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Eastern Railroad Discussion > "Precision Scheduled Railroading is a marketing term"


Date: 09/10/19 20:57
"Precision Scheduled Railroading is a marketing term"
Author: Bandito

Jim Blaze, who presently writes for Railway Age and Freightwaves, attributed this quote to an unnamed officer of the CN in a recent post on LindedIn.

I have no doubt others here on Trainorders have said pretty much the same thing, but it's refreshing to see it being said elsewhere and so concisely. (Although the quote was from a CN guy, I'm posting it in this forum because CSX customers are probably the ones bearing the brunt of the more recent PSR "initiatives." CN and CP have had more time to get back to normal post EHH.

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6577368128735494144/



Date: 09/10/19 21:24
Re: "Precision Scheduled Railroading is a marketing term"
Author: junctiontower

I think  "demarketing term" would be more apt in this case.  As practiced, the only benefit is to the railroad, the customer gets nothing in the deal.  What the railroads fail to realize is that in the not too distant future, the customers they aren't interested in serving now may be about the only potential customers they have left, aside from intermodal, which they can't WAIT to tell you isn't very profitable.  Wouldn't it be totally ironic if the future of railroad profiability rested with loose car customers? 



Date: 09/11/19 06:23
Re: "Precision Scheduled Railroading is a marketing term"
Author: Juniata

Railroads did actually allude to that a few years ago when they’d be before the STB or some congressional committee justifying their use of differential pricing with captive traffic. The theory then was they needed the latitude to price captive traffic (which generally speaking will be loose car) higher so they could apply more attractive pricing to win competitive traffic.

All precision scheduled nonsense has changed is the justification for gouging hell out of captive traffic. Now less but, more remunerative traffic is the idea so; if you run some of your customer base off, you’re still performing to the plan.

Posted from iPhone



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/11/19 06:24 by Juniata.



Date: 09/11/19 06:40
Re: "Precision Scheduled Railroading is a marketing term"
Author: Lackawanna484

Early on, Hunter Harrison emphasized variable pricing as part of PSR.  If it absolutely, positively had to be there by some date / time, you would pay a premium price. The Z train concept, which works fine.

If it had to be there eventually, like coal to a generating plant, you'd pay a lot less, and it would arrive eventually.

 



Date: 09/11/19 11:02
Re: "Precision Scheduled Railroading is a marketing term"
Author: junctiontower

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Early on, Hunter Harrison emphasized variable
> pricing as part of PSR.  If it absolutely,
> positively had to be there by some date / time,
> you would pay a premium price. The Z train
> concept, which works fine.
>
> If it had to be there eventually, like coal to a
> generating plant, you'd pay a lot less, and it
> would arrive eventually.
>
>  

Which is perfectly fine if the customer actually GETS the level of service they paid for. 



Date: 09/11/19 12:33
Re: "Precision Scheduled Railroading is a marketing term"
Author: Lackawanna484

junctiontower Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Lackawanna484 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Early on, Hunter Harrison emphasized variable
> > pricing as part of PSR.  If it absolutely,
> > positively had to be there by some date / time,
> > you would pay a premium price. The Z train
> > concept, which works fine.
> >
> > If it had to be there eventually, like coal to
> a
> > generating plant, you'd pay a lot less, and it
> > would arrive eventually.
> >
> >  
>
> Which is perfectly fine if the customer actually
> GETS the level of service they paid for. 

Agreed. If the customer is willing to pay $$$ for $ level service, the railroad will pocket the spread.

Railroads often think and act like monopolies.

Posted from Android



Date: 09/11/19 16:00
Re: "Precision Scheduled Railroading is a marketing term"
Author: CSX602

The first railroad to use the terms "precision railroading" or "precision transportation" (meaning precision schedules to reduce train numbers) was the Norfolk & Western Railway in the 1930s...   "Precision Transportation" was actually the company slogan and many of the ideas early forms of today's "PSR".   The concept isn't as new as some want to think.



Date: 09/11/19 16:19
Re: "Precision Scheduled Railroading is a marketing term"
Author: Bandito

CSX602 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The first railroad to use the terms "precision
> railroading" or "precision transportation"
> (meaning precision schedules to reduce train
> numbers) was the Norfolk & Western Railway in the
> 1930s...   "Precision Transportation" was
> actually the company slogan and many of the ideas
> early forms of today's "PSR".   The concept
> isn't as new as some want to think.

I think the difference is that back in the 30s the word "precision" actually meant something. So did "scheduled." Now they are just using emotionally charged words (who can object to precision?) as a smokescreen to reduce service in terms of point pairs and frequency, while increasing train length. Nothing new on that count.



