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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Class Is share fall peak action plans with the STB


Per the Surface Transportation Board’s (STB) June 16 request, the Class Is have outlined their preparation plans for the fall peak. Yesterday, the board released letters from six Class Is that responded to STB Chairman Roger Nober’s call for details on how the large roads will handle the peak shipping season.

“These responses will help freight customers, railroad stakeholders and policy makers better understand what we can expect during this critical period,” said Nober in a prepared statement. “Last year, meeting the fall peak shipping demand was a challenge for our entire freight transportation system, and the Class I railroads’ fall peak submissions to our agency helped carriers focus on meeting service demands during that period.”

To date, the board hasn’t received letters from Canadian Pacific Railway or the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association. Of the Class Is that did respond:
BNSF Railway Co. officials stated the railroad this year will double its 2004 capital plan to $450 million, acquire 285 new locomotives and 6,500 rail cars, complete 100 miles of double track between Avard, Okla., and Amarillo, Texas, hire 2,500 workers and extend train length 5 percent;
Canadian National Railway Co. officials said the railroad’s trip compliance averages 94 percent, capital spending on infrastructure and rolling stock will total more than $800 million this year, and efforts last year to re-route traffic away from Chicago are paying off;
CSX Transportation officials stressed the road’s plan to improve fluidity by optimizing the ONE Plan and integrating locomotive power into the plan, improve grade crossing safety, expand crew availability and improve crew utilization, “instill leadership and initiative” among field managers, and continue to simplify the intermodal network to improve service and increase capacity in key lanes;
Kansas City Southern officials outlined how KCS, The Texas Mexican Railway Co. and TFM S.A. de C.V. are working together to improve locomotive utilization, and said KCS has hired 15 percent more train and engine-service workers than last year, and will install 21 miles of new and secondhand rail, and 280,000 mainline ties, and replace 35 turnouts;
Norfolk Southern Corp. officials stated the road is reviewing its Thoroughbred Operating Plan to ensure NS has sufficient capacity for the current business mix and volume, and projected growth, acquiring 137 locomotives on short-term leases for the peak, hiring 2,400 conductors and 706 locomotive engineers, and repairing 30 percent more rail cars compared with last year; and
Union Pacific Railroad officials said the road is implementing the Unified Plan to improve velocity by reducing mainline “work events” 10 percent to 15 percent and terminal switching, 3 percent to 6 percent, redesigning its automotive services and intermodal network to increase capacity, applying Toyota Corp.’s lean management techniques to improve operations and spending $2.8 billion this year — UP’s largest-ever capital investment plan.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/19/2005