Surface Transportation Board getting involved with the CSX/ Hunter Harrison Fiasco

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 2:31 PM

Euclid
I do not know whether Harrison’s accusation is true, but I think he made a big mistake by not explaining who he was referring to and what they did. 

His mistake is thinking he knew more about running CSX from his experiences at CP, CN and IC and without taking any time to learn what made CSX operate, back when it WAS OPERATING.   The situation CSX is in now PREVENTS any understanding of the operation.

When you caught only a glimpse of

and you transformed it into

it is difficult to figure out what is necessary to get back to the original and improve upon it.

 

         

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Posted by tree68 on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 2:32 PM

cx500
We don't know, since Harrison did not specify.  He himself probably doesn't "know" but since the railroad is a mess it must be someone other than Himself.

As I noted on another thread, it's my opinion that EHH is simply a figurehead.  There are others poring over the books, looking for ways to make money for the gamblers - er - stockholders.

As such, I doubt he's the one making the pronouncements and calling for cuts/closures.  It's his handlers that are making those decisions.

Trying to deflect blame is an age-old tactic.  It's less likely to work today, given social media, etc, which allows an almost instantaneous pushback, instead of having to wait for the next news cycle.

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 3:38 PM

EHH took the CSX from a nice workable F350 that needed a tune up and some other minor work to a Model T that needs a new set of Rings has a broken rear end gear and also had a hole in the radiatior.  

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Posted by jeffhergert on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 5:19 PM

Some have noted that EHH seems to want a railroad where traffic levels are the same day in/day out.  A "conveyor belt" operation with just enough physical plant and rolling stock to meet that type of operation.  (I've read that EHH supposedly once said, when at CN, that he could make twice the money on half the traffic.)  To get there, some business that he currently has may need to go.  Maybe this is just part of the long range plan.  Let service deteriorate and drive off that business.  What remains will be rail dependent and captive to CSX.  

The problem with whatever happens to CSX ultimately can affect the rest of the industry.  Surely some of the business that switched to trucks was interline.  A car loaded on CSX may have gone to one of the other class ones or a short line.  

Many CSX customers have complained to the STB about the lousy service.  Nothing surprising there.  Besides complaining you can expect some will push congress to legislate some form of open access.  (The one coal company that complained about CSX said as much.)  If that happens, it will be industry wide.  EHH's actions at CSX may hurt the rest of us long after he's gone.

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Posted by Norm48327 on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 6:07 PM

tree68

 

 
cx500
We don't know, since Harrison did not specify.  He himself probably doesn't "know" but since the railroad is a mess it must be someone other than Himself.

 

As I noted on another thread, it's my opinion that EHH is simply a figurehead.  There are others poring over the books, looking for ways to make money for the gamblers - er - stockholders.

As such, I doubt he's the one making the pronouncements and calling for cuts/closures.  It's his handlers that are making those decisions.

Trying to deflect blame is an age-old tactic.  It's less likely to work today, given social media, etc, which allows an almost instantaneous pushback, instead of having to wait for the next news cycle.

 

 

Larry,

I think your observation may be 'spot on'. Harrison was hired by Hilal to accomplish a task and he is working at that. The mission as I see it is not to make CSX a better railroad but it is to increase the stock price so the investors benefit; all else be damned in the name of profits for the investors.

I'm of the belief Harrison has met his match. CSX is nothing like the railroads he has dealt with in the past and his slashing everything he sees as money losing  will result in CSX forefiting a lot of business that may be marginal but still profitable. I have said it previously but CSX is not a straight line railroad that will accomodate scheduled arrival and departure  *** the airlines have. Harrison has a lot of branches to deal with that don't fit into his schedule. If he thinks the coal loadouts will comply with his decree they should work 24/7 including Sundays he needs an awakening.

The railroads run24/7. Is Harrison's brain on board with that? i have my doubts.IMO he is beig used as a tool by Hilal.

