Collin, that's pretty solid of that trainmaster. I've been lucky to have worked under some real good guys who could help you out in a pinch.

Back to PSR, I'll put it this way: I had four starts for the entire month of February working off the road extralist. Our list is 7/2, and had 6 turns (now 5). It's a direct result of cutting trains, cutting pools, and cutting so much management that came back to their craft. In my terminal we have about 80 people. I lost like 15 turns because of all of this. That's a huge chunk. I lost more seniority in one month than I gained in 10+ years.

Jeffrey Sessa posted:



Back to PSR, I'll put it this way: I had four starts for the entire month of February working off the road extralist. Our list is 7/2, and had 6 turns (now 5). It's a direct result of cutting trains, cutting pools, and cutting so much management that came back to their craft. In my terminal we have about 80 people. I lost like 15 turns because of all of this. That's a huge chunk. I lost more seniority in one month than I gained in 10+ years.

And of course upper management nor investors care.  Management wants those trains rolling 24/7 for their bonuses, and investors want those $$$ rolling 24/7 for their dividends.

Must be interesting management types suddenly back into crafts again, they had insight into how things were done and "war stories" of contending with PSR.

 

Thanks,

Sam

Free lancing fictitious Iowa Midwest Division of Pittsburgh & West Virginia Railway

Take a cab and trolley ride on P&WV  https://www.youtube.com/watch?...7pZJZBL_4&t=144s

 

BE WITH THOSE THAT BRING OUT THE BEST IN YOU,

          NOT THE STRESS IN YOU.

          unknown

The Wall Street Journal just posted online a very interesting feature article on the topic this morning.  I would expect it will be in the print edition tomorrow. 

It focuses on efforts of Norfolk Southern at it's yard in Decatur, Illinois to implement the PSR concept.  Its a mixed media piece with some great video, photography and automated schematics accompanying the article. 

Unfortunately it is behind WSJ's pay-wall.   Here is the link,  if you don't subscription at least you will be to see a great drone aerial video shot of the yard.

 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/a...583?mod=hp_lead_pos6

Jim Hartley

I agree with the quote below.  In fact it shows High Speed Rail is not green.  Takes too much green (money) to build and too much of the same to keep up.  And it is not green (environment) because it takes too much energy to get up to speed.  But that is a thread to itself.
 
Quote:
 
The speed thing is another area in which I've run the numbers.  The problem is that the energy needed to overcome wind resistance increases with the square of the speed.  The increase in energy to overcome wind resistance at 60 mph rather than 45 is 78%.  I've seen from train performance calculators that wind resistance is about half of the total at 60 mph.  So you save 36% of the fuel by making that fuel reduction.  And that is why many railroads made that speed reduction for intermodal trains when fuel casts skyrocketed.
 
 

 

The TEXAS SPECIAL:  The REAL RED streak of the golden prairies!

palallin posted:
mlaughlinnyc posted:

While they may go a long way to cut costs, cost reduction is never a business objective.  Any business manager with half a brain knows you can't save your way to prosperity.  But when you're running out of money, there is no alternative.  

You are assuming all managers have half a brain.  I have worked for many that don't.  I have seen managers whose ONLY object was to cut costs.  They cut the business right out of business.  It happens.

PC had slightly less than half a brain per manager.  NYC managers had one, PRR managers had none.  There were more from PRR.  Therefore PC managers on average had less than half.  Maybe that's why it failed.

I was at an NS crossing near me at Macungie, PA and a freight went by and it seemed to race by at about 60 mph, and it was a really long train. I read that NS wanted to up speeds through Macungie, Emmaus in my local paper from 40-50 mph to 60 mph. Is that because of PSR? Faster, longer trains and less of them?

Robert K posted:

I was at an NS crossing near me at Macungie, PA and a freight went by and it seemed to race by at about 60 mph, and it was a really long train. I read that NS wanted to up speeds through Macungie, Emmaus in my local paper from 40-50 mph to 60 mph. Is that because of PSR? Faster, longer trains and less of them?

Robert,

 

It seemed like it was doing 60, because it probably was. This time last year NS raised the speed limit on the Reading Line(Wyomissing to Bethlehem) to 60, so if the indication is favorable, they can be going through Macungie and Emmaus (Stopping at Funk Friday night btw) at that speed.

 

-Chris Member since 12/14/02

Robert K posted:

I was at an NS crossing near me at Macungie, PA and a freight went by and it seemed to race by at about 60 mph, and it was a really long train. I read that NS wanted to up speeds through Macungie, Emmaus in my local paper from 40-50 mph to 60 mph. Is that because of PSR? Faster, longer trains and less of them?

