NS to Reopen Hump in Bellevue

NS grain train 54G passes the cemetery in Sommerville, Ohio, on the New Castle District on July 13, 2022.

Norfolk Southern plans to resume hump operations in Bellevue, Trains magazine reported on its website.

The move was announced during the Class 1 railroad’s second quarter earnings call last week.

NS Chief Operating Officer Cindy Sanborn said reopening the Bellevue hump is part of the carrier’s new operating plan.

Since 2020 Bellevue has been a flat switching yard. NS also has resumed humping operations in Macon, Georgia.

Sanborn said reactivation of the two humps was done to create more capacity in the regions each yard serves. She said the changes will free up yard crews for assignment to local service.

Workers are doing maintenance work in Bellevue and once the hump reopens NS plans to use half of the two yard bowls.

Sanborn would not say if the hump resumptions at both yards is temporary or permanent. “It may be short term, it may be longer term, we’ll just see how it evolves,” she said.

NS once had humps at 10 classification yards but with its embrace of the precision scheduled railroading operations model it closed six of them. At the time officials said the move was made in favor of more block swapping en route rather than routing cars through a hump in a classification yard.

 Bellevue was the nation’s second largest hump yard and classified traffic on five routes.

During her presentation, Sanborn said NS has increased by 20 percent the number of trains using distributed motive power.

The new operating plan includes changing train schedules to minimize meets or situations in which one train needs to pass another.

That has resulted in changes to the schedules of 180 of NS’s 200 scheduled road trains. Some changes were made to local services.

NS officials said during the earnings call that changes between Chicago and Conway Yard near Pittsburgh will mean some merchandise trains will have faster schedules while others will have longer running times.

The officials said the changes were made to avoid delaying intermodal trains on the route.

In some instances, trains are doing less en-route switching in order to increase their average speed.

On a systemwide basis, NS has increased the number of daily intermodal trains from 79 to 85.

Starting in August, NS will re-symbol four intermodal trains in each direction between Chicago and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The new symbols will be 28U, 22X, 20X, and 28M eastbound, and 263, 23G, 27G, and 25G westbound.

More information about the NS operating changes can be found in a story posted on the Trains magazine website at https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews/news-wire/norfolk-southern-resumes-hump-operations-at-two-yards-under-new-operating-plan/

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