Posts Tagged ‘Norfolk Southern’

PennDOT, NS Reach Agreement on Route Improvements to Pittsburgh-Harrisburg Route

June 28, 2022

An agreement has been reached between the state of Pennsylvania and Norfolk Southern on infrastructure improvements that will be made as part of plans to launch a second daily Amtrak train between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg.

The improvements will cost $200 million with final details on the projects to be worked out by late this year.

Officials said the second Amtrak train is still about three years away from being inaugurated.

Currently the Pittsburgh-Harrisburg segment is served by Amtrak’s New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian, which operates via Philadelphia.

There are numerous Amtrak trains operating between Harrisburg and Philadelphia on the Amtrak-owned Keystone Corridor.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation did not provide any details about planned infrastructure projects and a department spokeswoman said the agreement has yet to be signed by all parties involved.

It is at this point an agreement in principle. Earlier reports indicated that 12 new and upgraded interlocking plants on the NS Pittsburgh Line.

NS Launches New Operating Plan

June 28, 2022

Norfolk Southern launched on Monday a new operating plan that is largely focused on improving intermodal service although it will be applied to all types of freight shipments.

The plan, known as Thoroughbred Operating Plan|Service Productivity Growth was described as an evolution of its previous operating plan known as Thoroughbred Operating Plans 21.

TOP|SPG continues to build upon the elements of the precision scheduled railroading model with its emphasis on efficiency but also adding and more point-to-point intermodal service.

For example, NS will consolidate all intermodal traffic moving between Chicago and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, at one terminal in Chicago, 47th Street.

Under the previous operating plan, NS operated one train daily between 47th Street in Chicago and Rutherford Yard in Harrisburg and one train daily between 63rd Street in Chicago and Rutherford.

In the new operating plan Chicago-Harrisburg intermodal operations will be consolidated at 47th Street and expanded to four daily trains between there and Harrisburg. The intermodal trains serving the 63rd Street terminal will be eliminated.

NS officials said they are seeking to increase the number of miles per day that cars travel by reducing how often those cars are handled en route and how much time they spend sitting in yards.

The running time will be adjusted for more than half of all road trains. Schedules will be changed for 90 percent of all scheduled trains.

There will be changes to 39 percent of yard blocks. The officials said the new operating plan seeks to reduce network directional imbalance, and simplify operations of routes and terminals.

The carrier indicated it will increase the number of daily intermodal trains it operates systemwide from 79 to 85.

NS CEO Alan Shaw cautioned that implementation of the plan won’t occur overnight.

In a video created to announce the new operating plan, Shaw said the goals of the plan are reducing the complexity of the NS network by reducing train meets and how often cars need to be worked while en route.

In a social media post, NS said the new operating plan “isn’t a radical change in how we work with our customers, but a shift in how we execute our operations to move their shipments more directly and consistently.”

NS said there will be no operating changes for most customers and for those who are affected It has been working with them to ensure they are prepared for coming changes.

Above all, NS indicated, the new operating plan seeks to provide greater consistency in the service provided to shippers.

NS Promotes 3 in Law Department

June 28, 2022

Norfolk Southern has promoted three executives to new positions in its law department effective July 1.

Nabanita Nagwill become executive vice president and chief legal officer, overseeing the law, government relations, and audit & compliance functions.

Jason Morris has been named vice president law. He has been vice president labor relations since June 2021.

Wai Wong will succeed Morris as vice president labor relations. He joined NS in 2015 as assistant general solicitor and is currently assistant vice president human resources.

The NS Local Working in Orrville

June 22, 2022

Here is a series of images of the Norfolk Southern local in Orrville on Sept. 2, 2021. In the top image we see NS 6317 and its short local westbound by the ex-Pennsylvania Railroad position light signal east of South Walnut Street.

We also two images of see NS 6308 is being towed west by NS 6317, and the 6317 and its train in the industrial park in Orrville.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

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.

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/

NS Announces Launch of New Intermodal Service

June 9, 2022

Norfolk Southern said it has teamed up with Union Pacific, the Port of Virginia and shipping company Hapag-Lloyd to offer a new transcontinental intermodal service.

The service actually began in April but was formally announced on Wednesday.

Containers are unloaded at the Norfolk International Terminal and moved by NS to Chicago.

From there UP forwards them to ports in California in Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland; and to Seattle.

It is being marketed as OceaNS Bridge Express. The containers arrive weekly in Norfolk on ships operated by Hapag-Lloyd as part of its weekly Mediterranean Gulf Coast Express.

The port call rotation is Livorno – Genoa – Barcelona – Valencia – Veracruz – Altamira – Houston – Port of Virginia – Livorno.

Eight Panamax vessels are being used in the service and will call at the ports in Europe, Mexico and the United States.

Officials with the Port of Virginia said their agency is investing $1.3 billion through 2025 to create more rail capacity; modernize and renovate two berths and convert them to an RMG (rail-mounted gantry) operation; [and] dredge our channels to 55 feet deep and widen them for two-way traffic of ultra-large container vessels.

NS Rings Bell to Open Stock Market Trading

June 9, 2022

Norfolk Southern executives rang the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday (June 7) to mark the 40th anniversary of the creation of the company.

On June 1, 1982, the Norfolk & Western Railway merged with the Southern Railway to create NS.

Among the executives participating in the ceremony was CEO Alan Shaw, who was joined by members of the senior executive team and six craft railroaders from the operating division.

It was the fifth time that NS executives have appeared on the floor of the NYSE.

The first of those occurred on June 2, 1982, when the company’s stock began trading under the symbol NSC. Company officials also appeared in 2005, 2007 and 2012.

Automotive Traffic Rebounding on Class 1s

June 7, 2022

Automotive traffic on U.S. Class 1 railroads has improved in recent weeks, which may be evidence that the supply chain in the automotive industry is recovering, Trains magazine reported in an analysis posted on its website.

All seven Class 1 systems have posted gains in automotive traffic during the second quarter of 2022 with CSX and Norfolk Southern respectively reporting increases of more than 10 percent since April 1.

The report drew data from the weekly traffic reports issued by the Association of American Railroads.

Automotive traffic has been hindered in the past two years by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and a resulting shortage of semiconductor chips installed in new vehicles during the manufacturing process.

The Trains report noted that the rail systems still trail pre-pandemic automotive traffic levels.

The report can be read at https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews/news-wire/railroads-automotive-carloads-show-signs-of-improvement-analysis/

NS Gets Approval of Pittsburgh Clearance Project

June 1, 2022

The Pittsburgh City Council has signed off on a plan by Norfolk Southern to increase clearances through the city to accommodate double-stacked container trains on its Pittsburgh Line.

The council approved a plan set forth in December 2019 by a mediator to raise bridges in some locations and lower the tracks in others.

The three bridges to be raised are on West North Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue, and South Negley Avenue. They will be raised by 30, 33, and 17 inches respectively.

Tracks will be lowered by 18 inches beneath the Columbus Avenue bridge. A new bridge will replace the existing Merchant Street structure.

NS also agreed to build a pedestrian bridge at North Avenue and Brighton Road.

Funding for the work is being provided in part through a $20 million federal grant.