Posts Tagged ‘Norfolk Southern’

NS Reorganizes Management Function

September 30, 2022

Norfolk Southern is reorganizing it executive and management structure by combining transportation and network operations.

As part of the changes, NS has named Paul B. Duncan to head the consolidated department.

He has been given the title senior vice president transportation and network operations and will lead the team that designs network operations, executes network plans, and coordinates the movement of trains across the company’s rail network.

NS said Duncan previously was the head of network planning and optimization and the network operations center.

Other executives named to the combined transportation and network operations organization include Jacob Elium, Rodney Moore and Floyd Hudson.

NS said as vice president network operations, Moore will oversee the team that executes the TOP|SPG operating plan through locomotive distribution, crew management and dispatch.

As vice president NPO, Elium will lead the team that develops network operating plans.

NS to Donate to Food Banks

September 30, 2022

Norfolk Southern said it will contribute $400,000 to 31 food banks in 14 states.

The grants are going to food banks in Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

NS, CSX CEOs Tout Service Improvements

September 16, 2022

CEOs of Norfolk Southern and CSX said in remarks during investor conferences recently that their respective companies are slowly improving their freight service as newly hired conductors qualify for active duty.

The two Class 1 railroads have cited crew shortages as a major contributor to service issues that have drawn the ire of shippers and regulators.

Both spoke at the Cowen Annual Global Transportation & Sustainable Mobility Conference.

As reported by Trains magazine, CSX head James Foote said his railroad is lagging its goal of full train and engine personnel.

CSX now has 6,800 active T&E workers and expects to reach 7,000 active crew members by year’s end.

“We’re gradually, gradually improving,” Foote said. “Service metrics show it. Velocity shows it. Dwell shows it. On-time performance shows it. It’s a grind. It’s been really tough. But we’re continuing to show progress.”

At Norfolk Southern, CEO Alan Shaw said the conductor workforce have increased by 275 since the end of the first quarter with 923 conductors in training.

The level of active T&E crews is up 4 percent and close to matching the level of last year.

Shaw said merchandise on-time performance had improved to 67 percent in early September. Last May it had sagged to 48 percent.

“Demand for our product is exceptional right now, and it exceeds our capacity,” Shaw said. “As we speed up our network, which we have started to do, we have more capacity in our network and can take advantage of the volume opportunities.”

However, NS continues to see higher than desired crew attrition rates at terminals in Fort Wayne and Elkhart, Indiana; Louisville, Kentucky; and Cincinnati.

Railroads Continue to Prepare for Work Stoppage, Senators Introduce Bill to Impose Contract Terms

September 13, 2022

As railroads begin to embargo traffic ahead of a possible national railroad strike and/or lockout that could begin as early as Friday, legislation has been introduced in the Senate to settle the dispute.

Amtrak said it would suspend service on four long-distance routes in advance of a possible railroad work stoppage.

The Senate resolution would force railroad labor unions and railroads to accept the recommendations made last month by a presidential emergency board.

It was introduced by Sens. Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) and Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi).

Negotiations for a new contract have been ongoing for more than two years with unions representing locomotive engineers and train conductors at loggerheads with management over wages, benefits and work rules.

To date, eight of the 12 railroad labor unions have reached tentative contract agreements with the National Carriers Conference Committee, which represents railroad management in the negotiations.

Those agreements have been described in statements issued by the two sides as generally following the recommendations of the PEB.

The PEB issued its recommendations on Aug. 16 and under federal law strikes and/or lockouts are prohibited for 30 days following that. The 30-day cooling off period will expire at 12:01 a.m. on Friday.

Amtrak said it will suspend service today on the routes of the Southwest Chief, Empire Builder, California Zephyr and portions of the route of the Texas Eagle.

The latter involves the Los Angeles to San Antonio segment of the Texas Eagle route, which overlaps with the route of the Sunset Limited.

The passenger carrier said suspensions could expand to all routes outside the Northeast Corridor by the end of the week.

The Amtrak statement said suspensions being imposed today will ensure that the affected trains can reach their endpoint terminals before a strike and/or lockout begins.

Although neither Amtrak or its workers are parties to the railroad labor negotiations, the passenger carrier uses track owned by freight railroads where a strike and/or lockout may occur.

In the event of a strike and/or lockout, Amtrak said it would continue operating trains that wholly use track that it owns or is owned by public agencies.

This includes the Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington; the line between New Haven, Connecticut, and Springfield, Massachusetts; the Empire Corridor between New York and Albany-Rensselaer, New York; and the Keystone Corridor between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

An Amtrak statement said passengers affected by service suspensions due to the labor dispute will be contacted and offered the opportunity to change their travel dates or offered a full refund of their fare without any cancellation fees.

