Posts Tagged ‘CSX yards’

CSX Closes Locust Point Yard in Baltimore

May 4, 2018

CSX has closed its Locust Point Yard in Baltimore. Trains magazine said a bulletin issued to crew members said all tracks within the yard limits of the yard are out of service and trains arriving at Bayview Yard in Baltimore are to use that yard to service locomotives or running around cars to work them from the opposite end.

The bulletin took effect at 11:59 p.m. on April 30. Locust Point is adjacent to Interstate 95 and had also served as a Maryland Rail Commuter locomotive and train servicing facility.

CSX is reportedly reviewing 150 local yards with an eye toward closing them because they are lightly or under used.

All CSX locomotives and trains that had used Locust Point have been moved to Curtis Bay Yard in Baltimore or the former Mount Clare A Yard in the city.

The MARC facility at Riverside shops remains in operation to serve Camden Line trains.

Some believe that CSX will sell the Locus Point property to commercial and/or residential developers who might find it attractive due to its waterside location.

The neighborhood adjacent to the yard has seen gentrification during the past two decades with the building of office buildings and a luxury condominium high-rise housed within former Baltimore & Ohio grain elevator silos.


CSX Contends it has Cut Freight Transit Times

July 14, 2017

Despite some performance metrics showing mixed results, CSX management contends that it is making substantial progress in implementing its precision scheduled railroading operating plan.

CSX Chief Operating Officer Cindy Sanborn told Trains magazine that CSX has cut transit times by reducing the number of times that cars are handled en route.

She was responding to a report by the magazine that found that during June terminal dwell has increased 8 percent and average train speed fell by 4 percent.

Those figures were taken from reports that Class I railroads must provide to federal regulators.

“What you don’t see are the cars that used to go into that terminal . . . but don’t go into the terminal anymore,” Sanborn said.

She said that means that when a car is handled just once instead of twice, it arrives a day earlier, which reduces shipper costs.

The latter is primarily the case with shippers who own their own fleet of cars and reduce the size of their fleet because cycle times have improved.

CSX also contends that it is providing more consistent service. Sanborn said that through June 10, CSX was operating trains on-time 79 percent of the time.
Sanborn said reducing transit times has been the primary motivation for closing hump operations and shifting to flat-switching at major classification yards.

Before the implantation of its current operating plan, CSX road freights would pick up blocks of traffic bound for the nearest hump yard.

But now Sanborn said the only traffic going to a hump or classification yard is that which needs to go there.

She said that although locals are still pre-blocking traffic for the nearest hump yard, they also build blocks for additional destinations.

Those blocks are picked up by road trains and block-swapped or switched closer to their final destination.

Sanborn acknowledged that there will continue to be teething pains and issues that must be addressed as the railroad implements its operating plans.

The railroad’s operating team is constantly monitoring performance and is seeking to balance daily traffic flows by shifting some unit train traffic onto manifest freights.

This has been particularly the case with auto rack traffic and aggregate shipments that once traveled in dedicated trains.

Consolidating traffic has meant that CSX will be operating the same number of trains in each direction on every corridor, which Sanborn said will improve locomotive and crew utilization by reducing deadheading moves.

The railroad’s goal is to move the same tonnage on fewer trains.

CSX Plans Major Changes for Indianapolis

June 15, 2017

CSX is planning major changes to its operations in Indianapolis, including closing Avon Yard and its dispatching center, and spending millions to rebuild smaller facilities.

The news was reported on by a poster who reprinted a memorandum from a railroad labor union officer who attended a meeting held in Indianapolis to be briefed on the changes.

The only date given for the changes was Oct. 31, when dispatching operations now based in Indianapolis will be moved to Jacksonville, Florida.

The CSX Indy dispatch office is a former Conrail facility that now oversees former Conrail territories that CSX acquired in 1999. It also dispatches all former B&O lines in Northeast Ohio operated by CSX.

Avon is a former New York Central hump classification yard that opened in June 1960.

Earlier this month CSX said it would close the locomotive shop there, but now it plans to farm out its other activities to the Hawthorne, Transfer and State Street yards. A new intermodal facility is to be constructed at a site to be named.

All of those facilities will be receive track upgrades and new buildings. The operating plan is to base scheduled jobs out of all yards on all three shifts.

Hawthorne will handle road trains while State and Transfer yards will handle the local and industry work.

As part of the restructuring, the local jobs will be assigned three-person  crews, which CSX management believes will be able to more efficiently handle switching.

Hawthorne, a former Pennsylvania Railroad yard, is a stub-end facility because the ex-PRR mainline on the east side of Indianapolis has been abandoned.

Avon crew pools will change at one of the three yards, although the operating plan is still being worked out.

This will include re-advertising all of the pool jobs to take into account adjustments in mileage and other operating changes.

One report is that some switching now done at Avon will be taken over by the Alton & Southern in the St. Louis region.

In years past, Avon built blocks for Penn Central and Conrail that were interchanged with western railroads in St. Louis and the St. Elmo, Illinois, gateway.

Locomotive fueling now done in Avon will be done throughout the Indianapolis terminal by fuel trucks. Car department repairs will be performed at Hawthorne.

The union memorandum said CSX wants to move quickly on the terminal changes, ideally within the next 45 days.

