Posts Tagged ‘CSX motive power’

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.

Technology Predicts CSX Locomotive Failures

March 28, 2017

CSX has been working with a new technology that predicts when a locomotive might fail.

The system developed by Mtll of Aspen Technology, is expected to save CSX millions of dollars while helping it get the most out of its motive power fleet.

CSX executives have been so impressed with the system that they have named Mtll as winner of the railroad’s Supplier Innovation Award for 2016.

Trains magazine reports that the Mtll system uses real-time data and maintenance information to predict when a locomotive might fail by as much as two to six weeks in advance.

Thus far CSX has installed the system on 3,800 locomotives. The analysis that the software conducts compares a locomotive’s performance against a list of common locomotive failure indicators.

Mtll says its system can catch about 95 percent of locomotive failures.

The company’s next step is to apply the system to defect detectors to search for potential failures in rolling stock.

CSX Gets SD303E ‘Echo” Locomotives

February 2, 2017

CSX has taken delivery of the first of 13 Eco locomotives that are being rebuilt from EMD SD40-2 units by Progress Rail at its plant in Muncie, Indiana.

CSX logo 3The ex-CSX units are now classified as SD40E3 and carry roster numbers in the 1700 series.

Trains magazine reported that the units will be assigned to terminals in Atlanta, Chicago, New York and Camden, New Jersey.

The SD40E3s will be assigned to yard duty and on local freights.

“The low emission locomotives are ideal for moving and sorting freight in our yards, providing a more environmentally friendly way to build trains around the clock and efficiently serve customers,” CSX Media Relations Manager Laura Phelps told Trains.

Phelps said the SD40E3s are not intended to replace SD40-3 locomotives that have been rebuilt by MotivePower in Idaho from SD40-2s.

She said CSX continues to evaluate the role that SD40-3 motive power will play at the railroad.

A Few From a Late Year Outing in Berea

December 23, 2016
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A railfan is in position at right to get a photograph of a westbound CSX intermodal train.

I took my camera with during a late November outing in Berea, even though I wasn’t expecting to photograph all that much.

There were no Norfolk Southern heritage units that were likely to come through when I was there and nothing out of the ordinary came past on CSX. Yet it was a mostly sunny day so I kept my camera nearby just in case I saw something interesting.

It was the Sunday after Thanksgiving and the railroads didn’t seem to be quite back to their normal operations. All of the trains that I saw on CSX were intermodal trains.

But with CSX the way it is these days who can say what is normal. Nonetheless, on a typical day in Berea, CSX can be expected to send through at least a handful of manifest freights.

But none operated on this Sunday afternoon when I was around.

Although NS had a more diverse traffic mix, most of its offerings also were intermodal trains. The most unusual sight that I saw on NS was a tanker train with its lead unit running long hood forward.

The train had arrived at CP Max near Rockport Yard with three units, but the lead unit was cut off because the power desk needed to assign it to a train that needed cab signal leader.

I don’t know if there was any discussion about running a westbound train with a lead unit whose cab faced east. I just know what I saw when the train came through Berea.

With the sun low in the sky, I decided to stick it out until sunset. I was hoping to get a westbound on CSX with low light on the nose of the lead unit.

As the day got late, things starting falling into place to get the image I wanted.

The sunlight reflection on a signal box indicated that the lighting was just what I wanted. To the east I could see the headlight of an approaching intermodal train.

But clouds were gathering to the west and by the time the CSX train arrived, the sunlight was heavily filtered and I was unable to get the image as I had wanted it. I would been able to get it had the train had arrived a couple minutes earlier. Maybe next time.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

There seemed to be a lot of locomotives on this train.

There seemed to be a lot of locomotives on this train.

I got the train, but the lighting was not as ideal as it had been a few minutes later.

I got the train, but the lighting was not as ideal as it had been a few minutes later. The filthy nose didn’t help matters, either.

Chasing the setting sun on CSX in Berea.

Chasing the setting sun on CSX in Berea.

 

The Disappearing Cuyahoga River in Kent

November 2, 2016

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I mentioned in  a post earlier this year that the trees growing along the bank of the Cuyahoga River in downtown Kent are obscuring the river.

When I went to Kent on a recent Saturday morning I was presented with graphic evidence of how much that is the case.

In the top photograph, the river is somewhat visible in an image made with a telephoto lens.

But it won’t be long before those trees growing between the CSX tracks and the river are tall enough to block the view of the river entirely.

The bottom photograph was made with a wide-angle focal length. The river is only partially visible toward the lower left-hand corner of the frame. Yet the dense foliage makes the water almost an afterthought that you need to search to find it.

There remains open views of the river and the decorative dam if you stand along the fence above the tracks south of the Main Street bridge. But the view of the river from the bridge is going, going almost gone.

The train, by the way, is a westbound manifest freight. I think it was the Q353. The detector at Munroe Falls said it had more than 500 axles.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Day With CSX on the New Castle Sub in Clinton

August 12, 2016
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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 YN2 Livery Gets Fresh Outlook on Life

June 27, 2016

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CSX No. 156 a GE C40-9W led train Q015 through Akron on Sunday and I caught it passing the old Schwebel’s bakery at Cuyahoga Falls.

What makes this 20-something –year-old engine interesting is its paint. It wears what CSX calls the YN2, scheme which was the standard paint during the 1990s.

This engine is freshly painted in 2016, however. Why is that?

Well, apparently, it was involved in a wreck while offline in Mexico. It was rebuilt and received its new paint while there.

