NS Gains, CSX Pains

Discussion relating to the NS operations. Official web site can be found here: NSCORP.COM.

NS Gains, CSX Pains

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:45 pm

Today's Journal reports that NS is benefitting from the apparent chaos, confusion, and demoralization at CSX:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/norfolk-sou ... 1501083819

Fair Use:

Norfolk Southern Corp. says it is starting to win over customers to its railway amid disruptions at rival CSX Corp, whose network is undergoing an extensive overhaul under a new chief executive.

“We have seen some business move over to us,” Norfolk Southern Chief Marketing Officer Alan Shaw said on an earnings call Wednesday. “It’s a small amount, I’ll tell you that, but it’s early.”

CSX is the midst of change under new CEO Hunter Harrison, who joined in March promising to quickly cut costs and implement a network with more precisely scheduled trains. Already, he has closed a number of yards that sort railcars and put thousands of railcars and hundred of locomotives in storage.

The changes have disrupted operations for shippers, some who have seen days added to transit times for cars. Mr. Harrison last week told analysts that shippers need to brace for “a little pain and suffering” amid the changes, which he says will ultimately lead to better service and faster trains


An X-Ref to the related CSX Forum topic:

viewtopic.php?f=53&t=164509&start=45#p1439297
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Re: NS Gains, CSX Pains

Postby Matt Langworthy » Mon Sep 18, 2017 12:17 pm

As per a reliable source, the LA&L is getting most of its freight from NS now, via haulage rights on the R&S. CSX has become unreliable, so the LA&L is just interchanging occasional cars for Sweetener's Plus via CSX.

I feel bad for the other shortlines and shippers that only have access to CSX.
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Re: NS Gains, CSX Pains

Postby pumpers » Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:08 pm

NS reported yesterday that profits were up significantly, not just because of cost-cutting, but because of HIGHER TRAFFIC VOLUME. I have no idea how much is due to customers fleeing CSX, though.
http://www.nscorp.com/content/dam/Quart ... elease.pdf
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Re: NS Gains, CSX Pains

Postby Gadfly » Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:20 am

pumpers wrote:NS reported yesterday that profits were up significantly, not just because of cost-cutting, but because of HIGHER TRAFFIC VOLUME. I have no idea how much is due to customers fleeing CSX, though.
http://www.nscorp.com/content/dam/Quart ... elease.pdf


I freely admit I am partial to NS having spent my working years on Southern/NS. Forgive my prejudice. I was never impressed with CSX. Seems they always had, and still do, more derailments and "incidents" than any other railroad (Class 1, that is). I remember taking interchange waybills from NS over to CSX's old
unused Charlotte, NC passenger station. The ceiling was literally hanging down in tatters. Molding boards were loose and the floor was worn and had chunks of tile missing. I had to go thru the passenger area where the old benches still waited to get to the operator's station in the yard office. Talk about safety violations!! :( Wow! I couldn't wait to get out there, yet those employees had to work in there? I was used to a railroad with, like it or not, strict safety guidelines. Equipment and stations were kept in tip top condition. Southern was always a stickler for good track maintenance, and it carried forward into the NS era. A safety fault was, by rule, to be reported immediately and to be tagged out/flagged out of service until repaired. Oh, we griped about it, we got into trouble over it, etc, but it was a very safe railroad to work for IF you follow the rules.

In the old Southern days, I remember riding on a pass to Washington, DC aboard the Southern Crescent. Even to the very end in '79, everybody was proud of the Crescent. I still can see those big, green E8's pulling the train-- 6 of 'em, nose to nose, back to back. My wife and I went to breakfast in the dining car just as the sun was rising . Facing forward in the dining car, the train was on a curve as we traversed northern Virginia. The sun was glinting on those silverside passenger cars and on 6 freshly washed green w/ white striped E8's. I remember the word "SOUTHERN" emblazoned on their sides as the engines rounded the bend. As the engineer blew for a crossing with that distinct Nathan horn, I musta grinned, and my wife asked me what I was grinning about. I told her to look over her shoulder at the engines rounding the bend. It was a picture postcard scene. I'll never forget it.

I'm glad NS is doing well. Sorry I'm partial. :P :wink:

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Re: NS Gains, CSX Pains

Postby Safetee » Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:31 am

It's hard to imagine a railroad with a better franchise than what constitutes CSX today. From the Mississippi to the Atlantic, CSX has access to key markets and originators of freight. Despite this wonderful franchise, the servicing of their accounts, maintenance of their tracks, etc etc has been dismal seemingly kept afloat purely by the sheer volume of their territory. Making up for lost retail by maintaining volume so to speak.

NS and its predecessor roads have not had all the advantages of CSXs territory but they have kept up their end of the bargain by having excellent track and by paying keen attention to customer service.

With the advent of the Hunter, it's safe to say that if it moves by trainload things will probably be ok at CSX. But for all those other folks whose business moves in car load lots, that traffic is going to be increasingly available to NS and the numerous truck lines who are all too eager to clean up the higher rate per car load traffic that CSX eschews.
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Re: NS Gains, CSX Pains

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:46 am

Even if I had always considered it an even split, Mr. Safetee's comment had me "rethinking".

