- Within the past week, CSX has diverted trains away from Barr Yard in Riverdale, Illinois, furloughing 62 of its 130 employees, Crain's Chicago Business reported Thursday.
- Barr Yard, the third largest rail yard in the Chicago metro area, is CSX's largest of those handling rail-only shipments of coal or grain. In the week ending July 29, Barr Yard handled 1,991 rail cars.
- When talks with new CEO Hunter Harrison began in February, CSX's stock price rose from $37 to $46, culminating in a high of $55.19 per share on July 12. Since mid July, the stock has fallen roughly 8% to $50.63 due to reports of train delays and customer preference for Norfolk Southern.
CSX has hit a rough patch, as concerns and complaints are adding up. First came the defections to Norfolk Southern, then the July 18 statement from CEO Hunter Harrison that investors could expect hard times ahead, as closed rail yards and thousands of layoffs could affect service. The situation has only grown worse since, as Railway Age published a blistering editorial on Harrison's performance just as the Surface Transportation Board demanded greater transparency regarding operating changes and their effect on customer service.
Harrison's response, shifting blame to disgruntled staff, earned him no kudos. The unions involved issued their own reply, defending their workers' professionalism, and citing their tenacity in spite of furloughs, ill treatment and numerous violations of their collective bargaining agreements.
The latest issue concerning the Barr Yard's reduction in staff doesn't improve matters. CSX freight traffic has been diverted to the enormous Belt Railway switching yard in Bedford Park near Midway Airport, which is jointly owned by CSX and others. The increase in traffic on the already congested Belt Railway may result in slower shipments and a bigger drop in customer and shipper satisfaction.