CSX seeks new operating efficiencies with 'Network of Tomorrow' concept

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A westbound CSX container train rolls through Fostoria, Ohio, in August 2011 on the railroad's New Jersey to Chicago corridor.
Brian Schmidt
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – CSX Transportation is introducing a new operating plan that will re-structure how the railroad manages its trains and resources, a source close to the railroad tells Trains News Wire. The Network of Tomorrow concept looks to focus on the railroad’s select core networks in one category and feeder lines, such as lower volume and secondary lines as a separate category.

The railroad’s core network is comprised of its main corridors connecting Chicago, Jacksonville, and New Jersey. The feeder lines consist of routes that do not handle the same amount of freight volumes and can effectively operate at lower track speeds without a requiring as much capital spending.

The railroad’s new operating philosophy, unveiled to employees this week, will allow the railroad to invest more capital and resources into its core network – funneling freight traffic into those corridors through longer trains and higher speeds, says Cindy Sanborn, executive vice president and chief operating network, in a Q&A segment posted this week to the employee gateway.

Sanborn says that feeder routes will be classified for lower speeds, and trains that benefit from high velocity will be directed over the core network. The feeder routes will run fewer trains, allowing the railroad to reallocate resources to the core routes.

While feeder routes with less rail traffic may see a decrease in track speeds, Sanborn says that all tracks will continue to be “maintained and inspected to ensure safety at whatever speed it’s classified to handle.”

In response to “How are we ensuring safety on the feeder lines?” Sanborn says to think of it as a highway system.

“It’s not unlike the highway system, where one road is designated a state highway with a 50 mph speed limit and another is an interstate maintained for 70 mph. That doesn’t mean one is safer than the other, just that they have different roles in the overall system and therefore are maintained for different volume and speed of traffic.”

The railroad says it will work along its engineering and maintenance teams to ensure safety is always the top priority through rigorous track inspection and classification standards administered by both CSX and the Federal Railroad Administration.

According to the recent article, CSX says it has already started implementing the Network of Tomorrow concept on a feeder line between Waycross, Ga., and Montgomery, Ala., known as the Bow Line. Through trains operating on the secondary route are being transitioned over to the railroad’s core network that connects Jacksonville with the Midwest and Northeast.

Representatives with CSX have not responded to Trains' request for comment.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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