One impetus for closing Avon might be that the area around it has developed into a busy commercial-residential area and CSX might see an opportunity to sell land to developers.

2 More CSX Humps Set to Close

May 16, 2017

Add Selkirk and Cumberland to the list of humps that CSX plans to close.

An online report said the Cumberland hump will close on May 16. Five of the bowl tracks will be kept, but the other tracks will be out of service or used for storage.

The changes will mean that only Q372, Q398 and Q401 will originate in Cumberland. Terminating in Cumberland will be Q236, Q352 and Q400.

Other trains will make pickups or setoffs, including Q236, Q353, Q375, Q389 and Q416. Some trains will merely change crews in Cumberland.

The Times Union of Albany, New York, reported that members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen received a memo about the hump closing at Selkirk, New York.

The memo said that CSX management believes the yard costs too much to operate and some of its work will be shifted to other yards, including Syracuse, New York.

The news report did not indicate how many employees would lose their jobs but Mark Krajewski, chairman of the union local, called the move “heartbreaking.”

CSX has been closing humps at yards in the wake of E. Hunter Harrison taking over as the railroad’s CEO and implementing his precision scheduled railroad operating philosophy.

The railroad earlier said it would close humps in Atlanta; Louisville, Kentucky; and Toledo, Ohio. CSX officials have yet to confirm the closure of the Selkirk hump.

The Times-Union said Selkirk yard was the largest in the New York Central system.

Harrison views hump yards as inefficient and closed at least four of them during his time as CEO of Canadian Pacific.

Harrison Gives Preview of What’s in Store at CSX

April 21, 2017

CSX CEO E. Hunter Harrison gave a preview on Thursday about what is in store at the railroad in the coming months and years.

Speaking during a conference call with Wall Street investors, Harrison called the CSX network a bowl of spaghetti when compared to the linear-oriented systems he oversaw at Canadian Pacific, Canadian National and Illinois Central.

E. Hunter Harrison

Although he thinks that CSX does well in moving intermodal trains, Harrison believes merchandise freight needs to move faster.

The average speed of CSX merchandise freight is now 18 mph between terminals, but Harrison believes it could be boosted to 27 to 28 mph.

One way to boost transit times is by skipping terminals. Ultimately, Harrison wants to see CSX provide merchandise service that is on a par with trucks.

CSX Chief Operating Officer Cindy Sanborn said CSX has made two significant operating changes since Harrison arrived.

Some traffic that had been moving in unit trains has been merged into merchandise trains and four of the railroad’s 12 hump yards have been converted to flat switching.

Sanborn said the changes will allow CSX to provide seven-day-a-week service, bring balance to the system, increase train length, cut terminal dwell time and reduce the time that freight spends in transit.

CSX is expected to continue closing humps although Sanborn said she doesn’t know by how many because management is studying each yard individually.

Harrison described hump yards as a relic of an era when a much higher percentage of rail freight traffic was merchandise service.

In a related matter, Harrison said CSX will consolidate yards in areas where multiple yards now exist and sell the land used by yards that are closed.

There was speculation earlier that CSX would sell some secondary lines, but Harrison said he doesn’t expect any major line sales in 2017 because management is focusing on improving operations of the current network.

Other steps CSX plans to make, Harrison said, include having fewer train sets devoted to unit coal train service, but having faster cyling of cars between mines and customers.

CSX is not looking to drop some of its less-profitable merchandise traffic as Canadian Pacific did while Harrison was that railroad’s CEO.

“No, we’re not looking at demarketing,” he said. “We’re looking at marketing.”

As predicted, Harrison will trim the CSX work force. The railroad now has a hiring freeze in place and expects to lose 9 percent of its work force through attrition.

He added, though, that management does not have a target for work force cuts.

Another labor-related change may see CSX pull out of national negotiations with labor unions and instead bargain directly with the unions.

Harrison would like to see train and engine crews paid by the hour in return for the company offering job guarantees. Ultimately, Harrison said he wants to lower T&E costs by 30 to 35 percent.

One area in which Harrison does not expect change is the number of crew members on each train. “I’m not a one-man crew advocate,” he said. “ . . . to take a 20,000 ton train on line of road, with one person, I don’t think it’s good business,”

Sounding like a union officer, Harrison said there are safety issues with one-person crews and he sees the value of having extra set of eyes and ears in the cab.

If one crew member had to deal with such things as a broken air hose or a knuckle failure, that could result in delays.

Harrison said one-person crews might make sense in some situation, citing switching at mines.

Osborn Yard Hump to Close

March 31, 2017

Hump operations at a third CSX yard are set to close. This time it is Osborn Yard in Louisville, Kentucky.

Earlier this week CSX said it would end hump operations at Stanley Yard in Toledo. Before that the railroad said it would end humping at Tilford Yard in Atlanta.

Flat switching will continue at Osborn Yard, which is a former Louisville & Nashville facility located south of downtown Louisville.

A CSX spokeswoman said the moves are part of an effort to make rail operations more efficient by enabling workers to more quickly process trains.

She said five jobs will be eliminated but Osborn will still have 470 employees.

Osborn is the hub of rail lines from Indianapolis; Evansville, Indiana; Cincinnati; and Nashville, Tennessee.