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April 2002


CSX Becomes "Presenting Sponsor" of B&O Museum Exhibition

CSX Corporation has joined the B&O Railroad Museum as a presenting sponsor of "175 Years: America on Track" with a $500,000 gift toward exhibitions, programs, and special events. Through July 2003, the museum will host this national event and the debut of new programs and exhibits. The 16-month celebration culminates with The Fair of the Iron Horse 175, a 10-day pageant of rare locomotives and citywide festival at Baltimore's Carroll Park in July 2003.


CSX Adopts Change in Accounting Principle

CSX has announced it is adopting Statement of Accounting Standards 142, "Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets," which will include a non-cash, after tax charge of 20 cents per share, to record the cumulative effect of this change in accounting principle, for the first-quarter 2002.


CSX Sells Certain Land, Timber and Coal Assets in Five States

CSX Real Property has completed the sale of its 25 percent ownership in certain land, timber and coal assets in five states to Western Pocahontas Properties Limited Partnership for $46.4-million. The sale was completed in two phases with the first transaction closing in December, and the second in early March.


Matthew Rose Named Chairman of BNSF

Matthew K. Rose, president and chief executive officer of Burlington Northern Santa Fe, has been named chairman. He replaces Robert D. Krebs, who has retired.


BNSF to Operate Oakland Intermodal Terminal

Burlington Northern Santa Fe has reached an agreement with the Port of Oakland for BNSF to operate the port's newly-built $38-million Oakland International Gateway Intermodal Terminal. BNSF will also be able to provide service to third parties at the facility. The 85-acre terminal has the capacity to accommodate 250,000 containers per year, and the capability to expand to meet future growth.


BNSF, UTU Agree to New Procedures for Rules Violations

Burlington Northern Santa Fe and the United Transportation Union have entered into an agreement providing for training and counseling instead of punitive discipline in most incidents of rules violations. The agreement is the first of its kind between the UTU and a major railroad, according to a news report. It provides for UTU-represented safety people to assure that the procedures are being implemented and interpreted uniformly across the BNSF system.


Norfolk Southern Revamping its Rail Freight Service Plan

Norfolk Southern is revamping its rail freight service plan with implementation of new train schedules to improve transit times. According to a news report, trains will operate over shortened, more direct routes, and will bypass as many freight yards en route as possible. The company says transit times will be reduced by 10 to 30 percent.


BNSF, CSX Run Test Train for UPS

[CSXT Midweek Report, March 15, 2002]... Last week, CSX and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe ran a test intermodal train from Los Angeles to metro New York and Boston. The purpose of the test was to determine if transcontinental rail service could be fast enough for UPS's schedule, allowing it to expand its use. If the results of the test run are any indication, the answer is a resounding Yes. "We had a 65.5-hour schedule for running the train from LA to Little Ferry, N.J.," said CSXI president Clarence Gooden, "and we beat the schedule by four hours and 10 minutes. We also beat the scheduled arrival in Worcester, Massachusetts, by two hours and 52 minutes." Gooden said that it was people and intense focus that made the exceptional service possible. "We had 45 minutes in the schedule at Selkirk to split the train (to continue on the Little Ferry and Worcester), change crews and put on fresh power," said Gooden. "We did it in 17 minutes. The employees involved did an outstanding job." Overall the train averaged 47 mph for the entire trip. UPS is eyeing a service that would allow parcels to leave LA or the East Coast on Monday, arrive and be sorted on the other coast on Thursday, and be delivered to customers on Friday.


