Archive for the ‘Railroad News’ Category

CSX Donates to Hurricane Recovery Efforts

September 21, 2018

CSX is donating $100,000 to assist the recovery from Hurricane Florence, which slammed North Carolina hard last week.

The railroad said it will donate the money to the American Red Cross to support Hurricane Florence recovery efforts and will also match every dollar given to the Red Cross by its employees.

“CSX is proud to operate throughout the southeastern region, states that are home to so many of our dedicated employees, customers and suppliers. We are equally proud to support the American Red Cross as they deploy to help the communities in this area that have been impacted by Hurricane Florence,” said CEO James M. Foote in a statement.

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Miller Leaving as Corman President

September 21, 2018

Brian Miller said this week that he will resign as president of R.J. Corman Railroad.

Miller, who has been with the company since 2010, will remain in the post to assist in the search for his successor.

“We very much appreciate all that Brian has done for our company,” said Ed Quinn, president and chief executive officer of R.J. Railroad Group. “We are sad to see him go, but certainly wish him the best.”

Miller joined R. J. Corman after spending 20 years at Norfolk Southern.

While at R. J. Corman, the company acquired two short lines, the Texas Line and Carolina Lines; obtained a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant; received two awards from the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association; and each year received Jake Awards for exemplary safety performance records.

NS Donates to Hurricane Recovery Efforts

September 20, 2018

Norfolk Southern through its foundation plans to donate $100,000 toward Hurricane Florence recovery efforts in North Carolina.

The money will be divided  into $50,000 to the American Red Cross and $50,000 to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina relief efforts.

The NS foundation will match NS employee gifts of $50 or more to the American Red Cross or to any Feeding America food bank.

NS employs 1,245 operates over 1,187 route miles of track in North Carolina.

“Many of our Norfolk Southern employees, facilities and customers are located in these affected areas, and Red Cross and food bank recovery efforts are timely and vital,” said NS CEO James Squires in a statement.

Amtrak Walks Back PTC ‘No Operation’ Pledge

September 17, 2018

Amtrak appears to have done an about face on an earlier vow to refuse to operate passenger trains on routes that lack an operating positive train control by Dec. 31.

During a hearing of a House committee, Amtrak Chief Operating Officer Scot Naparstek said the carrier will seek a deadline extension from the Federal Railroad Administration in order to operate all its trains.

Naparstek told the House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials that Amtrak decided to seek the extension because of interoperability issues with other railroads that operate on Amtrak tracks and with railroads whose tracks Amtrak uses.

“When 2019 arrives, we will have our track, computer, training and locomotive PTC work complete and will be operating PTC across all of the tracks we control and across much of the host railroad network,” Naparstek said.

Naparstek said 222 of Amtrak’s 315 daily trains now operate with PTC on some or all of their routes. That figure is expected to rise to 283 by Dec. 31 when the railroad industry faces a federal deadline to implement PTC or qualify for an extension of up to two years.

Amtrak is studying how it might operate on rail lines that do not have PTC in place by next January.

Naparstek said the carrier’s goal is to continue to operate all its current routes.

“Exactly how we accomplish this will vary across our network, based on the specifics of each route,” he said. “But . . . we believe we will have strategies in place that will permit us to continue operations until operational PTC or PTC-equivalency is achieved for all our network.”

He describes the interoperability of PTC whereby the PTC equipment of one railroad works on another railroad’s routes, as a work in progress.

In a follow-up statement, Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said, “The testimony makes it clear Amtrak is planning to operate the current network in the coming fiscal year, with additional safety actions for some segments, as we strive for the goal of positive train control or an equivalent on all our routes.”

That suggests that Amtrak will not discontinue operating trains that use routes that lack a fully functioning PTC system.

Naperstek also said Amtrak is working with tenant railroads on the Northeast Corridor and other Amtrak-owned lines to ensure that they are able to maintain their operations.

“Our aim is to ensure that all of our tenants have an operational system as soon as possible,” he said. “We are mindful of the impacts that any disruption of commuter service may have on the regions we serve and the potential safety consequences that could follow.”

In progress report, Naperstek said that through Sept. 10, Amtrak had installed PTC systems on  88 of its locomotives required for revenue service.

Furthermore, 122 of 142 installations have been made on 114 state-owned locomotives and cab cars that Amtrak operates or maintains.

He also said that 53 units are being tested and are PTC operable; eight of 11 installation/track segments have been completed; 132 of 140 radio towers are fully installed and equipped; all employees required to be trained in PTC operations have been trained; 607 of 901 route-miles are in PTC operation, and 480 route-miles are in testing.

Naperstek’s testimony was in contrast to the remarks of Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson during a February House Railroad Subcommittee hearing at which Anderson said Amtrak would not operate trains on lines not equipped with fully operational PTC in 2019 if its host freight railroads failed to meet the Dec. 31 interim deadline for installation.

He also said that Amtrak would prohibit non-PTC-compliant equipment from operating on the lines it owns, primarily on the Northeast Corridor.

 

CSX Announces Leadership Changes

September 17, 2018

CSX has shuffled the leadership of its merchandise and intermodal sales and marketing teams by appointing Dean Piacente as vice president of industrial products and naming Maryclare Kenney as VP of intermodal and automotive.

Piacente previously served as VP of intermodal. He now is responsible for the Class I’s chemicals, metals, paper and forest product businesses. He has more than 30 years of experience across different segments at CSX.

Kenney, who has led CSX’s automotive business, will oversee intermodal sales and marketing, as well as continuing to lead automotive. She joined CSX in 2011 and has held roles of increasing responsibility, including five years in intermodal.