I don't see a direct connection between PSR and higher speeds.  PSR is more about reliability than total time.  The total time difference between 45 mph and 60 between NY and LA is about 18 hours.  That could mean 5 days vs. 6 days.  Most shippers of goods that get the high rates would rather have 6 day service with 95% on time than 5 days with 85% or less.

This topic reminds me of a company I worked for.  They got all hot to adopt Japanese way of building things (kan-ban kits, pull inventory and other words).  New equipment was bought, company seminars held.  Shippers told supplies had to be on dock by date or be penalized, only one day inventory (reduces costs) allowed, yada yada yada.  And so everyone and thing went in with great expectations much like PSR.  Guess what? some suppliers couldn't meet demand or ship by dates, product used one of kind device with no substitutes and 2 months back orders, Had to start overnight shift to restock the floor for next day build (there went savings).   After I left I heard they were slowly going back to old way, keeping things that worked well and giving boot to rest.

Moral of story, I am sure PSR has its place but somewhere down the road RR may keep the good and boot the rest that just cant be met reasonably or economically.

 

Thanks,

Sam

Free lancing fictitious Iowa Midwest Division of Pittsburgh & West Virginia Railway

Take a cab and trolley ride on P&WV  https://www.youtube.com/watch?...7pZJZBL_4&t=144s

 

BE WITH THOSE THAT BRING OUT THE BEST IN YOU,

          NOT THE STRESS IN YOU.

          unknown

Interesting thread. Sounds like the Toyota production system applied to railroad logistics. The only thing these people forgot is this takes years of dedicated and focused continuous improvement, not overnight! Plus, the organization must be pretty good to start with (including vendors). Oh, did I forget management leadership and commitment. I guess these characters ignored Deming's 14 points!

Hokie 71

Chief of Operations, Free Union, Blacksburg, and Albemarle Railroad (FUBAR)

My thoughts about all the hot air about wind resistance is just that, Hot Air. Its been a long time since my Engineers Training but the train handling and operation book they issued to all the trainees had a chapter on fuel economy. With the new locomotives being used today some of what was taught might not apply today but back then a locomotive operating in the 8th notch used exponentially an extremely much higher rate of fuel then operating in notch 6. Back when still working running 150+ car trains required long periods of running in the 8th Notch and never getting up to speed except when the entire train is running down hill. I have a hard time seeing the efficiency of running long trains in the 8th notch from one terminal to the next.

Forest posted:

My thoughts about all the hot air about wind resistance is just that, Hot Air. Its been a long time since my Engineers Training but the train handling and operation book they issued to all the trainees had a chapter on fuel economy. With the new locomotives being used today some of what was taught might not apply today but back then a locomotive operating in the 8th notch used exponentially an extremely much higher rate of fuel then operating in notch 6. Back when still working running 150+ car trains required long periods of running in the 8th Notch and never getting up to speed except when the entire train is running down hill. I have a hard time seeing the efficiency of running long trains in the 8th notch from one terminal to the next.

That's not the way it works as I've always seen it described.  Each of the eight notches has a fixed rate of fuel flow to the engine.  The power output of the engine is a linear function of the amount of fuel burned.  I think it likely that the exponential relationship you mention is that the increments of fuel fed to the engine don't have a linear relationship to the number of notches.  But that doesn't affect the efficiency of fuel usage by the diesel engine.

The notion of exponential wind resistance is not hot air.  It is a well proven fact that is the result of thousands of measurements on real trains.

I wonder why railroads aren't doing more to reduce costs by countering wind resistance.  Trucks have deflectors installed on the cab roofs, airplanes have winglets or curved wing tips, and ship hulls are built to reduce water resistance.

 I would think that train engines would be more streamlined than they are and perhaps wind shields would be installed on the ends of freight cars.  Perhaps making changes to equipment to reduce air resistance would not be cost effective for a railroad?   Of course, it is just easier to run the train at a slower speed.   NH Joe

Roadrailer was a way of addressing air drag as well as dead weight. I remember an article in Trains about Roadrailer and IIRC Santa Fe found big fuel savings using a Roadrailer train. Because they skip the flatcar they are much lower to the ground and have much lower frontal area as well as much lower tare weight. Also, with the very close coupling between trailers eddying air currents are much reduced. I do not understand why railroads don't go for this technology in a big way.

