Archive for the ‘Railroad News’ Category

Squires Will Replace Moorman as NS CEO

March 3, 2015

Norfolk Southern has put into place a succession plan whereby President James A. Squires will replace Charles W. “Wick” Moorman as company’s CEO. The planned succession process will kick in on June 1.

Squires, 53, who joined NS in 2009, will continue to serve as president and all major divisions will continue to report to him. Moorman will continue as executive chairman of the board of directors.

In a news release, NS said that Moorman and Squires will work together to ensure a seamless transition of leadership responsibilities.

“Jim has the right experience and vision to advance Norfolk Southern’s traditions of safety and service,” board member Steven F. Leer said in a statement. “NS is well-positioned to continue leading and innovating, and the board of directors is confident in the ability of the entire Thoroughbred team to deliver for our customers, shareholders, and communities.”

Squires served in several law positions at NS before being named vice president of law in 2003, senior vice president of law in 2004, senior vice president of financial planning in 2006, executive vice president of finance in 2007, executive vice president of administration in 2012, and president in 2013.

A native of Hollis, N.H., he is a graduate of Amherst College, where he received a bachelor of arts in Ancient Greek in 1983.

After graduation, he spent a year as Amherst-Doshisha Fellow at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan. He then served in the U.S. Army from 1985 to 1989.

In 1992, he received a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Chicago Law School, where he has served as a member of the Visiting Committee.

“Leading NS is an incredible honor,” Squires says. “I join our 30,000 employees in pledging that we will do everything possible to exceed the expectations of our shareholders and the people and businesses who depend on us. We welcome that opportunity, and we will meet that challenge.”

U.S. Class I RR Employment Fell During January

February 28, 2015

Employment at Class 1 railroads fells in January by 3.7 percent compared with the previous month’s head count.

Surface Transportation figures showed that in mid-January, the workforce of Class 1 railroads stood at 164,568.

All six workforce categories saw declines. Maintenance-of-way and structures was down 6.4 percent to 34,985; transportation (other than train and engine), was down about 5 percent to 6,370; professional and administrative was down 4.8 percent to 13,600; executives, officials and staff assistants was down 3.9 percent to 9,621; transportation (train and engine), was down 2.5 percent to 69,921; and maintenance of equipment and stores, was down 2.3 percent to 30,071.

However, on a year-over-year basis, the workforce grew 1.4 percent.

Transportation (train and engine) forces rose nearly 6 percent and the number of maintenance of equipment and stores workers increased 1 percent versus January 2014 figures.

The other four workforce categories registered the following year-over-year declines: transportation (other than T&E), 4.2 percent; professional and administrative, 3.2 percent; maintenance-of-way and structures, 2.8 percent; and executives, officials and staff assistants, 2.1 percent.

Ore Train Derails on ex-B&LE in Pennsylvania

February 27, 2015

No injuries were reported after a Canadian National iron ore train derailed on Wednesday night on the former Bessemer & Lake Erie mainline in Butler County, Pa.

The derailment of 27 of the train’s 71 cars occurred about 9:30 p.m. south of State Route 308.

An online report said the derailment occurred just north of the Oneida interlocking.

B&LE 907, CN 5336 and B&LE 905 along with about 10 cars were sitting near the Oneida Road, the report said.

The train had originated in Conneaut, Ohio, and the ore was bound for a Pittsburgh area steel mill.

Workers were cleaning up the derailment site on Thursday. Steve Bicehouse, Butler County’s emergency services director, said there was no fire and no hazardous materials were spilled.

The accident occurred in a wooded area. Highway traffic was not disrupted.

CN spokesman Patrick Waldron told local media that he did not know what caused the derailment. CN acquired the B&LE in 2004.



CSX Reopens Track at W.Va. Derailment Site

February 27, 2015

One of the two tracks taken out of service last week by a derailment of a CSX crude oil train in West Virginia reopened on Thursday.

The opening of the line near Mt. Carbon allowed a logjam of coal and other revenue trains to pass the derailment site for the first time since Feb. 16.

Environmental protection agencies and contractors continued to work at the site to restore the second mainline track.

Workers completed the excavation around the derailment site on late Wednesday and a temporary roadbed was installed overnight.

Investigators have collected dozens of soil samples over the past few days in order to ensure that all contaminated soil has been removed.

Twelve tank cars lying adjacent to the newly laid roadbed and have been positioned for removal by rail.

A total of 97,000 gallons of oily-water mixture from the containment trenches dug along the river embankment near the derailment site has been recovered.

The oily-water mixture has been transported to the nearby Handley Yard to await disposal.

Environmental crews and federal investigators expect to remain at the derailment site for several more days as they collect information as part of their investigation to determine the cause of the incident.

Detoured and curtailed train movements will likely return to their normal routing through West Virginia over the next couple of days.

The Feb. 16 derailment sent 28 cars off the rails and resulted in several large explosions and evacuation of nearby residents.



Severe Cold Taking Toll on Amtrak Operations

February 27, 2015

The brutal cold that has gripped the eastern United States in an icy vise has taken a toll on Amtrak trains serving Northeast Ohio.

