Posts Tagged ‘CSX intermodal trains’

CSX Expects 3rd Quarter Earnings to Fall

September 9, 2016

A CSX executive said this week that the railroad expects its third-quarter earnings per share to decline from what it posted during the second quarter.

CSX logo 1Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Frank Lonegro said this week that volume will decline by single digits year-over-year.

Lonegro spoke during the Cowen and Company’s annual Global Transportation Conference in Boston.

“Third quarter earnings per share are expected to decline slightly from second quarter levels, based on high single-digit volume reductions that are partially offset by improving efficiency benefits and strong pricing gains that reflect a service product that meets and exceeds customer expectations,” Lonegro, said in a statement.

An improving global market for coal is expected to result in some better results for CSX coal traffic.

Lonegro noted that coal traffic has posted some modest improvement in recent months leading company officials to project that for the year coal tonnage will decline between 20 percent and 25 percent.
CSX plans to focus on high-density routes serving merchandise and intermodal growth.

As part of its “CSX of Tomorrow” strategy, it is extending sidings on key routes and running longer trains.

Lonegro said CSX also is investing in intermodal terminals and double-stack clearance projects to capture a greater share of the 9 million truckload market in the East.

Labor Day Wanderings: 2

September 7, 2016
The hogger at the throttle of Amtrak P42DC No. 12 gave me a toot of the horn as he blasted past at track speed on Track No. 2 of the Erie West Subdivision of CSX.

The hogger at the throttle of Amtrak P42DC No. 12 gave me a toot of the horn as he blasted past at track speed on Track No. 2 of the Erie West Subdivision of CSX.

Unlike the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, Sunday followed a tightly scripted plan. I got up before dawn and drove to North East, Pennsylvania, to catch Amtrak 48 at Bort Road.

My motivation for doing that was multi-fold. First, I have only seen Amtrak just once in 2016. Yes, that’s right. The guy who lists Amtrak as his second favorite railroad behind the Illinois Central, has hardly seen it this year.

Second, I have not seen the Lake Shore Limited since it went to single locomotive operation last spring.

Third, there are reports that the Bort Road bridge may be razed and not replaced. That might be a year or more away, but you never know.

The character of Bort Road as a place to photograph trains would change even if a replacement bridge is built because it likely would have fences.

The existing bridge is a throwback to an earlier era when the tracks belonged to the New York Central and the Nickel Plate Road and each had a fleet of steam locomotives.

I made better time than expected, arriving at Bort Road before the sun rose over the horizon. That turned out to be a bonus because I was able to get good sunrise images.

My first train was a short Norfolk Southern No. 145. It had two locomotives and that was it.

It was the second time that I’ve seen the 145 this year running light. That also might have been on a Sunday.

There was just enough light from the rising sun to create an image, one of the more interesting photographs that I’ve created this year.

I was hoping to get a CSX westbound with the rising sun behind it. I sort of got that, but the sun was higher in the sky than I would have liked. But it still turned out well.

Two CSX westbounds passed by before Amtrak began talking on the radio. Amtrak Julie had reported that No. 48 was expected to arrive in Erie on time at 7:20 a.m. but depart three minutes late. I don’t know how she knew that.

After Amtrak blew past, I hung around until 9 a.m. There were no trains on NS during that time and two westbounds ran on CSX. Nothing ran east, which was too bad because the light favored eastbounds.

I did some experimenting with the westbound trains and was able to produce some images that I liked.

My plan was to drive to Westfield, New York, and add another Great Lakes lighthouse to my collection.

This one stands over Barcelona Harbor and is a stately stone structure. It is the eighth new for me lighthouse I’ve photographed this summer.

I wound up at the Lake Shore Railway Museum in North East where I spent the rest of the afternoon.

The light was not favorable for photographing any NS trains, so I just watched them go by. I was able to do a little photography with CSX despite some tough lighting conditions during my time there.

Interestingly, I was able to make two images I had wanted to do during my last visit to the museum but couldn’t due to a lack of westbound traffic.

