Is Privatization An Answer?
Posner III, Bob Johnston (TRAINS); Sean Jeans-Gail (NARP)
Moderator: Jim Mathews
| Session #2, RailNation, NARP 50th Celebration,
"If everything you try is a success,
you're not trying hard enough" - why failure stories are more
valuable than success stories
| 2017 Lexington Group Annual Meeting, Panama
"Investor of Last Resort" - RDC and its
experiences in The World Bank territory
| The World Bank, Washington DC
It's all about ME -- a life with GE
| Lake Shore Railway Historical Society, Erie PA
Henry Posner III: Recipient of 2nd
Annual James C. Roddey Transportation Leadership Award
| Pennsylvania Trolley Museum
Competition and cooperation in rail
transport from the perspective of a U.S. investor
| Allianz pro Schiene, Berlin
Viewpoint: Le monde dans un wagon
(1/4) - La voie chaotique vers la libéralisation
/ The world in a wagon - the chaotic road to rail reform (Part 1)
| Radio France / France Culture
Op-ed: Benefits to freight shippers and
passengers are priority in planning Ukrzaliznytsya's future
| Kyiv Post
Balancing Competition with
Cooperation...for success in rail freight
| European Rail Summit, Brussels
Viewpoint: Compete, but also
| Railway Gazette International
- "Worth More Dead Than Alive?" --
Lessons in railroading from Guatemala, Estonia and ... New Jersey
| Transportation Research Forum, Newark
We're Not Just in Iowa Anymore -- case
studies in railway entrepreneurship from Scarier Parts of the World
| Spisak Lecture, Penn State Univ., State College
- The RDC Story,
in Perspective: Iowa Interstate and Beyond
| 2012 Lexington Group Meeting, Peoria
it like to run a foreign line?"
Alternate Routes" ...or..."Railroads--A Bridge to the
| Pittsburgh Technology Council, Pittsburgh
Quite Normal" -- The Story Behind The Iowa Interstate Story
| National Railway Historical Society Convention, Cedar
- The Iowa
Interstate welcomes the NRHS delegates and relates
why IAIS is Not Your Typical Short Line.
- Financing rail
freight--Contrasting lessons from Europe and the USA
| Marketforce and the ASI's 7th Annual Conference, Berlin
- Lessons learned
from the USA's successful wagonload business can be applied at
the European level.
rail alternative to the Panama Canal
- A Bridge to the Future--Iowa
Interstate, the Quad Cities, and the U.S. Rail Industry
| Henry Farnam Dinner, Quad Cities/Davenport
- A discussion of IAIS' long heritage and how railroading is
an important part of the nation's future.
trains on freight railroads -- Yes, it's a business
| National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) Council
of Representatives, Grand Rapids MI
- RDC's input on
some of the big changes under way in the world's
Europe fails to follow U.S. route"
Financial Times, 2011-Sep-19
outlay: China demand drives road and rail traffic"
Financial Times, 2011-Apr-26
seeks to expand high-speed rail network"
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2011-Feb-09
about that fast track to Ohio"
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2010-Dec-05
Heavy haulage giants join in fresh battle"
Financial Times-Special Report, 2010-Sep-20
entrants roar out of the sidings"
Financial Times-Special Report, 2010-Sep-20
New train of thought helps improve energy efficiency"
Financial Times, 2010-Sep-15
to loosen west's grip on rail sector"
Financial Times, 2010-Sep-13
Investment in Rail in Africa -- A private sector perspective
| U.S./Sub-Saharan Africa Trade & Economic Cooperation
Forum (AGOA), Washington DC
- The Wagonload
-- An important (and sustainable!) business for France...and
| SITL Europe 2010, Paris
- Opinion: Let's
get on board this train
| Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
- Comments on Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway buyout of BNSF
trains make big comeback in nation's transportation
Los Angeles Times, 2010-Jan-3
has not missed his advantage" (English & Russian)
Russian Railway-Partner, 2009-Nov-23
- "Rail move
sends important signal to investors"
Financial Times, 2009-Nov-4
$34bn bet boosts US rail"
- Rail and
Politics -- managing expectations in a shifting landscape
| "The Sustainable Railway," a Nordic Rail
- While railways
and politics are generally considered inseparable from a
passenger perspective, what is more subtle is the interaction
of politics with the rail freight sector.
White Paper (PDF 117k)
- Interview for a Réseau Ferré de France Seminar
| Facteur 4 Conference, Paris
- Introduction in
French; interview in
English with French subtitles.
YouTube Video (video length 7:50)
passenger rail service
| U.S. House of Representatives' Field Hearing, Pittsburgh
The Obama rail challenge -- I think we can
| Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Obama's announcement on April 16th of an ambitious plan for
high-speed passenger trains connecting American cities puts
Pennsylvania into a national competition for billions of
dollars in federal aid.