Ferromex used another CSX locomotive also painted in YN2 as the basis for this repaint.

And so the YN2 scheme has been resurrected at least for this one engine.

Article and Photographs byTodd Dillon

10 Years Ago Today Was a Most Memorable ARRC Photography Outing to New London, Greenwich

May 28, 2016
"That looks like an F40." And it was, leading the CSX executive train at Greenwich on May 28, 2006.

“That looks like an F40.” And it was, leading the CSX executive train at Greenwich on May 28, 2006.

Ten years ago today several members of the Akron Railroad Club gathered for what was one of my top five outings in the nearly 13 years I’ve been in the club.

It was a trip to New London and Greenwich that was ideal because of its good weather, diverse mixture of trains and a few pleasant surprises.

When the idea was mentioned during a club meeting about holding a Memorial Day Weekend outing, club members initially settled on going to Greenwich.

But Marty Surdyk said he planned to spend the morning in New London at the above-ground reservoir there and would go to Greenwich in the afternoon.

At the time, I had never railfanned in either location so I followed Marty’s lead and began the day at the reservoir.

CSX traffic was steady throughout the morning. Most members who participated in the outing began in New London, although a few spent all day in Greenwich.

At one point a flock of vulture was flying above us, which as you might expect led to some joking. We learned from Peter Bowler that a group of such birds is known as a “kettle.” I’ve yet to hear that term used since that day.

In putting together my program for the ARRC 80th anniversary event I had a chance to review my photos from that day and had forgotten that among other things we saw a caboose on the rear of an eastbound train.

Another train featured a BNSF warbonnet with its motive power running mates consisting of a Norfolk Southern unit and a TFM locomotive.

Most of our group at New London spent their time atop the reservoir or at its base.

Tim Krogg was one of those who spent the morning down below and about 1 p.m. he started getting impatient.

“When are we going to get some (expletive) lunch?” he bellowed up at us.

With that we descended to ground level and headed into town to McDonalds’s, where we could eat and keep an eye on the CSX mainline.

After lunch, we went back to the reservoir but shortly thereafter decided to head for Greenwich.

I didn’t know how to get there so Marty said, “follow me.” I did and the route he took was one dusty road after another.

In Greenwich we continued to have good luck and even caught an eastbound Wheeling & Lake Erie manifest freight with GP35 No. 2662 in the lead, one of the railroad’s two “Kodachrome” or “painted ladies” locomotives.

But the sighting of the day was a westbound train on CSX that went straight through toward Crestline and Galion.

We had seen a headlight and heard a symbol that no one recognized. As Marty eyed the train through his telephoto lens he said, “that looks like an F40.”

I didn’t believe it but as the train got closer it turned out to be a three-car passenger train that was, indeed, led by an F40PH.

It was my first and thus far only sighting of the CSX executive train.

We speculated it was en route to Indianapolis to pick up VIPs who had attended the Indy 500 earlier that day.

I never forgot how much I enjoyed that outing and I wanted to do it again, but it took a few years before I could get it onto the club’s schedule.

The date was set for May 26, 2013. Unlike the 2006 outing, this one was a total bust. I was the only person to show up.

As I wrote this, I thought about what made that 2006 outing so enjoyable. There were a number of reasons, most noticeably the fellowship of being with fellow rail fans. I would have enjoyed seeing and photographing those same trains had I been there by myself, but it is more enjoyable to do it in the company of other like-minded people.

It also was my first time to railfan in New London and Greenwich. Although I’ve been back to both places numerous times in the intervening years, like anything else in life once you do it several times it just doesn’t have the same excitement of discovery feel that it had the first time.

Beyond that, there are some events that seem destined to be special because of the set of circumstances that surround them and what happens during the day.

That decade ago outing in New London and Greenwich was one of those. It cannot be duplicated in quite the same way as it played out, but at least I’ll always have my memories.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

A Helm Financial, a.k.a. HLCX SD40 trails on this westbound manifest freight. No. 9039 was built in April 1970 for the Louisville & Nashville.

A Helm Financial, a.k.a. HLCX, SD40 trails on this westbound manifest freight. No. 9039 was built in April 1970 for the Louisville & Nashville.

The typical motive power on a typical CSX stack train.

The typical motive power on a typical CSX stack train.

It was just like old times, but we were still surprised to see a caboose on the rear of this eastbound CSX train.

We were still surprised to see a caboose on the rear of this eastbound CSX train even if it was battered and vandalized.

What a motive power consist this train had.

What a motive power consist this train had. That is Peter Bowler making a photograph at the far left.

It is always a good outing when you can catch a warbonnet leading a train.

It is always a good outing when you can catch a warbonnet leading a train.

Even some of the clouds seemed special.

Even some of the clouds seemed special.

A special W&LE sighting in Greenwich.

A colorful  W&LE sighting in Greenwich.

Many of us spent most of the morning atop the reservoir.

Many of us spent most of the morning atop the reservoir.

A Microcosm of Recent Merger Talk

November 27, 2015

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Last year Canadian Pacific tried to buy CSX, but the latter rebuffed the merger efforts. This year CP has its sights set on Norfolk Southern. Word in the financial press is that NS has been cool to CP’s offer.

I thought about those developments when I spotted the motive power consist of this train in Bellevue recently.

On the point is a CSX locomotive coupled to a CP unit. It represents what could have been had CSX been receptive to the CP offer.

But this is actually an NS train operating on NS tracks. This looks like a bit of a metaphoric love triangle.

Photograph 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