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Union Pacific Railroad next month will launch a new operating plan that will implement precision scheduled railroading principles.UP's "Unified Plan 2020" will launch Oct. 1 and will be rolled out in phases across the Class I's network. Resulting benefits are expected to help UP achieve its 60 percent operating ratio goal by 2020, on the way to achieving a 55 percent operating ratio, company officials said in a press release."We are not currently meeting customer expectations," said Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Lance Fritz. "Unified Plan 2020 is our path forward to secure our place as the industry leader in safety, service and financial performance."The precision schedule railroading model was hailed most notably by the late E. Hunter Harrison, who was chief executive of CSX Corp. when he died unexpectedly in December 2017. At the time of his death, Harrison had been putting the model into place at CSX. Prior to his work at CSX, Harrison had implemented precision scheduled railroading at CN and at Canadian Pacific when he was chief executive of those Class Is.Key principles being incorporated into UP's 2020 plan include:• shifting the focus of operations from moving trains to moving cars;• minimizing car dwell, car classification events and locomotive power requirements;• utilizing general-purpose trains by blending existing train services; and• balancing train movements to improve the utilization of crews and rail assets.The plan will first be implemented on Union Pacific's eastern North/South corridor, creating more streamlined operations between Wisconsin and Texas.Further rollout will occur in phases, with initial implementation across the entire rail network expected by 2020.UP will communicate with customers before changing existing rail service, company officials said.Tomorrow, UP officials will hold a conference call — to be broadcast live over the internet and via teleconference — at 8 a.m. Eastern time to discuss the new plan.
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