Special Thanks goes to Paul Highland of Atas, CA and Jason Breakiron of Fredericksburg, VA for e-mailing these News Articles concerning CSX.
CSX to spend $4.9 million redoing building's exterior
(The following story by Christopher Calnan appeared on The Times-Union website on April 6.)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The cost of CSX Corp.'s makeover is going up. The railroad operator plans to spend $4.9 million covering its blue-tiled Water Street headquarters with 1,500 bronze-colored insulated glass panels to save operating costs. CSX announced a year ago a plan to paint the blue tiles for $1 million. However, company spokesman Adam Hollingsworth said that was changed because of weather-proofing and energy efficiency issues. The makeover comes as the company is cutting management jobs while facing a high cost structure and poor railroad performance. On March 2, the city issued CSX a building permit for the exterior work. It was the same month the company trimmed its workforce by 525 employees companywide -- about 325 in Jacksonville -- as part of a management restructuring plan. The plan, initially announced in November, calls for CSX to cut 800 to 1,000 non-union jobs. The fourth and final round of reductions will happen in the next four weeks, affecting the lower half of the company's management workforce, Hollingsworth said. The building upgrade will insulate exterior walls and make them water tight. As a result, the company expects them to reduce heating and cooling costs. The work is long overdue, and not related to the job cuts, Hollingsworth said. "This is much needed maintenance work that has been deferred on a 44-year-old building," he said. "Our company is focussed on improving its financial and operating effectiveness, and this project is consistent with that as it is environmentally friendly and will drive down maintenance and utility costs." Installing the panels should take about 15 months, Hollingsworth said. The 17-story building was built in 1960 as the headquarters for Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, he said.
In November, the Downtown Development Authority's Design Review Committee approved CSX's plan to change the headquarters color. The half-inch-thick, 9-feet-by-5-feet glass panels will be bolted to the building in aluminum frames, Hollingsworth said. The redesign of CSX's management is expected to save CSX $80 million to $100 million annually. It will shrink management layers from 11 to no more than eight.
Thursday, April 08, 2004
Rail freight traffic up in March
(The Association of American Railroads issued the following news release on April 8.)
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. rail carload traffic rose 3.7 percent (60,142 carloads) in March 2004 compared to March 2003, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported today. U.S. intermodal rail traffic, which consists of trailers and containers on flat cars and is not included in carload figures, was up 9.3 percent (87,678 trailers and containers) in March 2004 compared with March 2003. "Year-over-year monthly U.S. rail carload traffic was up 2.5 percent in January of this year, 3.0 percent in February, and now 3.7 percent in March," reported AAR Vice President Craig F. Rockey. "That's the best three straight months since the fall of 1998. It also is heartening to see the momentum building. With their strong carload and intermodal traffic, railroads are a major facilitator of the economic recovery that appears to be underway." Coal traffic in March was up 2.7 percent (17,165 carloads) compared with March 2003, while carloads of crushed stone and gravel, used in road construction among many other purposes, were up 12.8 percent (11,653 carloads). Grain volume was up 11.1 percent (11,495 carloads) in March. Motor vehicles and equipment had the biggest decline in March 2004, with carloads down 3.3 percent (4,455 carloads).
Thursday, April 08, 2004
Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch:
CSX to lease 200-mile Va. stretch A Buckingham railroad will maintain track, bridges; union cites job cuts, taxpayer burden
BY CHIP JONES
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
Rail giant CSX Corp. will lease 200 miles of Virginia track to a private contractor, a pending deal that drew fire from a major rail union. Sources said CSX is close to turning over to a small Buckingham County railroad the daily operation of a stretch of track that starts in Richmond, runs north through Doswell and follows a rough arc across the state. It runs through Gordonsville, Orange, Charlottesville, Staunton and Clifton Forge. The new operator, Buckingham Branch Railroad, will also be charged with maintaining the track and bridges - some in mountainous regions of western Virginia. The terms and timing of the deal have not been made public. But rail officials confirmed the agreement this week. CSX spokesman Bob Sullivan said yesterday, "I can't talk about the real specifics of the transaction." But he said the carrier has a long-standing policy of selling or leasing unprofitable stretches of track. "A short line can step in and do it," Sullivan said, without naming Buckingham. He noted Virginia has a short-line development effort that is "designed to accomplish that end." In fact, Buckingham Branch Railroad was created during a similar spinoff in the late 1980s.
A short-line operator generally has lower operating costs because it's not bound by union rules and wage scales, and because it serves a smaller customer base. The cost-cutting was criticized by the union representing about 400 track workers in Virginia. "The union's going to lose the better-paying jobs, and taxpayers will take care of the tracks," said Randall Brassell, general chairman of the Allied Eastern Federation of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes. "It's a real good deal for CSX, but not for the taxpayers of Virginia," he said. Up to 20 railroad maintenance workers will be laid off after Buckingham Branch takes over, he said. Brassell noted that the Buckingham railroad has gotten nearly $3 million in state rail-preservation grants since 1993 to make upgrades and repairs in the Dillwyn area. "The whole deal is a scam to get the taxpayers to maintain the track," Brassell said. Karen J. Rae, director of the state department of Rail and Public Transportation, denied the charge.
