Michael Ward Elected President of CSX
Michael Ward has been elected president of CSX Corporation. He had held the post of president of CSX Transportation since December 2000. Prior to that, he was executive vice president of operations and rail network performance. He began his career with the former Chessie System in Baltimore in 1977. He replaces John Snow as president of CSX, who remains chairman and chief executive officer.
CSX Reports Second-Quarter Earnings
CSX Corporation announced second-quarter earnings showing net income of $135-million or 63 cents per share, up 24 percent from $108-million or 51 cents per share for the same period last year. Total revenues were $2.07-billion versus $2.06-billion in 2001. Rail and intermodal operating income totaled $293-million compared with $242-million in the second quarter of 2001. Results included approximately $11-million in operating income from net settlements of contract disputes, which had a positive impact on net income of $7-million or three cents per share in the quarter.
New York State Reforms Railroad Tax Assessment System
A New York State property assessment system that hampered railroad improvements has been rolled back. CSXT had sought the reform, saying that while only seven percent of its tracks were in New York, 31 percent of property taxes paid by the company went to that state. The legislation phases in the tax reduction over seven years, provides a 10-year exemption on newly constructed and renovated rail properties, and provides up to $70-million over 10 years to help compensate towns and school districts for lost tax revenues.
Retired CSXT Line in Tennessee to Become Trail
The Southeast Local Development Corporation has agreed to acquire CSXT's 43.5-mile rail line between Etowah and Copperhill, Tennessee, for recreational trail use and "rail banking." CSXT had sought permission to abandon the line, known as the Etowah Old Line Subdivision, in 2001.
NS Increases Dividend
Norfolk Southern has increased its quarterly dividend on its common stock by one penny, to seven cents per share.
Pennsylvania Grants Funds for Rail-Freight Projects
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has announced more than $3-million in grants for rail-freight assistance for 24 projects on behalf of shortline and regional railroads. The projects are expected to create more than 1300 new jobs across the state.
Amtrak's Capitol Limited Derails in Maryland
Amtrak's eastbound Capitol Limited derailed in Kensington, Maryland, on July 29. The train had just left its scheduled stop at Rockville, was traveling at about 60 miles per hour, and would have arrived at its Washington destination about 20 minutes later. All of the passenger cars derailed - tilted or on their sides. There were reportedly 173 people on the train, 97 being injured, six seriously. There was no fire. The weather at the time of the accident was mostly clear with temperature in the upper 90's, and high humidity. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the train's engineer reported seeing a misaligned rail about five seconds before reaching the spot where the accident occurred.
John Goff Retires
[By Allen Brougham] . . .
John Vincent Goff, veteran B&O/CSXT interlocking tower operator, retired on June 28, his 60th birthday. At the time of his retirement, he was the first-shift operator at WB Tower in Brunswick, Maryland, a post he had served for a number of years.
A native of Manheim, West Virginia, near Rowlesburg, he moved with his family to Maryland in 1959. He graduated from Frederick High School in 1961 and worked a year for a cement company before going to Atlanta, Georgia, to attend telegraphy school. There he learned to use Morse code as well as general knowledge of the duties of a railroad agent. Although he had an uncle who worked as an operator for the B&O, it was a spontaneous decision by John to work for a railroad. In fact, he did not even know at the time that his uncle was a railroader.
Upon completion of his telegraphy course, which had a duration of about three months, he applied and was accepted by the B&O in Baltimore. It was then that he was told that attending the school was not necessary; in fact, he never even got to use the Morse code he had learned.
John's first day on the railroad, in August 1962, was on-the-job training (called 'posting') with the agent at Lime Kiln, Maryland. From there, and for the next three years, he worked as an extra agent at numerous freight and passenger agencies in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. When asked, he could recount 23 agencies in which he had served, but admitted that there may have been more.
