Veterans of Harrison-era Illinois Central and Canadian National leading PSR charge

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Harrison3
Late CSX Transportation CEO E. Hunter Harrison speaks before the Surface Transportation Board in 2017.
R.G. Edmonson
The spread of E. Hunter Harrison’s Precision Scheduled Railroading operating model across the industry may be driven by investors and Wall Street.

But it is being implemented by a cadre of Harrison disciples from his days at Illinois Central and Canadian National.

Members of this IC-CN alumni association — many of whom attended Hunter Camp training sessions on CN — are now working in top jobs at Class I railroad headquarters as well as in dozens of field operations positions across North America.

Management ranks at the two railroads Harrison led after CN — Canadian Pacific and CSX Transportation — are chock full of former CN people.

The three other Class I systems that are adopting Precision Scheduled Railroading have sought out CN veterans and have put them in key positions.

Among them: Union Pacific Chief Operating Officer Jim Vena, Norfolk Southern Senior Vice President of Transportation Michael Farrell, and Kansas City Southern Executive Vice President of Precision Scheduled Railroading Sameh Famhy.

Harrison developed his PSR operating model at IC, which CN acquired in 1999. Harrison left CN at the end of 2009, joined CP in mid-2012, and landed at CSX in March 2017.
Canadian Pacific

CP CEO Keith Creel

CEO since January 2017; joined CP as chief operating officer in February 2013. Was chief operating officer at CN from 2010-13 after rising through the operating ranks. Joined IC as a trainmaster after beginning career at Burlington Northern.
CSX Corp.

CSX CEO Jim Foote

Named CEO after E. Hunter Harrison’s death in December 2017. Joined CSX as chief operating officer in October 2017. Prior to joining CSX, Foote led a company that works on converting locomotives to burn natural gas. Foote was CN’s chief marketing officer from 1999-2009. He joined CN in 1995 after a career at Chicago & North Western, where he held positions in finance, law, and labor relations. His railroad career began at age 18, when he joined the Soo Line mechanical department.
Norfolk Southern

Michael Farrell, Norfolk Southern Senior Vice President Transportation

Farrell joined NS as a consultant in 2017 before being named to his current role in November 2018. Previously, Farrell served as general manager of CP’s Prairie and U.S. West divisions and was CN’s general superintendent in Chicago and general superintendent of terminals, North America.
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