Posts Tagged ‘CSX’

Pair of Ex-Conrail Units Working for CSX

June 30, 2022

CSX C40-8W No. 7389 is eastbound in Akron on May 20, 2006. The unit was built in November 1994 as Conrail 741. Speaking of which, the 7389 is working with another Conrail unit that still displays its CR livery.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

CSX Two for Tuesday on a June Sunday

June 21, 2022

It’s early June in Clinton. On this Sunday we catch BNSF 6630 and a couple of fellow stablemates pulling a westbound on the CSX New Castle Subdivision. In the bottom image, CSX 371 leads a westbound in the sunlight of summer.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Columbus Roundhouse May be Razed

June 21, 2022

CSX is talking about demolishing a former Chesapeake & Ohio roundhouse in Parsons Yard in Columbus.

The structure was built in 1927 and is on a list of facilities that CSX wants to raze.

A CSX spokeswoman told the Columbus Dispatch that no date has been set for the demolition.

In the meantime, the Columbus Landmarks Board is making an effort to save the structure.

Peter Krajnak, president of the Columbus Landmarks Board, said the structure could potentially be reused as a destination gathering place.

He said doing that would require “a splash of creativity,” and noted that a former trolley barn in Columbus was converted into the East Market food site.

The brick roundhouse once had 27 stalls. It was reduced to 15 stalls in the 1950s.

The Landmarks Foundation in 2020 placed the roundhouse on its most endangered list.

STB Wants More Detail in Service Recovery Plans

June 15, 2022

Federal regulators have ordered four Class 1 railroads to submit more detailed plans to resolve freight service issues that have plagued the industry in the past year.

The order applies to Norfolk Southern, CSX, BNSF and Union Pacific.

In particular, the U.S. Transportation Board has ordered the carriers to correct what regulators see as deficiencies in the service recovery plans all four carriers submitted last month.

The board is also ordering the railroads to provide more information on their actions to improve service and communications with customers, as well as more detailed information on what they’re doing to hire more workers in order to provide more reliable rail service.

For example, STB members were dissatisfied with the plans submitted by NS and UP because they failed to include six-month targets for achieving performance goals.

“Unfortunately, these four carriers submitted plans that were perfunctory and lacked the level of detail that was mandated by the board’s order,” STB officials said in a statement. “The plans generally omitted important information needed to assure the board and rail industry stakeholders that the largest railroads are addressing their deficiencies and have a clear and measurable trajectory for doing so.”

The STB’s statement said the recovery plans need additional information which the STB order has laid out.

The service recovery plans were ordered on May 6 and came shortly after a two days of hearing in late April on shipper complaints of poor rail service.

The STB’s original order said the service recovery plans were to describe remedial initiatives and promote a clearer vantage point into operating conditions on the rail network.

CP Power Two for Tuesday

June 14, 2022

Canadian Pacific motive power is not rare in Northeast Ohio, but is uncommon on the CSX New Castle Subdivision.

The images shown here were made in late August 2004. The top image of CP 6037 running westbound was made in Sterling.

The same locomotive is shown with the same second unit heading east in Clinton on another day.

My guess is the two units got to their western destination, were turned, and sent back east.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

CSX, CN Call Off Sale of Canadian Route

June 14, 2022

The sale of a CSX line to Canada to Canadian National has been called off.

The line between Montreal and Syracuse, New York, was to have been merged into CN’s Bessemer & Lake subsidiary.

Although the sale received approval from the U.S. Surface Transportation Board in April 2020, regulators also imposed a number of conditions on the sale that the two Class 1 railroads were unwilling to accept or able to work around.

Chief among them was a requirement that a clause CSX had insisted upon in the sale agreement that CN would be unable to negotiate direct interchange agreements with the Finger Lakes Railway and the New York, Susquehanna & Western in the Syracuse region.

The STB twice extended the deadline for CSX and CN to reach a new sale agreement but they were unable to do so and asked the STB to reconsider their original deal.

Regulators refused and CN sued the STB in federal court in April 2021. With the sale now having been called off, CN has sought and received approval from the court to dismiss its lawsuit.

