CSX Hump Yard Closures

Hardcoaler May 8, 2017

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  1. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    New CSX CEO Hunter Harrison has brought his first round of upheaval to operations by shutting down humping operations at Hamlet, NC (Hamlet Yard), Atlanta (Tilford Yard), Louisville (Osborn Yard) and Toledo (Stanley Yard). Headlines are being posted daily, so I may have missed other closures and more may be announced. These yards are not being closed, but humping will cease.

    This will greatly affect train scheduling and routing. The two daily manifest freights that I've happily watched for decades no longer run on the line near my home, leaving only one sporadic weekday-only local to see. :cry: I'm very sad, but I feel much worse for the many CSX employees which will lose their jobs.

    The CEO wants less intermediate switching and more blocking, so that longer cuts of cars can be built and forwarded through the CSX system.
     
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well, that's an old replacement technique. Which it seems to me in many instances failed. So what happens with the switching activities? None at all at those sites? Or will there be some flat switching?

    Next maneuver to pump up profits will be deferred maintenance, followed by a bunch of abandonments.
     
  3. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Flat switching will now prevail at these yards, which seems to revert car handling back to the oil lantern and hand signal era. Seems to me that small shippers on lesser routes will suffer service declines as their cars sit in yards awaiting a critical mass quantity worth moving. You're right -- "success" will be assured, as this less desirable traffic will be lost and operational statistics on the remaining tonnage will soar.

    I see no plans from the new CEO that attempt to gain traffic, say on the woefully underused ACL mainline that parallels busy I-95 along the east coast.

    I never thought looking at my photos of our two daily trains would bring me a bit of sorrow knowing that they are now gone. I'd often time my errands so that I could see them go by. :( This one is from January.

    2017-01-09 Pontiac SC - for upload.jpg
     
  4. BnOEngrRick

    BnOEngrRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Stanley went from a hump yard to a flat switch yard to now only staging empty autoracks and handling local freight. Most of the work is being done at Walbridge, and thus far has been a disaster. But they'll make it work, if they have to fire every manager!!!

    Cumberland is another hump closure.

    Bruceton TN was to be closed, not sure what type of yard was there.
     
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  5. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Supporter

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    One more example of large companies focusing on short term gain in profit guaranteeing a long term loss of customers. Winn-Dixie, our excellent regional grocery, has laid off middle managers and shut down smaller neighborhood stores. Looks great for the share holders, but where do I now get fresh local seafood and produce? Sadly, Wally-World Neighborhood Markets have killed any Mom-n-Pop specialty stores from taking up the slack...grumble, grumble. :mad:
     
  6. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    Sounds like a replay of the upheaval caused by the Sears catalog when it first appeared to residents in rural areas 100+ years ago.
     
  7. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    E. Hunter Harrison has a reputation now having Run the show at IC, CN, CP and now CSX. He's not well liked by employees, but he for sure has a system for running a railroad. The results are a mixed bag I think. One thing for sure. The man hates hump yards and excess motive power and there's no bovine too sacred to slaughter. I for one don't see that he's as successful as advertised, but not all his notions are bad ones

    Sent from my SM-T377V using Tapatalk
     
  8. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    I suspect that there will be a lot of dust flying in the near term, but some of the changes will be reversed when unforeseen outcomes cause trouble. I can't see how any executive at CSX can predict how all of these radical changes are going to pan out on a 21,000 Mile system serving ports, customers and interchanges in 23 states. Time will tell. As Yoho wrote, Hunter Harrison is a highly recognized change agent and gradual change isn't in his playbook.
     
  9. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Supporter

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    So true, much like a recently elected government official. :rolleyes:
     
  10. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Unfortunately, such a rip-tear style can easily backfire. When that happens, in business, it costs a company lots of money and financially devastates a lot of lives.
     
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  11. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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  12. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I would love to see a cost comparison for flat switching versus hump, with trains effected thereafter.
     
  13. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Agreed! I figure that many of these yards humped 500 to 1000 Cars/Day, so figure that crews are now flat switching these? Even if half are in convenient blocks, there are still many individual cars to work in and out. Plus, humping isn't always done with individual cars as shown in this CSX Selkirk video. Humping multiple cars is efficient and increases yard throughput. I just can't picture Selkirk without humping, but it's so.

     
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  14. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    The sad part is they will likely spend money to remove these items, as fast as possible. Then if later it doesn't work out, (mistake!), they either live with the money loosing enterprise, or spend huge $$$ numbers to bring it back.
     
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  15. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    A friend took a yard tour recently and in a picture of efficiency, found that one man was running the remote control hump pusher and pulling the pins. How on earth can that be seen as costly?
     
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  16. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Supporter

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    I got the impression from reading the Trains News Wire article, that hump car control equipment maintenance was a major cost, both hardware and labor. From what I've read elsewhere, there are many car retarders from the top of the hump down into the lower tracks, all controlled by the tower operator based on weight measurements from a car scale at the top of the hump. When you consider that a cost-effective hump operation classifies more than 1400 cars every day, that puts a lot of wear and tear on the equipment.
     
  17. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    It isn't. But some bean counter, in a sky palace far away, has a formula they are working from to compute this farce. That IS the problem. The bean counter has no actual clue how to actually run a railroad. It is like a person who decides they could lose weight by cutting off their legs. After all, who needs those pesky, heavy toes, etc? We all have cars today, right? Nobody needs to walk anywhere, right? Oops. Error discovered, too late.
     
  18. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    What you write is true. However, how much will it cost to do the same work, flat switching and maintain those tracks, etc? How will it effect getting those revenue loads to their destinations, in a timely fashion, competitive with trucking? This we need to know.
     
  19. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Supporter

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    Ken, take a look at my post just a minute before yours.
     
  20. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Hank- I did. From that post comes my response/question. Yours speaks of the hump. My inquiry ponders flat switching, doing that same amount of work, moving trains and loads as efficiently, and..... At what comparative cost?
     

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