Posts Tagged ‘CSX motive power fleet’

How Things Change

August 20, 2020

CSX AC44CW No. 94 leads a westbound through Clinton on March 26, 2011.

Although the YN2 or “bright future” livery No. 94 is wearing has since been superseded by the YN3 “dark future” look seen on the trailing unit, some of locomotives in this livery continue to work for the Class 1 carrier.

No. 94 is leading a coal train and although there still many of those to be seen they are not as frequent as they used to be due to coal losing favor to natural gas as a fuel for utility generation stations.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

 

Early CSX Motive Power in Akron

May 20, 2020

CSX turns 40 this year although that anniversary date is several months away on Nov. 1.

Like Conrail the early years of CSX were marked by a rainbow of liveries of predecessor railroads.

Unlike Conrail, which decided on a livery of blue with white lettering and stood with it pretty much until the end, CSX has made a number of changes in how it has painted its locomotives.

One of its early liveries was known as blue stripe for a large blue stripe along the engine walkway.

It was a short-lived look that lasted a year but not before 178 units received it.

This CSX auto rack train is eastbound in Akron in mid-1989.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Different Takes of CSX on the Nose

March 26, 2020

CSX SD40-2 No. 8408 leads a westbound through Clinton (Warwick) in mid 1998. Notice how on trailing unit No. 6464, a GP40-2) that the CSX herald has been placed lower on the nose.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

CSX Receives New Tier 4 Locomotives

July 10, 2019

CSX has begun taking delivery of 10 new SD70Ace-T4 locomotives built by Progress Rail.

The EPA Tier 4 compliant units were built in Muncie, Indiana, and moved from there to Cincinnati over Norfolk Southern rails to be interchanged with CSX.

From Cincinnati the units will be moved to Waycross, Georgia, for setup.

Once that is finished, they are expected to be assigned to trains carrying phosphate in the Bone Valley region of Florida, Trains magazine reported.

The new units will carry roster numbers 8900-8909 and be designated as ST70AH units.

The last of the order, No. 8909, is expected to be released this week.

The units are the first new EMD locomotives purchased by CSX since 2004 when it acquired 20 SD70ACe units.

CSX Continues to Cull Motive Power Fleet

October 19, 2018

The implementation of the precision scheduled railroading model at CSX last year brought many changes to the carrier, including fewer trains and an aggressive cost-cutting campaign that has resulted in lopping off 2,000 employees and selling some routes.

In particular, management has claimed that the new operating model has enabled it to haul more freight with fewer locomotives and freight cars.

Much of this has been achieved by operating fewer and longer trains. This also resulted in fewer crew starts.

Managers also contend that the trains are operated faster, saying average train speed increased by 28 percent during the third quarter in comparison to the same quarter of 2017.

CSX CEO James Foote said the railroad needs 30 fewer locomotives for every 1-mph gain in average train velocity. The average velocity was 17.9 mph for the third quarter this year, versus 14 mph a year ago.

It should be noted that during the third quarter of 2017 CSX was still recovering from congestion prompted by the rapid launch of precision scheduled railroading under then CEO E. Hunter Harrison.

CSX Chief Financial Officer Frank Lonegro touted those gains again during the third quarter earnings call by saying that the railroad during the quarter handled a traffic increase with a locomotive fleet that is 12 percent smaller than it was when the model was implemented in spring 2017.

Lonegro said revenue ton-miles were up 7 percent and overall volume grew 4 percent compared to the third quarter of 2017.

Over the past year CSX has stored or retired more than 300 locomotives.

Lonegreo said the smaller motive power fleet enabled CSX to cut the number of maintenance workers in locomotive shops by 11 percent.

“We now have over 800 locomotives in storage, in addition to the hundreds of engines we’ve sold, scrapped, or returned since the beginning of last year,” Lonegro said.

CSX managers say the locomotives that are in the active fleet are newer and more reliable.

The carrier’s active motive power fleet numbered 2,821 units at the end of the third quarter compared with 3,381 locomotives at the end of 2017.

It had an average of 3,763 locomotives in service in the first quarter of 2017 before Harrison implemented precision scheduled railroading.

By the end of 2020, CSX management expects to cull its motive power fleet to 2,400 units.

“We’ll continue to take out locomotives, we’ll continue to take out railcars, we’ll continue to free up capacity across the railroad and in the terminals because we will drive more and more efficiency and fluidity in the network,” Foote said.

C&O ‘Heritage Unit’ Loses its Herald

May 5, 2018

A Chesapeake & Ohio logo no longer adorns a former CSX locomotive that is being leased by Norfolk Southern.

The C&O patches have been removed from SD70Ace No. 4834, after the unit had ranged far and wide on the NS system with that look.

It made at least one trip through Cleveland on the former Nickel Plate Road route to Buffalo, New York.

No. 4834 wore the C&O decals for more than three weeks.

In the meantime, model railroad maker Athearn plans to offer a No. 4834 in HO scale wearing the C&O for progress herald on its nose and long hood.

The company is taking orders and expects to begin delivering the model in April 2019.

No. 4834 is being leased by NS from Progress Rail Locomotive, one of five former CSX SD70Ace units leased to NS. The engines still wear their CSX colors.

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.

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.