Data Shows Decline of Class 1 Freight Service

June 10, 2022

An analysis by Trains magazine of data recently submitted by four Class 1 rail systems to the U.S. Surface Transportation Board found that all of them have seen their on-time delivery performance plummet since May 2019.

Before the pandemic, CSX, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific and BNSF averaged an 85 percent on-time delivery rate but during the last week of May that had fallen to 67 percent.

The STB considers a shipment to be on time if it arrives at its destination within 24 hours of the projected delivery time given the shipper.

However, the Trains report cautioned that railroads often create trip plans for individual shipments that are tighter than the STB standard.

It also said comparing the performance of railroads against each other can be misleading because of variance in how each carrier collects information and calculates on-time performance and such performance metrics as terminal dwell time and average train speed.

The railroad industry has largely blamed shortages of operating crews for the service issues they have experienced in the past year.

As the average speed of trains has fallen, that has created congestion, which in turn has led to the need for more crews and locomotives.

The problems intensify because new crews and motive power are out of place from where they are needed.

CSX reported its overall on-time performance since May 2019 has slid from 96 percent to 85 percent.

The carrier said the most current figures show carload traffic posted a 66 percent on time rate whereas intermodal shipments were 95 percent on time.

Norfolk Southern said that for the 12 months ending in April 2020, its overall on time figure was 87 percent. It has since fallen to 52 percent.

The report can be read at https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews/news-wire/data-reported-to-federal-regulators-reveal-extent-of-deterioration-in-rail-service/

CSX Changes Some Train Symbols

June 9, 2022

CSX has again changed the prefixes used by some of its trains. Merchandise freight trains are now being referred to with M symbols rather than Q symbols.

It is at least the third change CSX has made to train identifier labels within the past year. Earlier this year it began using the prefix “L” for local trains. It also uses the prefix “I” for intermodal trains.

Previously, locals were identified by a letter corresponding to the division in which they operated. Intermodal trains were once identified with the “Q” prefix.

An online report also indicated that coal trains have been given the prefix “C.”

2 Ohio Rail Projects Awarded CRISI Grants

June 8, 2022

Two Ohio railroad projects have been awarded Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement grants.

The grants are being awarded by the Federal Railroad Administration, which said 46 projects in 32 states and the District of Columbia will share $368 million in CRISI grants.

In a news release, the FRA said the projects are designed to improve and expand passenger-rail service and fund conventional and high-speed rail lines, as well as increase supply-chain resilience and fluidity, support short lines, invest in new technology and safety advancements and benefit rail industry workforce development and training activities.

In Ohio, the Wheeling & Lake Erie Spencer Connection Project will receive up to $6,868,768 to be used to construct a new connecting track and extension of yard tracks in Spencer.

The project goal is to eliminate switching movements and allow trains to directly access the yard from the Brewster and Akron subdivisions.

Work will include construction of a third connecting track between the two subdivisions and construction of eastward extensions of the existing transfer and pass tracks.

This work will include new turnouts and track relocations, as well as new ballast and drainage improvements. The revised layout will eliminate a number of reversing movements for trains and expand overall capacity.

The Ohio Rail Development Commission and W&LE will provide a 30 percent match.

In Cincinnati, the River Road Highway/Rail Grade Crossing Safety Improvements will receive up to $6,067,200.

The project will make safety improvements to four crossings on CSX and Central Railroad of Indiana including new signal equipment. The City of Cincinnati will provide a 20 percent match.

Two CRISI grants went to rail projects in Michigan.

The Great Lakes Corridor Improvement will receive up to $21.3 million, to rehabilitate track and rail assets of the Great Lakes Central.

Work will involve rebuilding track just north of Ann Arbor, including installing 4.25 miles of new rail, eliminating joints on an additional 41.25 miles, replacing or rehabilitating 11 bridges and culverts, and installing approximately 30,000 ties on mainline and siding track.

The project will eliminate 16 slow orders covering 45 miles of the 260-mile mainline corridor and will result in fewer track defects, derailments, and other maintenance problems associated with rail joints.