His first job in a tower, about three years later, was at WB Tower, where he worked the 'UN' side, a second position at that location when there were still two operators working in the office simultaneously. Later he worked at JD Tower in Hyattsville, Maryland, and at QN Tower in Washington, D.C., before being awarded a regular position back at WB Tower.
Meanwhile, in the early 1970's, John accepted a position as extra train dispatcher at Camden Station, which lasted about a year. He was also an extra yardmaster in Brunswick for a couple of years before he relinquished his turn and went back to being an operator full time.
John says that he thoroughly enjoyed his career with the railroad and the challenges that he faced, and he would do it all again if given the chance to repeat it.
John is a licensed evangelist with the Jesus New Covenant Church, and he has followed his calling for a number of years through preaching sessions in jails and nursing homes. In retirement, he wants to expand his ministry, and he is thinking of being a missionary.
(More) Biking Through History
[By Allen Brougham] . . .
As reported in the July issue on the thrills and camaraderie of the Northern Central Railroad Trail's Wednesday evening biking adventures, there was still more to come. Since that date (June 19) I have been a regular participant - missing but one outing (for which I had a good excuse; I was preparing for mailing the July issue of the Bull Sheet). This, then, will get things up to date on four of the adventures that followed:
July 3 was without doubt the worst of a sultry, sticky, downright miserable day for doing anything out of doors (much less biking). The temperature that day reached a high of 99 degrees in Sparks (the origin point), with unbearable humidity and a code red alert for air quality. I pondered even attending at all, but I called the park office and they said that the trip had not been canceled, so I set about to make the coming encounter as pleasant as possible. I bought some cooling pads which folks can use to relieve headaches, etc. (they were of no help at all), and an ice collar that can be cooled in the freezer ahead of time and then wrapped around the neck (it helped a little). But as things developed, a simple hand towel was all that was needed, and speedy movement along the shaded trail kept enough air circulating to make the ride refreshing in spite of the conditions.
July 3 at Sparks
Eleven participants met at Sparks for the trip to White Hall. But we were delayed by the presence of a video crew from Maryland Public Television who were using the occasion to tape some footage about the trail for an upcoming episode called "Outdoors Maryland." They asked us to stage our departure from Sparks by looking straight ahead (not at the camera), and then we had to wait about 10 minutes while they interviewed Brenda, our leader (twice, because they messed up the first one). You know how those TV people are; they do things on their own agenda.
Once Brenda caught back up to us (by now we were at Glencoe), she gave us some history of the place (at one time was the site of a tourist resort and is also the home of Oldfields School). A number of communities along the Northern Central line were at one time destinations for folks from the city who went there by train for rest and relaxation at hotels to escape the heat and enjoy the fresh country air. Farmers in the area sometimes rented rooms for this purpose as well.
Next we stopped at Corbett, a quiet community (much more so now than it was when it served as a local rail center) where we were welcomed by a local cat (somewhat chubby) which reputedly welcomes all who care to stop in Corbett for more than a minute. This was followed by a stop in Monkton (where I had lived ages 5-18), and Brenda gave us a lesson on the heritage of My Lady's Manor, of which Monkton is a part.
At our destination of White Hall the agenda called for a stop at a local snowball stand, but it had closed for the day. So no snowballs this time, and we returned non-stop to Sparks, arriving just before dark.
July 10 was a day more suited for biking, and there were about 20 in attendance. The event began at Monkton; we entered the 104-year-old train station (now a trail visitor center) where we were shown displays, artifacts and photos. Then it was on to White Hall, arriving before closing time at the snowball stand, and we were greeted by some geese which roam the lawn behind the stand and by some of the owners' family of kittens and a dog.
July 10 at Monkton
Stopping next at Parkton (once a busy railroad facility and northern terminal of the famed Parkton Local), Brenda told us some more history. She recounted a story she had heard of a local Civil War era undertaker who so proudly practiced the new art of embalming that he kept his first embalmed corpse in his house for several months - until the health department came and insisted that he make a burial. Well, that's the story, anyway.
