CSX was able to quickly restore service throughout the areas affected by Hurricane Irma and continues to improve in key service metrics as the railroad implements its new model of precision scheduled railroading, President and Chief Executive Officer E. Hunter Harrison announced yesterday.
After the hurricane slammed Florida on Sept. 10 with devastating winds and flooding, CSX re-established rail service in most of the Southeast United States within hours, into and out of northern Florida within 24 hours, and throughout the vast majority of the state within a week, according to a CSX press release.
Restoring service required clearing out 8,000 fallen trees from obstructed track and deploying hundreds of generators to run railroad signals and crossings after widespread commercial power outages. Before the storm hit, CSX evacuated more than 1,500 rail cars from Florida, and held nearly 200 trains and thousands of cars to avoid hurricane damage.
"I'm extraordinarily proud of our team of dedicated railroaders, who worked tirelessly to prepare for and respond to the impacts of Hurricane Irma," said Harrison. "Thanks to the dedication of these individuals, CSX was able to quickly and safely restore service to its customers, while continuing to make progress in the transition to our new operating model."
Despite Irma's impact, CSX's key service metrics show that the railroad's operational performance continue to improve, Harrison said. Terminal dwell times have decreased for seven consecutive weeks, while train velocity has steadily increased over the last four weeks, excluding localized hurricane impacts.
"We're back on our feet and committed to fully implementing our new operating model," Harrison said. "We remain confident that precision scheduled railroading will provide lasting benefits to our customers, our employees and our shareholders."
In addition to restoring service to customers, CSX also has helped communities and individuals recover from the hurricane through charitable contributions and in-kind donations to state and national relief agencies. For example, CSX gave $100,000 and up to $50,000 in in-kind transportation services to Feeding Florida to provide food and supplies to residents affected by the storm.
CSX also worked with state officials to expedite critical shipments of propane, animal feed and other commodities that residents needed.
Meanwhile, the Norfolk Southern Foundation is donating $100,000 and will match certain NS employee gifts as part of the Hurricane Irma recovery efforts, the company announced yesterday.
The foundation is the charitable arm of Norfolk Southern Corp., which operates Norfolk Southern Railway. The foundation will contribute $50,000 to the American Red Cross and $25,000 each to the Feeding Tampa Bay and Feeding South Florida food banks. Additionally, the foundation will match employee donations for relief efforts made to the American Red Cross and Feeding America food banks, including members Feeding Tampa Bay and Feeding South Florida.
Moreover, the company is making making interest-free loans of up to $10,000 to NS employees in Florida and elsewhere who sustained damage to their homes or loss of household property caused by severe storms and flooding associated with Irma. About 200 NS employees live and work in Florida.
Earlier this month, the NS Foundation donated $50,000 each to the American Red Cross and Houston Food Bank to assist in Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery efforts.