CSX Transportation tells federal regulators it’s making progress

But shippers say service disruptions remain
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — CSX Transportation officials say they’re making slow progress clearing congestion on the CSX system, citing five straight weeks of improvements in the amount of time cars spend in yards.

Terminal dwell declined to an average of 11.8 hours in the week ending Aug. 25, down from a peak of 13.2 hours five weeks ago, according to an update the railroad presented to federal regulators on Monday. That’s a 10 percent improvement.

The improvements were more dramatic in six terminals on CSX’s western corridor, which have been trouble spots since the middle of July. Dwell at those terminals averaged 13.7 hours last week, down from a peak of 22.1 hours five weeks ago.

CSX attributed the better numbers to the reactivation of the hump at Avon Yard in Indianapolis. The western terminals are fluid now, CSX says, and secondary congestion that spilled out of those yards has been contained.

But the railroad’s on-time performance declined in the past week. On-time originations fell to 64 percent, down from 70 percent a week ago and 87 percent in the last week of June. On-time arrivals followed suit, declining to 51 percent from 55 percent last week.

And average train speed remained sluggish, at 13.2 mph under CSX’s new metrics. That’s 15 percent slower than the average speed in the last week of June and is well below historic averages for this time of year.

Shippers say CSX service remains erratic.

“We have not seen evidence that overall service is improving,” says Scott Jensen, a spokesman for the American Chemistry Council, whose president heads the Rail Customer Coalition. “Of course, we are looking forward to the STB listening session to hear from CSX and other stakeholders.”

The Surface Transportation Board has scheduled a Sept. 12 hearing on CSX’s service problems. CSX executives will brief the board and shippers will have an opportunity to speak regarding service disruptions.

CSX says service improvements are “poised to accelerate,” and CEO E. Hunter Harrison has said to expect noticeable improvements after Labor Day.

Ultimately, shippers will benefit from Harrison’s precision scheduled railroading operating model and its faster transit times and more reliable service, CSX says.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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