Date: 09/11/19 18:32
Re: "Precision Scheduled Railroading is a marketing term"
Author: CSX602

Bandito Wrote:

>  to reduce service in terms of point
> pairs and frequency, while increasing train
> length. 

Those goals were part of the Precision Transportation that N&W advertised (to shareholders) in the 1930s...  Better schedules, less trains, fewer crews needed...  Scheduling trains with connections in mind so that longer trains could be handled and reduce need for second sections shortly after, and more modern power to handle those longer trains.



Date: 09/12/19 02:20
Re: "Precision Scheduled Railroading is a marketing term"
Author: ns1000

CSX602 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Bandito Wrote:
>
> >  to reduce service in terms of point
> > pairs and frequency, while increasing train
> > length. 
>
> Those goals were part of the Precision
> Transportation that N&W advertised (to
> shareholders) in the 1930s...  Better schedules,
> less trains, fewer crews needed...  Scheduling
> trains with connections in mind so that longer
> trains could be handled and reduce need for second
> sections shortly after, and more modern power to
> handle those longer trains.


And did they also SHAFT the customer in the process...??!!

Being efficient is one thing, then there is PSR....

Posted from Android



Date: 09/12/19 05:14
Re: "Precision Scheduled Railroading is a marketing term"
Author: junctiontower

CSX602 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Bandito Wrote:
>
> >  to reduce service in terms of point
> > pairs and frequency, while increasing train
> > length. 
>
> Those goals were part of the Precision
> Transportation that N&W advertised (to
> shareholders) in the 1930s...  Better schedules,
> less trains, fewer crews needed...  Scheduling
> trains with connections in mind so that longer
> trains could be handled and reduce need for second
> sections shortly after, and more modern power to
> handle those longer trains.

Also keep in my that was during the depression where extreme measures could be justified, AND the N&W was first and foremost a coal hauler, much of it to the the export market, not exactly time sensitive freight.



Date: 09/12/19 16:26
Re: "Precision Scheduled Railroading is a marketing term"
Author: CSX602

ns1000 Wrote:

> And did they also SHAFT the customer in the
> process...??!!
>
> Being efficient is one thing, then there is
> PSR....

No, but back in the 1930s there were 5 person crews, so along the way most of the shafting was internal employee reduction...  Oh, and only about 2 decades later the railroads got rid of the LCL traffic, which shafted all the LCL customers.   Most shippers have no loyalty at all to railroads - when trucks became cheaper they shifted to trucks.   So why should railroads cater to them?



Date: 09/12/19 16:57
Re: "Precision Scheduled Railroading is a marketing term"
Author: junctiontower

CSX602 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ns1000 Wrote:
>
> > And did they also SHAFT the customer in the
> > process...??!!
> >
> > Being efficient is one thing, then there is
> > PSR....
>
> No, but back in the 1930s there were 5 person
> crews, so along the way most of the shafting was
> internal employee reduction...  Oh, and only
> about 2 decades later the railroads got rid of the
> LCL traffic, which shafted all the LCL
> customers.   Most shippers have no loyalty at
> all to railroads - when trucks became cheaper they
> shifted to trucks.   So why should railroads
> cater to them?

Uh, maybe because catering to customers is what business DO, or at least used to?  At the company I work for, we kiss so much butt, usually the only part of us out in the open is the soles of our shoes, to paraphrase an old joke.



Date: 09/13/19 02:21
Re: "Precision Scheduled Railroading is a marketing term"
Author: ns1000

And I would add that IF RRs started to CARE more about the customer (not just the ones with deep pockets), then just maybe there would be LESS trucks on our roads..??!!

Posted from Android



Date: 09/13/19 08:17
Re: "Precision Scheduled Railroading is a marketing term"
Author: ts1457

junctiontower Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Also keep in my that was during the depression
> where extreme measures could be justified, AND the
> N&W was first and foremost a coal hauler, much of
> it to the the export market, not exactly time
> sensitive freight.

Though coal was N&W's largest commodity, the railway hauled a lot of other types of freight.

Search "N&W operation  fast freight" to find a 1950 publicity film and spend a half hour watching it to help educate yourself.
 



Date: 09/13/19 17:01
Re: "Precision Scheduled Railroading is a marketing term"
Author: junctiontower

I KNOW they hauled all kinds of freight, but the COAL was where the money was at, especially since they could charge whatever the market would bear on the export stuff, and in many cases they also OWNED the coal they were moving.   Remember too that until 1964, the N&W didn't actually GO anywhere, as far as general freight was concerned.



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