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Prior to VIA were passenger trains given priority?

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Prior to VIA were passenger trains given priority?
Posted by Ulrich on Wednesday, February 8, 2023 1:02 PM

In this month's excellent article on VIA Rail it stated that (unlike Amtrak in the US) VIA trains are not given priority on host railroads (which is mostly CN). This seems to be at the root of VIA's current troubles: they can't provide a reliable scheduled service when their trains need to take a siding for every freight train that happens to come along. One would think that PSR... "Precision SCHEDULED Railroading.. would have fixed that but apparently it hasn't. 

Prior to the creation of VIA did CN and CP give priority to their passenger trains? 

Would be great if  VIA's flagship CANADIAN would at least be given priority status.  

 

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Posted by SD70Dude on Wednesday, February 8, 2023 2:59 PM

The short answer is yes.  In fact, as late as the mid-1990s CN's western timetables still contained the passenger schedules and an instruction stating that "judgement is to be used by crews to prevent delays to passengers trains".  By this point of course the schedules were for information only and did not convey any operating authority. 

If you want to find out when CN started really screwing the Canadian you should look up VIA's timetables from the past 25 years or so and see when the schedule was lengthed. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  PSR as practiced is not precise, is not scheduled, and has surprisingly little to do with railroading as the main goal is to inflate the stock price and funnel money to the shareholders and executives. 

PSR at CN involved the removal of several sections of double track and numerous sidings, which of course did nothing to help the on-time performance of trains. 

 

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Posted by Ulrich on Wednesday, February 8, 2023 3:43 PM

Thanks SD70Dude.. I don't think PSR did much for the share price. Any gains during the Hunter years were almost purely emotion driven.  Hunter, rightly or wrongly, was perceived as the second coming.. alot of hype for sure.. I can't comment on substance as I have no first hand knowledge. But railroad share prices have languished over the last three to four years.. the Hunter aura is gone.. railroaders are competing with the darlings of Wall Street (Amazon, Apple, Tesla, etc) for dollars.. even some trucking stocks (Transforce International is a good example) have vastly outperformed the rails over the last decade. Rail stocks have settled down to "middle of the road" status, anemic to modest growth and very modest dividend yields. But.. I digress.. 

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Thursday, February 9, 2023 10:05 AM

SD70Dude

The short answer is yes.  In fact, as late as the mid-1990s CN's western timetables still contained the passenger schedules and an instruction stating that "judgement is to be used by crews to prevent delays to passengers trains".  By this point of course the schedules were for information only and did not convey any operating authority. 

If you want to find out when CN started really screwing the Canadian you should look up VIA's timetables from the past 25 years or so and see when the schedule was lengthed. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  PSR as practiced is not precise, is not scheduled, and has surprisingly little to do with railroading as the main goal is to inflate the stock price and funnel money to the shareholders and executives. 

PSR at CN involved the removal of several sections of double track and numerous sidings, which of course did nothing to help the on-time performance of trains. 

 

 

Hunter first downsized trackage on the old IC and took that dubious model to Canada.  Sad.

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, February 9, 2023 10:46 AM

Ulrich
Thanks SD70Dude.. I don't think PSR did much for the share price. Any gains during the Hunter years were almost purely emotion driven.  Hunter, rightly or wrongly, was perceived as the second coming.. alot of hype for sure.. I can't comment on substance as I have no first hand knowledge. But railroad share prices have languished over the last three to four years.. the Hunter aura is gone.. railroaders are competing with the darlings of Wall Street (Amazon, Apple, Tesla, etc) for dollars.. even some trucking stocks (Transforce International is a good example) have vastly outperformed the rails over the last decade. Rail stocks have settled down to "middle of the road" status, anemic to modest growth and very modest dividend yields. But.. I digress.. 