Jacksonville Division Bridge Project

[CSXT Midweek Report, March 7, 2002]... Two bridge repair projects on heavily traveled lines on the Jacksonville Division are examples of how cooperation can minimize disruption to operations. Tie and guardrail replacement on the bridge over the St.Mary's River, which separates Florida from Georgia, was safely completed in just two months. More than 1400 bridge ties and 2900 feet of guardrail were replaced, and a metal grate was installed in place of an old timber walkway. The quick work was made possible by Bridge Department employees' agreement to work an 8-days-on, 6-days-off schedule. A 25 MPH slow order was in effect for the eight days of work, then upgraded to 60 MPH during the off period. "With the traffic we were up against, it would have taken eight or nine months if we had installed those ties in the old manner," said Tom Paine, assistant regional engineer, noting that the Nahunta Subdivision in the I-95 corridor sees 60 freight and passenger trains daily. In addition to praising the safe work habits of the team, Paine also credited the cooperation of the Transportation Department, particularly Liberty Park dispatchers Doug Milton and Brad Lowans. "The revised work schedule enabled us to give the bridge team a quality window every day," said chief dispatcher Randy Luther. "It's amazing what we can accomplish when we all cooperate." ... The other project, on the Apalachicola River at Chattahoochee, is different in nature but is proving to be equally successful. The Bridge Design group specified an innovative construction method to replace nearly 3200 feet of timber bridge built in the late 1930's with a new concrete structure. The design allows the entire substructure to be built without disturbing the old bridge, which eliminates the need for a slow order. Dispatchers are coordinating traffic to allow the bridge crew to install at least one 30-foot span section per day. A conventional bridge construction would have necessitated a 10 MPH slow order for approximately 800 days. Under the new method, however, work under slow order will have been reduced to about 100 days. "The dispatchers have gone to great lengths to assist us in completing this project," Paine said. "The teamwork we've seen on our bridge projects shows that we all have the same common goal, which is to run trains as safely and efficiently as possible."


Analysis Making CSX Safer

[CSXT Midweek Report, March 21, 2002]... Following the findings of an intense Six Sigma team effort to identify ways of reducing injuries while ascending or descending a locomotive, new safety decals will soon be placed on all locomotive bulkheads. The decals come in a variety of shapes and colors to keep attention high, while delivering the same important safety message: Stop Before Stepping Off, Observe Ground Conditions, Then Dismount. The Six Sigma team pulled together representatives from the Transportation, Safety, Operations and Locomotive Training departments including members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. Together the team used Six Sigma methodology to examine and dissect data surrounding past injuries. They then gathered data from yards around the system, as well as from other industries with similar conditions. The decals' message reflects the team's findings: most injuries do not occur while climbing up the steps to the locomotive cab, but while stepping down and off the locomotive ladder. The study showed that 69 percent of the injuries that were reviewed occurred while the employee was descending the ladder and of those injuries, 55 percent happened while stepping from the bottom step to the ground. Results of the complete study will be sent to field managers to discuss with employees.


CSX Responds to Reparations Lawsuit

[CSXT Midweek Report, March 28, 2002]... Reiterating CSX's commitment to its employees, president Michael Ward responded to a lawsuit filed against CSX and two other companies seeking reparations for slavery. The lawsuit was filed March 26 in federal district court in Brooklyn, N.Y., against CSX, FleetBoston Financial Corp. and Aetna Inc. In a letter to employees, Ward said: "Slavery was a tragic chapter in our nation's history. It is a history shared by every American, and its impacts cannot be attributed to any single company or industry. CSX is committed to continuing to make our company an excellent workplace where 35,000 employees of every age, gender, race and ethnic background have opportunities for satisfying work at competitive wages and benefits. The jobs and the services CSX provides benefit families, communities and our nation's economy and defense." He went on the say that the courtroom is the "wrong setting for this issue" and that the company will oppose the lawsuit "vigorously to safeguard those jobs and services. The best thing CSX and every one of us can do is keep making this company an excellent workplace," Ward said. "We will continue to find more ways to get better and better."


Line Open After Atlanta Derailment

[CSXT Midweek Report, March 21, 2002]... Atlanta Division operations teamed up with environmental specialists to minimize damage from a weekend derailment in northwest Atlanta on the Abbeville Subdivision. The incident began when an 81-car train bound from Atlanta to Hamlet, North Carolina, derailed. Five covered hoppers and two tank cars turned over. One of the tank cars leaked about 600 gallons of hexamethylenediamine (HMD), a corrosive, forcing the evacuation of about 100 people. One local resident was slightly injured. The Atlanta Fire Department contained the spill with an earthen dike. As the derailment was cleared Saturday night (March 16) and Sunday, the engineering team swung into action and repaired the track. It was operational by Monday (March 18). Thanks to a reroute through another part of Atlanta, no trains were delayed.


New Orleans Bridge Fire

[CSXT Midweek Report, March 21, 2002]... In coordination with both western and eastern railroads, CSXT is rerouting freight traffic affected by the Rigolets Bridge fire that occurred 25 miles east of New Orleans Monday afternoon, March 18. The rerouting will remain in effect until April 1 when restoration of the bridge is scheduled to be completed. CSX had already adjusted service in the area with scheduled track work to continue until March 22. The rerouting plan in effect for the maintenance work will be extended where necessary until April 1. Scheduled traffic moving east through New Orleans will be rerouted through Memphis, St.Louis or Chicago gateways. Intermodal traffic moving east is being rerouted via the Norfolk Southern to Atlanta. Traffic moving west is being rerouted north around New Orleans. Traffic destined for New Orleans is being rerouted around the bridge. There were no injuries or damage to any freight due to the fire, which occurred in an uninhabited area.