With CSX these days, it is difficult to tell if it is having a good or bad day traffic wise. There seemed to be more auto rack trains than I expected and, by the end of the day, about the same level of intermodal traffic as I would have expected.

But the manifest freights seemed fewer in number and longer than usual. The first CSX train I saw, the Q393, had 696 axles according to the detector at Ripley, New York.

About 3 p.m. I decided to heading for home, stopping at a Wegman’s grocery store in Erie on the way for a couple of items I can’t get in Cleveland.

Despite some miscues on Saturday, it had been a good weekend with sunny skies and warm but not hot temperatures. I could not have asked for better weather.

There had been some unexpected and pleasant surprises and I came away pleased, overall, with what I was able to find.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

NS train 145 is running light, really light, as another day dawns in the northeast corner of northwest Pennsylvania.

NS train 145 is running light, really light, as another day dawns in the northeast corner of northwest Pennsylvania.

Here comes the sun, which is just climbing over the horizon and casting the first light of day on CSX rails.

A golden glow to the rails of the NS Lake Erie District.

The sun rises above the head end of CSX Q393, which was a monster-size manifest freight.

The sun rises above the head end of CSX Q393, which was a monster-size manifest freight.

Conditions were ideal for early morning light glint shots. Note the second unit of this westbound CSX grain train is from BNSF.

Conditions were ideal for early morning light glint shots. Note the second unit of this westbound CSX grain train is from BNSF.

The grain train passes grape vineyards. Not much grain is grown around here.

The grain train passes grape vineyards. Not much grain is grown around here.

Auto rack cars catch the early morning light.

Auto rack cars catch the early morning light.

How much longer will vehicles be able to traverse this old one-lane bridge over the CSX tracks?

How much longer will vehicles be able to traverse this old one-lane bridge over the CSX tracks?

I've always like the panoramic perspective afforded from the Bort Road bridge of the grape country of Pennsylvania along Lake Erie.

I’ve always like the panoramic perspective afforded from the Bort Road bridge of the grape country of Pennsylvania along Lake Erie.

There were no private cars on the back of Amtrak No. 48 today.

There were no private cars on the back of Amtrak No. 48 today.

An eastbound CSX auto rack train chugs through North East.

An eastbound CSX auto rack train chugs through North East.

Three museum visitors inspect an eastbound CSX auto rack train.

Three museum visitors inspect an eastbound CSX auto rack train.

A CSX stack train passes the baggage cart on display at the former Lake Shore & Michigan Southern station in North East.

A CSX stack train passes the baggage cart on display at the former Lake Shore & Michigan Southern station in North East.

It's a meet. An eastbound CSX manifest freight clears just as a Canadian Pacific run-through train arrives.

It’s a meet. An eastbound CSX manifest freight clears just as a Canadian Pacific run-through train arrives.

A CP unit passes a former Great Northern dining car. Both seem to be out of place in Pennsylvania.

A CP unit passes a former Great Northern dining car. Both seem to be out of place in Pennsylvania.

This Erie-built New York Central until probably never hauled a passenger consist that looked like this.

This Erie-built New York Central until probably never hauled a passenger consist that looked like this.

A caboose is supposed to be red, right? I end this report with this caboose in the collection of the Lake Shore Railway Museum.

A caboose is supposed to be red, right? I end this report with this caboose in the collection of the Lake Shore Railway Museum.

 

Day With CSX on the New Castle Sub in Clinton

August 12, 2016
CSX Clinton July 24 01-x

L394 passes one of the handful of Baltimore & Ohio color position light signals that still stands on the New Castle Subdivision of CSX.

Last month the Akron Railroad Club held its annual picnic in Warwick Park in Clinton, Ohio, which has hosted many club gatherings in past year although none since 2014.

I got there early, but found myself in the middle of a four-hour lull on the CSX New Castle Subdivision.

Things began to move around 10:15 a.m. when the first of four consecutive westbounds came down from Lambert on the single track that extends between Warwick and Akron.

Meanwhile, two eastbounds were waiting for the westbound parade to clear up.