       P000077

       P000079

       P000080

Please excuse the photo quality. I took these pics in '98 with the second digicam Kodak manufactured, a mighty 1.1 megapixel powerhouse.

Lew

Growing old is so much more fun than the only alternative.

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I have been reading the Wall Street Journal article mentioned above about PSR.  The article is mostly about how NS is trying to implement the PSR.   The article says that NS estimates that PSR will allow the railroad to cut 3,000 jobs and idle 500 locomotives.  It also says that PSR will allow NS to run trains faster and make the system more fluid.  

The article mentions that there was a total meltdown when CSX implemented PSR.  NS is going to try to avoid CSX's mistakes.    The article says that the only major railroad that is not going down the PSR path is BNSF.  BNSF is owned by Warren Buffet;s Berkshire-Hathaway.   

I am not sure how PSR results in faster trains.  It appears to me that trains will run on fixed schedules and will not spend as much time in yards or waiting in sidings.  It does not mean that they will travel at a higher speeds.  Faster really means fewer stops and less waiting.  

Clearly PSR is not good for the employees who are laid off or engine manufacturers.  It may be good for Wall Street investors and perhaps for shippers.  One shipper is quoted in the article as saying:  "It's [PSR] still doing less with less and not charging any less."  NH Joe

 

Trains are slower. Between PTC, TO, and they only want you using 1 engine for empties, etc...cuts into your heldaway on the trip up and into your time at home on the trip back.

TO will do things like isolated all the engines except the leader, and use just enough power to crest the hill. Then it floats it over the top and down the other side instead of pulling it over the hill and maintaining track speed. It saves fuel, and that's something they're hot for. Slower.

Even though Amtrak and NS now seem to have a blanket ban on special excursions, steam or diesel like we saw through 2017, like 611, Amtrak Autumn Express, etc. would PSR affect the ability to have such excursions in the future if Amtrak would have a change of heart regarding special trains? If NS cuts crews, and streamlines operations, in the name of profit and Wall Street earnings, will NS be more likely to say no to any extra trains like an excursion train? Amtrak had two public excursions over the NS freight only route from NJ to Harrisburg Oct 2016. Return trip was through Philly. Would such an excursion be harder to pull off now? I always wanted to ride that freight only route from Aldene, NJ to Harrisburg, PA but missed my chance. Well, I rode the portion from the western end of Bethlehem to Allentown behind 765 during the excursion to Pittston and back.

Whould it not make more sense to run trains on a timetable like bus or airlines.  A train leaves major point A for major point B every few hours.  That way, yards would not get congested because outbound trains will constantly "drain" them.  If you are running true mixed freight, that is stacks with general freight, this should be a no brainer.

The TEXAS SPECIAL:  The REAL RED streak of the golden prairies!

New Haven Joe posted:

I have been reading the Wall Street Journal article mentioned above about PSR.  The article is mostly about how NS is trying to implement the PSR.   The article says that NS estimates that PSR will allow the railroad to cut 3,000 jobs and idle 500 locomotives.  It also says that PSR will allow NS to run trains faster and make the system more fluid.  

The article mentions that there was a total meltdown when CSX implemented PSR.  NS is going to try to avoid CSX's mistakes.    The article says that the only major railroad that is not going down the PSR path is BNSF.  BNSF is owned by Warren Buffet;s Berkshire-Hathaway.   

I am not sure how PSR results in faster trains.  It appears to me that trains will run on fixed schedules and will not spend as much time in yards or waiting in sidings.  It does not mean that they will travel at a higher speeds.  Faster really means fewer stops and less waiting.  

Clearly PSR is not good for the employees who are laid off or engine manufacturers.  It may be good for Wall Street investors and perhaps for shippers.  One shipper is quoted in the article as saying:  "It's [PSR] still doing less with less and not charging any less."  NH Joe

 

As I read that WSJ article, was remined of Yogi Berra saying it's "deja vue all over again".  That first paragraph about fixing the problem of a cut of cars witing 26 hours being fixed by having the train leave a few hours later.  That's exactly what we did on a project that I worked on in 1968 for the B&M.  Train BM-1 departed Boston at 7:00 pm, always with the cars that came in on locals and industrial switchers yesterday and were switched in the evening.  By stting back BM-1's departure time by about five hours, it was waiting until after the inbounds were switched and taking today's traffic.  

51 years later, railroads are reinventing the wheel and making headlines 

We're talking here about what good management should be doing every time traffic flows change.  But it takes educated management with sound analytical capabilities combined with a knowledge of what is going on on the ground, a difficult combination to acheive.