In talks with Buckingham Branch, she said she made it clear "we don't intend to do major maintenance" on the 200-mile CSX corridor. The state has a relatively small pool of r
esources - about $3 million - that's divided each year for grants to nine short-line operators, she said. CSX officials have said for years they were not making a profit on the 200-mile stretch, according to Rae. In the early 1990s, the railroad was persuaded not to abandon a portion of its Richmond line. "Railroads are in such desperate straits across the country that they're trying to get out of money-losers and focus more on the core business," Rae said. She called the lease a "win-win" beca
use it keeps the track open with a Virginia-based company. "Buckingham Branch is one of our best short lines," she said. Bob Bryant, a retired CSX manager, started the Buckingham Branch Railroad with his wife and son 15 years ago. He would not comment on the specifics of the new deal.
Last year, Buckingham Branch had 14 employees and revenue of $1 million, but did not make a profit, Bryant said in an earlier interview. Asked this week about the union's concerns, he said, "We'll certainly not hurt anyone. It's our goal to stay away from controversy. We're small and fragile." The Maintenance of Way officials said some parts of the leased stretch are in "terrible shape" because of neglect by the railroad. Four years ago, CSX was sharply criticized by the Federal Railroad Administration, which oversees rail safety. The FRA ordered repairs of track between Charlottesville and Clifton Forge, a corridor traveled by Amtrak passenger trains. Since then, no major problems have been reported in the region, an FRA spokesman said. CSX, the nation's third-largest railroad, will keep running trains on other tracks through Richmond, including the line used by Amtrak at the Main Street and Staples Mill stations. CSX also maintains the right to operate trains - often with empty coal hoppers - on the new Buckingham line. Some industrial customers were notified last week about the pending change of management."They wanted to let us know that there would be some changes coming up," said David Butler, purchasing manager for Ruffin & Payne Inc., a lumber mill and building supply company in Richmond.
Wednesday, May 5, 2004
Third CSXT employee wins AAR Award for Lifetime Achievement
(CSX issued the following news release on May 24.)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- CSX Transportation employee Bill Gleason became CSX Corporation's (NYSE: CSX - News) third winner of the American Association of Railroad's (AAR) prestigious Holden-Proefrock Award for his lifetime contributions to the field of hazardous materials safety.
"Bill's outstanding achievements represent the very best of CSXT and its dedication to the safe transportation of hazardous materials," said Skip Elliott, CSXT public safety and environment assistant vice president. "He has designed and constructed five training tank cars, is recognized as an expert in tank car construction and damage assessment, and is nationally recognized as a railroad emergency response trainer." Gleason, a 27-year railroad employee, is a CSXT hazardous materials field services manager based in New Orleans. He has designed and constructed tank car modules for hazmat training centers, chemical corporations and emergency responders and has developed hazardous material training courses.
The award was announced and presented at the annual AAR Hazardous Materials Conference in Houston, Texas, by the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. The award is named for Roy Holden and Art Proefrock -- two pioneers in railroad hazardous materials transportation safety and tank car design. Gleason is the third CSXT employee to win the AAR's preeminent award for hazardous materials safety in the past four years. CSXT has a better than a 99.9 percent success rate for transporting hazardous materials carloads without incident.
CSX Corporation, based in Jacksonville, Fla., owns the largest rail network in the eastern United States. CSX Transportation Inc. and its 34,000 employees provide rail transportation services over a 23,000 route-mile network in 23 states, the District of Columbia and two Canadian provinces. CSX Corporation also provides intermodal and global container terminal operations through other subsidiaries.
Monday, May 24, 2004
Clarksburg (WV) Exponent and Telegram:
Commission to oppose CSX rail line lease
by Darlene J. Taylor STAFF WRITER
CLARKSBURG -- The Harrison County Commission voted Thursday to send letters to state and federal legislators stating its opposition to CSX leasing rail lines. Dana Booth and Dave Lopez, representing railroad rights-of-way workers, addressed commissioners on the possibility of CSX leasing the tracks to a third party. The proposal involves 530 miles of track from Cumberland, Md., to Grafton to Clarksburg and New Martinsville. Booth explained that CSX only wants to give up responsibility for the rail upkeep and maintenance, not the use of the track. CSX would be leasing the track for another company to also use the track.
He cited safety issues for the public as well as the possible loss of 250 jobs. CSX, a Class I railroad company, owns $380 million worth of property in West Virginia and generates over $50 million in revenue a year, Booth said. "We ask that the commission consider the economic impact and resolve to ask for legislative assistance to look at economic impact this could have on the state," Booth said. Lopez noted that a similar deal was recently made in Virginia. That small Class III railroad company is now asking the state for financial assistance to be able to maintain the tracks. Commissioners Ron Watson and Frank "Chunki" Angotti agreed that this could have an impact on local citizens and voted to send a letter to legislators voicing that concern.
