CSXT Adds "Event Recording" Devices
CSXT will begin using "Event Recording" in Detroit, Michigan, the first week of July. Incremental additions will take place across the system until about 1000 units are expected to be operating within a year. The Event Recording device is the Xybernaut handheld, which conductor teams in eight pilot locations tested for flexibility and ease of use. The device captures data, including arrivals, placements, pulls and departures.
CSXI, UP Create "STAX" Container Program
CSX Intermodal and Union Pacific have created a joint container program connecting major North American markets with an initial fleet of 3700 new 53-foot containers. The new program, which will be known as "STAX," will offer shippers competitive transit schedules, the advantage of intermodal pricing, expedited interline transfers, new equipment, service in lanes with the highest demand, and convenient billing. CSXI markets served by the STAX program are Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Jacksonville, New York and Tampa. Markets served by the UP are Chicago, Dallas, Denver, El Paso, Fort Smith (Arkansas), Kansas City, Los Angeles, Memphis, Phoenix, Reno, Salt Lake City and St. Louis. The service began May 15.
Union Pacific Railroad Museum Opens in Iowa
The Union Pacific Railroad Museum officially opened at Council Bluffs, Iowa, on May 10. "We have a long and colorful history that began right here at mile marker zero," said UP chairman Dick Davidson at ceremonies to mark the opening. The museum is housed in the former Carnegie Library which has about 20,000 square feet of space on three levels displaying UP artifacts. This is the third Union Pacific Museum. Its first museum was opened in its Omaha headquarters in 1921. It was relocated to the Western Heritage Museum at the former Omaha Union Station in 1996. The new museum is located at 200 Pearl Street in Council Bluffs. It will be open between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. There is no admission charge.
CSX Reports First-Quarter Earnings
CSX reported first-quarter net earnings of $99-million or 46 cents per share, up from $25-million or 12 cents per share a year ago. Both quarters include the cumulative effect of a non-cash accounting change. Operating income at CSXT and CSXI was $169-million compared to $194-million in the first quarter of 2002, despite strong revenue growth. This was primarily due to increased costs associated with sharp spikes in fuel prices and operating expenses from extraordinarily harsh winter weather.
Amtrak's Crescent has Ridership Gain
For the month of April, ridership on Amtrak's Crescent increased 10.8 percent over the same month last year. This marks the fourth consecutive month of ridership growth for the Crescent. Sleeping car ridership was especially strong with a 20.4 percent increase compared to April 2002.
Amtrak Adds MapQuest to its Website
Amtrak has improved its website to include location-based services provided by MapQuest, the world's leading online mapping, routing and global location-based services company. Passengers may now find the location of, or directions to, any of more than 500 railroad stations across the country at www.amtrak.com.
British Columbia Plans to Privatize BC Rail
The province of British Columbia has announced plans to have a private company take over BC Rail. Under the plan, the rail beds and tracks will remain publicly owned and a private company will assume the costs of improvements. At least five different North American rail systems have expressed an interest in taking over the railroad. BC Rail is Canada's third largest rail system.
Paul Swain Dies
[By Allen Brougham] . . .
Paul M. Swain, CSXT clerk, lead crew caller and interlocking tower operator, died at his home in Ohio on May 2.
He joined the railroad in 1978 after having been an elementary school teacher. He worked as an operator at RG Tower in Philadelphia in the late 1980's prior to moving to Jacksonville, Florida, where he served as a lead crew caller. He returned to Philadelphia briefly in the mid-1990's to once again work at RG Tower, his skills being needed there on a temporary basis because of a shortage in personnel. He then returned to Jacksonville where he resumed his duties as lead crew caller for the then-Baltimore Service Lane.
In 1999 he moved to Washington County, Maryland, where he served as an operator on the extra list which then covered vacancies at West Cumbo, Miller and Hancock, West Virginia. I was serving at Miller Tower at the time, and on one or two occasions he was assigned to my shift to learn the duties of the assignment. As an operator, he knew the train and engine crew members by voice, having served with them as a lead crew caller when he was in Jacksonville. He is remembered by those with whom he worked as a very dedicated and conscientious employee. Crew members still remark that he was always fair and understanding to them and a pleasure to work with.
Miller Tower had a collateral role as caller for clerical personnel, including operators, of four separate extra lists covering vacancies in a three-state area. The job could get ticklish at times, particularly on weekends when filling vacancies became a challenge, as many of the extra operators were then on their rest days. Paul, however, would almost always make himself available to work on overtime, even to the point of calling the tower in advance to say he would work a vacancy if needed. In the meantime, he was awarded an assignment in Ohio, but he was held off from transferring to that location for several months because of an ongoing shortage in personnel on the Miller area's extra list.
Miller Tower closed on September 24, 2000, and I was its last operator. Paul was not working any vacancies that evening, and he graciously accepted my invitation to come to the tower at the end of its final shift for a closing ceremony. There were 25 people in attendance, and Paul was one of three especially chosen to lead the symbolic recessional prior to the locking of the door. This event, and his participation in it, will always have a special place in my heart.
My next assignment - which due to the abolishment of my job at Miller Tower I assumed by displacement - was at Hancock Tower. Paul was the operator I trained with on my first day on the job. He was very meticulous in the training process, a skill he no doubt garnered having at one time been a school teacher. Several days later, he was released to his new assignment in Ohio.
At the time of his death, he was a clerk at Crestline. He was 58.