Here's what the UP is doing with PSR...This is from 4/22...About 2:15 this afternoon U. P. 8991, 4903 leads monster 270 car loaded coal train with 8734, 5799, 5719 mid train and 5902 at the rear. Train weight was over 38,475 tons and length was 15,025 feet long. Train was seen in Boone, Iowa heading east to the Oak Creek Power Plant in Wisconsin.

Here's an article about PSR written by Dennis R. Pierce, National President, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen. He does bring up some interesting points....

https://www.railwayage.com/fre...ns-but-at-what-cost/

 

 

C. Jones

Some of those points are valid and some is nonsense.  I do follow railroad stocks and news about them.  There is no evidence that they are being driven by hedge funds.  Returning earnings not needed for capital reinvestment to stockholders is what business is about.  Anyone who owns a stock market mutual fund or ETF is getting part of that money.

But I think the term PSR is a lot of fog.  What management should be doing and GOOD management has been doing is to constantly look for ways to reduce cost of the level of service that should be provided.  Good management decides what product is to be provided and then figuring out how to do it at least cost.  That is what is done by Microsoft, Caterpillar, UPS and any other well run business.  So why not with railroads.

All this hype about PSR is a big PR scam.

mlaughlinnyc posted:

Some of those points are valid and some is nonsense.  I do follow railroad stocks and news about them.  There is no evidence that they are being driven by hedge funds.  Returning earnings not needed for capital reinvestment to stockholders is what business is about.  Anyone who owns a stock market mutual fund or ETF is getting part of that money.

But I think the term PSR is a lot of fog.  What management should be doing and GOOD management has been doing is to constantly look for ways to reduce cost of the level of service that should be provided.  Good management decides what product is to be provided and then figuring out how to do it at least cost.  That is what is done by Microsoft, Caterpillar, UPS and any other well run business.  So why not with railroads.

All this hype about PSR is a big PR scam.

So Mantle Ridge & Children's Investment Fund (both hedge funds) had nothing to do with the change at CSX??

You do know the largest stockholder of the Union Pacific is a hedge fund named Edgerton Capital Limited run by John Armitage?? Here's that website...https://www.insidermonkey.com/...capital+limited/351/ 

 

 

C. Jones

Casey Jones2 posted:
mlaughlinnyc posted:

Some of those points are valid and some is nonsense.  I do follow railroad stocks and news about them.  There is no evidence that they are being driven by hedge funds.  Returning earnings not needed for capital reinvestment to stockholders is what business is about.  Anyone who owns a stock market mutual fund or ETF is getting part of that money.

But I think the term PSR is a lot of fog.  What management should be doing and GOOD management has been doing is to constantly look for ways to reduce cost of the level of service that should be provided.  Good management decides what product is to be provided and then figuring out how to do it at least cost.  That is what is done by Microsoft, Caterpillar, UPS and any other well run business.  So why not with railroads.

All this hype about PSR is a big PR scam.

So Mantle Ridge & Children's Investment Fund (both hedge funds) had nothing to do with the change at CSX??

You do know the largest stockholder of the Union Pacific is a hedge fund named Edgerton Capital Limited run by John Armitage?? Here's that website...https://www.insidermonkey.com/...capital+limited/351/ 

That a hedge fund makes a large bet on a stock doesn't mean control or even a significant influence.  Less than 1% of UP's shares isn't close to control.  The total of investment in UP by funds controlled by Fidelity and Vanguard is many times larger and both of thsoe firms will take issue with any bad acting by one hedge fund.  

When I've seen stories about hedge funds trying to influence companies for financial manipulation, they usually have much larger percentages of ownership.

Being that I live in monroe once served by the seaboard air line rr,now csx.The crews hate the mixing of stack trains with mixed freight trains.Thou I do mind the crews do more work.And I can see their point.2 men crew to switch out cars and pick up boxcars.On what could be a train that may be a half mile to a mile and a half long.Yea thats asking a lot of a man.And you still get trains jammed up between monroe and hamlet and charlotte.I have family that live near csx yard in charlotte nc.Seen a train that had 7 locomotives including a mother and mate set.That has become very rare in my neck of the woods.The others where sd70 cw44s another sd70 and a sd40-2.

Maybe there should be a new rule where a person or company can only own up to 25% of another, or the whole thing, as with BNSF.  If you want to control completely, it should be really all or none of the stock.

