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Hunter Harrison
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   Author  Topic: Hunter Harrison  (Read 179 times)
DubyaM
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Hunter Harrison
 
« on: Feb 16th, 2017, 2:41pm »
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How was it under Harrison's leadership?

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George_Harris
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Posts: 3824
Re: Hunter Harrison
 
« Reply #1 on: Feb 17th, 2017, 1:29pm »
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See towny72's answer on the CP forum.
 
Added to that, it seems that his concept on track maintenance is to stay just inside the FRA limits.  Recall that the FRA limits are SAFETY limits, not comfort or ride quality.  Based on what is being said by riders on the City of New Orleans, the ride quality can best be described as exciting.  Using these standards as your maintenance targets shortens the life of both equipment and track components, not good long term thinking.
 
Letting track get into this condition is short term thinking, which is good for the investors that think in terms of making a quick killing and getting out before the chickens come home to roost.  Since wood ties have a useful life of at least 30 years if given good preservative treatment and even 20 plus if given enough treatment that they look good, and rail lasts even longer, you can minimize maintenance for several years making your bottom line look good before you have to get out of town.  This appears to be what has been done under his management.
 
What CSX seems to really need is a change in mindset to one that builds up the facilities for improved quality and long term reliability, not milk it for short term benefit.  A good example would be what Brosnan did for Southern.  Some people that worked for them at the time commented that the man had a streak of pure meanness, but he did seem to have the long term condition of Southern in his mind.  One obvious example would be when we hear of the major effort to improve clearances for double stack, you don't hear of any Southern lines being on the list.  Why?  Because when the need came for tunnel clearance improvements for tri-level auto carriers and piggybacks, his response was to go for largest likely to ever occur, and if you read in the Southern magazines that can be found on line, that meant 30 feet above the rail and 20 feet wide, 12 one way and 8 the other.  I suspect that the high overhead clearance may have had room for future electrification in it as well.  Short term bean counters would never have allowed that to happen.
 
From what I see elsewhere about the income package he wants, I don't see how any set of directors could approve it.
 
If you have money is CSX and they take on Harrison, the best thought would be to take you best guess as to when the honeymoon period would be over, cash out at that point and run.


« Last Edit: Feb 17th, 2017, 1:31pm by George_Harris » Logged
HwyHaulier
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Posts: 3439
Re: Hunter Harrison
 
« Reply #2 on: Feb 18th, 2017, 8:40am »
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George - Lodge Members -
 
Thanks! May your writer infer the "H.H." management with lessons from the wreck of the old ROCK ISLAND? We may all recall,  
too, more recent events wherein a better name might have included,  Railroad, Salvage And Wrecking Company? By now, you  
surely recall concerns about sorry events on certain Southern States trunk lines.
 
Mr. DWB, of SOUTHERN SYSTEM. Your writer was with them at Washington DC GHQ when "Mr. Brosnan" active. He was a real  
piece of work; there have been accounts in Trains magazine. He surely did know how to build, upgrade and repair lines of railroad!  
 
(Related. "Mr. Perlman" another hard driving guy, good at making order out of chaos. He did the DRG&W miracle, as well as much  
other work. See Trains.)
 
SIGH! All so long  ago...
 
........................  Vern  ..........................


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Ticket Agent serving...Pacific Stage Lines...Washington State System...Mt. Hood Stages...Pickwick Stages...Transcontinental & Western Air Lines.... Admitted Gold Bug..... Observant Orthodox Mossback..... H.M.R.A.O. Curmudgeons......
towny72
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Re: Hunter Harrison
 
« Reply #3 on: Feb 18th, 2017, 11:56am »
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This inherently is a part of a much larger issue.  
 
I wish I can remember the name or the book that was required reading way back in the day. The base of the book is how for a business there is a point were you can no longer naturally continue to improve/impress investors and the business starts to consume itself much like the body will do on extreme diets.  Railroads have operating expenses, to continue to gain investor interest you have to continue to increase profits. Easiest way is to haul more freight, but there comes a point where you cant grow much more. Then you have to become more efficient at the freight you move. IE Longer trains, less crew, better motive power. Then comes the next phase, closing facilities, laying off or in the near future eliminating people (crew-less trains).  Mr. Harrison is great at the latter, he will trim the fat, then start to trim some of the muscle all while having strong quarterly reports, which increases investor interest.  
 