The Michigan Department of Transportation and GLC will provide a 50 percent match.

A grant of up to $8,697,910 will be used by the West Michigan Railroad for track rebuilding.

The project involves 10 miles of track in Southwest Michigan. Specific improvements include rail and cross-tie replacements, reconstructed roadbeds, bridge and turnout repairs, upgrades and replacement of two at-grade crossings, and rebuilding approximately 5.6 miles of track.

The work will upgrade portions of the line from 5 mph excepted track to at least FRA Class 2 speeds up to 25 mph and ensure the line can continue to handle 286,000-pound rail cars.

MDOT and WMR will provide a 35 percent match.

In Indiana, the Connecting the Crossroads of America project will receive up to $8,383,761 for track improvements to the Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern Railroad main line and Decatur Subdivision.

The project will replace ballast and ties along a 54-mile segment of the main line and install 115-pound rail, ties, ballast, and surfacing on a 14-mile segment of the Decatur Subdivision. Additionally, 43 at-grade crossing surfaces are to be replaced with rubber seal/asphalt design for handling heavier loads, longevity of construction, and improved efficiency of travel at crossings.

When finished, the work will enable trains to operate at higher speeds. The Indiana Department of Transportation and CF&E will provide a 51 percent match.

Also in Indiana, the Elkhart & Western will receive up to $2,618,173 to be used to relocate an interchange track with Norfolk Southern, upgrade the 9-mile Elkhart Branch line to Class 1 track safety standards, expand rail siding capacity, and replace three grade crossing surfaces within Elkhart.

This interchange will be relocated out of the city center and into an industrial area. Currently, E&W and NS track intersect two roadways, and when a train is more than nine rail cars long, it blocks the roadway for approximately 15 minutes while trains interchange cars.

The proposed track relocation would eliminate the blocked crossing and improve grade crossings with deteriorating conditions.

The project will receive a 50 percent match from the E&W, INDOT, the City of Elkhart, and the St. Joseph County Redevelopment Commission.

 In West Virginia, the Appalachian & Ohio Railroad will receive up to $1,617,824 to improve its 42-mile railroad corridor from Grafton to Buckhannon.

The project will replace an antiquated traffic control system and install a new and modern broken rail detection system on the entire signaled section of the A&O rail line. The existing traffic control system has reached the end of its useful service life. The A&O will provide a 39 percent match.

CSX CEO Acknowledges Having Lost Traffic

June 7, 2022

CSX CEO James Foote acknowledged in an interview during an investors conference that the Class 1 carrier has lost traffic and missed new business opportunities due to ongoing service problems.

“How much business are we missing? Lots. This is not minimal. This is not on the fringes. We’re not doing the job we should be doing,” Foote told interviewer David Vernon during Bernstein’s 38th Annual Strategic Decisions Conference.

Foote attributed the service problems largely to shortages of operating crews. He said the Class 1 rail system needs to hire and train 300 more conductors to reach full staffing of 7,000 active train and engineer employees.

In the meantime, CSX has seen its carload traffic fall by 2.1 percent and its intermodal traffic decline by 0.6 percent based on figures reported by the Association of American Railroad through the end of May.

Foote rejected during the interview that the adoption of the precision scheduled railroading operating model has hamstrung CSX service.

“I’ve never seen anyone who I know who knows anything about railroads tell me that this is not the right business model,” Foote said.

“If the railroads had not done what they had done over the last couple years, the railroad industry right now would be a basket case.”

Foote said CSX furloughed workers when traffic fell during the COVID-19 pandemic and, “all of the sudden the business came flying back at us.”

Many of those furloughed workers declined to return to work at CSX and the railroad’s crew attrition rate has been 10 percent. The normal attribution rate before the pandemic was 7 percent.

Although CSX has hired 1,000 new conductors over the past year those gains were offset by the higher than expected attrition rate.

“Hopefully it’s a matter of months now that we start to see some improvement,” Foote said.

More from the interview can be found at https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews/news-wire/service-problems-related-to-crew-shortage-have-cost-csx-traffic/