Gala Event at B&O Museum

"Visit often; there will be something new around the corner every time you come." This is what Courtney Wilson, executive director of the B&O Museum, said to assembled guests at a reception in the roundhouse on February 27. The occasion was twofold: kickoff of the 16-month celebration commemorating the 175th anniversary of railroading in America, and the opening of a portrait exhibition organized by the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution.

Ribbon cutting (left to right): Courtney Wilson, Executive Director, B&O Museum; Mark Aron, Vice Chairman, CSX Corporation; Linda Morgan, Chair, U.S. Surface Transportation Board; Fred Voss, Senior Historian, National Portrait Gallery; James Brady, Chairman, B&O Museum; Catherine Pugh, Baltimore City Council; Martin O'Malley, Mayor of Baltimore; and Ben Cardin, U.S. House of Representatives.


Al Torney Dies - Retired B&O Superintendent

[By Allen Brougham] . . .

Albert A. Torney, Jr., retired superintendent of operations of B&O's Maryland Division, died on March 2. He was 86.

Long known for his ability to get the job done, and to get it done right, he combined the skill of authority in the way he addressed a situation with the ability to encourage its outcome with those who were to carry it out.

He began his railroading career in 1937 as a trainman - with time out for service in the Army during the second World War - advancing through the ranks as a conductor, yardmaster, general yardmaster, trainmaster, terminal superintendent, and finally, superintendent of operations. He had the respect of his employees, all of whom knew that he had "been there, done that!"

When I started on the railroad in 1970 as a sidewire operator, Al Torney was the superintendent of the Baltimore Terminal. Later he was appointed superintendent of operations of the Maryland Division. When he came into the dispatchers' office, his presence brought an immediate air of attention. His mood depended upon the situation at the time. If things were occurring without problems, he was jovial; if there were problems, he was straightforward, strictly business. He was one who could be feared, respected and admired, all at the same time.

When he was calling into the office from another location, such as from home after hours, he would say in a crisp, unmistakable voice: "This is Torney." The emphasis was in the first syllable of his name, a reaction (to me) I recall akin to making my hair stand on end. He may as well have been General Patton!

I remember an assignment about 1974 when I was instructed to prepare a traffic density survey of trains using the Old Main Line. Using dispatchers' train sheets, I was to prepare data pertaining to train movements over a period of time. "But," I asked the chief clerk, "what about helper engines returning from a shove? Do they count as a train?" He took me into Al Torney's office to get his answer. "What is a train, Allen?" Oops! (I knew the answer, but since he had me on the spot, I was temporarily tongue-twisted.) "A train is an engine, or more than one engine, with or without cars, displaying markers," he barked. He had answered my question, and his smirk when he finished said it all...

I remember one evening, while working sidewire, when everyone knew that automotive train 396 must not be delayed between Brunswick and Baltimore. It was not just that 396 was a hot train, but because Al Torney would be riding it. All were prepared to give the train its best move - but timing became critical, as things developed, due to a potential conflict with an Amtrak train at Point of Rocks. By crossing 396 from number 1 to number 2 tracks ahead of the Amtrak train, it could have caused three or four of minutes delay to Amtrak. Or, by holding 396 for Amtrak, it could have caused about 10 or 15 minutes delay to 396. Ouch! Dispatchers are faced with such dilemmas on a regular basis, but under the scrutiny of Al Torney, all were extremely tense over the best course of action. The whole office got involved in that one, hoping to come out of it "smelling like a rose." Fortunately, 396 made a good move, and neither train got delayed - but it was close!

Al Torney retired in 1977.

He is survived by a son, a daughter, four sisters, three brothers, and one granddaughter.

A military funeral was held at Bethany Lutheran Church in Baltimore on March 7.


Curt Parsons Retires

[By Allen Brougham] . . .

Curtis Keith Parsons, veteran B&O/CSXT yardmaster, retired on January 29. At the time of his retirement, he held a night position at Brunswick, Maryland.

