PSR isn’t really all that new

Not that long ago, E. Hunter Harrison’s methods and strategy for CSX were subject to close scrutiny, tough questioning, much doubt, some head scratching (close 8 of 12 hump yards, anyone?), customers complaining, labor opposition and STB inquiries. All of that and more was in response to Hunter’s trademarked program of “Precision Scheduled Railroading.”


First thing we do is file all the liens

Financial Edge, February 2019: One danger of writing for a monthly periodical is that high-profile situations (say the shutdown of the federal government) might begin and end between two issue publication dates. In a word, to tackle the risk of balancing remaining contemporary without becoming dated, one must be “fearless.”


Beware the operating ratio trap

Watching Washington, February 2019: Sizzle sells product. No wonder the sizzle of ever-lower operating ratios is leading to remarkably higher railroad share prices. But as operating ratios—operating expenses as a percentage of operating revenue—flirt with a sub-60%, the meaning for the longer term is unclear.


Precision Crew Scheduling: What would Hunter say?

I knew Hunter Harrison when he was a Burlington Northern trainmaster and I was a BLET Local Chairman, all those many years ago. Today, as Hunter’s Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR) is rolled out on six of the seven Class I railroads, I’ve come to believe that PSRis not a destination, but a never-ending journey. At least that’s how I see it.

KCS names Fahmy EVP PSR

Kansas City Southern, joining Class I contemporaries Union Pacific, Norfolk Southern, CSX, CN and Canadian Pacific in adopting one form or another of Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR), has appointed Sameh Fahmy as Executive Vice President PSR, reporting to KCS President and CEO Patrick J. Ottensmeyer.

Former CN ops chief Vena new COO of Union Pacific

As it deploys a new operating system, Union Pacific has appointed Jim Vena as Chief Operating Officer, effective Jan. 14. He was a 40-year veteran of CN before retiring in 2016.

UP: A record quarter, amidst restructuring

Union Pacific reported record 3Q18 financials on Oct. 25, and at the same time confirmed a major restructuring program that, among other provisions, will involve several waves of layoffs beginning in the fourth quarter.

NS record 3Q; to implement PSR

It was a record third quarter for Norfolk Southern Corp., which plans to overhaul its operations and begin to implement Precision Scheduled Railroading in 2019.

Record quarter right “on schedule” for Canadian Pacific

The math for North America railroads is simple: A surging economy plus Precision Scheduled Railroading equals record profits.

UP: More like CSX?

Union Pacific late on Sep. 17 (following Wall Street close of business) announced a new operating plan, “Unified Plan 2020,” that “implements Precision Scheduled Railroading principles” that were deployed over the past 20-odd years at, in order, Illinois Central, CN, Canadian Pacific and CSX by the late E. Hunter Harrison.