Posts Tagged ‘CSX motive power fleet’

At Last I Can Check Galion Off My List

August 19, 2017

Photographing an eastbound CSX train passing the former Big Four passenger station in Galion has been on my “to do” list for a long time.

How long? I was still shooting slide film when I first became interested in getting the image.

I’ve been digital since July 2011 so that is at least six years. And I know photographing in Galion has been on my mind for at least a few years before that.

I’ve driven through Galion numerous times while en route to Marion. But I never stopped to get the Galion photograph.

Marion has far more traffic than Galion. Yes, everything that passes through Marion on the Mt. Victory Subdivision also goes through Galion.

And Galion gets some traffic off the Columbus Line, which joins the Mt. Victory Sub in Galion a short distance south of the Big Four station.

But Columbus Line traffic has dwindled to a trickle. There is a stack train that originates in Columbus (Q022) and some other traffic here and there.

Getting the Galion image I wanted comes with a small window. It must be done in the morning and it works best for an eastbound.

It also takes determination and not giving into the temptation to say “the hell with it I’m going to Marion” after an hour of waiting and hearing nothing on the radio.

I arrived in Galion around 8:30 a.m., which I feared might be too late to catch the Q022. It must have been because I never saw it.

I waited for nearly an hour before catching a train, the westbound Q363. It was a monster freight that kept traffic waiting at the grade crossings for a long time.

It would be nearly an hour before another train came along. It was the eastbound U700, a coal train.

I debated about whether to photograph on the east side of the tracks or next to the umbrella shed that runs the length of the platform on the west side of the tracks.

I liked that view better, but it would mean one side of the train would be in shadows. I opted for the east side to get all of the train in sunlight.

After the passage of the U700 I headed for Marion. That was a wise decision. There would not be another eastbound go through Galion until around 3 p.m., by which time the sun had shifted to the west side of the tracks.

I’d still like to go back to Galion and get that umbrella shed shot and take my chances with the shadows.

One thing I know is that it will take some patience and maybe arriving earlier than I did on this trip.

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Get Hunter on the Phone

June 6, 2017

What in the name of precision scheduled railroading is going on with this CSX train? It has two locomotives and a mere three cars, two tank cars and a cover hopper.

And here we thought the operating plan at CSX since E. Hunter Harrison took over is to expand train length and not shrink it.

Of course this train, show passing through North East, Pennsylvania, en route to Buffalo, New York, after working the yard in Erie is a local and those are usually short.

CSX manifest freights had been growing in length long before Harrison arrived on the scene.

Yet it seems only a matter of time before someone in Jacksonville gets the idea that one of those monster manifests could have dropped off the cars in Erie and another could have picked up the outbound traffic.

For now, it would seem that locals continue to have a place at CSX and perhaps in the foreseeable future. But the railroad is still working out its operating plan and more changes are likely to occur.

Perhaps overlooked in Harrison’s philosophy is his belief that cars should not sit idle in yards. He likes to see freight moving, not sitting still until the next train can be made up sometime in the next 24 hours or the next few days.

That is why we are now seeing cuts of cars tacked onto the rear of auto rack trains.

These are, to say the least, interesting times for those who enjoy watching how railroads operate.

May ARRC Program to Highlight CSX Locomotives

May 22, 2017

The program at the Akron Railroad Club meeting on May 26 will be a slide show by Jim Mastromatteo focusing on CSX locomotives of the early 1990s.

At the time, CSX was less than a decade removed from the merger of the Chessie System and Seaboard Systems and a lot of “heritage” motive power was still moving around the systems.

CSX also had some liveries in that era that have fallen by the wayside. Remember the “gray ghosts?”

The meeting will begin with a short business meeting followed by the program at approximately 8:30 p.m. The club meets at the New Horizons Christian Church, 290 Darrow Road, in Akron.

Following the meeting, some members gather at the Eat ‘n Park restaurant at Howe and Main streets in Cuyahoga Falls for a late dinner, dessert or an early breakfast.

Visitors are always welcome at Akron Railroad Club meetings.

CSX 1st Quarter Net Income up 2%

April 21, 2017

CSX said on Thursday that its first quarter 2017 net income rose 2 percent to $362 million, or 39 cents per share.

In a news release, CSX said that discounting a $173 million restructuring charge, the adjusted earnings were 51 cents per share.

Those numbers compare with net income of $356 million, or 37 cents per share in the first quarter of 2016.

During the first quarter of this year revenue was up 10 percent to $2.87 billion compared with $2.6 billion in 2016.

CSX attributed the revenue growth to volume growth across most markets, overall core pricing gains and increased fuel recovery.

The railroad believes that its second quarter outlook is favorable because of anticipated growth in most markets, including agriculture and food, export coal, fertilizers, forest products, intermodal and minerals.

The business outlook is neutral outlook for automotive, chemicals, metals and equipment. The domestic coal market has an unfavorable outlook for domestic coal.

CEO E. Hunter Harrison said during a conference call that CSX expects to have an operating ratio in 2017 in the mid-60s, earnings per share growth of around 25 percent off the 2016 reported base of $1.81, and free cash flow before dividends of around $1.5 billion.

The CSX board of directors have approved a $1 billion share repurchase program, which management expects to complete by the end of the first quarter of 2018.

CSX began buying back shares of its stock in April 2015 and has spent $2 billion on that to date.

As for capital spending, CSX now expects to invest $2.1 billion in 2017, including approximately $270 million for Positive Train Control.

More than half of the 2017 capital spending will be used to sustain core infrastructure with the balance allocated to projects supporting profitable growth, efficiency initiatives and service improvements.

CSX trimmed its capital budget for this year by $100 million. Some planned capital projects are being paused as management continues to study its terminal and operating plans.

As expected, CSX plans to continue creating longer passing sidings, particularly in the Chicago-Florida corridor where train lengths are limited by 6,500-foot sidings.

Under the Michael Ward administration, CSX had announced plans to extending or add 27 sidings in that corridor. Harrison expects to move some sidings to create a longer siding elsewhere.

“If we have sidings that are too short for the longer trains, we’re certainly not going to leave those sitting in the ground and not being utilized,” he said. “We’ll pick up one 6,500-foot siding and move it 15 miles down the railroad and put it with another 6,500. We’ve got a 13,000-foot siding.”

Since Harrison took over as CEO last month, CSX has laid off 765 employees – about 3 percent of its workforce – and further announcements are expected of continued cost cutting initiatives.

CSX chopped a record $420 million of expenses in 2016 and expects to top that this year.

Among the expected moves will be consolidating the railroad’s nine divisions. Also likely to be consolidated are the nine dispatching centers CSX now operates.

The streamlining of operations will result in 550 of the railroad’s 4,400 locomotives being removed from service and stored by the end of the summer. CSX has already mothballed another 550 locomotives.  About 25,000 freight cars will be stored.

CSX wants to impose a balance of operations over seven days a week and reduce the average terminal dwell time from 26 hours to somewhere in the high teens.

During the conference call, Harrison suggested that he does not expect any mergers or acquisitions to occur during the four-year life of his contract.