Traffic for the rest of the day was here and there, which is to be expected on the New Castle Sub. The traffic mix was typical of the line with its array of container, manifest, auto rack and coal trains.

Motive power was a variety of wide-cab units with narrow cabs being rather scarce. It was an all CSX parade with no rent-a-wreck motive power observed. Just one train had “foreign” power.

There did seem to be a flurry in early evening when I spotted the only “foreign” power of the day. Here is a selection of what came by during ARRC picnic 2016.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Another view of the L394 moving out onto the single track as it heads toward Akron.

Another view of the L394 moving out onto the single track as it heads toward Akron.

The crew of the Q388 watched four westbounds pass before it got a clear signal at Warwick. It is shown passing the power for the local that is based at Warwick.

The crew of the Q388 watched four westbounds pass before it got a clear signal at Warwick. It is shown passing the power for the local that is based at Warwick.

A westbound intermodal train crosses Chippewa Avenue and skirts Warwick Park.

A westbound intermodal train crosses Chippewa Avenue and skirts Warwick Park.

Three manifest freights were part of the westbound parade in late morning. Shown is Q353.

Three manifest freights were part of the westbound parade in late morning. Shown is Q353.

The sides of this car of lumber appear to be bulging as the westbound manifest freight rounds the curve west of Second Street.

The sides of this car of lumber appear to be bulging as the westbound manifest freight rounds the curve west of Second Street.

After the rain stopped, the Q016 made an appearance. No trains passed through the rain.

After the rain stopped, the Q016 made an appearance. No trains passed through the rain.

The rear of the Q016 passes Warwick Park.

The rear of the Q016 passes Warwick Park.

The nose of a westbound as seen through the trees of Warwick Park.

The nose of westbound U700 as seen through the trees of Warwick Park.

Looking down Chippewa Avenue as a westbound Herzog ballast train rumbles through town.

Looking down Chippewa Avenue as a westbound Herzog ballast train rumbles through town.

I liked how in this image the head end is enveloped in shadows but the low sunlight is glinting off the trailing auto rack cars.

I liked how in this image the head end is enveloped in shadows but the low sunlight is glinting off the trailing auto rack cars.

When I really wanted a westbound due to the late day sunlight, CSX came through with a coal train.

When I really wanted a westbound due to the late day sunlight, CSX came through with a coal train.

An eastbound train of empty coal hoppers.

An eastbound train of empty coal hoppers.

An eastbound intermodal train approaches Chippewa Avenue. Usually, the intermodal trains are gone before evening arrives.

An eastbound intermodal train approaches Chippewa Avenue. Usually, the intermodal trains are gone before evening arrives.

Colorful containers on a late day eastbound intermodal train.

Colorful containers on a late day eastbound intermodal train.

The last train of the day that I photographed also had the only foreign power of the day, a Union Pacific unit on a westbound auto rack train.

The last train of the day that I photographed also had the only foreign power of the day, a Union Pacific unit on a westbound auto rack train.

I was driving toward home on Clinton Road when I noticed a nice sunset. Of course I had to get out and capture it.

I was driving toward home on Clinton Road when I noticed a nice sunset. Of course I had to get out and capture it.

CSX Expects to Begin Using Englarged Virginia Avenue Tunnel in Washington by Late This Year

July 23, 2016

Trains magazine is reporting that the Virginia Avenue Tunnel being enlarged by CSX will be ready to handle double-stacked container trains later this year.

CSX logo 1Completion of one phase of that project will mark a major milestone in the development of the railroad’s National Gateway program.

Work on enlarging the tunnel began in May 2015. The tunnel enlargement drew some opposition in Washington and CSX said it has made more than 51,000 contacts with people living over the tunnel to explain the project.

That included public meetings, social media interactions and email newletters. CSX also established an office near the tunnel’s west portal.

The project involves creating a new tunnel and then replacing the existing tunnel, which was constructed by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1872.

Trains reported that CSX is using a cut-and-cover approach to building the tunnels, which involves digging a new trench adjacent to the existing bore and then placing a concrete cover over it.