Tim McNulty, vice president of agricultural and mineral products, will continue to lead the balance of the merchandise portfolio.

CN Makes Sustainability List For 7th Time

September 17, 2018

For the seventh consecutive year Canadian National has been placed on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index.

The DJSI World Index recognizes the top 10 percent of the 2,500 largest companies in the S&P Global Broad Market Index from each sector based on their sustainability scores.

The index surveys sustainability leaders from each industry on a global and regional level. Based on an analysis of economic, environmental and social performance, the annual review assesses issues such as corporate governance, risk management, climate change mitigation, supply chain standards, stakeholder engagement and labor practices.

Amtrak Looking to Revamp Food Service Systemwide

September 14, 2018

Amtrak appears to be poised to undertake a revamp of its food services systemwide.

The passenger carrier recently issued a request for information that seeks “transformational service models and industry best practices for managed food and beverage service.”

The information netted in response to that request will be used to draft a request for proposals to create a new model for providing food and beverages that is less costly.

That could be a first step toward turning over its food and beverage service to an outside contractor.

Submissions to the request for information are due by Oct. 16.

The request for information said that Amtrak is seeking models similar to the luxury service options offered on VIA Rail Canada’s Canadian and the Rocky Mountaineer excursion service based in Canada.

Amtrak said in the request for information it is reviewing its current service model and wants to hear how the respondents “might address food and beverage service onboard all trains through examples of similar services offered elsewhere or new and innovative approaches that might fit Amtrak’s environment.”

This will include proposals for operating café/lounge cars, dining cars, and Acela First Class service with and without Amtrak employees performing the work.

Norfolk Fears Losing NS Headquarters

September 13, 2018

Virginia officials have expressed alarm at the prospect of Norfolk moving its headquarters from Norfolk, Virginia, to Atlanta.

NS employs 500 in downtown Norfolk and, of course, the city is a major part of the railroad’s identity.

Some have noted, though, that another part of that identity, the Southern Railway, was traditionally headquartered in Atlanta.

As it is, NS employs 1,900 at the Goode operations building in Atlanta where NS has long housed members of its operations and engineering departments.

If NS were to move its corporate headquarters to Atlanta that would mean as many as 1,400 new jobs, although not all would come from Norfolk.

Losing the NS headquarters would cost Norfolk more than prestige.

“Norfolk Southern is a great corporate citizen, and although the majority of their employees are in Atlanta, they have employees all across the nation, and they continue to have a very strong presence in Hampton Roads as a major employer, Fortune 500 company and corporate citizen,” said Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander. “To lose any part of that would be devastating to our community.”

James Koch, an Old Dominion University economist, said losing NS “would constitute a body blow to the regional economy and especially to Norfolk.”

Koch noted that NS has steadily been moving some senior employees to Atlanta so there has been speculation for some time that a relocation of the headquarters might be coming.

“‘Well-paid individuals would depart. It would also result in a significant decline in regional charitable contributions, memberships, civic participation, and a noticeable decline in restaurant and entertainment patronage as well,” he said.

NS has been coy about its plans.  “Norfolk Southern is in the process of developing its next long-range plan,” said NS spokesperson Susan Terpay.

“That effort is considering many courses of action, including the possibility of consolidating headquarters into a single location. Our long-range plan is complex and will take time to develop, and Norfolk Southern will publicize our plans and decisions when appropriate. Until then, our focus will be on the plan’s development.”

NS once had a significant office presence in Roanoke, Virginia, but in 2015 it began moving employees from that office to Norfolk and Atlanta and closed it 203,000-square-foot Roanoke office building.

Florence to Disrupt Amtrak’s Cardinal, NS and CSX

September 12, 2018

The approach of Hurricane Florence has prompted Amtrak to announce a host of cancellations, including one affecting Ohio.

Most Amtrak service in the southeastern United States will not operate between Sept. 12 and Sept. 16.

The Cardinal will operate between Chicago and Indianapolis between Sept. 13 and 16. That will leave Cincinnati without Amtrak service during that period.

Operations of the Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited are unaffected for now. Likewise, the Pennsylvanian will also continue to operate.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said it is waiving service charges for passengers seeking to modify their reservations but should contact Amtrak’s reservation center at 800-USA-RAIL.

The pending arrival of Florence also has prompted CSX and Norfolk Southern to curtail their service.

NS will temporarily close its Norfolk, Virginia, headquarters due to an evacuation order being issued by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.

NS told its shippers that its intermodal customer service team will unavailable by phone during the evacuation.

The railroad has ceased accepting intermodal shipments destined for Norfolk area terminals. Although other intermodal facilities were scheduled to maintain normal hours, gate and terminal closures may occur as Florence nears landfall.

CSX put into place its Hurricane Action Plan, which includes protecting equipment in the storm’s projected path and preparing areas that could be affected.

It advised customers to expect delays for any shipments traveling through the Interstate 95 corridor and that it has halted rail service to and from Portsmouth, Virginia.

A terminal in Charleston, South Carolina, will also close and remain closed throughout the storm.

NS May Move HQ to Atlanta

September 11, 2018

Norfolk Southern may move its headquarters from its namesake city to Atlanta.

News media reports said NS already has a large regional office in Atlanta and if the rest of the corporate offices are moved there it would result in the transfer of 1,000 jobs.

NS sources have indicated that moving the headquarters out of Norfolk, Virginia, is being considered but no decisions have been made.

“Our long-range plan is complex and will take time to develop, and Norfolk Southern will publicize our plans and decisions when appropriate. Until then, our focus will be on the plan’s development,” railroad officials said.