By Tom Steinert-Threlkeld  |  Posted 2005-04-06 Print this article Print

The freight hauler used to rely on masterly improvisers such as Roy Thigpen and Charlie Grady to get its trains through. Now, it has novices—and software.

. Base Case">
CSX Corp. Base Case

500 Water St.,
15th Floor,
FL 32202

Phone: (904) 359-3200

Business: Largest freight train operator on the East Coast.

Chief Technology Officer: John L. West

Financials in 2004: $8 billion in revenue; $418 million in net income from continuing operations; net profit margin 4.6%.

Challenge: Run freight trains on a fixed schedule, throughout network; minimize improvisation; maximize efficient use of trains, rail yards and personnel.

Baseline Goals:
  • Increase the number of cars on its rail lines on any given day, from 236,289 at end of February 2005.
  • Improve average speed of a train, which fell to 20.3 mph in 2004, from 21.1 mph in 2003.
  • Reduce amount of time a train spends in a terminal between runs, which rose to 28.7 hours in 2004, from 25.3 hours in 2003.

Tom was editor-in-chief of Interactive Week, from 1995 to 2000, leading a team that created the Internet industry's first newspaper and won numerous awards for the publication. He also has been an award-winning technology journalist for the Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He is a graduate of the Harvard Business School and the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

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