Union Pacific to Implement Precision Scheduled Railroading

September 25, 2018

Union Pacific (UP) announced last week it would implement “Precision Scheduled Railroading” principles to “improve network performance and provide the reliable service.” The U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB) responded with a letter to UP, requesting weekly phone calls about the implementation of its operating changes and any effects on customers.

“Unified Plan 2020 will launch Oct. 1 and will be rolled out in phases across the entire Union Pacific (UP) rail network,” UP said on its website. “By fundamentally shifting our focus from moving trains to moving cars, we will be better able to place an emphasis on reducing car dwell.” UP noted that its plan will first be implemented on its North/South corridor (Wisconsin to Texas). Further roll out will be in phases through 2020.

The STB, in its letter, reminded that CSX Transportation, Inc. experienced serious service disruptions last year for its customers and for other railroads when it implemented the same program made popular by the late railroad CEO E. Hunter Harrison. “In light of those events, we trust that the UP will work in a transparent manner to avoid similar disruptions in the nation’s rail system,” the STB said.

The STB is an independent adjudicatory and economic-regulatory agency charged by Congress with resolving railroad rate and service disputes and reviewing proposed railroad mergers. The Agency also has authority to investigate rail service matters of regional and national significance. 

“ILMA is a member of the Rail Customer Coalition, so we commend the STB for its monitoring of UP as it makes its operating changes,” said ILMA CEO Holly Alfano. “Members should apprise ILMA if they are experiencing service issues.”