CSXT Introduces "Florida Special" Service
CSXT has introduced its "Florida Special" service from the New York area to Florida. Operating from origin Monday through Saturday, the non-stop service offers three-day transit to Jacksonville and five-day transit to Miami.
UP and CSXT Add Philadelphia as "Express Lane" Destination
Union Pacific and CSXT have added Philadelphia as a destination of their "Express Lane" service for perishable goods from the Western United States. Perishable goods shippers may guarantee the transit time of their shipments from the San Joaquin Valley in California, Idaho and selected points in Washington and Oregon to New York City, Boston, Atlanta, central Florida and Philadelphia. Union Pacific and CSXT will reimburse the shipper a portion of the shipping charge if the shipment does not arrive at its destination on time.
BNSF Adds Atlanta to Premium Intermodal Service
Burlington Northern Santa Fe has begun premium intermodal service from Los Angeles and San Bernardino to Atlanta through a haulage agreement with CSX Intermodal. The service, which operates in both directions five days a week, is intended to improve transit times by about half a day.
UP to Speed Chrysler Deliveries with New Subsidiary
Union Pacific has formed a logistics subsidiary - Insight Network Logistics - to speed deliveries of new vehicles for Chrysler. The new subsidiary will manage delivery to dealers throughout North America. Current deliveries average 12 days, and these are expected to decrease to nine days within one year, and to six days within five years.
UP to Increase Capacity at Port Laredo Facility
Union Pacific Railroad is spending $12.3-million this year and $3.5-million in 2002 to increase capacity and improve its Port Laredo, Texas, intermodal and rail yard facility in an effort to meet the continuing growth of rail traffic to and from Mexico, according to a UP report. The project is expected to be completed in 2002. Union Pacific has invested nearly $40-million in the Port Laredo facility since it opened in 1990.
BNSF to Build New Rail Line in Texas
San Jacinto Rail Limited, a partnership comprised of Burlington Northern Santa Fe and shipping affiliates, has announced plans to build an $80-million alternate rail line between Houston and the Bayport Industrial District in Texas. The project, which will compete with Union Pacific, is designed to provide competitive access for plastics and chemical shippers, according to a BNSF report.
NS Opens Intermodal Hub Near Atlanta
Norfolk Southern has opened its new Southeastern Intermodal Hub in Austell, Georgia, near Atlanta. It is designed to speed the flow of containerized freight between the Northeast and Southwest, and between the Northwest and Southeast.
Hotel to be Added to Baltimore's Penn Station
A 72-room hotel will be built inside Baltimore's Pennsylvania Station. Developer James M. Jost & Company of Columbia, Maryland, plans to begin construction next summer to convert second, third and fourth-floor offices into guest rooms. A company formed by the developer will own the hotel and lease the space from Amtrak.
CSX Announces Development of New Auxiliary Power Unit
[CSXT Midweek Report, August 9, 2001]... CSXT has announced the development of a new locomotive operating system. The system is designed to reduce fuel consumption and meet new Environmental Protection Agency limits that will go into effect beginning January 1, 2002. It is estimated that the system will save 8000 gallons of fuel per locomotive per year - a total yearly savings of 25-30 million gallons for the company. The system will incorporate an auxiliary power unit that automatically shuts down the main locomotive idle, while maintaining all vital main engine systems at a greatly reduced level of fuel consumption. In addition, nitrous oxide emissions will be cut by 92 percent while the locomotive is idling. CSXT has joined with International Road and Rail - a Canadian-based company - to manufacture and sell the new systems. The joint venture company, EcoTrans Technologies, will be based in Jacksonville.
Improved Service Displaces Barge
[CSXT Midweek Report, August 16, 2001.]... For the first time, CSX Transportation is transporting corn to Gold Kist, Inc., and Wayne Farms, Inc. - feed mills in Guntersville, Alabama. "The combination of improved velocity and exceptional local service has allowed us to compete with barge services," said senior account manager Ron Kopp. Since beginning the service in early June, CSXT has moved more than 500 carloads of corn that historically have been moved by barge. "As long as we continue to create value for the customers with outstanding service, the business is ours to grow," said Kopp. "Gold Kist and Wayne Farms have both indicated we are meeting that challenge." On July 25, an appreciation cookout was held for the Gadsden and Guntersville crews. "The local crews and management have made it possible for us to prove to the customers that we can compete with barges," said Kopp. "They are truly committed to serving the customers and helping grow the business."
