Wednesday, 17 April 2013
Why multiple departures work
Further to the problems facing the 'big' train concept, the May TRAINS magazine has an article on the Florida East Coast railway in which the CEO is asked what makes his intermodal focused railroad so successful - answer "Multiple train-starts...we're running five to six trains a day south. If you (a shipper) miss a cutoff, you're going to wait maybe 3 to 4 hours, and the next train's going."
This focus by PN and Aurizon of running one or two 'big' trains a day and creating peak terminal capacity for just a few hours a day might save on crew and pathing costs, but it's not giving shippers flexibility. The same could even be said for the narrow gauge NCL, where Aurizon might run multiple 'smaller' trains, but still restricts particular loading to just one train.
The FEC CEO (an ex-trucker) has another comment on this, "Frequency of departures and on-time departures are both very important. Do what you say you're going to do and don't be afraid to look at new market opportunities."