Even though both serve the same East Coast maritime ports, and both must confront the same hills handling Southeast-Midwest traffic, CSX came out the better with the Conrail breakup, what with the Water Level route and access to New England.

But the CSX "dismemberment" began well before Yäger and even before "Snowman". To me, it began with the ACL post-merger chop up of the SAL. There could have been two one way roads for handling most anything, save Local freight, a high tonnage coal train, and passenger trains.

Now Yäger reportedly is ready for the kill. The only traffic to be handled on the former SAL will be local freight and Amtrak's Silver Star. So far as he is concerned, "precision railroading" will be accomplished with FRA Class 2 (30mph). If Amtrak wants more, guess who will pony up.
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Re: NS Gains, CSX Pains

Postby Matt Langworthy » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:05 pm

I think the difference between NS and CSX is NS's leadership seems to enjoy running a RR, while CSX's top brass is just managing a business. That's not to say NS doesn't work hard. They most certainly do. I think because NS has a greater affinity for the operations side of the business, they understand there's a big picture beyond the best operating ratio. The heritage units are a good example. NS generated alot of positive internet buzz with the heritage (and specialty) units, which continues 5+ years after the 1st heritage unit appeared. Sure it cost NS additional money to have a heritage fleet, but the goodwill can help them with the public. I don't think the CSX sticker units have had the same effect.

NS also seems to be the better organized RR, They've had fewer service meltdowns than CSX since the CR split and (as noted earlier) have a better maintained physical. I was the Altoona area about 6 weeks ago and NS was moving trains through the mountains very efficiently, even as they adopt the drag freight concept.

For the record, I own stock in both RRs. I want NS and CSX to do well- not only for my bank account, but also the public. The Northeast needs 2 strong, competitive RRs. Right now, we only have one. Hopefully, the CEO who takes over CSX after EHH will take a better look at operations and the big picture. Heck, Wick Moorman will be available soon...
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Re: NS Gains, CSX Pains

Postby johnpbarlow » Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:24 am

FWIW department: Summary of NS v. CSX weekly absolute unit #s and year over year trends for week ending 11/4/17:

.........# Carloads...YOY Carload Trend...# Containers/Pigs...YOY IM Trend

NS......67,600.......+0.2%...................85,300.................+7.9%
CSX.....70,400.......-2.3%...................57,300.................-0.1%

It is surprising to me that NS hauls almost 50% more intermodal units than CSX.

http://marketrealist.com/2017/11/week-44-failed-lift-us-rail-freight-volumes/
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Re: NS Gains, CSX Pains

Postby gokeefe » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:51 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:But the CSX "dismemberment" began well before Yäger and even before "Snowman". To me, it began with the ACL post-merger chop up of the SAL. There could have been two one way roads for handling most anything, save Local freight, a high tonnage coal train, and passenger trains.


Sure they could have. But did they gave the volumes back then to justify that model? I doubt it.

Back on topic ... This entire episode is turning into a gift for NS. Right when CSX should have been ready to deal NS a mortal blow as coal traffic slowly dwindled they instead throw in the towel on intermodal.

I will be watching with great interest to see how things develop.
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Re: NS Gains, CSX Pains

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sat Dec 02, 2017 1:54 pm

I'm sure PAS would savor the opportunity to have its paper barriers unshackled on Cedar Hill now that East Deerfield-New Haven are all minty-fresh upgraded and EHH has signaled for the world that he doesn't give two craps about protecting his flanks.
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Re: NS Gains, CSX Pains

Postby gokeefe » Sat Dec 02, 2017 5:54 pm

I wonder if CSX would give up on Hunt's Point just because it seems inefficient to them.

I also agree that if the "price is right" they might make changes at Cedar Hill.
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Re: NS Gains, CSX Pains

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sat Dec 02, 2017 7:26 pm

gokeefe wrote:I wonder if CSX would give up on Hunt's Point just because it seems inefficient to them.

I also agree that if the "price is right" they might make changes at Cedar Hill.


HP is literally a dozen blocks up the street from Oak Point. That's barely a move out of yard limits for them. They definitely keep HP-OP-Fresh Pond and the Hudson Line as critical holds. And no way does Boston Div. get substantially touched outside of a marginal branchline local or two because they've already been gifted all the new infrastructure they need to rake profits in Worcester without even trying. Connecticut is what's really disposable out of all that east-of-Hudson territory; they've never cared about anything northeast of the Bronx and south of Springfield since the day they took over from Conrail.


The kingmaker there would be Genessee & Wyoming if they could loosen the lugnuts on P&W's interchange rights at Fresh Pond and gain ability to take way more than just the stone train loads out there. Notch that win for G&W and both NS (via Gardner) and CN (via Cantic) both suddenly find themselves one phone call away from having pretty decent looking one-stop-shopping lanes straight into NYC if they partner up with G&W. A little bit moreso if Cedar Hill acquisition goes on the table with it a package, intra-G&W paper barriers between CSOR and P&W get loosened up, and PAS gains more freedom by-accessory to get down in CT's grill to funnel loads via Hartford/New Haven. That's one (of several national) cases where laughing off protectionism as corporate dictate could bite them immediately in the butt one second after EHH collects his stock dividend.
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