CSX to Reopen Another Hump

Maybe hump yards are more important than some high-ranking railroads initially thought.

CSX plans to resume within the next few weeks hump operations at its Radnor Yard in Nashville, Tennessee.

It had been converted a year ago to flat switching as part of system-wide operational changes made by the late E. Hunter Harrison, who was then CSX’s CEO.

But CSX found flat switching in the ex-Louisville & Nashville facility to be cumbersome so it is reversing course.

CSX also had shut down its hump at Avon Yard in Indianapolis last August, but reopened it less than a month later after the western end of its system became congested.

Harrison was not a fan of hump yards and changed eight of the CSX’s hump operations to flat switching. At one time, CSX officials said they expected to have a few as one or two hump yards still in operation.

In a statement, a CSX spokesman indicated that congestion was behind the move to resume humping yards at Radnor yard, saying that “given the footprint complexities of flat switching at Radnor Yard in Nashville, we will improve network fluidity, optimize train starts, dramatically reduce out-of-route train miles and switching costs by reopening the hump,”

Before its hump closed, Radnor Yard was CSX’s third busiest hump, trailing only Waycross, Georgia, and Selkirk, New York.

Radnor was classifying an average of 1,477 cars a day, which was within the range that Harrison said was an insufficient volume to justify the operating and capital expenses of a hump yard.

Although CSX declined to reveal how many cars a day Radnor classifies on average now, it remains in the company’s top 10 terminals in volume.

CSX officials said that when the Radnor hump reopens will depend on completing maintenance of retarders and other infrastructure.

The CSX spokesman said that once Radnor’s hump resumes operation, CSX will eye downgrading operations at other yards and infrastructure.

Norfolk Southern also found itself having to backtrack on ending hump operations at its Debutts Yard in Chattanooga, Tennessee, after facing congestion issues due to rising traffic volume on the southern region of its network.

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