Author: Jim Blaze

Assessing LNG-By-Rail Safety

Safety is important. Yet, we can do safety research and development a lot faster. It’s timely to ask why the regulatory process takes so long. Today in transport logistics, our society seems to lack a sense of urgency. As one example, it now takes regulatory agencies (and non-regulatory bodies like the National Transportation Safety Board) as long as 18 to 24 months to complete an accident investigation report. Why so long? It’s a mystery.

Railroad Traffic Analysis, A Different Approach

It’s third-quarter 2019 railroad financial results reporting time, and sometimes, insight about rail freight markets comes from strange places. One of those might just be the quarterly report by J.B. Hunt (JBHT). The Hunt logistics company is one of the largest U.S. intermodal rail organizers. It essentially buys contracted intermodal train service from railroad companies like BNSF and Norfolk Southern.

Short Lines: Custom, High-Growth Freight Service

Are short lines offering a better customer experience than Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR)? The Class I railroad business seems to be all about the benefits of PSR. That’s the name of a cost minimization business strategy introduced more than a decade ago at CN, now expanding as the service model at five of the other six large North American railroad companies (Norfolk Southern, CSX, Union Pacific, Kansas City Southern and Canadian Pacific). Class I’s annually earn more than a Federal Railroad Administration-set threshold of $500 million in revenues.

What PSR Is—and Isn’t: NEARS Talk

Out of a remote location in a corner of New England comes an interesting operations research view of what Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR) is, and is not. Peter Swan, a Ph.D rail and logistics expert from the Penn State School of Business Administration, spoke Oct. 3 at the NEARS (Northeast Association of Rail Shippers) Fall 2019 Conference in Burlington, Vt.

Is Intermodal Rail Stalling?

Intermodal rail—a transportation mode choice that was to take trucks off the road—is slowing down. Where is it heading? Over several decades, the premise was that railroad intermodal trailer on flat cars (TOFC) and containers mostly on double-stacked well cars (COFC) would grow in volume and therefore reduce highway truck congestion.

CSX’s Ed Harris at AARS: Straight Talk on PSR

CSX Executive Vice President Operations Ed Harris addressed his railway operating peers at the annual Association of American Railroad Superintendents conference the week of July 22. The topic was his view of Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR). We have all seen and read about PSR multiple times. What could Harris possibly add, especially for the experienced operating men and women seated before him?

Union Pacific re-thinks Brazos Yard timing

Union Pacific contractors were moving lots of dirt when this reporter visited the Brazos Yard site in Texas in November 2018. The location was to be the new crown of UP’s capabilities to improve and increase volume and service to the expanding customer base in the Houston and Gulf Coast chemical and petrol industry complex.