Disruptions to the neighborhood are being minimized by drilling pilings to support the walls of both new tunnels.

CSX has set up a website to provide information and updates on the project at

www.virginiaavenuetunnel.com

Completion of the tunnel will mean that double-stacked container trains can travel between the Northwest Ohio Intermodal facility in North Baltimore to the Southeast.

Presumably, that traffic will move over the New Castle Subdivision via Akron.

CSX is also constructing a new intermodal terminal near Pittsburgh that also is expected to send traffic over the New Castle Sub.

So Where Was Quality Control?

May 28, 2016

Different numbers

It’s pretty obvious that the number boards are not the same on this CSX C40-8 as it led the Q113 through Berea.

One number is much larger than the other. My guess is that the number with the larger numerals is original while the smaller numerals are more modern.

No. 7583 has been around the CSX system for awhile, having been built by General Electric in September 1989. It probably has been through Berea numerous times. Maybe this is not the first time I’ve seen it or even photographed it.

I didn’t notice the difference in the number boards until I was looking at my photographs after having downloaded them.

I think I know what happened here. The shop needed to get the 7583 back on the road and a foreman said to put on whatever numerals were available. So long as the numbers on the right and left matched, the unit was good to go.

Perhaps some day No. 7583 will have matching number boards. But given all of the things that need the attention of the mechanical department, that is probably not high on the priority list.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Searching for CSX in Downtown Kent

May 19, 2016
An early March view of the eastbound Q016 passing beneath the former Erie Railroad station in downtown Kent while skirting the remains of a canal lock.

An early March view of the eastbound Q016 passing beneath the former Erie Railroad station in downtown Kent while skirting the remains of a canal lock.

A head-on view of the Q016 about a week later on a cloudy day.

A head-on view of the Q016 about a week later on a cloudy day.

I spent a little bit of time in Kent last winter parked on the Main Street bridge and looking for CSX traffic on the New Castle Subdivision.

I didn’t find a whole lot, but twice I caught the eastbound Q016 rumbling through in late afternoon. I’m told that the traffic patterns are such that the New Castle Sub is pretty quiet in Kent and Akron between early and late afternoon.

My limited experience in hanging out there during the afternoons would comport with that.

Is traffic down on the New Castle Sub? I can’t say for certain, but it might be. But I like going to Kent so I’ll keep working it, trying the mornings once the weather gets warmer for good.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

Just Out of the Box

November 23, 2015

 

New CSX Tier 4

During late summer CSX began testing its first Tier 4 compliant locomotive. Through mid September, the railroad had just a handful of the units on its property.

But since then GE Transportation has been rolling them off the factory floor at a rapid clip.

Shown is brand spanking new ET44AH No. 3321 on the point of westbound intermodal train Q009 at Unionville.

It is so new that even the pilot is still gleaming.

Photograph by Craig Sanders

CSX Has Fun in Intermodal Branding Campaign

September 11, 2015

CSX decided to have a little fun with a marketing campaign on behalf of its intermodal business that features short videos with a cast of cartoon characters.

Dubbed Meet The Intermodals, the animated video web series began in the summer and continues to be featured on The Intermodals website, which was created to promote the railroad’s intermodal business.

The series features a cast of characters, including Mike the talking train, Carl the truck, Rosie the ship, Bob the crane, and Randy and Sandy, the stacked containers.

Their stories explain an aspect of the intermodal and logistics business with tongue-cheek humor and a jingle. Each of the 16 episodes lasts 30 seconds.

CSX said that the videos were part of a brand awareness campaign.

CSX built the campaign around intermodal service because it is “an important and growing” part of CSX’s business, said John Claybrooks, CSX director of brand and digital media.

“The other thing about intermodal is that it’s very relatable because most consumer products used in everyday life are delivered via intermodal transportation,” he said. “We thought we would be able to drive home how essential and relevant CSX is to consumers and the overall economy.”

For six weeks, CSX paid for promoted posts and sponsored content on CNN.com and on CNN’s mobile app. Before and after the paid campaign, CSX promoted the series on its website and Twitter sites.

