming up from Mexico?

This could get really ugly in the next couple of weeks… Cities are (depending on whom you listen to) three to six days from anarchy when the food supplies stop. Looks like that might actually get tested in the upcoming months.

I pray it doesn’t, but sadly, I’m not holding my breath.



Oh ‘joy’… — 18 Comments

  1. This one is really going to test Mr. Biden and his crew. It’s going to be put up or shut up time — does he follow the lefty pro-union folks at the expense of the rest of us, or does he do his job and protect the country as a whole? I’m not betting on it. Certainly his Transportation Secretary is going to be no help…

    As you say, could get interesting.

    • Not to worry, Mayor Pete is on the job (unless he has another baby and has to take maternity leave).

  2. Buffet’s BNSF runs about a quarter mile from my house as well and I’m seeing the same things you are.

  3. Considering the quality of decisions coming out of the Beltway, my money is on some idiot calling out the National Guard or the Army to break any strike.

  4. Yeah, the mega-trains are another one of those genius ideas that only someone who went to Harvard or Yale could come up with. They cost the company more to run and none of the equipment, or the yards, or the rails, are designed to deal with it.
    They both inefficient and dangerous.
    Both you know what they say, you can always tell a harvard man. You can tell him anything, but you can always tell him.
    Why these people are trying to destroy the railways is beyond me, but I’m sure someone, probably in China, knows the answer to that one.

    Oh, and btw, LA is restoring the mask mandates. Apparently Covid is running rampant and killing thousands, if not tens of thousands again. Funny how nobody else in the world is seeing that, isn’t it?

    • You -can’t- tell him anything… I need caffine.

    • I think the longer trains are part of precision scheduled railroading (PSR). If so, there’s actually a Memphis State University alumni to blame. Though it’s spread may be blamed on Ivy League types at the board level.

  5. Over the last few months, this issue has been creeping upwards in the threat matrix. I have the 18th X’ed on my calendar.

  6. I-40 east of Barstow, the interstate and RR are within sight of each other for over 100 miles.

    Along that stretch I noticed eleven westbound trains and three eastbound trains all stopped. That is a very unusual sight.

    • Along that stretch, the typical train is approx 2 miles length and travels 60-75mph.

  7. All- Thanks for the comments, and another issue with the long trains is most sidings are NOT long enough for the long trains to actually use them!

  8. And this is why the Florida East Coast (FEC) smashed their associated unions. Because once the original reason for the unions to exist (really crappy wages and working conditions) then the unions will either seek out new goalposts or create conditions that will allow them (the unions) to force management to cave on more and more demands.

    Not saying the railroads aren’t partially at fault, but in today’s world do the unions really exist for the betterment of their members? Can you find more than 5 unions that are worth anything other than a cash organ for the DNC and a ready supply of thugs for the DNC?

  9. A lot of city folks think the food in their grocery stores comes from unicorn farts. Had one tell me they didn’t understand why MD had vanity plates honoring agricultural areas since that wasn’t where the population was. All I can think is “You’re going to die once the last dumpster in your area is picked clean…”

  10. The Communist/Democrats under CCP controlled Joe Biden actually want the shutdown of the railroads and a disruption of food supplies in the cities. More chaos and violence plays right into their hands. That would give Biden the excuse to declare martial law and suspend the Constitution and cancel the November elections.

  11. While I don’t know about other railroads, one grievance of the Union Pacific employees, especially the train crews, are overly long trains. On paper the bean counter see a profit bonanza. In reality, the infrastructure doesn’t accommodate 600 car long freights. The strain of operating these monsters is taking a toll on the crews.

  12. All- Thanks! George- Wow… I didn’t realize it was that bad, and ONE person was responsible. But beancounters usually win.

    • He’s the Memphis State grad I mentioned, and he came up through the operating side. There have been discussions in the railroad and business press for a decade over whether PSR would be a disaster or if it would be the financial savior of the major railroads.