All Aboard Ohio, a rail passenger advocacy group, said that delays of five hours for the westbound Lake Shore Limited have been common in the past week.

The group noted that on Wednesday night the eastbound Lake Shore Limited departed Chicago Union Station 5 hours, 47 minutes late.

No. 48 was more than six hours late when it met and passed No. 49 between Sandusky and Toledo at about 10 a.m. No. 49 at the time was operating more than four hours late.

The Lake Shore Limited operates between Chicago and New York with a section to and from Boston that joins the train at Albany-Rensselaer, N.Y.

Since Feb. 20, All Aboard Ohio said the average delays for trains serving Northeast Ohio have been:

  • Train 49 arriving Chicago: 5 hours, 57 minutes late
  • Train 48 arriving New York City: 4 hours, 15 minutes late
  • Train 30 arriving Washington D.C.: 2 hours, 44 minutes late
  • Train 29 arriving Chicago: 2 hours, 11 minutes late

Amtrak has also canceled the Boston section, citing severe winter weather across New England. It has provided substitute bus service between Albany and Boston to connect with trains 48/49.

In the meantime, the tri-weekly Chicago-New York Cardinal has been truncated since a Feb. 16 derailment of a CSX crude oil train in West Virginia.

Nos. 50 and 51 have been operating only between Chicago and Indianapolis. Buses have then taken passengers between Indianapolis and Cincinnati.

However, Amtrak has not provided substitute bus service between Cincinnati and Charlottesville, Va.

One track at the derailment site opened on Thursday, but early Friday morning the Amtrak website still showed the westbound Cardinal that was scheduled to depart from New York for Chicago today as being canceled.

Amtrak is accepting reservations for the next westbound No. 51, which will depart New York on Sunday morning.

In a news release, All Aboard Ohio said that some of the reasons for the delays are beyond Amtrak’s control

These include speed restrictions as low as 25 mph imposed by CSX and Norfolk Southern because they fear the cold will crack their seamless welded steel rails.

But the advocacy group said that other delays are Amtrak’s responsibility. These include equipment malfunctions, locomotives that have failed en route, doors between rail cars freezing into the open position, and cold temperatures inside passenger cars that led to toilets, pipes and water tanks to freeze and rupture.

“This is downright offensive to the traveling public,” said All Aboard Ohio Executive Director Ken Prendergast. “Amtrak President Joe Boardman must be held to account for this, starting with a personal apology to all passengers who had to endure this pathetic excuse for transportation in a civilized nation. It is clear by their poor performance that these trains are being neglected by Amtrak and its private-sector partners who own and manage the tracks. Rail transportation used to be largely indifferent to bad winter weather. Nowadays, the railroads can’t seem to get their trains through the snow and cold.”

NS Cites Improvement in Performance Metrics

February 25, 2015

Norfolk Southern reported this week that several metrics indicate that its service has been steadily improving since late November.

NS said it has hired 320 train and engine employees since last summer and plans to hire 900 more throughout 2015. Two-thirds of the new workers will be hired in the first half of the year.

An additional 66 locomotives will be added to the fleet by the end of July.

The railroad cited the $160 million Bellevue yard expansion as one of the reasons for its growing volumes.

The service update also highlighted NS’s $2.4 billion capital improvement program in 2015 that will allocate $640 million on freight cars and locomotives.

NS has budgeted nearly $1.3 billion for rail, tie, ballast and bridge renewal work, and facility and infrastructure improvements.

Hey! Be Careful Where You Point That Thing

February 25, 2015

More than likely a CSX employee has been told where he aims that thing after several residents in Buffalo, N.Y., complained of having their homes damaged by ballast sent flying by a jet blower used to clear snow from the tracks.

The blower sent baseball-sized rocks crashing through windows of homes on Linden and Crescent avenues in North Buffalo.

Some of the residents told WIBV-TV that they thought their homes were being robbed.

CSX said its workers were clearing snow from tracks that are located about 100 feet from Crescent Avenue. The snow blower was on the side of the tracks.

Pat McDonell said he found damage to the side of his home and even his car. There was visible damage to both, including a smashed-in wood frame with broken glass.

“I came out to throw the trash away and I noticed all four windows of the back of my house had been shattered including my wood frame,” McDonell said. “I found out shortly after that it was a railroad snow thrower that was throwing rocks the size of a fist.”

Reports of damage came from residents on both sides of the tracks on Crescent and Linden Avenues. Whinney Finbar lives on Crescent and is hoping that CSX fixes the damage.

“In all the 62 years I’ve lived here they’ve never used a snow blower back there that I know of,” Finbar said. “I’ve never had this problem. If they make it right I’m not upset.”

CSX apologized to homeowners and said anyone with damage caused by the flying rocks can call their claims center at 1-877 TELLCSX or 877-835-5279.

NS, CSX on Fortune Most Admired List

February 22, 2015

Norfolk Southern and CSX were among three Class I railroads that made Fortune Magazine’s annual “Most Admired” companies list.

Union Pacific was selected the most admired company in the Trucking, Transportation and Logistics category for the fifth year in a row. CSX was second and Norfolk Southern was fourth.

