Is NS in the ditch?

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Is NS in the ditch?
Posted by oltmannd on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 6:09 PM

NS's deteriorating performance measures have reach a pretty low point this week.  Train speed is at 18.1. 

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

 

 

The lowest month in the winter of 2014/15 was 19.3.

http://www.nscorp.com/content/dam/nscorp/get-to-know-ns/investor-relations/performance-measures/monthly-performance-reports/2015_NS_Monthly_AAR_Performance.pdf

 

System dwell is now at 29.5.  Worst month in 2014/15 was 30.1 hrs.

Anecdotally, I was out on the RR at Austell GA last weekend.  The Atlanta Terminal area was completely congested.  There were merchandise trains three days old sitting in sidings (FWIW, trains that have more than 3 days running time between any two points in their schedule are filtered out of the train speed calculation as "bad data" - and most of it is...and data is still "apples to apples".)  Trains were running into and out of the terminal nose to tail doing a low speed conga line.

I don't know exactly what's going on or what has been going on specifically, but it's clear the railroad on the south end has not run right since the "Chattanooga plan" went into effect.  I suspect the current mess has run the RR out of crews in spots since the big push of the past couple years to drop OR fast has relegated some of the "lessons learned" in 2014/15 mess to the scrap heap.

There have been lots of distractions in the past couple months to keep the spotlight off NS's performance numbers.  That can't go on forever.  NS better get it's act together or it will only be fueling the reregulation gang's narritive.

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by Mookie on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 6:24 PM

Mr. B... you would make this Nebraskan very happy if you took a closer look at this.  Injury on aisle 8 - could be roadkill in the offing....

Call me a cockeyed optimist....

She who has no signature! cinscocom-tmw

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Posted by oltmannd on Friday, February 09, 2018 6:52 AM

No signs anything has gotten any better.  7 of 13 sidings between Austell (just west of Altanta) and Birmingham are full with dead trains or car this morning.  There has been trackwork outages on the line, but this is unusual for even for that. Things are not good.

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by Mookie on Friday, February 09, 2018 7:38 AM

I am starting to sound cryptic like Der Chicken.  I do so want BNSF to pick up the option on NS.  I know 100% disagree with me, but something way deep in the brain is saying, this is possible if they would just do it.  

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Friday, February 09, 2018 7:58 AM

Mookie

I am starting to sound cryptic like Der Chicken.  I do so want BNSF to pick up the option on NS.  I know 100% disagree with me, but something way deep in the brain is saying, this is possible if they would just do it.  

 

But would the locomotives be orange or black? Or orange and black?  (Imagine Halloween icon here.)

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Posted by caldreamer on Friday, February 09, 2018 8:05 AM

the STB is going to want to know what is going on and what they are going to do to fix the mess.  The BIG STICK is coming out of the closet.

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Posted by Mookie on Friday, February 09, 2018 8:48 AM

Murphy Siding
But would the locomotives be orange or black? Or orange and black?

I threw out all the orange in my crayon box.  No orange is allowed on locomotives.  Keep the black/white accent/horse and BNSFNS tucked in there somewhere.

She who has no signature! cinscocom-tmw

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Posted by Eastrail11 on Friday, February 09, 2018 9:11 AM
BNSF= Buy Norfolk Southern FAST!!! BNSF also could mean Burlington Norfolk Southern Fe... any works I guess
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Posted by tree68 on Friday, February 09, 2018 10:20 AM

Mookie
I threw out all the orange in my crayon box.

I had a girlfriend like that once.  So what did I send her from Hawaii?  Bird of Paradise flowers.  They're orange.

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Posted by Mookie on Friday, February 09, 2018 11:28 AM

tree68
I had a girlfriend like that once

Once?  Past due now?

She who has no signature! cinscocom-tmw

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Friday, February 09, 2018 11:48 AM

Every company has ups and downs. Why is it that when a Class 1 railroad hits some rough times we always assume that there's a merger in their future? Over the last dozen years or so, has NS's and for that matter all the Class 1's business had more ups or more downs?

ps. I've bever had an orange girlfriend. Should that make me blue?

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, February 09, 2018 12:01 PM

Murphy Siding
Every company has ups and downs. Why is it that when a Class 1 railroad hits some rough times we always assume that there's a merger in their future? Over the last dozen years or so, has NS's and for that matter all the Class 1's business had more ups or more downs?


ps. I've bever had an orange girlfriend. Should that make me blue?

Rough times are one thing.  Self mutiliation is something else.  NS troubles are self inflicted.  Just as CSX's problems were self inflicted by the BoD thinking EHH had the answer and installing him and his successors to tie the company up in operational knots.

         

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Posted by LithoniaOperator on Friday, February 09, 2018 1:21 PM

oltmannd, are those idle trains in sidings sitting there with the power still attached?

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Posted by Paul of Covington on Friday, February 09, 2018 2:22 PM

   Could it be that NS is swamped by increased traffic?   Refugees from CSX?

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Posted by Convicted One on Friday, February 09, 2018 7:15 PM

Mookie
Keep the black/white accent/horse and BNSFNS tucked in there somewhere.

 

How about "Norfolk and Western"?

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Posted by rdamon on Monday, February 12, 2018 3:32 PM

Burlington Southern

 

Bring back the green!!!