Next we went on to our destination of Bentley Springs. This was a stop on the railroad that was created by a local resort owner who demonstrated his need for train service by building its station. The railroad complied by making it a stop, and folks from the city came here (as they did to a number of other towns along the line, as previously mentioned) to enjoy the pleasures of being in the country. We then returned non-stop to Monkton, a trip that took us about 50 minutes.
On July 17 we went from White Hall to Freeland. Brenda, as a park naturalist, was more within her realm on this particular outing (not to be too repetitive on history dialogues) as she devoted most of her initial lecture time to the habitat of the beaver. She passed around a beaver skull and a chewed-upon example of a beaver's handiwork. Later we stopped at a recently felled tree (a red oak) next to the trail not far from a dam the critters had been making. The beaver population in the area is on the increase, I'm told. Brenda explained that beavers absolutely must chew wood to keep their teeth in shape, lest their teeth will become so large that they will be unable to eat.
At Bentley Springs, Brenda explained that the sycamore tree (plentiful in the area) is actually the largest tree by volume in North America. Historically, early settlers found some sycamore trees so huge that they could carve out the trunk for use as a temporary family home while a more livable dwelling could be built. To demonstrate the circumference of a not-uncommon sycamore in the early eastern woodland, nine of us stood in a circle at arm's length to form a circumference of about 48 feet. It is told, too, that at one time a squirrel could travel from the Atlantic Coast to the Mississippi River without ever having to touch the ground.
On our return trip back to White Hall, non-stop and all downhill, I was having such a wonderful time enjoying the fruits of brisk travel upon the trail until a rather cataclysmic event near the end when my bike light fell off. Oops! I stopped to retrieve the pieces, and found all of the parts except for the crystal. (I've since gotten another light.)
July 24 was one of those iffy days - not too hot but with a forecast maybe of rain. I called the park office and was told that the event was still on, and I duly met ahead of time at Freeland for a repeat of the trip we had made to Glen Rock on June 19. I was met by Brenda (I being the first guest to arrive) and she gave me the disturbing news that the event had to be canceled. Oh, no! She had already gone through two storms while driving to the site from her home in Kingsville, and she had heard thunder off in the distance after she arrived in Freeland. But as others arrived, seven of us decided to go it alone, sans Brenda, although we tried to convince her to join us unofficially. So off we went, observing basically the same itinerary those of us who had attended the June 19 event remembered, I volunteering to give some of the historical input along the way. We made it to Glen Rock and back, a duration of two hours... and there was no rain.
Working at Miller Tower (once again)
[By Allen Brougham] . . .
It was much as it was in days of old - you know, in the days before retirement - as I got a chance to "work" a shift at good old Miller Tower.
I never really cared for first-shift. But that was the only shift available on this particular day.
The occasion was the Fourth Annual Rail Day at the Martinsburg Roundhouse on July 20. My assignment was to staff the table next to Miller Tower - still in pieces following its move from Cherry Run, West Virginia, in February 2001.
The good folks at the Martinsburg Roundhouse acquired Miller Tower (which closed in September 2000, shortly before I retired) to become a display near the entrance to the roundhouse compound. Plans are to restore the building to its look of the mid-1950's, with its interlocking plant to be made functional for use in educational programs.
A tentative site has been selected for the tower, but progress to move and restore the building will have to await the routing of a new entry road to serve the compound. This may take another year or two. Still, the prospect of being needed to staff the tower with operating levers looms somewhere on the horizon. Now that is really something to look forward to.
Special appreciation goes to Darren Reynolds, who joined me (as he did last year as well) to staff the Miller Tower table on this occasion.