Norm


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Posted by Ulrich on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 7:52 PM

Hmm.. so if I torch MY business and/or run it into the ground I as the sole owner and investor stand to benefit? The value of the 50 shares that constitute all the outstanding shares in my business will go up? Wow.. I may be richer than I thought!

If only that were true.. but.. in reality the shareholders have a vested interest in seeing the business succeed. True, some shareholders want immediate returns, and when that doesn't happen they sell their shares and go somewhere else, leaving the business in the hands of the long term interested shareholders. The shareholders are not the enemy, they own the business and want it to succeed because (and I know this may be hard to believe) there's no money in owning a burned out shell of a business that isn't making any money! 

Harrison may or may not succeed at CSX.. yes..CSX is more complex than CN or CP is given its route structure, but Rome wasn't built in a day. How long has he been on the job now? A few months.. It was never going to be a straight shot to the top anyway.. these things take time. 

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 9:00 PM

Ulrich

Hmm.. so if I torch MY business and/or run it into the ground I as the sole owner and investor stand to benefit? The value of the 50 shares that constitute all the outstanding shares in my business will go up? Wow.. I may be richer than I thought!

If only that were true.. but.. in reality the shareholders have a vested interest in seeing the business succeed. True, some shareholders want immediate returns, and when that doesn't happen they sell their shares and go somewhere else, leaving the business in the hands of the long term interested shareholders. The shareholders are not the enemy, they own the business and want it to succeed because (and I know this may be hard to believe) there's no money in owning a burned out shell of a business that isn't making any money! 

Harrison may or may not succeed at CSX.. yes..CSX is more complex than CN or CP is given its route structure, but Rome wasn't built in a day. How long has he been on the job now? A few months.. It was never going to be a straight shot to the top anyway.. these things take time. 

Hilal wants suck as much money as he can out of CSX coffers and he wants it now - as soon as he thinks he sees the bottom of the treasury - he will sell, all the while trumpeting how good the shell of CSX is for the marks he has lined up to buy Mantle Ridges shares of CSX - classic pump and dump!

         

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Posted by tree68 on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 9:05 PM

BaltACD
Hilal wants suck as much money as he can out of CSX coffers and he wants it now - as soon as he thinks he sees the bottom of the treasury - he will sell, all the while trumpeting how good the shell of CSX is for the marks he has lined up to buy Mantle Ridges shares of CSX - classic pump and dump!

This.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 9:15 PM

Have absolutely no idea what is going on but ---

The A&WP sub suddenly has almost no traffic today except for a few BNSF haulage and one manifest with a bunch of intermodals in the consist.  If any one has info pass it on to all of us.

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Posted by Euclid on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 9:33 PM

BaltACD
Hilal wants suck as much money as he can out of CSX coffers and he wants it now - as soon as he thinks he sees the bottom of the treasury - he will sell, all the while trumpeting how good the shell of CSX is for the marks he has lined up to buy Mantle Ridges shares of CSX - classic pump and dump!

How exactly does that work?  How does Hilal suck money out of CSX by tying up the railroad, driving shippers away, and destroying the business?

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 9:40 PM

Euclid
 
BaltACD
Hilal wants suck as much money as he can out of CSX coffers and he wants it now - as soon as he thinks he sees the bottom of the treasury - he will sell, all the while trumpeting how good the shell of CSX is for the marks he has lined up to buy Mantle Ridges shares of CSX - classic pump and dump! 

How exactly does that work?  How does Hilal suck money out of CSX by tying up the railroad, driving shippers away, and destroying the business?

Sharp pencil work on the books - kick all the cash out in dividends - sell out before the rest of the marks discover they have been taken and only have the shell of the company left.  Classic corporate con.

         

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Posted by schlimm on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 9:45 PM

Gee, the last I looked, EHH's former railroads are all still in business and very prosperous in spite of all the 'end of the world' lamentations voiced back then, mostly by employees.