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Posted by Mookie on Monday, February 12, 2018 4:28 PM

We need something that doesn't sound like all the old, no longer railroads.  

BNSF & Son?  

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Monday, February 12, 2018 4:54 PM

Northern Santa & Southern. That'll keep 'em guessing. Expect a train at any time- from any direction.


My elderly bosses didn't like the change to BNSF. "Bin-siff? What the hell's a Bin-siff?" Maybe they just didn't like change as they had always referred to it as The Great Northern.

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Posted by Paul of Covington on Monday, February 12, 2018 9:07 PM

Murphy Siding
"Bin-siff? What the hell's a Bin-siff?"

    Nope, I pronounce it "Bun-suff".

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Posted by Paul of Covington on Monday, February 12, 2018 9:09 PM

Convicted One
How about "Norfolk and Western"?

   I'll vote for that.   Especially if they bring back all steam.

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Posted by Deggesty on Monday, February 12, 2018 9:21 PM

Convicted One

 

 
Mookie
Keep the black/white accent/horse and BNSFNS tucked in there somewhere.

 

 

How about "Norfolk and Western"?

 

Norfolk and Everywhere West.

Johnny

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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, February 12, 2018 9:44 PM

Deggesty
 
Convicted One
 
Mookie
Keep the black/white accent/horse and BNSFNS tucked in there somewhere. 

How about "Norfolk and Western"? 

Norfolk and Everywhere West.

Reporting Mark - NEW

         

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Posted by Mookie on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 3:59 AM

BaltACD
Rough times are one thing.  Self mutiliation is something else.  NS troubles are self inflicted. 

Care to expand on this a little?  I would consider it another teaching moment for me.

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Posted by Cotton Belt MP104 on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 5:01 AM

Murphy Siding

........................     


My elderly bosses didn't like the change to BNSF. "Bin-siff? What the hell's a Bin-siff?" Maybe they just didn't like change as they had always referred to it as The Great Northern.

 I am assuming the ole timers you speak of were fond of Green and would NOT one bit have liked the phrase Better and Newer Santa Fe   endmrw0213180459bc

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Posted by BOB WITHORN on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 6:08 AM
They could call it "YES RAIL". It would go pretty much everywhere.
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Posted by Mookie on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 8:41 AM

BOB WITHORN
It would go pretty much everywhere.

Bingo!

That has always been my reasoning.  BNSF is lacking in the east and there is no reason they shouldn't have a chunk of that, also.  I know - past mergers were a nightmare, but BNSF is a well run railroad and should be able to figure out something.  

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Posted by ns145 on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 11:00 AM

Mookie

 

 
BaltACD
Rough times are one thing.  Self mutiliation is something else.  NS troubles are self inflicted. 

 

Care to expand on this a little?  I would consider it another teaching moment for me.

 

 

 

I believe Balt is referring to NS' aggressive cost cutting moves, including shutting down the hump yard in Chattanooga, TN last year.  Yard dwell stats on the southern end of the railroad have never really recovered after that move (as has been pointed out by oltmannd for months).  Now the disease seems to have metastasized to other parts of the system. 

In my part of the NS world on the former Wabash, trains have been running very long and very late since last November.  A number of questionable operational changes have been made that really are gumming things up.  You know something is wrong when the train dispatcher is talking about recrewing a train that hasn't even made it 50 miles from its inital terminal.  Part of the problem seems to be related to having road crews building 8,000 to10,000 foot long trains at Decatur, IL, then having them switch out bad order cars before they can depart.  This process eats up tons of time.

I also have to wonder if all of the Dash 9's and SD70's being taken out of service for DC2AC conversions is causing problems.  NS did recently lease some ex-BNSF SD70MAC's to cover the shortfall for the SD70ACC conversions.

Lastly, one can only wonder what moving all the train dispatchers to Atlanta will do to the railroad, especially if the attrition rate is high.  The loss of institutional knowledge could be staggering.

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Posted by MP173 on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 11:20 AM

Here in NW Indiana (ex Conrail) line the intermodals are running pretty true to schedule but there is a slowdown overall.  Not sure what is going on other than we had big snow - 9 straight days and are on the outside of the Chicago mess.  The manifest trains seem to be running a little later than normal.  There is some work going west of Burns Harbor which seems to be slowing the westbounds to a crawl.  

Interestingly, the eastbound afternoon intermodal trailer train 20K the past couple of days has been loaded with UPS containers/trailers.  Typically this train features refer trailers and will run 50-75 units with only a couple of UPS units.  Sunday it had 37 UPS and Monday had 27 UPS.  Never seen that before.

So, either the weather has moved units from the highways to rails, or CSX has dropped the ball on their Q010, or UPS has a new ops plan in place.

Ed

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Posted by ricktrains4824 on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 11:43 AM

Sure, have BNSF buy out NS, and make all equipment orange.

After all, Orange is the new black.... Laugh

And then UP can buy CN, and CP can own CSX. 

Paint them all yellow, and red, respectively. 

Then, merge them all and call them the Fruit Loop Railway! Smile, Wink & Grin

It would be perfect! 

Ricky W.

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Posted by Mookie on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 2:04 PM

So NS numbers don't improve.  Who blinks first?  Who steps in and makes the first move.  Stockholders?  BOD?  Do they replace management and hope for the best?  Where does it go from here?  

She who has no signature! cinscocom-tmw

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