Also, each day there are fewer of us who lived though PC and the regulated era.  If people are not careful, regulation will come back.  And it will not be nice.

The TEXAS SPECIAL:  The REAL RED streak of the golden prairies!

I've been catching up on my business related reading this afternoon and have attached a link to one of the articles I read - an interview with Matt Rose - outgoing executive chairman of BNSF.  Although this article isn't solely about PSR; Matt presents a pretty good argument for not succumbing to Wall Street's single-minded focus on shareholder value - probably the primary driver of PSR these days.  Matt also offers some interesting comments on Amtrak which I think many Real Trains Forum readers will find interesting.  Following is the link to the article which appeared in Railway Age.

https://www.railwayage.com/fre...tter/?RAchannel=home

Curt

Disclaimer:  I will admit to having known Matt for going on 20-25 years.  (Heck, I knew his parents even before I first met him.)  I consider Matt to be one of the most visionary people in the business world let alone the railroad world.  I respect his opinions much as I did those of his predecessor - Rob Krebs - another railroad man I believed had more strategic vision than many of his fellow CEO's.

Thanks for posting that link! That interview with Matt Rose is fascinating. Among other things he lays out several flaws wrt "maximizing shareholder value". By their nature railroads cannot be run and managed based on the next quarter's return. Any increase in performance can only be seen after many quarters have passed. Capital improvement takes years just to implement let alone see the results of. My takeaway: pursuing a better operating ratio at the expense of growing capacity to serve customers' needs can only ever end one way: Penn Central >>>>>>> Conrail.

The whole interview is a kind of unspoken criticism of PSR. Well, some of it spoken as well.

Lew

Growing old is so much more fun than the only alternative.

A good article, it is ironic in many ways that Berkshire Hathaway is one of the most successful public companies out there yet it is run on principles that don't mesh with the modern idea of shareholder management, not by far (take a look at their stock price). To keep this topical, railroads are capital intensive businesses, and they have to invest in both the short and  long term (for example, when the railroads redid their rails to use concrete ties and welded rail, that made the rail more reliable and needing less maintenance, yet took a long time and was costly). 

Wall Street has always been known for its short term focus, of quarters, Ford went private in the 1920's for that reason (or attempted to, in any event, not sure they were successful) and Henry Ford cited the short term blindness of Wall Street, other companies have stayed private for the same reason (Bose is a classic example, they spend a lot of money on research and are patient, Wall Street analysts would go nuts with that approach). 

The article is dead spot on about hedge funds, those running them and the analysts who basically decide stock prices are the same, they want a huge return fast, and spending money on capital to them is poison, they don't care that that spending will mean the railroad will be in a good place in 5 years, to them 5 years is a century away, it is all about boosting the stock price now. The irony is that in the long term this is not good for the company involved, hedge funds get in, make their 20% a year, and get out long before someone else has to face the consequences. There is an irony to this (and I have worked in the financial industry for well over 30 years, so talking as an insider), I have had people tell me that shareholder management is good for all, that people with pensions and 401k's and IRA's and mutual funs benefit from shareholder management, but they don't, not from this kind of short term, hyper profits model, because institutional funds are a long term thing, and those kind of funds by regulation have very little exposure in hedge funds and such. For people who invest that way (and that represents much of the wealth most people have in investments), the long term view the guy interviewed had is the kind of shareholder management that helps them the most. 

It is nice to read about people like this guy, far too many companies are run on the nature of stock price above all, pleasing Wall Street analysts, and that time and again has proven to hurt companies in the long term IME. 

The person who dies with the best toys dies a happy person

Anyone who thinks that “Precision Scheduled Railroading” has anything to do with moving trains with “precision” doesn’t really understand what it means. It has little to do with moving trains efficiently and everything to do with maximizing the stock price. 

I’ve read a lot of articles about PSR and NONE of them had the word “customer” in them. Here’s a quote from Derek Taylor of CN about the railroad’s view of what customers can do to save on demurrage charges:

“Customers can make decisions to decrease their demurrage charges by configuring their facilities to increase track capacity, improving loading or unloading times, or operating seven days a week,” Derek Taylor, vice president of CN’s Southern Region, wrote to the STB.

Allow me to explain just exactly what this means. The railroads are going back to the old way of “serving” their customers by telling them, “We know you need switched on Mondays and Thursdays, but our crews will be there on Wednesdays and Saturdays because that’s what fits our schedule.”

PSR = Pretty Sad Railroading

Rich Melvin

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