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Posted by Ulrich on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 9:49 PM

schlimm

Gee, the last I looked, EHH's former railroads are all still in business and very prosperous in spite of all the 'end of the world' lamentations voiced back then, mostly by employees.

 

Yeah.. good point!  

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Posted by Ulrich on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 9:56 PM

Euclid

 

 
BaltACD
Hilal wants suck as much money as he can out of CSX coffers and he wants it now - as soon as he thinks he sees the bottom of the treasury - he will sell, all the while trumpeting how good the shell of CSX is for the marks he has lined up to buy Mantle Ridges shares of CSX - classic pump and dump!

 

How exactly does that work?  How does Hilal suck money out of CSX by tying up the railroad, driving shippers away, and destroying the business?

 

 

It's really very simple: you pump up the stock by attracting more investors to buy in. And you do that by orchestrating massive chaos to make it look as if no one knows what they're doing. It's a well known fact that chaos, drifting management, angry employees, and fleeing customers ATTRACT longterm investors who drive up the price of the stock. And then when things go half way back to normal, you sell it!   Quick!! before anyone else notices that the business is back on an even keel. 

 

Come on now, if it was YOUR money.. would you rather invest it in a calm boring business with steady dividends and growth (YAAAAAWWWWNNN).. or would you prefer a caldron of anger, ineptitude, and absolute chaos? There you go..

 

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Posted by Euclid on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 10:44 PM

Ah.  The classic "Pump and Dump."

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Posted by PNWRMNM on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 10:51 PM

Ulrich

 

It's really very simple: you pump up the stock by attracting more investors to buy in. And you do that by orchestrating massive chaos to make it look as if no one knows what they're doing. It's a well known fact that chaos, drifting management, angry employees, and fleeing customers ATTRACT longterm investors who drive up the price of the stock. And then when things go half way back to normal, you sell it!   Quick!! before anyone else notices that the business is back on an even keel.

Ulrich,

I made a mistake in the extent of what I quoted of you, which I now see is satire as your story above is totally backwards.

For those of you who belive the quote above, and it seems that at least some of you do, please look at a year duration stock price chart of CSX as you read the following.

Mantle Ridge determined that CSX was under valued and bought roughly 5% of the stock. Then they ran up the stock price up by about 1/3 by announcing that Mr. Fixit, EHH would take over and straighten CSX out. Having EHH's payments approved by the stockholders, they could have sold out and taken nice profits, a classic "pump and dump". I have no idea whether they did or not.

For the sake of discussion, assume they believed their own PR, always a bad idea, and held their position. The current operational mess at CSX will show in third quarter earnings. The institutional investors, who in my opinion overbought on the EHH story, are generally smart guys and gals and know the operational mess is a bad thing. Stock price is now trending down, but is still above pre EHH announcement levels.

Wrecking the railroad works only if Mantle sold out on the EHH bounce and is now shorting CSX stock. The bounce only happened because investors believed EHH would improve CSX earnings. Mantle had to believe in EHH going into this, just look at his record of improving earnings, which has been outstanding. That investors believed in EHH is self evident.

The facts on the ground today indicate that earnings will take a big hit third quarter. Only if EHH fixes the railroad operationally can he improve earnings which in turn will support a higher stock price. The question is how long the stockholders and the Board will support EHH, hoping for good operational news, in the face of the current mess.

Your guess about that is as good as mine.

Mac McCulloch

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, August 09, 2017 5:46 AM

Here is how I see it.  HH was good for IC, where he learned his "system," applicable to CN and CP because of really simple rout structures; but his is just not applicable to CSX (or to NS, either), which is a much much more comlicated system to organize and operate.  So he made the same mistake that UP made when swallowing SP.  Fire all who know the ropes and bring in a bunch of geniuses who haven't a clue about the special requirements of the territories served.

After HH leaves, some people who are willing to learn will join some who know and some who will return; and in six months CSX  will be back in good shape.   Just like UP recovered.