The Boston-based marketing firm Mullen Lowe helped CSX create the stop-motion animation series, which Claybrooks said has appeal to a range of age groups, from millennials to their boomer-age parents.

“When we think about the generations that we’re trying to attract to our industry, we have to be where they are and communicate in ways that reach them,” Claybrooks said. “Social media is a platform that they respond to, so that’s what why we chose it.”

In addition to the videos, the Intermodals website features “Modal Mania,” an interactive video game that challenges players to place blue intermodal shipping containers on the correct train, truck or ship.

“One of the major trends in social media is gamification, so we were trying to find a way to leverage that in a business context,” Claybrooks said. “You certainly drive your engagement with your content a lot more by having gamification be part of your concept and execution. And the game certainly has contributed to the success of campaign.”

CSX said The Intermodals attracted “multi-millions” of responses in views, clicks and likes on Facebook.

No new tales of The Intermodals are planned but the existing episodes will continue to exist online.

A Front is Moving In

March 1, 2014

Kentsky

I had some time to kill in Kent last Saturday so I sat on the Main Street bridge and waited for CSX to come to life.

Shown is the last of five trains that I saw that afternoon. It appears to be the Q016 and it is passing through late in the afternoon.

It’s pretty much a standard CSX container train, but what caught my eye about this image was that the leading edge of a front was moving in as I made the image.

It had been mostly sunny for most of the day and the temperatures had been in the high 40s, maybe even into the low 50. Now, though, things were starting to change.

Much of the snow around here is gone, although traces still remain.

Later that evening, light rain fell as the front made its way through the region.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

2 Trains, 1 Meet, 1 Minute and 2 Firsts

January 28, 2014
CSXmeet01

The first of the two CSX container trains passes beneath the Fairchild Avenue bridge in Kent at 1:16 p.m.

It was one of those railfan photograph moments in which everything seemed to be moving rapidly.  We were driving toward Kent because he had heard a CSX train call a signal on the radio. But we couldn’t pick out which signal it was.

We were a few miles north of town so we didn’t even know if we would have enough time to catch this train. We had already struck out twice earlier in the day on catching CSX trains.

In the meantime, another CSX train called a signal, but this one was much fainter. There must be two trains out there.

As we came into Kent on Ohio Route 43 (North Mantua Street), I looked toward the  CSX tracks. No train. That was good news, I thought. Or was it? Was the train by already.

We heard a train calling the signal “Kent,” which is located just south of Summit Street. We pulled into the Sheetz parking lot and hoofed it across Mantua to the bridge carrying the Portage County Hike and Bike travel over the CSX track. A moderate level of snow was falling.

This bridge was opened last year and I had yet to photograph from it. Earlier we had discussed how it might be a nice view from there.

The snow on the ground on the east side of Mantua Street was deep and I was racing as hard as I could while hoping I didn’t slip and fall. I could see a headlight of the approaching Q016 reflecting off the rails on Track No. 2. Did I have enough time?

I barely had gotten into position when the eastbound train was upon us. This would be a first: my first photo taken from this bridge.

Q016 rumbled past. Roger then said he had heard the crew of this train talking on the radio to another train crew . That was even better news. A westbound was coming.

Seconds later westbound Q015 came around the curve and another first occurred. It would be the first time that I’d spotted and photographed double-stacked containers passing each other on the CSX New Castle Subdivision.

Container trains are old hat on this line, but it has only been a few months since double- stacked container trains began operating here. The clearance enlargement project on the former Baltimore & Ohio mainline has advanced far enough to allow some double-stack operations.

We got our photographs and headed back toward the Sheetz lot, this time at a much slower pace. The elapsed time between my first and last photographs was one minute.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

CSXmeet02

The head end of the eastbound has passed beneath the trail bridge and leans into the curve.

CSXmeet03

Then westbound Q015 pops out from behind the curve. Note the double-stacked containers passing on each train.

CSXmeet04

Q016 had just a few double-stacked containers.

CSXmeet05

Passing the snow-covered milepost 117. The Cuyahoga River is out of view to the left.