Harry Dahlin Dies
Harry Dahlin, retired B&O tower operator and agent, died on July 11 at the age of 93. Originally from Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, he worked for a number of railroads, including the Soo Line and the Milwaukee Road, before joining the B&O in 1938. With the B&O he worked at a number of interlocking towers, including WB Tower in Brunswick, Maryland, and agent-operator positions along the Shenandoah Subdivision, before he retired in 1974. His home was in Frederick, Maryland, until about a year ago, when he moved to Port Charlotte, Florida.
Executive Changes at CSXT and CSXI
[CSXT Midweek Report, July 11, 2002]... Clarence Gooden was named this week as CSXT's senior vice president-merchandise service group, and Alan P. Blumenfeld was named president of CSX Intermodal. Gooden replaces Bill Flynn, who is leaving CSX for a position as CEO of a freight logistics company in California. "Bill Flynn has been a great contributor to our company, and we wish him the best of success on his return to the international trade arena," said Mike Giftos, executive vice president- sales and marketing. "CSX is fortunate to have gifted, experienced, customer-focused executives like Clarence and Alan ready to step up and put their mark on these key areas of our business." Gooden was most recently president, CSX Intermodal, following his years of experience in CSXT network and transportation field operations and the coal service group. Blumenfeld was most recently senior vice president of e-business. His previous experience includes management positions in large manufacturing firms, including General Electric, as well as a previous position in CSX Technology.
CSX Pours on the Juice for the Tropicana Train
[CSXT Midweek Report, July 3, 2002]... CSX has a happy customer in Tropicana, according to recent service performance measurements. Train K650, the popular Juice Train running between Florida and Jersey City five days a week, is arriving 96.3 percent on time in 2002, compared with 82 percent in 2001 and 40 percent in 2000. "Tropicana loves us," said CSXT customer service account manager Jerry Beverage. "Operations people all along the line of road know this is a high visibility train and give it a very high priority to keep it moving on time." Efficient rail service to its two distribution centers in Jersey City and Cincinnati is crucial for this CSXT customer. Tropicana guarantees its own customers that it will have its juice to warehouses 97 percent on time, Beverage said. On-time delivery makes good business sense for CSXT, with over 200 cars a week moving to Jersey City and about 90 to Cincinnati. "With this level of service reliability, this volume will continue to grow," Beverage said. "This is a tremendous accomplishment." The achievement is particularly impressive considering that the trains make the 1200-mile trip in less than 48 hours to Jersey City, and 1100 miles in less than 53 hours to Cincinnati.
CSX Chairman Applauds Business Reforms
[CSXT Midweek Report, July 11, 2002]... In a series of nationally televised interviews on Tuesday [July 9], CSX chairman and CEO John Snow applauded President Bush's crackdown on corporate scandals. "The President did something that's very important," Snow told CNBC. "He returned to the fundamentals of the situation with his call for ethical and moral behavior. After all, that's the foundation for the integrity of the system." Snow also spoke about the critical role of the Conference Board Commission on Public Trust and Private Enterprise that he co-chairs with former U.S. Commerce secretary Pete Peterson. The commission will create higher standards for corporate integrity. "We hope these guidelines would then be widely adhered to by institutions, by money fund managers, by pension fund managers, and by corporate America itself," Snow told CNNfn. Snow, a member and former chairman of the Business Roundtable, also appeared on CNN's Lou Dobbs Moneyline. "I hope we can do basically what the President called on corporate America to do: To reassert the fundamental responsibilities of everybody who's involved in the drama of corporate capitalism, to respond to that call-to-arms that the President gave us to return to the ethical moorings of capitalism." While pointing out that the vast majority of business people are ethical and law abiding, "misconduct on the part of a small number of companies is far-reaching."
