A good article, it is ironic in many ways that Berkshire Hathaway is one of the most successful public companies out there yet it is run on principles that don't mesh with the modern idea of shareholder management, not by far (take a look at their stock price). To keep this topical, railroads are capital intensive businesses, and they have to invest in both the short and long term (for example, when the railroads redid their rails to use concrete ties and welded rail, that made the rail more reliable and needing less maintenance, yet took a long time and was costly).
Wall Street has always been known for its short term focus, of quarters, Ford went private in the 1920's for that reason (or attempted to, in any event, not sure they were successful) and Henry Ford cited the short term blindness of Wall Street, other companies have stayed private for the same reason (Bose is a classic example, they spend a lot of money on research and are patient, Wall Street analysts would go nuts with that approach).
The article is dead spot on about hedge funds, those running them and the analysts who basically decide stock prices are the same, they want a huge return fast, and spending money on capital to them is poison, they don't care that that spending will mean the railroad will be in a good place in 5 years, to them 5 years is a century away, it is all about boosting the stock price now. The irony is that in the long term this is not good for the company involved, hedge funds get in, make their 20% a year, and get out long before someone else has to face the consequences. There is an irony to this (and I have worked in the financial industry for well over 30 years, so talking as an insider), I have had people tell me that shareholder management is good for all, that people with pensions and 401k's and IRA's and mutual funs benefit from shareholder management, but they don't, not from this kind of short term, hyper profits model, because institutional funds are a long term thing, and those kind of funds by regulation have very little exposure in hedge funds and such. For people who invest that way (and that represents much of the wealth most people have in investments), the long term view the guy interviewed had is the kind of shareholder management that helps them the most.
It is nice to read about people like this guy, far too many companies are run on the nature of stock price above all, pleasing Wall Street analysts, and that time and again has proven to hurt companies in the long term IME.