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CSX has responded to the Surface Transportation Board's (STB) request for details on the Class I's new operating plan for the remainder of the year.In a letter to STB Acting Chairwoman Ann Begeman, CSX President and Chief Executive Officer E. Hunter Harrison described the railroad's plan for implementing precision scheduled railroading (PSR) across the CSX network and throughout its organization. Harrison noted that the new system addresses five key "pillars" by improving service, controlling costs, optimizing the use of assets, operating safely and developing employees. "We are intensely focused on maintaining a balanced train network, reducing freight transit time by minimizing crew handlings, and scheduling each car and train in a manner that delivers optimal results for our customers," Harrison wrote.Since it began the PSR process several months ago, CSX's principal efforts to date have included:• balancing the scheduled network. The Class I consolidated inefficient unit trains into the merchandise network, which enabled more opportunities for service seven days a week.• customer service and communication. Over the past three weeks, CSX has placed commercial personnel at "challenged" field locations to improve communications with customers that have expressed concerns.• conversion of hump facilities to flat switching yards. CSX changed its Atlanta, Hamlet, Stanley, Cumberland and Louisville hump facilities into flat switching operations during the first four months of PSR implementation. The change reduced freight handlings and transit time for traffic processed at those terminals. The Class I then converted the operations at Birmingham and Nashville, as well as at Avon. "We have since resumed humping operations in Avon to relieve regional congestion, leaving us with five hump yards," Harrison wrote, adding that the goal is to find the right balance of hump and flat yards to optimize efficiency.• asset utilization enhancements. CSX has been extensively reviewing its assets to meet customer service needs and market demands.• updated metrics. The railroad announced last week a new series of metrics that "more accurately monitor the health and efficiency of our railroad, and hold us accountable for meeting our goals," Harrison's letter stated.Begeman had asked Harrison for the update as part of the STB's ongoing monitoring of CSX after several shippers complained in recent weeks of service interruption and delays as the railroad implements its restructuring plan.On Sept. 12, the STB will hold a "listening session" on the CSX restructuring plan.
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