CSX Service Metrics Were Mixed in June

CSX has encountered growing pains in implementing the precision scheduled railroading operating philosophy of its new CEO E. Hunter Harrison.

Trains magazine reported that although average train speed has improved since Harrison took over in March, it fell last month compared to what it was in May.

The magazine reported that terminal dwell time is slightly higher than when Harrison took over with some yards showing significantly higher dwell times than during the last week of May.

“As CSX implements Precision Scheduled Railroading across our network, some variation in performance metrics such as train velocity and terminal dwell are expected,” CSX spokeswoman Laura Phelps said. “CSX will continue to make adjustments as we identify new opportunities to improve asset utilization and control costs, while maintaining a relentless focus on serving our customers.”

She noted that the speed of intermodal and merchandise trains has improved when compared with what it was a year ago.

In the first few months of Harrison’s administration, transit time was down and on-time performance was up due to trains moving faster, stopping at fewer terminals, and cars spending less time in yards.

But in June CSX gave up some of those gains. Intermodal train speed fell nearly 1 mph, to 28 mph and the speed of manifest freights was down to 19.9 mph versus 20.4 mph in May.

Unchanged was the average speed of coal trains, 18.3 mph. Grain was moving  at 17.9 mph versus 18.4 mph in May

The overall system velocity was 21.3 mph compared with 22.2 in May.

Terminal dwell time through late June had risen to 26.6 hours on average versus 23.7 hours in May and 25.1 hours in the second quarter of 2016.

Among the CSX terminals reporting increases in dwell times were  Baltimore; Buffalo, New York; Cincinnati; Corbin, Kentucky; Indianapolis; Louisville, Kentucky; Montgomery, Alabama; Nashville, Tennessee; Russell, Kentucky; Toledo, Ohio; Waycross, Georgia; and Willard, Ohio.

On competitor Norfolk Southern, terminal dwell has increased system wide to 26.8 hours, up from 24.7 in May and 23.1 in the second quarter of 2016.

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