When you have a catchey title for something - reality doesn't have to match the title elements.  In fact the reality can be the anthesis of the title.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

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Posted by Ulrich on Thursday, February 9, 2023 2:04 PM

BaltACD

 

 
Ulrich
Thanks SD70Dude.. I don't think PSR did much for the share price. Any gains during the Hunter years were almost purely emotion driven.  Hunter, rightly or wrongly, was perceived as the second coming.. alot of hype for sure.. I can't comment on substance as I have no first hand knowledge. But railroad share prices have languished over the last three to four years.. the Hunter aura is gone.. railroaders are competing with the darlings of Wall Street (Amazon, Apple, Tesla, etc) for dollars.. even some trucking stocks (Transforce International is a good example) have vastly outperformed the rails over the last decade. Rail stocks have settled down to "middle of the road" status, anemic to modest growth and very modest dividend yields. But.. I digress.. 

 

When you have a catchey title for something - reality doesn't have to match the title elements.  In fact the reality can be the anthesis of the title.

 

 

Agreed, but it does seem odd that one person could have that much influence.. he must have had one heck of a persona. 

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, February 9, 2023 10:35 PM

Ulrich
 
BaltACD 
Ulrich
Thanks SD70Dude.. I don't think PSR did much for the share price. Any gains during the Hunter years were almost purely emotion driven.  Hunter, rightly or wrongly, was perceived as the second coming.. alot of hype for sure.. I can't comment on substance as I have no first hand knowledge. But railroad share prices have languished over the last three to four years.. the Hunter aura is gone.. railroaders are competing with the darlings of Wall Street (Amazon, Apple, Tesla, etc) for dollars.. even some trucking stocks (Transforce International is a good example) have vastly outperformed the rails over the last decade. Rail stocks have settled down to "middle of the road" status, anemic to modest growth and very modest dividend yields. But.. I digress..  

When you have a catchey title for something - reality doesn't have to match the title elements.  In fact the reality can be the anthesis of the title. 

Agreed, but it does seem odd that one person could have that much influence.. he must have had one heck of a persona. 

History is littered with individuals that had the 'karma' to change the world - in both good and bad ways.  We have seen a number of them within our lifetimes.

Remember there are salesmen that really can sell refrigerators to Eskimos!

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Friday, February 10, 2023 10:00 AM

There are potential solutions to the problems with PSR and the generally short-term profit mentality at the rails other than some nationalization scheme. One would be more regulations on operstions and safety as oppsed to rates. Another could be mandatory representation on boards of all stakeholders (shareholder owners, major customer groups, employees, people in areas where operated) rather than just Wall Streeters and corporate shills.

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Posted by Ulrich on Friday, February 10, 2023 11:06 AM

I don't think nationalization is the answer either; nor do I believe that nationalized companies are any worse or better than publicly traded "shareheld" companies. 

PSR has faults.. Wall Street and Bay Street have glaring faults as well.. i.e. short term focus.. absentee owners calling the shots.. fund managers, brokers and others siphoning off money due to excessive buying and selling and charging high fees for dubious advice. But.. it's the best we've got today.. some of us (and I'm sure I'm not the only one) would like to see some reforms that would remove the prevailing casino attitude to stocks. The real enemy isn't the activist investor.. it is the investor who shows no interest.. thus the 5% of investors who do vote on things end up having a disproportionate say. You think 60% voter turnout in political elections is bad? Try 5% of shareholders who care enough to vote on anything at shareholder meetings. On a smaller scale, imagine a gas station that's owned by four people who know nothing about gas stations and who don't even know they own the gas station.. multiply that by a million and voila.. that's what the state of affairs is at most publicly traded companies. But once again.. I digress.. 

 

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, February 10, 2023 3:17 PM

Ulrich
I don't think nationalization is the answer either; nor do I believe that nationalized companies are any worse or better than publicly traded "shareheld" companies. 

PSR has faults.. Wall Street and Bay Street have glaring faults as well.. i.e. short term focus.. absentee owners calling the shots.. fund managers, brokers and others siphoning off money due to excessive buying and selling and charging high fees for dubious advice. But.. it's the best we've got today.. some of us (and I'm sure I'm not the only one) would like to see some reforms that would remove the prevailing casino attitude to stocks. The real enemy isn't the activist investor.. it is the investor who shows no interest.. thus the 5% of investors who do vote on things end up having a disproportionate say. You think 60% voter turnout in political elections is bad? Try 5% of shareholders who care enough to vote on anything at shareholder meetings. On a smaller scale, imagine a gas station that's owned by four people who know nothing about gas stations and who don't even know they own the gas station.. multiply that by a million and voila.. that's what the state of affairs is at most publicly traded companies. But once again.. I digress.. 