At some point the company reaches a tipping point, then no matter what it does it can not continue to impress investors. This leaves the company dangerously exposed to take overs.  CN, CP, UP, BNSF will all be watching....  
 
 
Underlying here is a non-railroad issues. In America we still have not changed the way we think, but businesses are looking for ways to improve profit. With the technological boom we are seeing the easiest way and that is to is get rid of the largest expense - Employees. Antonymous everything, its coming and coming fast.  We are seeing it already, and lobbyist (companies) are pushing it hard under the mask of "safety" Trucks, trains, cars, and factory equipment will soon be basically running itself.  But nobody is asking what are we going to do with all the people that no longer have anything to do?


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HwyHaulier
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Posts: 3439
Re: Hunter Harrison
 
« Reply #4 on: Feb 18th, 2017, 2:49pm »
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townty72 - Lodge Members -
 
Until not all that time back, WBAL (Baltimore) with an excellent, and very thoughtful talk radio guy. In your instant here,  
hints at systems entropy theory. It may remind what book you noted...
 
Here earlier, the convenient example of the ROCK ISLAND debacle. Fits the profile you noted. The line long promoted  
its "ROCKET" passenger services. The RI noted for its higher speed rated trunk lines. Here, much later, and an item in  
Trains wherein the premier CGO - Denver line down to 20-  25 mph in running thru Moline and Quad Cities...
 
......................  Vern  ..............


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George_Harris
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Re: Hunter Harrison
 
« Reply #5 on: Feb 18th, 2017, 4:33pm »
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In previous years the American Railway Engineering Association published rail and tie installations for the Class 1 railroad companies.  They carried the tie statistics to the point of giving ties installed per mile of track.  Looking at those numbers gave a fairly good quick and dirty look at whether or not a railroad was keeping up with, getting ahead of or losing ground on their maintenance needs.  
 
Ties:  The number of ties per mile for wood ties is in the range of 3,000 per mile.  The functional life of a creosoted wood tie is on average about 30 years.  Less in heavily curved territory, and very high trafficked lines, and more in moderate and low traffic lines in drier climates, but 30 years is a reasonably good US average number.  Hence, a company needed to install around 100 ties per mile per year to stay even.  The western dry climate roads like could get away with some less.
 
Rail:  When looking at track of all kinds, and given that with jointed rail it may be moved at least twice before being scrapped, rail could be considered good for up to 100 years total.  
 
It has been said that, you are going to pay for good track maintenance, the question is how.  Either you will choose to do it, or you will be spending the money on picking up derailments.  
 
Thus, no matter what noises were made about how great a company was doing, if when you looked at these numbers, if you saw a consistent pattern of tie installation of much under 100 ties per mile, cash out, because the chickens are going to come home to roost someday.  Union Pacific was somewhat of an exception in those days, as their numbers were around 80, but I think a combination of climate and paying careful attention to all aspects of maintenance they could get away with it.  As an aside, UP was the about the last, if not the last major road to decide to go to welded rail.
 
During the Brosnan era, Southern was installing somewhere around 130 to 140 ties per mile per year, the L&N about 80 and SAL ACL around the same.  ICRR was less.  If I remember right, CRIP was down around somewhere around 30.


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HwyHaulier
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Posts: 3439
Re: Hunter Harrison
 
« Reply #6 on: Feb 22nd, 2017, 7:34am »
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George - Lodge Members -
 
And, now this:   http://finance.yahoo.com/news/csx-railroads-top-2-executives-173922624.html
 
It appearing the ship tossing over much cargo, and preparing for a huge storm? Ready the lifeboats?
 
.....................  Vern  .................................


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Ticket Agent serving...Pacific Stage Lines...Washington State System...Mt. Hood Stages...Pickwick Stages...Transcontinental & Western Air Lines.... Admitted Gold Bug..... Observant Orthodox Mossback..... H.M.R.A.O. Curmudgeons......
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