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KCS takes the good with the bad from MCS


Ten weeks after it implemented Management Control System (MCS), Kansas City Southern is beginning to smooth the traffic snags it's experienced since rolling out the computer platform.

But besides creating initial system-wide congestion, MCS now is enabling the railroad to better measure its performance, according to a prepared statement.

Before the MCS cutover, KCS couldn't measure a trip plan on a right car-right train-right day basis; afterwards, MCS measured its system average at 45 percent. By Oct. 1, KCS' right car-right train-right day average was 63 percent — better, but still below the railroad's 80 percent goal.

That's also true of KCS' average terminal-dwell time, which before the cutover was 34 hours but rose as high as 56 hours because of congestion. As of Oct. 1, the railroad's average dwell time dropped to 32 hours but fell short of a 24-hour goal.

Also, the railroad's customer service center received an average of 50 customer-problem calls per day post-MCS because of traffic tie-ups. Now, KCS is back to its pre-MCS 22-call average, and railroad officials believe those calls will decrease as operations continue to improve.

To further boost its performance, KCS plans to hire and train more workers — especially to work on weekends when specific lines become congested — as well as more quickly move trains out of terminals and reduce crew starts.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/4/2002