- Cost structure
is surprisingly volume-variable
| RZD-Partner International
- The most
effective way is deregulation!
| RZD-Partner International
- An rail
operator's reaction to Russia's proposals regarding their wagonload
| Union Pacific Railroad
- An international perspective to the latest attempt to
increase government oversight of the rail industry.
Investment in Freight Rail -- risks and rewards
| Macquarie Global Infrastructure Conference, New York
usually comes more from the public sector than from the
private sector, possibly because railways are worth more dead
than alive and there is more value worth stealing than there
used to be. In addition, expropriation is not limited to
developing countries; as long as there is the threat of
re-regulation in the USA, Wall Street is going to be keeping
that in mind."
Freight in the USA: Lessons for Continental Europe
| CER Essay
- To stimulate a
debate on the future of rail freight markets, this essay
compares the business trends and structural and institutional
differences between the U.S. and continental Europe, and offers an
insightful analysis into why U.S. rail freight market shares are
significantly higher than those in Western Europe.
Operator: re-regulation would hurt shortlines
| Argus Rail
- A rail
operator's view of what the passage of current
rail regulation legislation, namely H.R.2125 and S.953, would mean
in practical terms for railroads.
Risk in Emerging Markets Infrastructure -- "It's never what
| Institutional Investor's Infrastructure Investment Forum, New
- "The risk that
you think you need to worry about is usually wrong. No amount of
due diligence and no amount of lawyering is going to protect you
from, for example, a government that decides it's going to change
the law to suit themselves, such as happened in Estonia and
Guatemala. Expropriation is not limited to developing
Traffic -- why Europe is very different from North America
| CER EurailFreight 2007, Brussels
first thing that customers want is rail as an option. If the rail
option doesn’t exist, then everything else is academic.
Where the differences occur, is that in North America there
is competition as a result of deregulation, whereas in Europe, you are trying to force competition through regulation.
This is an extremely important institutional point because
it has nothing to do with engineering, signaling systems or axle
loads. It is an institutional fundamental of the European
environment, and I think it is the single biggest problem."
- Open Access -- from theory to reality
| The Lexington Group in Transportation History
- "We are The
Lexington Group in Transportation History and I think we have
something of value to offer this country which is more than a
little bit of perspective; we can look overseas for examples...
"...I have just made some economic arguments, but I would
argue that the most fundamental economic force which has emerged
in the last several years is 'the marketplace for legislation' vs.
'the marketplace of ideas'."
Improving safety and preventing accidents in African railways
2006-Jun-29 | Africa Rail 2006, Johannesburg
- "The single
most effective tool for improving railway safety is therefore the
development of realistic norms reflective of our operating
environment, and the training and discipline necessary to
implement them. In this respect, safety is more of an
institutional challenge than a technical challenge."
Attracting investment for improved services via railways
concessions and privatization
| Africa Rail 2006, Johannesburg
of the economics and performance of state railways in Africa point
squarely to private sector management despite the unsurprising
positions of many such enterprises that private sector interests
will, among other things, result in a short-term focus and a
disregard for safety."
in Latin America--15 years of unprecedented change
| LatAmRail 2006, Miami
in Progress?--Estonia's role in the export of oil by rail
| Transport Infrastructure for Oil and Gas in Russia & CIS,
revenue and cost structures are now controlled by the government.
This has been done under the guise of EU regulations, but there is
no country in the European Union with regulations like
Failure in the UK
| Association Highlights
newsletter of the Association of Transportation Law
economic effect of open access will be the conversion of bulk
traffic from the rail industry's highest margin business into its
lowest margin business, with a catastrophic impact on the
industry's ability to fund its infrastructure."
the Nacala Corridor--First Private Sector Integration of Port
| AfricaRail 2005, Johannesburg
- "I would like
to share with you a trip I took on the Nacala Corridor. As a
railway investor, the best way to see a railway is from the cab of
-- A Global Perspective
| Rail Industry Safety Conference, St. Louis
- "...unless you
and your employees 'believe' in safety and live it every day at
work, none of the so-called programs, processes, or gimmicks is
going to work. If you and your employees truly believe in safety,
then you probably are operating a safe company and don't have a
need for outside help."
Privatization of a Former Soviet Railway: Bringing
International Experience and Best Practice to Estonia
| Reform & Privatization of Russian Railways Conference,
- "We are in an extremely
competitive business. Estonian Railways has to work very hard to
stay ahead of the game, working with the Estonian ports to make
Estonia as competitive as possible given that there is a big piece
of the pie that we do not control."