New European Paper Business
[CSXT Midweek Report, August 9, 2001]... When everyone works together the railroad is capable of outstanding responsiveness to customers. For example, a well-coordinated effort to move Italian specialty paper has earned high customer praise as well as the ultimate accolade - more business. "I think we really surprised them with how quickly we responded to the customer's needs and how well we've followed up," said Tom King, manager-port operations. An ocean carrier, Star Shipping; and Paul Buolo, a freight forwarder, chose CSXT boxcar service over containers for some of the Italian-made paper they were shipping to the United States. The first 50 carloads of Burgo paper - used in catalogs and magazines - came through the ports of Savannah and Mobile. These moves went so well that a second shipment is expected at Mobile in September. "The success of this new international business is directly attributable to a strong cross-functional team effort and a high degree of internal communication," said Jim Mitchell, managing director-international sales and marketing. "Our customer coverage on both sides of the Atlantic played a key role in securing this business." Many departments contributed to the success - international sales and marketing, international customer service, risk management, car management, transportation, marketing and technology.
Contingency Plans Keep Baltimore Steel On-Time
[CSXT Midweek Report, August 9, 2001]... Quick response to the Howard Street Tunnel fire by the Baltimore team, the merchandise group and network operations, have earned the praise of Bethlehem Steel. When the fire erupted on July 18, sixty empties bound for the Bethlehem Steel plant at Sparrows Point were caught on the wrong side of the tunnel. But rather than tell the customer that he would simply have to wait, Jim Snyder in merchandise operations initiated planning for a special 90-car train routed over the northern tier and back down to East Baltimore. Among those instrumental in the plan were Mary Hollin in car management, Ray Strickland in service design, and Roy Thigpen in network operations. As a result of their efforts, outbound loads of coil steel were delivered to Bethlehem Steel customers with little delay - and without the additional expense of trucking. "Margins are really tight for our steel customers right now, and incurring additional transportation expense would have hurt," said Darrell Stanyard, director-marketing metals. "Plus, Norfolk Southern was right there waiting to pick up the business if we hadn't been able to deliver." With the empties in place, the Baltimore terminal team provided prompt service for the outbound loads, which produced record revenues over a two-week period despite the tunnel fire disruption. The quick response earned a congratulatory message from the customer to CSXT president Michael Ward.
CSX Finance Charge Begins in October
[CSXT Midweek Report, August 9, 2001]... On October 1, CSX will begin issuing finance charge bills to CSXT and CSX Intermodal customers who do not pay freight bills within credit terms. The standard term is 15 days from the issuance of the freight bill. CSXT's credit agreement, CSXT's 8100 and 8200 (Coal) Accessorial Tariff and the CSXI's Directory have been updated to incorporate this new charge.. "Some customers who have had billing issues in the past have expressed concern about the program, but the majority recognize the importance of paying on time," said David Boor, CSX vice president and treasurer. Boor added that since the program was announced in May, there has been a significant increase in the number of customers signing up for CSXT's electronic fund transfer payment program. This program allows CSX and its customers to simplify and streamline the payment process by automatically applying payments from a customer's account to CSX. "Reducing the outstanding accounts receivables pipeline enables us to realize significant improvements in available working capital," Swor said. The finance charge will be applied at an annual rate of 12 percent, or 0.0329 percent per day for each day a bill is paid beyond credit terms.
CSXT Slow Orders Near All-Time Low
[CSXT Midweek Report, August 23, 2001]... Slow orders are declining rapidly thanks to intensive inspections, thorough maintenance work and increased track spending. Slow orders, which require trains to travel at less than the posted speed limits, affect service by slowing train velocity. Tom Schmidt, vice president-engineering, said slow orders are at 240 miles - down from a high of 360 in 1999 - and closing in on a record. "It looks as if in the next six to eight months, we can be the best we've ever been," said Schmidt. Slow orders are sometimes required to ensure safety on line segments where work is ongoing or has just been completed, or where track maintenance is required. Slow orders are seasonal, with low numbers in winter months, higher numbers in spring and peak numbers in summer. However, this year, slow orders have been declining since April. To assure quality track work, Schmidt said SMART-equipped cars that measure bumps and jolts are running over certain key corridors. The SMART devices are located on Amtrak's Auto Train and Tropicana's orange juice unit trains. "Through close cooperation with network operations and the regions we are accelerating the progress in running a better and more fluid railroad," said Schmidt.
