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Eastern Railroad Discussion > STB Chairman Oberman asks NS to respond to shipper complaints


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Date: 11/24/21 05:28
STB Chairman Oberman asks NS to respond to shipper complaints
Author: JPB

Excerpt:
"...Over the last several weeks, NSR’s key operating metrics, as reported under STB Docket No. EP 724, have deteriorated significantly and are hovering far below 2019 comparables (Because of disruptions caused by COVID-19 during 2020, in my view, 2019 is a better year for measuring the degree to which service has been restored.). For example, NSR’s system average train speed for manifest service was 14.01 mph for the second reporting week of November 2021, showing a marked decline against the same week for November 2019 when NSR’s manifest train speed was 20.7 mph. This delta is particularly troubling given the focus on the manifest network in NSR’s precision scheduled railroading operating model. Similarly, NSR’s system average dwell is approximately 10 hours greater than the same reporting week in 2019, 27.5 hours versus 17.8 hours. Finally, the average number of manifest trains holding per day increased by ten times when the second reporting week of November 2021 is compared against 2019: 58 versus 5. These metrics reflect an unfavorable trend in NSR’s overall performance in 2021. Yet, NSR’s number of “transportation” employees has continued to decline over the last three months (8,281, 8,269, and 8,207, respectively), as reported on STB Form C.

Coinciding with the marked deterioration in NSR’s performance metrics, the Board has received an increasing number of complaints from NSR’s customers about poor performance. These complaints include missed switches, cars stranded at intermediate yards, longer transit times, operating plan changes without notice, and a lack of communication from customer service. Many of these complaints are from customers along NSR’s Cincinnati to Chattanooga corridor, but I have also heard from shippers in the deep South and the mid-Atlantic. Taken together, they represent a cross-section of key commodity groups. These rail service disruptions have caused customers to incur additional costs, typically without compensation from NSR..."

https://www.stb.gov/wp-content/uploads/Letter-to-J.-Squires-re-Service-Issues.pdf



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/24/21 05:32 by JPB.



Date: 11/24/21 06:07
Re: STB Chairman Oberman asks NS to respond to shipper complaints
Author: engineerinvirginia

There really aren't any answers to give....the situation is as the STB describes...and getting worse for all railroads in the east....short lines included. 



Date: 11/24/21 07:19
Re: STB Chairman Oberman asks NS to respond to shipper complaints
Author: wabash2800

So are they blaming it all on Covid causing the shortage of manpower?

Victor



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/24/21 16:27 by wabash2800.



Date: 11/24/21 08:16
Re: STB Chairman Oberman asks NS to respond to shipper complaints
Author: NKPSOUTHERN

wabash2800 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> So are they blaming it all on Covid causing the
> shortage of manapower?
>
> Victor

Covid is going to get the BLAME for everything that is going wrong right now in every industry.  It's just easier than facing up to the reality of the situations that upper management has decided on.  Best example is PSR.



Date: 11/24/21 08:27
Re: STB Chairman Oberman asks NS to respond to shipper complaints
Author: altoonafn

The labor shortage is also evident in manufacturing, trucking, and the service industry. 

To say these are railroad related issues is dishonest. The stimulus checks, combined with the forced lockdowns, of the last two years have led to this (insanely high demand for various products), as people are spending the savings they built up.  Baby boomers retiring has also contributed to labor issues. 

Here's the question that should be answered:  If the railroads wanted to hire 1000 T&E crews tomorrow, could they find qualified people to do it?  My guess is that they would not. 

The DOT could also roll back non-safety related regulations to increase productivity. Ohio has recently done so with trucking permits for some loads. 

Of course, the Secretary of Transportation would rather talk about paternity leave and electric cars. 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/24/21 10:08 by altoonafn.



Date: 11/24/21 09:22
Re: STB Chairman Oberman asks NS to respond to shipper complaints
Author: pennsy3750

altoonafn Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If the railroads wanted to hire 1000 T&E crews
> tomorrow, could they find qualified people to do it?

Maybe not.  I have heard from two sources in Altoona (an engineer and a retired shop foreman) that NS has continuous problems finding candidates that can pass the drug screen, at least in that particular labor market.



Date: 11/24/21 10:33
Re: STB Chairman Oberman asks NS to respond to shipper complaints
Author: jgilmore

NKPSOUTHERN Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Covid is going to get the BLAME for everything
> that is going wrong right now in every industry. 
> It's just easier than facing up to the reality of
> the situations that upper management has decided
> on.  Best example is PSR.