Paradox of Financing: Privatization of Parastatals by
| Africa Investment Forum - TransAfrica21, London
- "...we believe that
competition from the public sector represents greater risk than
floods, famines, giant spiders, etc. I would encourage you
to think back to my previous comment which was, 'What
are we looking for in terms of investment parameters? We
are looking for a serious government and rational competition.'"
of a Monopolist: Investment in, and Management of, the
Vertically Integrated Railway
| Railway Study Association, London
- "Taking the European
definition of a monopoly and applying it to Iowa, we are the
"monopoly" in Newton, Iowa, to the extent that we are
the exclusive railroad going into the Maytag washing machine plant
in Newton. But that's not to say that BNSF couldn't send a truck
over to take that traffic 25 miles across to their main line. What
I'm saying is that we have a competitive advantage against trucks
or rail-truck intermodal service because we have steel wheel right
into the siding, which means for that particular movement there is
no trucker involved."
Freight in New York City: A Global View
| Transportation Research Forum, New York
- "The New York Central was 'The
Road to the Future' -- this, my friends, is the Road to
Rail Freight: A Global View
| Railroad Finance Forum, New York
- "...as long
as there is an undisciplined political component to the
business, doing business in the USA, or at least in New York,
may in fact be more risky than going to a poor country like
-- The Final Years
| "Railroads in Western Pennsylvania" Seminar,
- "We will
discuss the P&LE's final years, not from a rail history
perspective, but rather from a business perspective...I want to
drive a stake into the ground as far as what really happened
internally in its final years...This is a very interesting piece
of history, and there are still lessons to be learned..."
Privatisation -- Franchise structure must drive investment
| Rail Investment 2001
(a supplement to Railway Gazette International)
- "In some
cases, it becomes clear that despite a formal bidding process
there is also a hidden agenda, with an intended winner waiting
behind the scenes. This is not limited to developing countries,
and we experienced this in the case of the Long Island Rail Road
above excerpt received a response from a representative of the
Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and Railway Gazette
International published the exchange of letters in their
June 2002 issue.
Structuring of Rail Concessions: Economics and Ethics
| World Railway Congress, Vienna
- "...Don't just look at the
economics...look at the game behind the rules."
Models for Freight Rail Concessions: A Comparative
| Africa Investment Forum - TransAfrica21,
- "To the
extent that this conference covers how we can finance our way
out of the problems that exist in Africa, it is worth
considering the reaction of the financial markets to what is
occurring in the Open Access environment as opposed to the
Exclusive Franchise environment...The primary focus of Open
Access is political and the secondary focus is on the customer.
I do believe that Open Access has created value for the
customer; in fact, most of the margins of the freight business
have been given to the customer. However, if most of the margins
have been given to the customer, then why invest in
railways?...To summarize, both
the financial and the transportation marketplaces have
repudiated Open Access..."
Restructuring in the Americas -- Implications for the
Former Soviet Union
| International Railway Seminar, Moscow
Former Soviet Union should consider that there are other places
than Europe where railways have been restructured and other
models to be considered...a competing model to the European
model of Open Access is the Exclusive Franchise
of Freight Railway Concessions
| 20th Pan-American Railway Congress,
- "...The market in the USA
will continue to be extremely competitive and not be a
particularly good place for investment because there will be
plenty of buyers pushing the prices up. In fact, the focus will be more
on how one manipulates the game than the actual price paid...
Overseas, since it will be less competitive in a more difficult
market, we will be under less pressure to make deals that are fundamentally
unhealthy. RDC is doing more investment in the developing
world. However, success will continue to focus on as much
as understanding the country as understanding the railroad
business, and a high tolerance of risk..."
Railway Concessions in Africa: An Investor's Perspective
| AfricaRail 2000, Johannesburg
- "The fundamentals of
Africa's freight railways are sound...In southern Africa the
competition for the most part is trucks; in the USA the
competition is other railways...In Europe everybody is competing
with everybody...In Africa you can have a true franchise
business...and is as good as an investment environment as one
would find in the USA, Latin America, or any other
place...Success will rely on a willingness to take risks...and
to be flexible culturally in order to integrate with the local
Concessioning in Africa -- An Investor's Perspective
| AfricaRail 1999, Johannesburg
is a compromise; concessioning is, in our opinion, the way
forward...the benefit is that Africa can look to Latin America
to get free consulting, to avoid the mistakes, to look at what
went wrong in Latin America, and not repeat it."
Rail Freight Privatization -- An Investor's View
| Rail Freight Conference
- "Under Open Access a
franchise is not a franchise at all, because you have intramodal
competition, that is rail vs. rail, which is likely to minimize
profit margins once Open Access takes hold. I've been spending a
lot of time the last couple days asking people to please tell me
I'm wrong...Revenue projections are going to be more risky going
forward given the unknown structural impact of Open Access...The
only analogy I can come up with for what is about to happen in
the UK is the US domestic airline industry, which is the best
model of Open Access. You've got the prospect of the same
competitive and financial results awaiting, unless I'm
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