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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Footnote to NS/BNSF "Bullet Trai" Tests

Date: 11/30/01 10:19
Footnote to NS/BNSF "Bullet Trai" Tests
Author: Runs4TheNS

(The following post was made on the Western Board, along with updates on 22T's progress yesterday, account the eastern forum was down. Now that it's working again, here's the final post with some thoughts on the test train)

As a final follow up to the ongoing updates on the joint BNSF/NS "Bullet Train" test comes this story...

While running its final miles through joint trackage dispatched by the Conrail Shared Assets Operations, NS 22T held the main while a CSX local sat for some time "holed up" in a siding waiting for railroad.

Growing impatient, and unaware as to the significance of the UPS Hot Shot NS was expediting east, one of the CSX crew members made an editorial comment over the radio as The Thoroughbred of Transportation sent its "Bullet Train" galloping by.

"No wonder they're not making any money, only 27 trailers on that train," a voice noted.

Another, apparently from the cab of the CSX unit, answered back. "Yeah, but see all that UPS stuff? I don't like the looks of that."

Then, as if on cue, a third voice drifted over the airwaves. Its source, no doubt, was the Motorola Spectra radio mounted in a Norfolk Southern GE Dash-9 locomotive; one hurtling toward its destination at fifty miles per hour. Without hesitation, that voice answered its naysayers on CSX with a short, yet resounding, message.

"Los Angeles to Croxton in under 65 hours."

The ensuing silence was deafening.

If there is one thing that Norfolk Southern managment can take from this test, it is this. For a period of several days, the focus wasn't on compliance checks, safety audits, or the Harriman award. It was about labor and management working together, to go above and beyond the normal call of duty in order to show a potential customer what our people are made of. It was our chance to shine, our chance to take the lead, and we met the challenge safely. By loosing the reigns a bit, and letting the employees do the jobs they are trained for, the test proved much more successful than what was shown against a schedule. Even for a brief period of time, it went a long way toward restoring a sense of company pride.

Yes, on this November afternoon, many of us were proud to be Norfolk Southern employees. Give us the chance, and we will do our best to make this happen every day.

Date: 11/30/01 12:39
RE: Footnote to NS/BNSF "Bullet Trai" Te
Author: mancey

Runs4theNS....you deserve a response.......Well Said!!!!

Date: 11/30/01 14:35
RE: Footnote to NS/BNSF "Bullet Trai" Te
Author: CRmac80

AMEN to this!RAD-for once a proud NS employee!

Date: 11/30/01 14:48
RE: Footnote to NS/BNSF "Bullet Trai" Te
Author: Chessie_8563

(stunned) Proud NS employee.... whoa! (/stunned)

Date: 11/30/01 15:29
RE: Footnote to NS/BNSF "Bullet Trai" Te
Author: NS-33


I would like to see NS loosen up on their rules checks and run the
trains like we did back on the Southern in 1979. I think rules checks
are important but not to the extreme were they interfere with our
time freight. If we are going to provide a service for a customer then let's do it right. NS management needs to realize we are
professional railroaders. Now let's run some freight!


Date: 11/30/01 16:43
RE: Footnote to NS/BNSF "Bullet Trai" Te
Author: chilli

Speaking from the BNSF side, we're glad the test went so damned well.
Tag-team truckers could not make that time coast-to-coast "legally".
Sure, this train had some others sewn up, but if UPS is willing to foot the bill, so be it.

According to the magazine PROGRESSIVE RAILROAD (there's an oxymoron),
there will be some testing using CSXT rails east from CHI. UPS is
taste-testing both routes, and I have heard no one is guaranteed the contract east of CHI until after more test runs.

Then, the winner will be announced, and UPS will buy the two lines with the contract, paint engines brown, and allow employees to wear shorts in warm weather. But the daily rules tests WILL continue...

Date: 11/30/01 18:13
RE: Footnote to NS/BNSF "Bullet Trai" Te
Author: CRmac80

As a former (for 25 years) UPS worker,I can second the fact the rules checks would continue!Here is one for the "what if" folks:There was talk,even if half hearted,with the EL about such a thing as UPS picking up part or all of the EL.Let's see a brown SD-45,or better yet-how about an SD-80mac in brown and white(colors of the aircraft) in the Conrail white apron scheme complete with UPS shield on the nose!Sorry-just dreaming.....RAD

Date: 11/30/01 21:19
RE: Footnote to NS/BNSF "Bullet Trai" Te
Author: Cdr.Dick

It makes me so proud to be an NS (Norfolk Stupid) employee. While they are playing with their one train, the yard at which I work has less than 40 cars in it. But the intimidation could fill every track. The HELL with our local consignees,we all know that the reason we don't have any businees is the wearing of wedding bands. The Harriman Award , could be hocked to keep them out of Federal Bankruptcy Court. Let's "GET REAL", they are not focused enough on real customer service to keep any shipper in the long haul. As it will always come back to safety audits, out-of service quotas,and heavy handed tactics. We knew how to work safely and service our customers, that is why we were so attractive to purchase! A tigers stripes are permanent and so is the ineptitude of the "GELDING OF TRANSPORTATION".

Date: 12/01/01 06:03
RE: Footnote to NS/BNSF "Bullet Trai" Te
Author: ge13031

As an observer, this will be interesting. I hope that NS catches on that it is their employees (or "associates" for a buzzword) that are going to make the system work.

Date: 12/01/01 09:54
RE: Footnote to NS/BNSF "Bullet Trai" Te
Author: cr-engineer1

I agree with Cdr.Dick for the most part. One test run doesn't a success make. Let them run it when the Chicago Line is carrying 120+ trains a day. In these days of low traffic, any van train with good power could have made that schedule without any special treatment. When they can blend that train, and others like it, in with their other traffic and keep them all on schedule, then it will be something. Conrail would have run that train without a second thought. When NS gets the attitude that it needs to run trains like this every day, dumps the NS-1 and other restrictive rules and joins the modern era, then I'll jump on the bandwagon.

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