Agreed. How does a big traffic drop on roads already losing traffic cause such huge problems? Should be the opposite, and self-inflicted labor shortages shouldn't be allowed to excuse it away either...

JG

 



Date: 11/24/21 12:19
Re: STB Chairman Oberman asks NS to respond to shipper complaints
Author: Off-pending

altoonafn Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The labor shortage is also evident in
> manufacturing, trucking, and the service
> industry. 
>
> To say these are railroad related issues is
> dishonest. The stimulus checks, combined with the
> forced lockdowns, of the last two years have led
> to this (insanely high demand for various
> products), as people are spending the savings they
> built up.  Baby boomers retiring has also
> contributed to labor issues. 
>
> Here's the question that should be answered:  If
> the railroads wanted to hire 1000 T&E crews
> tomorrow, could they find qualified people to do
> it?  My guess is that they would not. 
>
> The DOT could also roll back non-safety related
> regulations to increase productivity. Ohio has
> recently done so with trucking permits for some
> loads. 
>
> Of course, the Secretary of Transportation would
> rather talk about paternity leave and electric
> cars. 

And now you’ve made it completely obvious that you weren’t paying attention before Covid. The railroads did this to themselves. Covid has been a perfect scapegoat for the carriers to fall back on for a while. Now that the economy is recovering, the carriers refuse to adjust. And in several cases more cuts are being made.
Now the problem is not getting new people, it is retaining the current employees. People are leaving the railroad as there are many other opportunities out there. Not just the newer guys. Men with 15-20 years. They’re taking a small cut in pay and forfeiting RRB to have a better quality of life. Working under an expired contract with no wage increases in the immediate future all the while bragging about record profits while crews are being worked to exhaustion is taking its toll. New guys show up and see that, they’re out the door. And it’s not just labor employees. Management employees are going back to their seniority or leaving the company all together. In the past 3 years I’ve had 7 different trainmasters on my territory. Of those 7, 2 are still with the company. One of them I just spoke to this morning has been mandated to work 6 12 hour shifts. He’s actively looking elsewhere.

Blame everything else but don’t take a look at yourself. Just like a drunk that refuses to get help, this problem continues to get drunk off of numbers that don’t mean anything and let the real issues pile up. It’s a recipe for disaster. But first you have to admit there’s a problem.



Date: 11/24/21 12:27
Re: STB Chairman Oberman asks NS to respond to shipper complaints
Author: Juniata

My son recently left NS after four years to take a conductor job with a short line railroad. He said conditions at NS had simply become intolerable and the job no longer had any future.

He’s been with the short line three weeks now and while the days are long, says he finally feels like the work he is doing is appreciated.

CW

Off-pending Wrote:
-----------------------------------
>
> And now you’ve made it completely obvious that
> you weren’t paying attention before Covid. The
> railroads did this to themselves. Covid has been a
> perfect scapegoat for the carriers to fall back on
> for a while. Now that the economy is recovering,
> the carriers refuse to adjust. And in several
> cases more cuts are being made.
> Now the problem is not getting new people, it is
> retaining the current employees. People are
> leaving the railroad as there are many other
> opportunities out there. Not just the newer guys.
> Men with 15-20 years. They’re taking a small cut
> in pay and forfeiting RRB to have a better quality
> of life. Working under an expired contract with no
> wage increases in the immediate future all the
> while bragging about record profits while crews
> are being worked to exhaustion is taking its toll.
> New guys show up and see that, they’re out the
> door. And it’s not just labor employees.
> Management employees are going back to their
> seniority or leaving the company all together. In
> the past 3 years I’ve had 7 different
> trainmasters on my territory. Of those 7, 2 are
> still with the company. One of them I just spoke
> to this morning has been mandated to work 6 12
> hour shifts. He’s actively looking elsewhere.
>
> Blame everything else but don’t take a look at
> yourself. Just like a drunk that refuses to get
> help, this problem continues to get drunk off of
> numbers that don’t mean anything and let the
> real issues pile up. It’s a recipe for disaster.
> But first you have to admit there’s a problem.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 11/24/21 13:33
Re: STB Chairman Oberman asks NS to respond to shipper complaints
Author: MC6853

And the wheels rolling toward reregulation start turning faster and faster... The question now is how bad does it have to get before that happens...