In a related developments, Class 1 railroads have begun embargoing certain types of shipments starting today.

Norfolk Southern told its shippers that it will stop accepting intermodal and automotive traffic.

The NS notice said it will close the gates for loaded or empty intermodal units at its terminals as of noon Tuesday and would also stop accepting traffic at on-dock port facilities and privately owned intermodal terminals.

The notice said the gates would remain open for intermodal pickup until further notice. Customers using railroad-operated EMP and TMX containers will be unable to make reservations after 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday. They will be able to return empty containers to NS terminals as normal until further notice.

Automotive traffic gates will close at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, with an embargo on auto traffic beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday.

The railroad also said it is planning “for the orderly lay down of trains in the bulk network” and will contact customers moving bulk commodities in unit trains with specific details.

CSX has also began on Monday an embargo of “high hazardous, toxic by inhalation and poisonous by inhalation” cargo.

Class 1 Carriers Embargoing Traffic in Advance of Possible Railroad Strike Later This Week.

September 12, 2022

With the prospect of a railroad strike looming late this week, Class 1 railroads said over the weekend they are implementing plans to park hazardous materials starting today (Sept. 12).

Norfolk Southern said it would begin parking trains that did not include hazardous cargo as early as Tuesday.

The Class 1 carriers began sending notices to shippers last Friday to warn them of potential service disruptions should a strike occur.

In a joint statement, leaders of the SMART Transportation Division and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers called the moves by a carriers scare tactics.

“The railroads are using shippers, consumers, and the supply chain of our nation as pawns in an effort to get our unions to cave into their contract demands knowing that our members would never accept them,” the union presidents wrote.

The Association of American Railroads said in a statement that among the hazardous materials that railroads are sidelining in anticipation of a strike are chlorine, which is used to purify drinking water, and chemicals used in fertilizer.

“Railroads are taking all measures necessary to handle sensitive cargo in accordance with federal regulations to ensure that no such cargo is left on an unattended or unsecured train in the event of a work stoppage due to an impasse in labor negotiations,” AAR said.

The AAR statement said the anticipatory actions being taken by railroads do not mean a work stoppage is certain.

BNSF asked its shippers to contract members of Congress “to let them know the impact a rail service interruption would have on your business and your customers.”

Some railroad industry observes believe that the Sept. 16 deadline to reach new agreements might be extended because eight railroad labor unions have reached tentative agreements and extending the deadline would give members of those unions additional time to complete the ratification process.

NS Has Resumed Hump Operations in Bellevue

September 9, 2022

Norfolk Southern said this week that hump operations resumed about two weeks ago at Moorman Yard in Bellevue.

In a post on the website LinkedIn, NS said the operating change will enable the yard to increase from 1,200 to 1,900 cars at day that Bellevue can process, which the railroad said would ease congestion at other rail yards.

The NS post said car dwell time at Moorman Yard had fallen nearly 8 percent since humping operations resumed.

Moorman Yard is the largest classification yard in the NS system and was expanded in 2015 with the addition of a second hump.

On a daily basis, NS said Moorman Yard distributes about 3,200 carloads of freight daily, which the carrier said “promotes fluid movement of long-distance freight across the entire rail network.”

Bellevue is located where five NS lines converge. Moorman Yard, which is named for former NS CEO Charles “Wick” Moorman,” was originally a Nickel Plate Road facility.

NS Intermodal Trains Given New Symbols

September 6, 2022

Norfolk Southern last month made several changes in its train symbols for intermodal operations. The following information was posted on the Facebook page of a Chicago Line group.

All premium intermodal trains have 20-alpha series symbols with the exception of the two RoadRailers between Detroit and Kansas City

The alpha code correlates to a train’s destination. The codes are A: Atlanta Inman; B: Buffalo Bison; C: Chicago Calumet; E: Erail, New Jersey; F: Florida East Coast Bowden Yard; G: Chicago 47th Street; H: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; J: Jacksonville, Florida; K: Meridian, Mississippi; L: Chicago Landers Yard; M: Morrisville, Pennsylvania; N: Charlotte, North Carolina; P: Chicago 63rd Street; R: Rutherford, Pennsylvania; S: Union Pacific at Shreveport, Louisiana; U: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; V: Baltimore Bayview; and X: Croxton, New Jersey.

All standard intermodal trains that have the numerical 200-series symbol and are grouped by origin/destination.