CSXT Improves Steel Transit Times
[CSXT Midweek Report, June 21, 2002]... CSXT sits in the middle of a three-way contract with American Cast Iron Pipe Company and Nucor Steel as the railroad supplies coiled steel from Nucor to maintain pipe production levels at ACIPCO. CSXT recently scored performance wins for both customers. Inbound, the coiled steel from Nucor moves from Berkeley, South Carolina, to Birmingham, Alabama. In turn, ACIPCO ships steel and other types of pipe to various customers, including three main depots in Michigan, Minnesota and Florida. Inbound, from Nucor to ACIPCO, CSX has achieved an average 6.2-day transit time since December, versus the scheduled time of 8.6 days. Outbound, ACIPCO's own measurement shows that switching moves were made 95 percent of the time within a four-hour window over the past several months.
Analysts Take CSXT Train Trip
[CSXT Midweek Report, July 3, 2002]... CSX played host for a business presentation and overnight rail trip for members of the investment community last week. More than 40 financial analysts, including some of CSX's largest shareholders, joined CSXT's senior managers for the informational tour of CSX facilities from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia and the shared assets area of New Jersey. Presentations were made to the group on topics ranging from CSX's vision and core values to safety and commercial business. The analysts also observed the installation of concrete ties outside Pittsburgh and operations at a CSX Intermodal facility in South Kearny, New Jersey, and a Transflo terminal in Elizabeth, New Jersey. "We arranged this trip to give analysts a better perspective on the real workings of the railroad," said Fredrik Eliasson, managing director- investor relations. "Although many of those who attended are extremely knowledgeable about the financial aspects of the rail business, they rarely get the opportunity to meet rail employees face to face and see them involved in the conduct of their daily responsibilities. They were impressed by our safety culture and the pride that CSX employees display."
Holiday Brings Major Track Project
[CSXT Midweek Report, July 11, 2002]... While much of the nation slowed down to celebrate the Fourth of July, dozens of CSX employees were busy completing a major turnout installation project on the Midwest Region. About 85 track, bridge and train control employees safely replaced 31 switches at yards in Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio; Louisville, Kentucky; Nashville and Whiteside, Tennessee. The project, which is part of the region's overall maintenance plan, normally would take up to a month to complete. It wasn't the first time the region has taken advantage of holiday slowdowns to do engineering projects. Last year, engineering employees tackled projects on Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.. "The holiday helps reduce the amount of traffic we must work around and, in turn, minimizes interference to our operations," said Ken Johnson, chief engineer for the Midwest Region. "So we're getting the work done faster, cheaper and we're significantly reducing the impact that the new construction has on customer service."
Grafton Hosts Historic Weekend with CSX Twist
[CSXT Midweek Report, July 11, 2002]... Grafton-area CSX employees were key players in a weekend-long celebration of the 150th anniversary of the B&O's arrival in the town. On July 4, they welcomed 1000 area residents for an open house. Then they turned to even bigger events on July 5, when they played host to Al Crown, CSXT's executive vice president- transportation, West Virginia Governor Bob Wise, Congressman Alan Mollohan, and Mayor Jeff Tansill for ceremonies dedicating their new terminal building in Crown's name and a new GE CW44AC locomotive, "The Spirit of Grafton." Crown, who held various posts with CSX and its predecessors in West Virginia, was also granted the keys to the city of Grafton and was named an honorary citizen of the Mountain State by Governor Wise.
Palmer Yard Construction Planned
[CSXT Midweek Report, July 18, 2002]... Construction could start later this summer on the proposed $6.2-million Palmer Yard, northeast of Atlanta and near Lawrenceville, Georgia. Atlanta Division general manager Bob Frulla says the yard is critical to continued business growth on the busy Atlanta-Athens line. This modest yard - five tracks and a 10,000-foot passing siding, all on 10 acres - would enable the Atlanta Division and its commercial and industrial development representatives to again recruit and locate industries on the line. Construction of the 240-car capacity yard would help reduce the time local crossings are blocked by switching moves. Industry switching on the main line - often disrupting the more than 30 through trains a day on the Atlanta-Athens corridor - would no longer be necessary. Construction would take 18 months. Winning public support for the proposed yard involved an extensive community relations outreach, said Craig Camuso, resident vice president- state relations for Georgia. The City of Auburn, Georgia, originally opposed the facility, and some residents established a group called CARE - Citizens Against Rail Expansion. CARE faced off against CSXT earlier this year before the Georgia Public Service Commission. The hearing focused on a disputed property transaction. But the hearing actually was a starting place for improved communications. District project engineer Tom Maloch and project engineer Rick Boehle modified the plan to respond to concerns voiced by the residents. Meanwhile, Camuso organized a recent community open house to discuss a wide range of issues including safety and security. District superintendent Tommy Bullock told residents that Palmer Yard would mean that main line switching would be eliminated and result in fewer blocked crossings.