Date: 11/24/21 14:00
Re: STB Chairman Oberman asks NS to respond to shipper complaints
Author: PRR1361

The ol' plantation is back in style at NS; tote that barge, lift that bale, break a little rule and you land in jail.  They treat their T&E crews like slaves and wonder why they won't come back to the plantation after they've been laid off numerous times.  You reap what you sow!



Date: 11/24/21 14:13
Re: STB Chairman Oberman asks NS to respond to shipper complaints
Author: pdt

This is what happens when short term money in the "right" persons pockets, rules this country.    Not that this country has ever not been about money, but we are going thru a worse than usual phase right now.  imho.



Date: 11/24/21 15:09
Re: STB Chairman Oberman asks NS to respond to shipper complaints
Author: CO2707

altoonafn Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Of course, the Secretary of Transportation would
> rather talk about paternity leave and electric
> cars. 

BINGO!



Date: 11/24/21 15:20
Re: STB Chairman Oberman asks NS to respond to shipper complaints
Author: austin

With all these states allowing and legalizing the consumption of  WEED to be smoked as readily as a cigarette there's little wonder why people cant pass a drug test. Its amazing how much Weed odors I smell driving on the highways. That's still classified as a DUI in the real world, please correct me if I am incorrect. And with the govt paying unemployment out endlessly we see the cause and effect of the labor shortage. Working for a non publicly traded company we are having serious issues trying to find qualified help....... Amazing how Wall Street gives 2 S...ts less about anyone but themselves.  Sad but true..... JR



Date: 11/24/21 18:18
Re: STB Chairman Oberman asks NS to respond to shipper complaints
Author: MC6853

Or, rather than pin the problem entirely on government increasing unemployment benefits, perhaps companies could make their jobs more appealing than unemployment... Not just more pay, but just treating workers like human beings could work wonders... Look at the above comments on NS working conditions as a great example... Just a thought...



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/24/21 18:19 by MC6853.



Date: 11/24/21 18:29
Re: STB Chairman Oberman asks NS to respond to shipper complaints
Author: SALGUY

I've been gone from NS for almost 5 years and it was the best move ever. I no longer hate it when the phone rings, I have regular hours and I'm not working with some so called union brother that is looking to steal my seniority from me. I went and got my class A CDL and I'm now making over 6 figures again. It took a while but it can be done.

Posted from Android



Date: 11/24/21 19:34
Re: STB Chairman Oberman asks NS to respond to shipper complaints
Author: Mojacket

I have been gone from NS since 2019 after 23 years. When I got my next job is when I found out how UNDERPAID I was. That being said, I am not surprised at the current situation. When I started, management kinda cared for everyone. Yes, there were some bad seeds, but overall, it wasn't bad. That all started to change in 2017. 



SALGUY Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I've been gone from NS for almost 5 years and it
> was the best move ever. I no longer hate it when
> the phone rings, I have regular hours and I'm not
> working with some so called union brother that is
> looking to steal my seniority from me. I went and
> got my class A CDL and I'm now making over 6
> figures again. It took a while but it can be done.
>
>
> Posted from Android



Date: 11/24/21 21:47
Re: STB Chairman Oberman asks NS to respond to shipper complaints
Author: oneblock

Now their excuse for really poor service is SUPPLY CHAIN ISSUES!



Date: 11/25/21 06:14
Re: STB Chairman Oberman asks NS to respond to shipper complaints
Author: steamloco

I saw a billboard advertising for a manufacturing job and forklift job for $36.00 an hour 1st shift. It's a bathroom tissue (not allowed to say toilet paper there) plant in Anderson South Carolina and I pick up there at times and it's a fast paced job. In the summer even with AC it's a little hot but day shifts for that pay in the dry isn't bad and there is extra pay for the night shift. Beats walking a 15,000 foot long train in the rain, in the dark and either snakes in the summer  or bears, coyotes or some other hungry wild creatures in the winter watching you.



Date: 11/25/21 06:27
Re: STB Chairman Oberman asks NS to respond to shipper complaints
Author: goneon66

in this day and age, the 2 major issues i see to hiring and RETAINING qualified railroad (or other transportation position) employees involve:

1. passing drug screens.  

2. people with basic competent reading and arithmetic skills.

if you want the best, increasing pay and improving working conditions would sure help the railroads cause regarding hiring and retaining employees.

good luck..........

66



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/25/21 06:32 by goneon66.



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