The magazine made the rankings in conjunction with the Hay Group, which surveyed executives, directors and analysts across hundreds of companies in the U.S. and internationally.

Cold Hindering W. Va. Derailment Cleanup

February 21, 2015

Record-breaking cold was hindering cleanup efforts on Friday at the site in West Virginia where a CSX crude oil train derailed earlier in the week.

Workers had placed back onto the rails all but one of the 28 derailed cars. About 19 cars were included in the explosions and crews were continuing to carefully remove product from those cars involved in the explosions.

Crude oil in the tankers was being transferred from the damaged cars.

The process is expected to continue around the clock, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard, which oversees navigable waterways. The derails occurred in Mount Carbon last Monday.

“The safety of the residents and our response personnel remain the top priority,” says U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Federal On-Scene Coordinator Dennis Matlock. “We also continue efforts to contain, treat and recover product from the derailment scene.”

The Federal Railroad Administration said on Friday that the train was traveling at 33 mph in a 50 mph zone when it derailed. The cause of the derailment remains under investigation.

The train carried 3.1 million gallons of Bakken crude oil. About 6,810 gallons of oily-water mixture has been recovered from containment trenches dug along the river embankment.

The derailment has disrupted operations of Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Cardinal.

“Due to the temporary track closure, the westbound Cardinal has been originating in Indianapolis, rather than New York City. Amtrak Northeast Regional trains operating daily between New York City and Charlottesville, Va., are continuing to provide service over that route segment. The eastbound Cardinal from Chicago is truncated at Indianapolis, with chartered buses maintaining service to Cincinnati,” Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said.

CSX has been detouring freight traffic that normally uses the line.

Trains magazine reported on Friday that intermodal trains Q135 and Q136 were operating between North Baltimore, Ohio, and Portsmouth, Va., via former Baltimore & Ohio and Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac routes in northern West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia.

Some domestic coal traffic has been routed between Russell, Ky., and Spartanburg, S.C., across the railroad’s former C&O and Clinchfield Railroad territories.

Merchandise trains, operating as CSX L302 were serving freight terminals and their associated industries along the affected route both Thursday and Friday with service to South Charleston from Russell and again form Clifton Forge, Va., to Richmond, Va.

W.Va. Wreck Cleanup to Continue This Weekend

February 20, 2015

The cleanup of the site of a CSX crude oil train derailment in West Virginia is expected to continue through the weekend.

The derailment occurred on the former Chesapeake & Ohio mainline, which is also used by Amtrak’s Cardinal.

Amtrak has ceased operating the Chicago-New York Cardinal over its entire route through Feb. 25.

The Cardinal has been operating only between Chicago and Indianapolis with bus service offered between Indianapolis and Cincinnati

Train No. 51 did not depart from New York on Wednesday morning, although Amtrak did provide alternative transportation to those traveling as far west as Charlottesville, Va.

The same arrangement was expected to take place on Thursday and Sunday.

The derailment of the 109-car train on Monday near Mount Carbon, W.Va.,  sent 27 loaded crude oil tank cars off the tracks and resulted in a series of explosions that continued for more than 10 hours.

Railroad derailment specialty contractors have been dispatched to the scene and have been removing the burned out cars.

Nineteen of the derailed cars caught fire. CSX officials confirmed that all of the cars were model CPC 1232 cars.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board’s Office of Railroad, Pipeline, and Hazardous Materials have been in contact with the Federal Railroad Administration and CSX. CSX and the FRA are providing NTSB investigators with detailed damage reports and photographs of the derailed tank cars.

The investigators will compare the data with tank-car design specifications and similar derailments, including ones that occurred in Casselton, N.D., in December 2013 and Lynchburg, Va., in April 2014.

After the derailment, some of the tank cars released an unknown amount of crude, some of which likely seeped into the Kanawha River, NTSB officials said. A one-half-mile evacuation zone was established around the derailment site.

“This accident is another reminder of the need to improve the safety of transporting hazardous materials by rail,” said NTSB Acting Chairman Christopher Hart. “That is why this issue is included on our Most Wanted List. If we identify any new safety concerns as a result of this derailment, the board will act expeditiously to issue new safety recommendations.”

The train was traveling from North Dakota to Yorktown, Va. The cause of the derailment remains unknown.

An estimated 1,000 residents were forced out of their homes but had returned by late Tuesday.

Multiple agencies worked to restore power ahead of brutally cold record-breaking temperatures.

“Our primary mission has been to utilize the resources available to take care of restoring utility services to the affected communities efficiently,” West Virginia Homeland Security Director Jimmy Gianato said.

Officials at the scene were continuing to deploy environmental protective monitoring measures on land, air and in the nearby Kanawha River as well as a creek near the tracks, the U.S. Coast Guard reported.

A unified command center, operated by a collaboration of local, state and federal agencies was established on Wednesday.

“The top priorities for response personnel remain the safety of the community and responders, and mitigating the impact to the environment,” said Coast Guard Captain Lee Boone, Federal on Scene Coordinator for the West Virginia derailment.

Workers have established several access roads into the derailment site and are removing equipment where possible.

Once all fires have been extinguished, crews will transfer oil from the damaged cars to other tanks for removal from the site.


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