•21* – Originate or terminate Kansas City (Exception Rutherford trains)

•23* – Originate or terminate Rickenbacker

•24* – Originate or terminate Atlanta (Exception Rossville/Memphis trains)

•25* – Originate or terminate Rutherford

•26* – Originate or terminate Chicago Area

•27* – Originate or terminate Norfolk

•28* – Originate or terminate Memphis/Rossville

•29* – Originate or terminate Georgia/South Carolina ports

The following are the new symbols for the Chicago Line. The old symbols are in parentheses. All trains operate daily.

20X (22W) Chicago 47th Street-Croxton

22X (20E) Chicago 47th Street-Croxton

23G (new) Croxton- Chicago 47th Street

25G (21Q) Harrisburg-Chicago 47th Street

26X (20W) Chicago Ashland Avenue (BNSF Z LACNYC)-Croxton

27G (21E) Morrisville-Chicago 47th Street

27P (new) Harrisburg-Chicago 63rd Street

28B (206) Chicago 63rd Street-Buffalo

28E (new) Chicago Ashland Avenue-Erail

28M (26E) Chicago 47th Street-Morrisville

28U (294) Chicago 47th Street-Bethlehem

28V (24M) Chicago 63rd Street-Baltimore

28X (20K) Chicago 47th Street-Croxton

29G (21M) Croxton- Chicago 47th Street

29P (205) Buffalo-Chicago 63rd Street

261 (23M) Port Newark-Chicago Corwith (BNSF)

263 (new) Bethlehem-Chicago 47th Street

264 (22K) Chicago 63rd Street-Mechanicville, New York

265 (23K) Mechanicville-Chicago 63rd Street

266 (26N) Chicago Ashland Avenue-Sandusky, Ohio

267 (25N) Sandusky-Chicago Global 2 (Union Pacific)

268 (20R) Chicago Landers-Port Newark

269 (25V) Port Newark-Chicago Landers

Using a portion of the Chicago are the following trains and their new symbols.

236 (20N) Columbus Rickenbacker-Detroit North Yard

258 (20T) Kansas City-Rutherford

259 (21T) Rutherford-Kansas City Voltz Yard 271 (21N) Detroit Livernois-Norfolk, Virginia

Ex-Pennsy Steamer Toils in Obscurity

September 3, 2022

A former Pennsylvania Railroad 0-6-0 switch engine is being steamed up is pulling excursions over the Williams Grove Railroad in Pennsylvania in relative obscurity.

The engine operates over a mile of track about 10 miles south of Harrisburg. It is the only operating ex-Pennsy steam locomotive currently in operation.

No. 643 was built in June 1901 at the Juniata Shops in Altoona, Pennsylvania, as one of 133 class B4/B4a engines built in Altoona or by Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia between 1892 and 1904.

The excursions include two former Everett Railroad open cars and a steel PRR Class N5 cabin car.

The excursions are sponsored by the Williams Grove Historical Steam Engine Association.

A report on the website of Railfan and Railroad magazine indicated the 643 is equipped with a three-chime PRR passenger whistle, which it would not have had during it working life.

The excursions are 25 minutes and fares are $7.

The current west end of track ends alongside the former Reading Company Lurgan Branch, now part of Norfolk Southern’s New Jersey-to-Atlanta Crescent Corridor.

The excursions pause next to the NS tracks in hopes of seeing an NS train pass by.

No. 643 spent four decades of its working life at Central Iron & Steel Company of Harrisburg (later, Phoenix Iron & Steel).

The 643, which operated as No. 5 at the steel mill, was found inside a building when the mill was dismantled in 1961.

The Williams Grove group purchased it and began restoring it to operating condition.

Williams Grove trains run intermittently with certain exceptions during the year. The schedule can be found at https://www.wghsea.org/

Coming Into Camden

August 25, 2022

Led by a Union Pacific unit, an eastbound Norfolk Southern merchandise train rolls into Camden, Ohio, on the New Castle District in the southwest corner of the state. The train is crossing Barnetts Mill Road on the north edge of town. There is a passing siding here and a westbound was sitting in the siding having been there for several hours awaiting a new crew. The image was made April 2, 2022.

NS Local Switching in Orrville

August 25, 2022

Here are three from Orrville made on Oct. 19, 2021. The Norfolk Southern local that switches Orrville and other locations runs push-pull in order to make the reverse move and to switch industries. NS 6345 and NS 6308 are westbound at the still in-use ex-Pennsylvania Railroad westbound signal at the east end of Orrville. Having pulled into Orrville, the local reverses with NS 5607 on the point as the train heads up the spur to Smucker’s and an industrial park. The two locomotives are being towed up the spur.

Photographs by Robert Farkas