Surface Transportation Board (STB) staff recently released a rate reform report with a series of recommendations. Readers should remember that before any of those recommendations become regulations, the Board must conduct rulemakings. This process could extend beyond 2020 and into the next Administration.
Switching & Terminal
Railroad tank cars transporting TIH (toxic inhalation hazard) substances in Canada will be required to have heads and shells constructed of normalized steel under updated Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations established by Transport Canada. The new rules, which take effect July 2, 2021, are consistent with updated U.S. regulations. Normalized steel undergoes heat treatment that increases its durability and resistance to cracking at low temperatures.
The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced that the Short Line Safety Institute’s (SLSI) program, Safety Culture Assessment (SCA), was named “the most comprehensive or robust approach in the U.S. railroad industry” in evaluating safety culture.
Railway Age, June 2019 Issue, Combining Big Data Analytics With Remote Monitoring: Advancing safe and efficient rail operations continues to be a primary focus of North American freight railroad operations. What is particularly exciting right now is that the data available to railroads, both in its detail and volume, enables them to manage their operations in ways that were not possible before.
Canadian Pacific has opened its new Vancouver Automotive Compound (VAC), which has been located to handle motor vehicles made in North America for distribution in British Columbia, northern Washington State and parts of Alberta, as well as vehicles imported through the Port of Vancouver.
Norfolk Southern (NS) recently announced that it is preparing to unveil TOP21, its Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR) operating plan.
Independent freight railroad and rail services holding company RailUSA, LLC recently acquired a 430-mile rail line and related real estate from CSX Corporation (CSX). Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
BOOK REVIEW: Diesel-Electric Locomotives – How They Work, Use Energy, and Can Become More Efficient and Environmentally Sustainable
While the documentation of diesel locomotives is extensive, Walter Simpson’s new book brings a fresh perspective to the literature. The book is an excellent primer on diesel locomotives that is well-illustrated with photographs and color-coded drawings of diesels and their parts. However, the underlying theme of the book is locomotive energy efficiency, fuel economy and the Environmental Protection Agency’s emissions standards, leading to Tier 4 compliance. There is also a chapter on the environmental sustainability of railroads.
Optimizing the size of a railroad’s trainman and engineer workforce is vital. If there are too few crew members, the railroad risks failing to meet customer demand, resulting in customer service reliability problems and potentially translating into lost revenue. If there are too many crew members, the railroad risks incurring guaranteed payments, including the possibility of furloughs, as well as incurring avoidable training costs.
BNSF Railway and the Chicago CREATE partners have completed BNSF Connection project (WA4), which established a new direct connection between BNSF’s Corwith and Cicero Yards, as well as between the CN Freeport Subdivision and the Western Avenue Corridor along which BNSF, Norfolk Southern, CSX and Union Pacific operate. Prior to WA4, freight trains had to travel longer, more indirect routings to make these connections, including long and potentially hazardous reverse moves.