The other possiblity.  HH will learn that his "system" just is not applicable to CSX, which by the nature of its territory, route structure, and market, must be more demand responsive than CP and CN.  Like a short-line or regional railroad must be very very demand responsive.

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Posted by Euclid on Wednesday, August 09, 2017 7:49 AM

PNWRMNM
 
Ulrich

 

It's really very simple: you pump up the stock by attracting more investors to buy in. And you do that by orchestrating massive chaos to make it look as if no one knows what they're doing. It's a well known fact that chaos, drifting management, angry employees, and fleeing customers ATTRACT longterm investors who drive up the price of the stock. And then when things go half way back to normal, you sell it!   Quick!! before anyone else notices that the business is back on an even keel.

 

 

Ulrich,

I made a mistake in the extent of what I quoted of you, which I now see is satire as your story above is totally backwards.

For those of you who belive the quote above, and it seems that at least some of you do, please look at a year duration stock price chart of CSX as you read the following. 

I understand that Ulrich was using satire to offset the argument that EHH is destroying CSX as a way to plunder its wealth, but that does seem to be very widely believed by the anti-EHH faction.  That is why I asked BaltACD to elaborate on how the plundering is possible. 

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Posted by Ulrich on Wednesday, August 09, 2017 7:51 AM

PNWRMNM

 

 
Ulrich

 

It's really very simple: you pump up the stock by attracting more investors to buy in. And you do that by orchestrating massive chaos to make it look as if no one knows what they're doing. It's a well known fact that chaos, drifting management, angry employees, and fleeing customers ATTRACT longterm investors who drive up the price of the stock. And then when things go half way back to normal, you sell it!   Quick!! before anyone else notices that the business is back on an even keel.

 

 

Ulrich,

I made a mistake in the extent of what I quoted of you, which I now see is satire as your story above is totally backwards.

Mac McCulloch

 

 

Yes Mac.. some late night satire from a tired brain. Who knows what tonight bodes.. maybe some CSX poetry. Someone may have to pay me not to. 

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Posted by Norm48327 on Wednesday, August 09, 2017 8:05 AM

Ulrich
Yes Mac.. some late night satire from a tired brain. Who knows what tonight bodes.. maybe some CSX poetry. Someone may have to pay me not to.

Ulrich,

The check is in the mail. Wink

Norm


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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, August 10, 2017 7:10 AM

         

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Friday, August 11, 2017 5:24 PM

Need some observations.  Here the A&WP sub appears to still have less general traffic than  before the changes.  A further note the BNSF haulage trains seem to be much fewer.  Does anyone know or have seen if some of the BNSF haulage trains are going on NS Birmingham - Atanta ? 

The past few days CSX has not blocked Howell interlocking as much to the Crescent's  19 & 20.  But 19 & 20 are taking more delays BHM <> ATL  on  NS.  That is why wondering if some BNSF traffic on NS ? 

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Saturday, August 12, 2017 10:57 AM

Paul_D_North_Jr
Paul_D_North_Jr
Go look at the Railroad Performance Measures webpage for CSX:

http://www.railroadpm.org/home/RPM/Performance%20Reports/CSX.aspx 

Without breaking out the calculator, here's what I see: 

Total Cars On-Line up about 4% in the last month, and from 3Q16. 

Train Speed down across the board, except Grain Unit - and Multilevel no longer reported.  For All Trains, from 20.8 MPH in 3Q16 and 21.5 in June steadily down to 19.2 MPH for the w/e 7/21.  From 3Q16, that's an 8% decrease in speed. 

Terminal Dwell for Entire Railroad up from 25.7 hrs. in 3Q16 to 28.0 last week = up about 9%.  

All this may look like "Precision Scheduled Railroading" to EHH, but not to me.  These metrics are all headed in the wrong direction, by significant amounts, and for several weeks in a row.  The 3Q results will be telling, but best compared year-over-year since there are 2 holiday weeks in the 3Q, but only 1 in the 2Q. 