Flooding Hits West Virginia Mainline Again
[CSXT Midweek Report, August 2, 2001]... Three weeks after devastating floods hit southern West Virginia and took out a 35-mile segment of CSXT's mainline, Mother Nature was at it again. Heavy rain has continued to plague the state, and more flooding occurred on July 23, again damaging the mainline between Sewell and Cotton Mill. This time, the damage was far less, said Jim Kasprzycki, assistant chief engineer-maintenance of way. "There's really no comparison with what we had to deal with after the flooding on July 8," Kasprzycki said. "We had three minor areas of mud slides and one minor washout this time." Still, the damage closed one of the two mainlines, though service was restored late Monday, July 24.. Work continued on permanent repairs to the July 8 damage, and the latest flooding was not expected to delay completion more than a day or two. The earlier flooding closed the double-track main from Handley, east of Charleston, to Quinnimont. Engineering forces working around the clock had service restored in a little more than four days.
Mineral Team Cements New Deal
[CSXT Midweek Report, August 2, 2001]... Bill Flynn, senior vice president-merchandise service group, challenged the minerals team to start taking trucks off the road by working with BNSF and UP on short-haul Midwest business. When account manager Charlie Steele got a call for emergency shipments of cement from Mobile to Nebraska, he realized it fit Flynn's push for growth but would not be easy. CSXT would need to dedicate 30 percent of its cement fleet to an off-line move that might only last for two months. In the past, CSXT had to pass up opportunities like this due to a lack of car availability. Commercial representatives met with car management to see if a plan could be developed that would meet the customer's needs. Erin Laguio, market manager; Mike Darragh, managing director-minerals; Chris Lanham, assistant manager-fleet operations; Angie Nicely, director-fleet management; Bill Wittekind, senior account manager; and Steele got together and brainstormed ideas.. Lanham remembered that cement customers have used limestone cars in the past, so 100 surplus limestone cars were immediately sent to the cement shippers. Meanwhile, Darragh and Wittekind convinced cement shippers to use surplus jumbo covered hoppers to handle the remaining tonnage. This joint effort between the commercial and car management departments resulted in $600,000 additional revenue in just six weeks, with more anticipated.
CSXT, Ford Dedicate O'Bannon Rail Yard Expansion
[CSXT Midweek Report, August 2, 2001]... The assembly lines have been humming at Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant in O'Bannon, just outside Louisville. In fact, production of the popular F-series pickup trucks and the Expedition sport utility vehicle has more than doubled over the past five years. Rail cars handled at O'Bannon increased from 11,181 in 1995 to 30,533 in 2000. So CSXT's Automotive Service Group and the Midwest Region went to work to find ways to better handle inbound parts and outbound finished vehicles. The results: a $10-million expansion of the O'Bannon rail capacity and rail car spots, giving CSXT the ability to do all loading during daylight hours and enhancing safety and damage prevention. On July 24, CSXT and Ford dedicated the new rail facilities with a ceremony. "These rail improvements are crucial to the business we handle for Ford," said Andy Strok, vice president-Automotive Service Group. "This is a partnership in every sense of the word." Ed Martin, who heads up the Kentucky Truck Plant, agreed. "By working together, we maintain Ford's focus on quality products for the driving public." John Williams, vice president-Midwest Region, attended the ceremony along with other leaders in CSXT's operations and automotive groups. CSXT also serves Ford's nearby Louisville Assembly Plant.
CSXT Introduces New Dwell Computation
[CSXT Midweek Report, August 9, 2001]... Next Tuesday (August 13) CSXT's service measurements group will introduce a new dwell computation that enhances the ability to understand what is happening to cars as they spend time in yards and terminals. "Terminal car dwell has been the standard measurement for many years, but the way it was produced created questions," said Jeff Stephenson, assistant vice president-service measurements. "The key benefit to the new dwell computation is that we will be able easily to view what the cars did as they accumulated dwell. By dividing dwell into categories, we will be able to conduct detailed analysis not previously possible." Chris Weide, director-systems development, and the rest of the service measurements group, spent more than two years refining this measurement. Don Zureich, vice president-yards and terminals, and the terminal team then validated the concept with the field.