Commission President Roger Diaz was not present.
Staff writer Darlene J. Taylor can be reached at 304-626-1403
Saturday July 31, 2004
D.C. Council rejects hazmat measure
(The following article by Spencer S. Hsu and Yolanda Woodlee was posted on the Washington Post website on November 10.)
WASHINGTON -- The D.C. Council rejected legislation yesterday that would have barred railroads from shipping hazardous materials through the nation's capital, defusing a standoff with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration and CSX Corp. Minutes before the vote, a spokesman for Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) said he would not sign the bill if it passed, though the mayor had said the opposite two weeks ago. The spokesman cited concern that the measure would not have withstood a court challenge by the federal agency or the railroad, both of which opposed the bill.
The vote on the first hazmat rail ban by any U.S. city had been watched closely by rail carriers, the shipping industry and environmental activists. They saw it as a high-profile test of the Department of Homeland Security's ability, three years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, to secure chemical shipments while minimizing the cost to industry and taxpayers.
In the end, the proposed D.C. ban -- an emergency bill that needed the support of nine of the 13 council members -- failed on a 5 to 5 vote. Backers of the legislation said they would try again as soon as Nov. 23 or in January. Opponents of the bill said CSX has already agreed to reroute the most dangerous freight from its Washington line at the Bush administration's request. They also said federal law prohibits states or the District from unilaterally restricting interstate commerce and accused the bill's backers of trying to embarrass the president. "There is an agenda here, and the agenda is to make the administration look bad in this area, and it is a national agenda," said Carol Schwartz (At Large), the council's lone Republican, who voted against the bill, which she had co-sponsored."We're already rerouting the trains." Co-sponsor Kathy Patterson (D-Ward 3) disagreed, saying that the voluntary rerouting could not be confirmed or enforced. "We have not yet addressed the single most serious threat facing this city, the continued shipment of highly toxic chemicals through the District of Columbia," Patterson said. The vote follows a year of study and talks between city officials and federal regulators, who have briefed D.C. and congressional committees on a pending $6 million security plan for 42 miles of Washington area rail track that will include additional surveillance technology and monitoring by law enforcement.
The Department of Homeland Security disclosed last month that CSX has diverted shipments of the most dangerous chemicals and explosives since the March 11 commuter train bombings in Madrid that killed 191 people. CSX moves 8,500 chemical cars through Washington each year, though only a fraction of those chemicals are toxic when inhaled, such as chlorine and sulfur dioxide. A chief U.S. Naval Research Laboratory scientist projected that a worst-case release from a 90-ton tanker car of chlorine during the Independence Day celebration on the Mall could kill 100 people per second and 100,000 in 30 minutes. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp (D) and members Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), Adrian M. Fenty (D-Ward 4) and Patterson voted in favor of the measure. Harold Brazil (D-At Large), Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), Vincent B. Orange Sr. (D-Ward 5), Sandy Allen (D-Ward 7) and Schwartz voted against it. Kevin P. Chavous (D-Ward 7) voted present, Sharon Ambrose (D-Ward 6) left early because of illness, and David A. Catania (I-At Large) recused himself because his law firm is retained by CSX.
In other action yesterday, the council unanimously approved legislation raising the minimum wage from $6.15 an hour to $6.60 beginning Jan. 1. A year later, it will increase to $7 an hour. "It puts us near the top tier of minimum wages across the country," said Catania, who sponsored the legislation. "In excess of 3,500 employees in the District will see an increase in their income. "The council also approved making April 16, the date President Abraham Lincoln freed all slaves in the District, a legal city holiday. The holiday will fall on a Saturday next year, and Williams has allocated $1 million for overtime and holiday pay. Officials said they did not have an estimate on what the city's cost would be when the holiday falls on a weekday. Since 2000, the District has allowed city workers to use paid or unpaid leave to celebrate the holiday. Supporters of the measure to create an official holiday said that closing schools would allow students to become involved in parades, oratorical contests and other events held that day.
"I've been waiting on this four years," said Orange, the measure's sponsor. "I'm elated."
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
20,000 gallons of beer on the ground
Associated Press / Miami (FL) Herald:
CHILHOWIE, Va. - Fourteen cars of an 83-car Norfolk Southern train derailed near an industrial park, leaving the area smelling like a brewery Thursday. About 20,000 gallons of beer leaked from three cars of the Roanoke-bound train, said railway spokesman Robin Chapman. No one was injured when the cars skipped the tracks about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, Chapman said. Investigating officers said the leak did not contaminate any nearby water sources nor affect any highways. "Everything was contained away from the creek," said Jack Tolbert Jr. of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. Authorities were investigating the cause of the derailment. All trains scheduled to use the tracks through Chilhowie were held until they were cleared Thursday evening.
Thursday, Nov. 11, 2004