- PDN. 

Based on the W/E 7/28 data, the downward spiral for CSX - compared to itself, not others - continues from the previous week: 

http://www.railroadpm.org/home/RPM/Performance%20Reports/CSX.aspx 

Cars On Line - 218,057, up about 1.0% (215,869) 

Train Speed (MPH) - 18.7, down from 19.2 (-2.6%)

Terminal Dwell (Hrs.) - 29.3 Hrs., up from 28.0 (+4.6%) 

As I said a week ago above: These metrics are all headed in the wrong direction, by significant amounts, and for several weeks in a row.  

- PDN.  

 

W/E 8/4 data - not much overall change from last week - no worse, but no better either.

Cars On Line - 218,128 (same - was 218,057) 

Train Speed (MPH) - 18.7 (same - was 18.7) Within that, Intermodal slowed from 26.5 to 25.9 (-2.3%), but Coal Unit speeds increased (!) from 16.0 to 17.0, and Grain Unit from 14.7 to 17.1.  

Terminal Dwell (Hrs.) - 29.4 Hrs. (up slightly from 29.3)  A mixed bag - some 3 to 5 hrs. better, others 3 to 5 hrs. worse - but Nashville, TN is still the worst, up from 66.5 to 71.9 hrs. = 3 days !!

- PDN. 

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Posted by jsanchez on Sunday, August 13, 2017 12:50 AM

schlimm

Gee, the last I looked, EHH's former railroads are all still in business and very prosperous in spite of all the 'end of the world' lamentations voiced back then, mostly by employees.

 

The current CEO of Canadian Pacific is having to spend a lot of time undoing the mess Hunter left behind. This article kind of sugar coats things.Thankfully even the beloved Beaver Logo is being brought back! http://www.reuters.com/article/us-cp-strategy-idUSKBN1851BA

James Sanchez

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 3:43 PM

While I don't particularly like the source of this article - its reporting rings true to what I am seeing and hearing from my still working contacts

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/08/10/csxr-s08.html

 

The Baltimore and Florence Division Dispatchers are being relocated to Jacksonville effective Sept. 1.  The company has yet to initiate any relocation negotiations for the employees affected.  'Get there the best way you can or be history!' is the tact the company is taking.  Home?  The company doesn't care that you now have to do 'something' with the biggest investment a young family has ever made - on their own in a short time frame.  [sarcasem]A real way to build company loyality. [/sarcasm]

         

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Posted by SD70M-2Dude on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 4:11 PM

BaltACD

While I don't particularly like the source of this article - its reporting rings true to what I am seeing and hearing from my still working contacts

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/08/10/csxr-s08.html

Backtracking a little bit, this quote from the article provides some pretty good evidence as to who is truly responsible for the congestion and service failures at CSX:

"A railroad worker writes on the railroaders’ blog, “CSX Sucks,” that at first, employees were added to the crews at their hump yard and the amount of freight processed initially rose, becoming second highest in the system. “After a time, though, you all fired all our managers, cut jobs, piled the freight in (1,000 cars every 8 hours,) and expected us to move it with half the manpower. After it was all said and done, we were told we were failures and we would be shut off.

He continued, “Men are constantly threatened, with their jobs on the line. We are told to switch cars like back in the 1950's when injury/fatality rates were high and it is just a matter of time before we have a headline injury or fatality. Men are getting cussed up one side and down the other, and shown no absolute professionalism in the least little way.""

This same story happened while EHH was at CN and CP.  It took until last year for CN to truly start recovering in several locations, and CP still has a long way to go.

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 4:25 PM

         

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Saturday, August 19, 2017 11:07 AM

Paul_D_North_Jr
Paul_D_North_Jr
Paul_D_North_Jr
Go look at the Railroad Performance Measures webpage for CSX:

http://www.railroadpm.org/home/RPM/Performance%20Reports/CSX.aspx 

Without breaking out the calculator, here's what I see: 

Total Cars On-Line up about 4% in the last month, and from 3Q16. 