Speed Increase on CSXT's Pittsburgh Subdivision
[By Oscar Manheim]... "Speed changes" on the railroad occur on a daily basis. Almost always, the change lowers a "maximum authorized speed" of a track due to various undesirable conditions that may affect the safe movement of trains. With speed restrictions being the norm, feelings of progress and relief come about when a restriction is lifted; and even more so when a "permanent" restriction is lifted. It is worthy of note when such a permanent change for the better occurs. On August 10, at high noon, things on a small stretch of CSX's Pittsburgh Subdivision (the ex Pittsburgh and Lake Erie RR) got a little faster.
For many years, a 20 MPH permanent speed restriction existed on track two between MP PLE 3.6 (McKees Rocks) and MP PLE 5.7 (Neville Island), Pennsylvania. The restriction was imposed by the existence of a non-electrically locked switch on the main track...a rule book restriction, not a conditional one. It was for that reason that parallel tracks one and two had different speeds through the same locale: 20 and 40 respectively. As time went on, the switch itself was removed from track two; however, the speed restriction remained in effect for years after its removal. On a daily basis, trains were "sentenced" to track two, the "slow" track, only to have the dispatcher's choice determine which trains would spend a longer period of time on the Pittsburgh Sub.
But it wasn't just a matter of losing time. Fuel efficiency was also directly affected as eastbound trains using track two accelerated from 30 to 40 MPH leaving Coraopolis, reduced to 20 shortly afterward (about 3 miles) at Neville, then accelerated once again up to 30 out of McKees Rocks. Alternately, trains using track one needed only accelerate once leaving Coraopolis, maintain 40 through Neville Island, then ease down slightly into the 30 at McKees Rocks.
On the lighter side, George W. Bush's campaign special had traversed track two on its way west out of Pittsburgh last year. Supposedly, aides asked the operating crew if there was a problem or if the train was preparing to stop. No, they said, that's just the top speed of the track. One can wonder if this affected Bush's opinion on rail travel to any degree.
Late July into early August 2001 saw quite a large undertaking on track two in that area...major undercutting and drainage work took place, as well as the dumping and spreading of two full trainloads of new ballast. Work trains were dispatched and gangs labored long hours as all traffic was diverted to track one during the working days. Track two was made to equal its parallel brother in about three weeks' time.
Effective August 10, 2001, at noon, track two between McKees Rocks and Neville Island had its 20 MPH restriction lifted and trains were allowed to run at their "maximum authorized speed" of 40 MPH. Progress on the P&LE had been made.
CSXT Train Fire in Baltimore Tunnel - An Update
Chemical from derailment may have caused explosions 3 weeks later...
SATURDAY, AUGUST 11, 2001.. At approximately 6AM, there was an explosion within an underground sewer at the intersection of Pratt and Light streets at Harborplace in downtown Baltimore, causing a 300-pound manhole cover to fly about four feet into the air. Two additional explosions followed in short order. There were no injuries. It was soon determined by analysis that the source of the explosions was tripropylene - a heavier-than-air chemical that floats on water - which had somehow found its way into the city's sewer system. There were three more explosions at about 5PM the same day.. Tripropylene, which has a very low flash point, is one of the type of chemicals that had leached from a railroad tank car in the July 18 CSXT derailment and fire in the Howard Street Tunnel. It had rained August 10, the day before the explosions - officially 64/100 of an inch - and this was the first substantial rainfall since the July 18 tunnel accident. It was theorized that the chemical from the derailment may have remained dormant within the sewer system until the rain runoff caused it to course its way to the site of the explosions. Initially, officials from the city's department of public works dismissed this theory by advising that the runoff system from the Howard Street Tunnel was separate from the city's storm drain system. But on Sunday, August 12, the day following the explosions, CSX officials reported that its engineering records reveal that the two systems do in fact conjoin at a point about 600 to 700 feet south of the intersection of Howard and Lombard streets. The Howard and Lombard intersection was the point within the tunnel below the intersection that the July 18 derailment had occurred, about four blocks upstream from the site of the August 11 explosions.. As part of the cleanup effort following removal of cars from the tunnel in July, soil tests conducted at the site of the derailment revealed no trace of the substance.. Meanwhile, city firefighters had responded to several complaints about noxious fumes in the Harborplace area prior to the August 11 explosions, but had found no dangerous readings.. Puzzling, too, was that literally millions of gallons of water - both from the fire-fighting effort and the runoff from the breached water main at the site of the derailment - had gone through presumably the same sewer system continuously for several days following the July 18 accident. Still, it could not be ruled out that the chemical causing the August 11 explosion was the same chemical that had leaked from the tank car.. Following the explosions, city crews, working through the night, used a boom and absorbent pads to contain and collect about 1000 gallons of the chemical from the sewer system.
