In 2019, almost every Class I railroad transitioned to its own version of precision-scheduled railroading (PSR) — an operating strategy coined by the late CSX CEO Hunter Harrison. The hallmarks of PSR are longer, faster and fewer trains, network reductions, staff reductions, and in theory, a more reliable, profitable railroad.
For the first six months of the year, the railroads celebrated dramatic results and profitable progress in these endeavors, but as the year stretched on, the trucking market loosened and the industrial economy slowed. PSR was put to the test. So far, the greater efficiency seems to have somewhat insulated railroads from the financial toll of decreased volumes, but how long will that last? Only 2020 will tell.
Read about the PSR journey that was 2019 here.