While in the overall scheme of things my stockholdings don't amount to a flyspeck on the companies I own - I do vote my shares - generally against what management is recommending so there will not be unamous support for managements recommendations.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

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Posted by Ulrich on Friday, February 10, 2023 3:21 PM

BaltACD

 

 
Ulrich
I don't think nationalization is the answer either; nor do I believe that nationalized companies are any worse or better than publicly traded "shareheld" companies. 

PSR has faults.. Wall Street and Bay Street have glaring faults as well.. i.e. short term focus.. absentee owners calling the shots.. fund managers, brokers and others siphoning off money due to excessive buying and selling and charging high fees for dubious advice. But.. it's the best we've got today.. some of us (and I'm sure I'm not the only one) would like to see some reforms that would remove the prevailing casino attitude to stocks. The real enemy isn't the activist investor.. it is the investor who shows no interest.. thus the 5% of investors who do vote on things end up having a disproportionate say. You think 60% voter turnout in political elections is bad? Try 5% of shareholders who care enough to vote on anything at shareholder meetings. On a smaller scale, imagine a gas station that's owned by four people who know nothing about gas stations and who don't even know they own the gas station.. multiply that by a million and voila.. that's what the state of affairs is at most publicly traded companies. But once again.. I digress.. 

 

While in the overall scheme of things my stockholdings don't amount to a flyspeck on the companies I own - I do vote my shares - generally against what management is recommending so there will not be unamous support for managements recommendations.

 

Same here.. my holdings are small.. but I vote my shares. 

 

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Posted by jeffhergert on Sunday, February 12, 2023 2:20 AM

The "Scheduled" portion of PSR has nothing to do with train schedules.  It refers to scheduling each individual car to it's trip plan.  There was even one manage at our railroad who said we don't care about trains, just the cars.  I guess they forgot cars generally moved in trains.  Thankfully, they did back off that line of thinking somewhat.

Someone realized that those cars moved in trains after all.  Not that they worry too much about train schedules (for most trains) once a train has left it's originating yard.

Jeff

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, February 12, 2023 7:24 AM

jeffhergert
The "Scheduled" portion of PSR has nothing to do with train schedules.  It refers to scheduling each individual car to it's trip plan.  There was even one manage at our railroad who said we don't care about trains, just the cars.  I guess they forgot cars generally moved in trains.  Thankfully, they did back off that line of thinking somewhat.

Someone realized that those cars moved in trains after all.  Not that they worry too much about train schedules (for most trains) once a train has left it's originating yard.

Jeff

When I was still working at CSX they had Car Scheduling and had had it for decades.  Car scheduling was in addition to Train Scheduling.  Division Management was graded on both numbers.  

Car Scheduling's clock starts when a car for a specified Destination is pulled from the Origin Industry (loaded or empty).  The schedule then specifies the train that the car is to be a part of in leaving the Origin Terminal and the specific train connections it must make while moving to the Destination Terminal (or Interchange) and the specific Yard Job or Local that is to deliver the car to the Consignee at Destination.

Beyond screwing up terminal operations I don't know what PSR brought to CSX Operations.

In setting train schedules, when I was working, the basic order that was followed was lay out the scheduled Amtrak operations.  The next layer was CSX's featured trains (Intermodal and Auto).  The third layer was the scheduled Manifest trains.  After those three layers of operations were plotted they SHOWED windows where Local Freights (or Road Switchers) would have Main Track time to do their necessary work.  Bulk Commodity trains would also be operated in the Windows that they top three layers of the operating plan provided.

The Operating Plan would be adjusted weekly to provide required track time for the major MofW Gangs to do their 'Curfew' work - track gangs, tie & surfacing gangs, major signal suspensions etc.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

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