• Fewer manned helpers at Altoona

  • Discussion relating to the NS operations. Official web site can be found here: NSCORP.COM.
Discussion relating to the NS operations. Official web site can be found here: NSCORP.COM.
  by KevinD
Been seeing coal drags go past the cameras at Cresson and the Curve with AC traction DPUs on the rear instead of usual pairs of SD40E helper sets. I wonder how many fewer helper crews they are going without now. Do the DPUs get cut off at Altoona or do they go all the way through with the train to its destination? Used to be coal trains would have 2 helper sets on the rear for braking, if they are getting by with just one pair as DPUs now, are there track restrictions (i.e. these can't be sent down "the slide")?
  by Acela150
AFAIK, DPU's stay on the entire trip with no restrictions on the trip other the those posted in Bulletins.
  by RMB357
Yesterday in Gallitzin we saw SD60E manned helper set and an SD80Mac manned helper set working the mountain along with the SD40E manned sets, we didn't see one train with a mid train or rear end DPU all day so not sure if it's an experiment they tried or just periodically.
  by fcqjx
Currently the only DPU trains(rear placement) are eastbound utility trains from Shire Oaks to various North Carolina power plants; the empty returns bunch road and DPU power together on the head end; the earlier experiments with manifest and 200 car crude oil trains have not been continued.

As part of Precision Scheduled Railroading a bunch of employees including helper crews in the Altoona terminal have been furloughed, and strict orders have been issued that no more than 15 helper crews per day will be called causing major headaches for already overloaded and harassed dispatchers and very slow moving and even stalled trains going up the hill; "Do the best you can" is often heard on the radio.
  by Wayside
fcqjx wrote:"Do the best you can" is often heard on the radio.
So, Precision Scheduled stalls? Dogs wagged by tails. Preventable stalls on the mountain are short-sighted and hazardous for crews. I'm wondering if they have pitched the brake sticks as endorsed by EHH.
  by RMB357
The traffic was non stop through Harrisburg the last few days, how long before they shoot themselves in the foot with this nonsense.? The traffic is there, I'm sure they are turning customers away with this new plan and they are probably running anyone out in management who isn't onboard with the plan.
  by Engineer Spike
PSR is nothing but smoke in mirrors. The railroad gets tied in knots because the company is saving money by cutting crews, and tying up power. PSR is not about efficiency. It is about prioritizing the most profitable trains, and letting the traffic dry up on the less profitable, customers be damned. I have been through it. I'd see 50+ units laid up in a major yard, yet power was hard to scrape together to run trains. One failed unit made it they had to rob Peer, in order to pay Paul.
  by gp80mac
At this point, I don't even think PSR is about saving money or stockholder value anymore.

I honestly believe that it's about the ego of a select few that think they are "revolutionizing railroading". Nothing more, nothing less.