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7/25/2001



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

CPR relies on Genesis to grow — and speed — intermodal business


Canadian Pacific Railway July 25 announced that the Class I has sustained 99 percent on-time performance with transcontinental east/west intermodal trains since May 1, when the railroad introduced its Genesis train operating method.
CPR in late 1999 launched Genesis, designed as a way to improve service reliability by enabling long, heavy trains to bypass intermediate terminals. Under a recent Genesis refinement, CPR sets scheduled trip plans to keep intermodal trains on time; once freight's delivered, the railroad more quickly places cars and locomotives back in service.
"We're proving that reducing expenses and improving customer service aren't mutually exclusive concepts," said Rob Ritchie, CPR president and chief executive officer, in a prepared statement. "From virtually day one, our on-time performance vaulted and stayed up."
Genesis' first phase solely focuses on intermodal trains; CPR by month end plans to expand Genesis to other train types.
CSXT officials believe new computer applications are a key to its improved on-time performance. The applications enable CPR to produce trip plans for individual shipments and provide an open shipment window across the railway. The applications also help deliver trip plans to yard managers, identifying tasks needed to complete each trip on time.
Also beneficial to Genesis was CPR's capital investment between 1997 and 1999, when the railroad acquired a fleet of high-performance locomotives (enabling the railroad to pull long intermodal trains with two engines) and larger rail cars; built new, and expanded intermodal terminals; modernized rail yards to speed freight flows; expanded track capacity; and implemented information technology.
"We've retired older, less-reliable locomotives and freight cars that're more costly to use," said Ritchie. "CPR now has a smaller but more productive asset base, and with Genesis, we're making these assets sweat."
Intermodal traffic now generates 23 percent of CPR's total revenue — its fastest growing business segment. The railroad later this year plans to expand by 55 percent the capacity of Vaughan Intermodal Facility near Toronto, enabling the terminal to handle 350,000 containers annually.


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