Re: Service Issues with traffic moving via Norfolk Southern
Many of you have likely noticed that our connecting carriers are experiencing delays to traffic moving to or from our railroads, particularly traffic moving in conjunction with Norfolk Southern Railway (NS).
Significant traffic growth in the northern region of the NS system has led to shortages of locomotives and train crews, resulting in congestion at many of the terminals between the western gateways (particularly Chicago) and our interchanges with NS. Congestion is particularly acute in the Pittsburgh area around Conway Yard, where recent NS service metrics indicate dwell times of 60+ hours for traffic transiting the terminal (vs. about 32 hours at this time last year). These issues, combined with historically high levels of traffic moving to and from our interchanges, have resulted in the delays we have been seeing for the past few weeks.
To address these issues, Norfolk Southern has reportedly hired over 600 train and engine personnel to the northern region and will be adding another 1200 to 1500 in 2015. NS also plans to bring on another 50 to 75 locomotives by the end of the year and is undertaking numerous other capital investments that will enhance capacity. Despite these efforts, the latest customer service bulletin from the NS notes: “While we expect incremental improvements, customers are not likely to see significant recovery in shipment cycle times and consistency of transit times until the first quarter of 2015.” For more information on the latest NS service bulletin, please follow this link:
In anticipation of continued growth, Carload Express is adding capacity to upgrade our own network. We have, for example, recently purchased 5 additional 3,000 horsepower six-axle locomotives and continue to add train crews. This year, we completed the upgrade of the Glenwood Classification Yard on AVR, and completed numerous track projects on AVR and SWP. In 2015 we plan additional capacity improvement projects including: expansion of our Omal Yard on OHIO, expansion of the Bruceton interchange with W&LE on AVR, and main line rail replacement on the SWP. We are also working closely with Norfolk Southern’s operations team to improve traffic flow through our various gateways with them, such as recently adding a third day of service to the OHIO interchange at Clarington.
Above all, I want to emphasize that we understand that the current service levels being experienced due to these delays are NOT satisfactory. As we work through these issues with NS, please do not hesitate to contact our customer service team so that we can help to address your concerns. We are working in close contact with local Norfolk Southern operating personnel, and will work to expedite shipments that have received excessive delays. If you have specific concerns or unresolved issues, please contact me as we work to provide the higher level of service that we know we need to provide.
Michael L Filoni
Vice President, Sales and Marketing