He began his railroading career as a brakeman/yard helper in May 1965 at Eckington Yard in Washington, D.C., following a five-year enlistment in the Navy. He worked at Eckington Yard for 11 months, and then left to attend school.

Nine months later he returned to the railroad, where he worked as a brakeman on the Alexandria Pickup, Georgetown Switcher and Metropolitan Way trains, the three local freights that were then based at Eckington Yard. Later he qualified as a terminal foreman in Baltimore.

In 1967 he went into the clerical field as a clerk in Washington, and in 1970 he served briefly as assistant terminal manager for trailer service in Philadelphia.

In August 1975 he was promoted to yardmaster. He served in that capacity at Eckington Yard until it closed in 1980. He then went to Port Covington in Baltimore, working there until that yard's functions were consolidated with those of Locust Point, then he worked at Locust Point, Bay View, Jessup, and finally, in 1985, to Brunswick, where he remained for the duration. He was promoted to chief yardmaster in 1990.

I had periodic contact with Curt beginning in the early 1980's while I was an operator at Halethorpe and he was a yardmaster at Port Covington. But it was not until a number of years later that I actually met him in person. He stopped by Miller Tower one afternoon looking for herbs that grew wild in the area.

Then, after I retired from the railroad and began my part time job as a van driver at Brunswick, we worked together. I found him to be a rather whimsical fellow who loved to share stories of his experiences in the Navy. He was fun to work with.

He had railroad stories to tell, too, such as the time in 1968, while working at Eckington Yard, two boxcar loads of beer got loose from a distributor at Terra Cotta and rolled about four miles into Washington Union Station. The operators at K Tower at the station had only about a minute to make a decision, and they intentionally routed the cars into a sharp curve causing them to turn over. From the distance, Curt could see what he thought was dust rising at the point where the cars settled - actually it was a massive cloud of "beer foam," the way he remembers it.

Asked to say something I could quote about Curt, fellow yardmaster Jerry Orndorff said: "Note something about his hair... Looks like Shirley Temple!" He added that Curt was the "most alert" yardmaster he had ever worked with - "especially after midnight!"


PTI - One Year Later

[By Allen Brougham] . . .

[Photo by Gilbert Elmond]

"PTI-2 answering, over." That's what I say when the yardmaster calls me on the radio to dispatch my next assignment. It has now been one year since I signed on as a crew van driver, working two evenings a week at Brunswick, Maryland. It has been pure fun.

I should say that driving a crew van is a superb way to stay in touch with things on the railroad. Indeed, the involvement is every bit as exciting as it was when I was in the towers, and I now get to see things from a different perspective. Also, by working two days a week, I can enjoy the fruits of retirement and work, both at the same time!

Having retired from a railroad, I can never again work for one. But it is permissible for me to work for a contractor that does work for a railroad. Hence my job with PTI.

A number of readers have written to say how fitting it was to take on such an assignment; some have even considered doing the same thing.

The job begins at 2 o'clock, but I try to get to the van about half an hour early. This helps to avoid missing a run that might get the van back to the staging area after the 2 o'clock shift-change.

I'm what's known as a "yard" driver (as opposed to a "road" driver), and my duties involve transporting crews within the yard, between the yard and the motel, and between the yard and close-by points within about a 15-mile radius of Brunswick.

There are two yard vans assigned to Brunswick. We assemble outside the yard office in first-in-first-out fashion and await the next assignment. Each van is equipped with a two-way radio with railroad frequencies, and we get our instructions from the yardmaster. On average, there are about ten assignments in an eight-hour shift, covering about 40 total miles of travel. Between runs I get to enjoy the comfort of the van (yes, the driver-side seat does recline), and I read the paper, etc., or simply relax, and listen to the AM/FM radio.

There have been several occasions that I did get to make road runs. On one of them, the trainmaster came out and asked me if I would like to go back to my "old stomping grounds." I said, "Where, Hancock?" He said, "No, JD." Wow! I got to take a crew to Jones Hill (near JD) so they could get to the Rock Runner. Yes, I knew that area rather well.

Much of my work involves transporting the yard's utility man within the terminal. (A utility man works as an additional member of the crew while their train is working in the yard, then he goes onto another assignment once the work with that train is complete.) Most of this involves switching in the "throat," the neck of trackage that separates "A" and "B" yards east of the yard office. While the utility man does his work, I remain nearby (at a safe distance) comfortably sequestered within my van.

