5th Annual Railroad Report Card

Farm Forum

Information provided by the Soy Transportation Coalition.

The Soy Transportation Coalition (STC) released its fifth annual Railroad Report Card recently, and Union Pacific reclaimed its position as the top performing railroad. The top ranked railroad in 2011 and 2012, Union Pacific finished second to CSX in 2013. Norfolk Southern Railway climbed to second place from its third place ranking in 2013. Survey respondents ranked Canadian Pacific in last place for the fourth year in a row.

The survey was completed anonymously by agricultural shippers of various sizes and scale of operations and has been comprised of the same eleven questions since the report card’s inception. Surveys were completed and submitted during September and October. The questions are categorized under: 1.) On Time Performance; 2.) Customer Service; and 3.) Costs. For most questions, participants were asked to rate each of the seven Class I railroads on a scale from 1-10 with ten being the highest and one being the lowest. The 2014 survey had the largest number of participants in the history of the report card.

After combining the results from the 11 survey questions, Union Pacific received the highest overall rating. The company ranked first in six out of the eleven questions. Canadian Pacific, rated as the lowest performing railroad, received a last place ranking in each of the 11 questions.

Soy Transportation Coalition Rail Customer Satisfaction Index – Overall Ratings:

1. Union Pacific Railroad

2. Norfolk Southern Railway

3. CSX Transportation

4. Canadian National Railway

5. Kansas City Southern Railway

6. BNSF Railway

7. Canadian Pacific Railway

Overall, the survey revealed substantial frustration with the condition of rail service in 2014. On average, railroads received a 14 percent lower score than in 2013. Survey respondents in 2014 rated railroads 28 percent lower in their ability to provide on time service – the largest area of decline from the previous year. Moreover, average scores for each of the eleven questions were lower than in 2013 – confirming the widespread conclusion among agricultural shippers that rail service has been inadequate.