Thanks for publishing a first class newsletter. I always enjoy reading the very interesting articles and other bits of information in each edition. I am happy to see that you have continued the publication even after your "retirement."
The last active tower in Columbus, LM Cabin (CSX)/Scioto (CR/NS), continues to remain in service. Over the past year, there has been lot of discussion regarding the fate of the structure. NS and CSX are currently in the process of upgrading the signals, switches and track configuration in the territory which the operator controls. The original plan was that once everything was complete that the tower would close. However, NS has reportedly backed out of this agreement and wants to keep the tower staffed.
My educated guess is that NS is concerned that any excessive delays of their trains will cause their lines to get backed up and cause problems further down the line. Traffic on the former CR lines which NS now operates has increased somewhat since the merger. There is little room east of the tower to hold trains for opposing movements, and west of the tower if trains get backed up it will keep trains from being able to depart Buckeye Yard. Having local control of everything will keep this from happening.
As part of the upgrade of the area, the tower is supposed to receive a computer control terminal console similar to what was installed at F Tower in Fostoria. Whether someone locally will be running it or not is still the $64 question.
Speaking of F Tower, the old ENtry-EXit board now resides at the Marion Union Station in Marion, Ohio, and is currently being restored.
Keep up the good work!
Good-Bye to an Old Friend!
[By Allen Brougham] . . .
The mighty Wye Oak has fallen. The massive tree, known as the largest white oak in the nation, toppled in a storm on June 6.
My first visit to the tree was as a kid. I do not remember the purpose of our visit to the area - perhaps it was a vacation trip to Ocean City, or when I accompanied my dad on a business trip to Tilghman Island - but I do remember that visit as surely as I remember my final one.
I was impressed with its tremendous trunk, its huge branches, and its network of support cables to balance its awesome weight.
Estimated to be about 460 years old - or a birth upon the land about a century before Europeans came to Maryland - the tree's trunk had a 31-foot circumference and stood to a height of about 100 feet.
I kept in touch with the Wye Oak through the years. Whenever an Oakleigh Tours bus trip (which I directed) passed through the area, we would always make a brief stop - to pay the tree "homage." As we would leave from the stop, I would say to the passengers: "I sincerely hope that everyone on this bus is in as good a shape as that tree is now when you reach the age of 460."
The last time Oakleigh Tours paid homage to the Wye Oak was a trip to Tangier Island, Virginia, in May 2001.
But I did get one more opportunity to visit the tree. The occasion was April 21 of this year. It was the trip to Harrington, Delaware, with my friend Darren Reynolds, to visit the restored interlocking tower, as reported in the June issue. You will remember that I said then that we had visited lighthouses along the way. Not mentioned was that we had also paid homage to the Wye Oak. I suppose this slight was reflective of my belief that the Wye Oak was timeless - indeed, it had already outlived more than a few lighthouses, and more than a few interlocking towers as well!
The white oak as a species is the official Maryland State Tree; the Wye Oak was its premier symbol. Marylanders were uniformly saddened by the loss of this tree. Its wood was cut up and has been stored in a warehouse pending a decision on what to do with it. In the meantime, several clones have been created, and one of them will rise upon the same spot. Life must go on... and it shall!