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Another ONE on the way: CSXT to begin implementing next portion of operational-improving strategy


With its plan to reduce management ranks by 900 complete, CSX Transportation soon will begin implementing the next segment of its cost-cutting strategy. Similar to Norfolk Southern Railway's Thoroughbred Operating Plan, CSXT's ONE Plan centers on redesigning the Class I's network to improve train blocking and schedules, and reduce transit times and terminal handlings.

ONE refers to the "power of one" — moving one less mile or traveling one fewer hour during transit, or conducting one less terminal handling, says CSXT spokesman Gary Sease.

The railroad began developing ONE in late 2003 to address market and network changes that have occurred since CSXT integrated its Conrail share in June 1999.

"Our network design seemed valid at that time, but there have been changes to customers along the network and shippers' needs," says Sease.

CSXT officials evaluated computer models developed by the University of Florida, ACT and other consultants, then hired MultiModal Applied Systems Inc. to develop the ONE Plan's software.

Railroad officials also have been consulting field personnel to ensure the redesigned network "works in reality at all locations," says Sease. "Maybe it wouldn't work in Baltimore, so the plan has to pass workers' 'smell test.'"

So far, the plan's team has developed initial blocking and train plans. CSXT will begin implementing the plan in late June, changing yard assignments and local train service. The team expects to address road service in late 2004.

The ONE Plan will begin achieving cost-cutting results in early 2005, CSXT officials believe. At that time, the plan will be re-evaluated to determine if officials need to tweak the number of train starts or change blocking schemes.

Despite the plan's potential, CSXT officials aren't counting on ONE to be a panacea for all the Class I's recent financial and operational woes.

"We're not overselling the plan to investors or customers — it's not a silver bullet," says Sease. "It's just another building block to help us find ways to improve all the things we do."

Jeff Stagl

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/13/2004