Train Speed down across the board, except Grain Unit - and Multilevel no longer reported.  For All Trains, from 20.8 MPH in 3Q16 and 21.5 in June steadily down to 19.2 MPH for the w/e 7/21.  From 3Q16, that's an 8% decrease in speed. 

Terminal Dwell for Entire Railroad up from 25.7 hrs. in 3Q16 to 28.0 last week = up about 9%.  

All this may look like "Precision Scheduled Railroading" to EHH, but not to me.  These metrics are all headed in the wrong direction, by significant amounts, and for several weeks in a row.  The 3Q results will be telling, but best compared year-over-year since there are 2 holiday weeks in the 3Q, but only 1 in the 2Q. 

- PDN. 

Based on the W/E 7/28 data, the downward spiral for CSX - compared to itself, not others - continues from the previous week: 

http://www.railroadpm.org/home/RPM/Performance%20Reports/CSX.aspx 

Cars On Line - 218,057, up about 1.0% (215,869) 

Train Speed (MPH) - 18.7, down from 19.2 (-2.6%)

Terminal Dwell (Hrs.) - 29.3 Hrs., up from 28.0 (+4.6%) 

As I said a week ago above: These metrics are all headed in the wrong direction, by significant amounts, and for several weeks in a row.  

- PDN.  

Cars On Line - 218,128 (same - was 218,057) 

Train Speed (MPH) - 18.7 (same - was 18.7) Within that, Intermodal slowed from 26.5 to 25.9 (-2.3%), but Coal Unit speeds increased (!) from 16.0 to 17.0, and Grain Unit from 14.7 to 17.1.  

Terminal Dwell (Hrs.) - 29.4 Hrs. (up slightly from 29.3)  A mixed bag - some 3 to 5 hrs. better, others 3 to 5 hrs. worse - but Nashville, TN is still the worst, up from 66.5 to 71.9 hrs. = 3 days !!

- PDN. 

For W/E 8/11:

http://www.railroadpm.org/home/RPM/Performance%20Reports/CSX.aspx 

Cars On-Line - down a few (278). 

Train Speed - down from 18.7 to 18.4 MPH - 1.6% in just 1 week, this is not good !!

Terminal Dwell- up from 29.4 to 29.5 hrs. 

- PDN. 

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Posted by Norm48327 on Saturday, August 19, 2017 6:47 PM

BaltACD

While I don't particularly like the source of this article - its reporting rings true to what I am seeing and hearing from my still working contacts

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/08/10/csxr-s08.html

 

The Baltimore and Florence Division Dispatchers are being relocated to Jacksonville effective Sept. 1.  The company has yet to initiate any relocation negotiations for the employees affected.  'Get there the best way you can or be history!' is the tact the company is taking.  Home?  The company doesn't care that you now have to do 'something' with the biggest investment a young family has ever made - on their own in a short time frame.  [sarcasem]A real way to build company loyality. [/sarcasm]

Chuck,

What you say rings true. I recall when Harrison took over CN. He made it plain then that employees should be afraid of losing their jobs for the slightest infraction.  At both CN and CP someone had to clean up the mess he left those roads in. Keith Creel is still busy doing that.

Bringing in his supporters from CN emphaises to CSX emphasises his desire to please Paul Hilal only empathises his endeavor to raise stock prices so he can cash in and retire in a grand style and leave his heirs wealthy.  IMO, Harrison has foregone running a railroad in favor of personal gain. IMO, it is pure unadulteraded greed.

While he did good things at CN his performance since is questionable. IMO he will leave CSX in shambles and blame it on the employees.

Norm


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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, August 19, 2017 6:57 PM

CSX, if he left this minute, is already in shambles.

         

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

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