Aaahhh… Great weather for riding! Highs in the 70s, comfy in full PPE. 50 degrees by 9 am, warm&toasty with the addition of a sweater and lightly insulated guantlets. Little rain, set up camp at the end of the day and enjoy the campfire. Then enjoy the “good sleepin’ weather” and rekindle the fire to take off the mornin’ chill and maybe cook some breakfast. What’s not to like? And we’ve only got a couple months of this great riding to enjoy. So get out now, and ride while you can before a job or cancer diagnosis or whatever unexpected interferes!

Mack is back, despite Volvo’s worst efforts to turn it into a Volvo with a Bulldog hood ornament. Was only a couple years ago that Volvo not only forced their chassis design on Mack, but even tried to standardize the locations of fuel tanks and such worldwide. But Mack’s customers prevailed, and as a result there’s a couple lovely twin steer Granites with an hour’s ride of my abode. Learned the other day that ultra heavy hauler Perkins went to Mack because KW wouldn’t custom build the truck they needed and Mack would. Perkins is an engineering driven heavy hauler that even builds their own trailers for million pound hauls because nobody else will build what they need. A coup for Mack, and if you’re a trucker needing a custom built truck, look at Mack!

Meanwhile, new Canadian Pacific CEO Hunter Harrison, fresh from nearly running Canadian National into the ground, has settled in to his new office with predictable effect- CP just announced the shutdown of their Milwaukee intermodal yard. Sounds like Hunter Harrison at his worst- driving away customers so he can play model railroader in 1:1 scale. At CN, Hunter chased away customers because they had the temerity to have seasonal cycles like the lumber and other industries suffer. Hunter was all upset because the sawmills in Wisconsin would shut down for deer season and he’d have to give his tired locomotives and crews some R&R… Heck, the lumber biz dies out in the winter up north anyway, may as well go deer hunting!

I suspect this is a trial shot to see how much shipper anger is produced… Hunter’s next targets will probably be the “loose car” business, shortlines, the steam program, and CP’s famous Holiday Train. Hunter won’t be happy until he can run a 20 mile long unit train once a day from one end of what’s left of the system to the other, with a historic low Operating Ratio. But lots of railroads had low ORs until they suddenly went bankrupt…

 

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