Class I Briefs: CN, CSX, NS

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
CN “EcoChampions” over the past two years have found smarter ways to improve safety in Winnipeg—protecting their team, rail assets and the environment, according to the Canadian Class I railroad. (CN Image)

CN “EcoChampions” over the past two years have found smarter ways to improve safety in Winnipeg—protecting their team, rail assets and the environment, according to the Canadian Class I railroad. (CN Image)

CN “EcoChampions” reduced waste, conserved energy and improved safety at the Canadian Class I’s CargoFlo facility in Winnipeg. Also, CSX teamed with Nutrien to boost asset utilization and business, and marked a safety milestone in Orlando, Fla.; and Norfolk Southern (NS), Amtrak and two railcar owners ran a holiday train across New York’s Capital Region.


(CN Video)

Over the past two years, CN’s “EcoChampions” at CargoFlo Symington in Winnipeg have made important changes to reduce waste, conserve energy, and improve “environmental compliance and overall employee safety,” CN reported Dec. 8.

“When a new third-party vendor took over the contract at CargoFlo Symington and Bob Flanagan, our Senior Manager of Regional Supply Chain Solutions, started managing the site, I suggested a priority list of initiatives and corrective actions and they jumped on all of it,” said Steven Santelli, Senior Officer, Dangerous Goods (now Indigenous Relations Manager) at CN.

The changes included conserving energy by swapping out incandescent lights for LED bulbs to improve visibility, safety and work efficiency, and to reduce costs, according to the railroad.

“It was important because, in the shoulder seasons, it gets darker quicker and remains darker longer,” Santelli said. “So, for operators to see their transfer equipment, job safety sheets, and air monitoring equipment, proper lighting makes it a much safer and more effective workplace.”

The team, overseen by Facility Manager Vince Power, also set up special spill containment kits with lids, a hazardous materials shed, and proper signage and labeling to reduce potential employee exposure and contamination, Santelli said.

Updated signage installed throughout the site will also improve safety, according to CN. “We made some more reflective or larger and clarified the speed limit as being 15 kilometers an hour [nine mph], and in case there are out-of-country employees or contractors on the property, the signage reflects current emergency response numbers for our new vendor and for CN,” according to Santelli, who noted that new “Stop at All Crossings” signs were also installed.

Additionally, several tracks were cleaned, grounded and bonded to ensure safe, effective transfers, the railroad reported.

“The electricity is dissipated down into the ground, which reduces the chances of a spark occurring, and we upgraded the cables so they’re more visible and can conduct more electricity,” Santelli said.

According to Santelli, new magnetic lighted blue flags designed to withstand harsh winter conditions were also installed to improve visibility and the site’s new air monitoring equipment improves worker safety, too.

“I value the fact that CN’s team cares about environmental safety, and that they’re looking for positive examples and good role models within the company,” he said.

CN reported that its EcoConnexions Employee Engagement program, in partnership with Earth Rangers, drives sustainability across its network “by empowering employees and their families to conserve energy, reduce waste, and improve housekeeping.”


(CSX Photograph)

CSX on Dec. 8 reported that its Sales and Marketing team has reduced car handlings and congestion at the terminal for Nutrien, a customer and global producer and distributor of potash, nitrogen, and phosphate products for agriculture and industrial use.

Nutrien’s Baltimore, Md., warehouse, located within the CSX Curtis Bay coal pier, handles two products. It receives potash by rail from a domestic distribution site and the potash is transported by truck to local consumption points. It also receives imported urea at the warehouse, where it is loaded onto railcars for domestic distribution.

In each case, CSX said, the railroad had two touch points for the Nutrien railcars: for potash, bringing in loads and returning empties, and for urea, bringing in empties and taking out loads. This contributed to congestion at the local yard during heavy fertilizer seasons and created challenges in juggling inbound potash and outbound urea, according to CSX.

The railroad’s Sales and Marketing team partnered with Nutrien “on an innovative solution that has balanced the traffic flow and reduced the need to move empty cars to and from the location,” according to CSX.

Nutrien now cleans the inbound potash cars after they are unloaded and reloads them with outbound urea. To make this work, Nutrien moves the cars for cleaning within the site using a railcar mover and receives compensation from CSX for the cost of doing so. “The elimination of empty car miles more than offsets the cost for CSX, while Nutrien benefits from improved return on investment in its shipper-owned fleet and freed up capacity,” the railroad reported.

The partners are now looking at other Nutrien sites where a similar solution could be implemented.

“Nutrien’s supply chain is complex, moving more than 27 million tons of potash, phosphate and nitrogen products worldwide, and as such we’re always looking for new ways to collaborate with our strategic business partners to develop innovative solutions like this to help us more efficiently get our customers the products they need, where and when then need them,” said Elan Strueby, Nutrien’s Vice President of Transportation, Distribution and Logistics.

“This has been a very successful project for both companies and would not have been possible without the cooperation and expertise of Market Managers Tom Dumphy and Jonte Baker, as well as Nutrien’s willingness to explore our out-of-the-box solution,” CSX Senior Sales Manager-Fertilizers Jim Borgers said.

“The Nutrien solution is a great example of CSX’s commitment to asset utilization and increasing efficiency,” added Torri Stuckey, head of Merchandise Sales and Marketing at CSX. “By creating a better balance of service to Baltimore, we have improved the supply chain in a way that’s contributing to a more fluid network with more capacity to generate new business.”

Also, CSX is celebrating four years FRA injury-free across Transportation at the Taft Yard in Orlando, Fla., the Class I reported on X, formerly known as Twitter. “It takes total team effort,” CSX Superintendent Florida Zone Tony Ferrerra commented. “And when everybody’s working together, when that collaboration is there, it makes working safe, easy. And I’m just proud to be part of this team and proud of the men and women who do this every day here in Orlando.” Learn more below:


Towns across New York’s Capital Region got a special visit from Santa Claus on Dec. 2, according to NS, which teamed with Amtrak and railcar owners John Webb III and Bennett Levin to deliver toys from Capital Region Toys for Tots and Dunkin’.

Their special holiday train ran for the first time since 2018, carrying Santa plus 136 volunteers, who delivered more than 21,000 gifts—toys as well as 500 handmade fleece blankets; 500 pairs of handmade mittens, scarves, and hats; and 15,000 new coats—and 11,000 stocking stuffers across five stops.

“When you get off this train, and you see the faces not just of the kids but of the adults, if we weren’t in the Christmas spirit before we got here, we sure are now,” NS Director Community Affairs Stacey Mansfield said. “It’s really hard to think of a better team. Amtrak moves people, Norfolk Southern moves freight, and together we move the country.”

“The holidays are a special time for us at Amtrak, and we are delighted to participate in the 2023 Capital Region Toys for Tots Holiday Train,” said Jason Abrams, Senior Public Relations Manager for Amtrak. “We are honored to join our railroad partner, Norfolk Southern, in support of this important program and thank the New York State Department of Transportation for their overall partnership that supports Amtrak’s many services across the Empire State. We are also grateful to all the dedicated volunteers who go above and beyond to make Toys for Tots a great success and to the Levin Family and Webb Rail for providing their beautiful and historic railroad equipment for this trip.”

NS said it is also contributing $95,000 to eight “toys for tots” organizations across its 22-state network this holiday season.

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