There have been a couple of scary moments... In my 30 and a half years of working in the towers, I only saw one derailment as it was actually happening. Now, I've seen three. Interestingly, the most recent episodes occurred at the same spot, in the yard, on the same switch. Both produced a cloud of dust and a wrenching sound of clatter. (There were no injuries either time.) I'm accustomed to being aware of "escape routes," just in case.

Occasionally the work takes us into what is known as the "Mill Yard," a desolate area that once had a hump yard, but now consists of tall brush and a labyrinth of bumpy dirt and gravel lanes which would make a normal dirt road look like Interstate 70. It's amazing that I have never gotten stuck there (but some drivers have).

Oh, yes. There's the ever-present danger of picking up an old spike. (Tires on PTI vans have a very short life expectancy.) So far, I've only had one flat - that one was caused by running across a tie plate that punctured the tire completely across. (It took three of us to change that one!)

Driving a crew van would never make a person rich, but the rewards are plenty. Working with the crews and the trains make it all worthwhile. Can I at least hope to do it for 30 and a half years, to equal my tenure in the towers?


Andy Warner Dies

Parkton Local buddy from my high school days

[By Allen Brougham] . . .

Andrew C. Warner, a boyhood friend who shared many of my earliest train riding experiences, died on January 11. He was 59.

Andy and I regularly rode the famed Parkton Local commuter train in the period 1957-1959 while attending school in Baltimore - he from White Hall to Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, and I from Monkton to Boys' Latin School, both a short walk from Pennsylvania Station. Together we shared many of the train's indigenous nostalgia, and some of the boyhood mischief that, to me, became legendary.

We rode the "three-car train" to Baltimore in the morning, always sitting in the last car where we could look out the back, meeting on the rear platform or in a specific cubicle with some other students who shared our interests.

Then, having extra time after school in the afternoon, we would generally meet at Penn Station to ride the "gas car" (doodlebug) on its deadhead move down to Calvert Station where it would be coupled up to a coach, thereupon we transferred to that coach, which was then on the rear, for the ride home. The yard crew who moved the gas car down to Calvert Station seemed willing to have us along, and even the bosses (when we saw them) tolerated our presence.

On the trip home, we would sometimes have some "innocent" fun by tearing up discarded newspapers into snowflake-size pieces and then scatter them upon the terrain at one particular spot while we were traveling through at top speed. Another activity was to roll up a newspaper, secure it tightly with fishing line, and play out the line behind the train to a distance of perhaps a couple hundred feet holding the line until the bouncing newspaper disintegrated. On one occasion, Andy was holding the line when the newspaper snagged in the right-of-way causing the line to play out with very sudden and rapid force, resulting in surface wounds to his hand. Andy's father, who also rode the train but distanced himself from our mischief, later told Andy: "You should have worn gloves."

A short distance north of Ashland was a bridge - Paper Mill Road - that spanned over the tracks. During the apple-growing season, we would sometimes find apples near a tree during our stop at Cockeysville; then from the rear platform we would toss them upward just before we sped under that bridge. If our timing was right, the apples would arc completely over the bridge and come back down on the other side. We hoped someday to be accurate enough to catch an apple when it came back down, but we never did.

Not all of our frolics took place on the train. Once, while goofing around in Calvert Station before train time, one of us had typed up an official-looking notice which we taped to the front of the station's coffee and hot chocolate vending machine. It said that the department of health had made tests and determined that the "coffee and hot chocolate dispensed from said vending machine is unfit for human consumption." Rather naughty, to be sure... But on the other hand, the coffee and hot chocolate that came from that machine was never particularly noted as a gourmet's delight.

I graduated from high school in 1959, and the Parkton Local was discontinued several weeks afterwards. I might never have seen Andy again except for a chance meeting in the Navy about three years later. His hand still had faint scars from the fishing line incident.

Then, in 1979, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Parkton Local's demise, there appeared an item by Jacques Kelly in the Baltimore Evening Sun about that very incident (which he had read about in the Bull Sheet). Reading this column prompted me to call Andy (finding his name in the phone book), and we reminisced on the fun we had had while riding the Parkton Local in its final years. Later that month, Andy joined me at Monkton station to attend an outdoor slide show about the Parkton Local, and later we met on one of the Northern Central Railroad Trail's history walks. He had kept his interest in trains through the years, and he asked to be included on the distribution list to the Bull Sheet.

He is survived by his wife, Carol; two sons, a brother and a sister.