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10/2/2003



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Service: Performance initiatives help NS register reliability gains


Norfolk Southern Railway has increased service consistency and reliability since implementing Thoroughbred Operating Plan in 2001 and Local Operating Plan Adherence (LOPA) in April, according to NS' monthly newsletter.

Through LOPA, NS plans and measures local switching at origin and destination terminals. Service is monitored through the railroad's Thoroughbred Yard Enterprise System (TYES).

When a work order is executed through TYES, any service exceptions and reasons for variations are noted in a separate computerized report. Centralized Yard Operations (CYO) staff members review exception reports daily and address service problems immediately, NS said. Field transportation employees also closely monitor service-performance data until a shipment reaches a customer's dock.

"We have a very accurate picture of our service performance through LOPA," said Tommy Williamson, NS manager of CYO Dearborn and a member of the LOPA implementation group. "You see every service failure and the reason for the failure, [so] we can work with our field transportation people to respond to our customers much more quickly and fix the problem."

NS also has been able to determine whether the railroad or customer caused the problem, said CYO Director Brad Fitzgerald.

"We have a more accurate customer database that helps us continuously improve our service," he said.



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