Posts Tagged ‘Union Pacific’

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.

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.

UP Delays ‘Big Boy’ Tour

April 25, 2022

Union Pacific is citing traffic congestion for postponing a month-long tour through six western states of its 4-8-8-4 “Big Boy” steam locomotive.

The tour had been scheduled to depart Cheyenne, Wyoming, on June 26 and operate through California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

In a statement attributed to Scott Moore, senior vice president-corporate relations and chief administrative officer, UP acknowledged that rail enthusiasts and the communities along the tour route make plans to travel to watch or to host locomotive 4014.

However, Moore said the railroad has “a duty to continue our efforts to reduce supply chain congestion and provide customers the service they deserve; given the impact of a steam tour on our operations that focus must be our priority.”

Once operations have returned to a more normal status, UP said it will provide information about when the “Big Boy” tour will operate. Those plans will be announced at

The “Big Boy” last toured the UP system in 2019. It did not run in 2020 or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

No. 4014 is one of 25 “Big Boy” locomotives built for UP by American Locomotive Company, the first of which was delivered in 1941.

STB Summons Class 1 CEOs to Talk Service Issues

April 8, 2022

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board will conduct public hearings on April 26-27 to discuss what it termed “urgent” service issues facing the nation’s freight rail network.

Regulators ordered high-ranking executives from BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific to appear at the hearings.

Executives of Canadian Pacific, Canadian National and Kansas City Southern were also invited to address regulators.

Also expected to appear are representatives of other railroads, shippers, railroad labor unions, and other interested parties.

In a statement the STB said it has received numerous complaints in recent weeks from shippers and others about “inconsistent and unreliable” freight service.

The STB statement quoted STB Chair Martin Oberman as blaming the service issues on the precision scheduled railroading operating model, an obsessive desire to lower operating ratios and drastic workforce reductions.

“During my time on the Board, I have raised concerns about the primacy Class I railroads have placed on lowering their operating ratios and satisfying their shareholders even at the cost of their customers,” Oberman said. “Part of that strategy has involved cutting their workforce to the bare bones in order to reduce costs.”

Oberman’s statement noted that Class I railroads have collectively reduced their workforce by 29 percent or 45,000 employees.

The statement also said that such key performance metrics as terminal dwell time and average train speed have declined in the past few months.

For their part, the Class 1 railroads have attributed the service issues to crew shortages, which they say are rooted in difficulties they are having in retaining employees in a tight job market.

The railroads have said those issues are also affecting numerous other industries.

In his statement, Oberman said regulators will explore not just how the situation got to where it is but also what can be done to resolve it.

This will include exploring how regulators can use their authority to implement measures to address emergencies, increase transparency, and promote reliable service.

The hearings will be open to the public in person and through the STB’s website.

Those wishing to speak should notify the STB by April 14. Written testimony is optional but should be submitted by April 22.

Heavyweight Cars on Way to Everett Railroad

April 7, 2022

Two heavyweight passenger cars bound for the Everett Railroad in Duncanville, Pennsylvania, were set to be interchanged to Union Pacific on Wednesday to begin their journey from California, Trains magazine reported on its website.

The former Fillmore & Western cars include the Powhatan Café parlor built for the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad; and the Rancho Sespe, a former Colorado & Southern Railway car.

A photo with the story showed the cars loaded on flat cars.

Grain Shippers Complain About Poor Service

March 29, 2022

 A shippers group has written to the U.S. Surface Transportation Board to complain about poor service being offered to grain producers by three Class 1 railroads.

The letter was sent by the National Grain and Feed Association and said crew shortages related to the practice of precision scheduled railroading have led some of its members to shut down flour mills and feed mills.

“At rail origins, NGFA members are unable to purchase grain from farmers because they are full while awaiting loaded trains to be moved out by the railroad,” CEO Michael Seyfert said in the letter addressed to STB Chairman Martin Oberman.

In some cases, the letter said, livestock producers lack alternatives to rail-hauled grain shipments.

The letter contained numerous anecdotes of hardships faced by members of the trade association, including a member having to spend $3 million on alternative transportation to try to keep animals fed for a month.

The three railroads named in the letter were Norfolk Southern, BNSF and Union Pacific.

On NS, grain trains were said to have averaged 53.74 hours of delay at origin with an average of four trains held per day. There were 423 loaded grain hoppers and four empties that did not move for 48 hours or more.

In a statement, NS acknowledged having service issues but insisted it is making progress in alleviating them with a large class of conductors in training and offering hiring bonuses in areas where it has worker shortages during a tight labor market.

The letter can be read at

CSX Named to ‘Most Admired’ List

February 5, 2022

Fortune magazine has named CSX as one of the 333 companies on its annual “World’s Most Admired Companies” list.

CSX was ranked with five other companies in the trucking, transportation and logistics category at No. 6. Also on the list were Union Pacific, Maersk Group, Ryder System, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, and C.H. Robinson Worldwide.

The list was compiled with the help of consulting firm Korn Ferry, which surveyed some 3,700 executives, directors and analysts to rate enterprises in their own industry on nine criteria—from investment value and quality of management and products to social responsibility and ability to attract talent.

The 1,500 companies survived were from the Fortune Global 500 data base with annual revenues of $10 billion or more.

Genset Two for Tuesday

February 1, 2022

I recently saw on a photograph made on Jan. 12, 2022, of two now Sierra Railroad Genset locomotives with the first being former Union Pacific No. 2627. I saw the latter being delivered at Lane Road near Perry on March 13, 2007, on a CSX train. Here are my images from that day.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Amtrak, NS Score Well on Equity Index

January 29, 2022

Amtrak received a rating of 90 percent on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index for 2022.

Union Pacific scored 100 percent and Norfolk Southern received a 75 percent score.

The index is described as a national bench-marking tool on corporate policies, practices and benefits pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees.  It is scored out of 100 with the rating assessing LGBTQ+ workplace equality.

To earn high marks, companies must meet the CEI’s criteria in four categories: Workforce protections of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression; inclusive benefits and health plans; supporting an inclusive culture and corporate social responsibility; and responsible citizenship.

Railroads Create Shipment Information Platform

January 20, 2022

Norfolk Southern and CSX will use supply-chain technology firm Blume Global as a collaborative information platform to coordinate cross-country shipments.

The two Class 1 railroads are joining with Union Pacific in the venture, which Blume said in a news release will use a neutral platform that encourages further collaboration.

The scheduling platform and Blume asset management will track details of shipments and interchange, the companies said, thus creating the ability to catch missing interchange points and improve future deliveries.