AS OF TUESDAY, AUGUST 14, CSX says it will install two monitoring wells within the base of the tunnel - one at the site below Howard and Lombard streets, and one at the south end of the tunnel - to determine if the chemical could have originated from within the tunnel and to search for any remaining residue. An earlier proposal to pump fluorescent die into the system was scrapped because "it would have been too complicated to replicate the tunnel fire scenario," according to city officials. Additionally, a pure sample of the chemical from within the leaking tank car will be matched with a sample taken following the August 11 explosions to see if the samples indicate a definite match.. Meanwhile, it has been reported that another manhole cover at the intersection of Pratt and Light streets, site of the explosions, had popped loose the previous evening (August 10) damaging a passing car. Authorities are uncertain if this event is related to the August 11 explosions, and they reported no evidence of toxicity following that particular incident. The driver of the car, however, reportedly said that he smelled something unusual immediately afterward.
AS OF WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15, it was reported that the city had revised its estimate of the amount of tripropylene that had been recovered from the sewer system to 2200 gallons. Previously it had been said that 1000 gallons had been recovered. According to press reports, the tank car that ruptured in the July 18 derailment originally contained 18,000 gallons of the chemical. Much of this had burned off in the five-day fire; it being assumed at the time that all that had escaped from the car had been consumed by the fire.. Meanwhile, city officials continue to insist that their records show no interconnection between the water runoff system within the Howard Street Tunnel and the city's storm drain system, in spite of the railroad's records that the systems do join each other about 600 to 700 feet south of the intersection of Howard and Lombard streets. It was noted, however, that the city's piping maps are very old. Additionally, a "culvert" that CSX says lies beneath the tunnel's roadbed does not appear on the city's plans either. In the event the systems do not connect - as city records seem to indicate - there is a theory that the affected systems may be corroded and that the chemicals may have leached from one system into the other. Public works officials plan to put a television camera into the Pratt Street sewer line to seek an answer as to how the chemical may have entered the pipe, and to look for any broken sections.. While suspicion mounts that the chemical causing the August 11 explosions is residue from the derailment, this is not a foregone conclusion. It could have come from someplace else. But 2200 gallons is a lot of chemical to suddenly appear in the sewer, and a public works official was quoted as saying that it would be "a heck of a coincidence" if that amount of tripropylene were to have come from an unrelated spill.. As part of its ongoing investigation, city workers throughout the day removed manhole covers along the length of the suspected trail of the chemical's flow in search of further residue. Later in the day, officials reported some more tripropylene - "a very small amount" - was removed from two conduits near the scene of the August 11 explosions.. It might require further rainstorms to completely flush the system, presumably with additional testing for chemicals after each storm.
AS OF FRIDAY, AUGUST 17, city public works officials report that they ran a video camera through the pipe beneath the Howard Street Tunnel and they found the pipe to be in "very good condition." The officials added that "normal groundwater infiltration" was found at the joints, and they say tripropylene "could have entered there," according to a news report.
THE TRAIN INVOLVED IN THE ACCIDENT ON JULY 18 was L41216.. CSXT reopened the Howard Street Tunnel to train traffic, on a limited basis, on July 24, with mostly-regular schedules resuming on July 27. About 30 trains normally use the tunnel each day, according to CSXT.. As to the intersection of Howard and Lombard streets, it remains closed to traffic following the water main break of July 18. The water main has been repaired, but substantial work remains to rebuild the street. This is expected to continue until about Labor Day.. Meanwhile, the National Transportation Safety Board is conducting metallurgical analysis of sections of the affected rail and water main in an effort to determine probable cause of the derailment. While it had been initially assumed that the water main had broken as a result of the derailment, it has not been ruled out that the water main might have broken first, causing the derailment to happen.