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» RAILforum » Passenger Trains » Amtrak » E Hunter Harrison, CEO of CSX, has died

   
Author Topic: E Hunter Harrison, CEO of CSX, has died
MargaretSPfan
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Just now read the news on an other forum a few minutes ago.

I post this here because this will affect Amtrak, and because it is of general interest.

This is fact, and is reported in the Wall Street Journal, and CSX Corporation has made an official statement.

First part of WSJ article, not behind a paywall:

> CSX Chief Hunter Harrison Has Died

> Hunter Harrison Took Medical Leave on Thursday

> By Jacquie McNish
>
> Updated Dec. 16, 2017 3:28 p.m. ET

> CSX Chief Executive Hunter Harrison died on
> Saturday, a day after the surprise announcement
> that he was placed on medical leave caused his
> railroad company to lose $4 billion in market
value.

> He was 73.

Official statement from CSX Corporation:

> JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Dec. 16, 2017
> (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --
> CSX Corporation (CSX), today issued the
> following statement:

> “It is with great sadness that we announce that
> E. Hunter Harrison, President and Chief
> Executive Officer of CSX, died today in
> Wellington, Fla., due to unexpectedly severe
> complications from a recent illness. The entire
> CSX family mourns this loss. On behalf of our
> Board of Directors, management team and
> employees, we extend our deepest sympathies to
> Hunter’s family. Hunter was a larger-than-life
> figure who brought his remarkable passion,
> experience and energy in railroading to CSX.”

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Gilbert B Norman
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Margaret, here is the article in its entirety for subscribers or those who can find a knothole in the paywall:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/csx-ceo-hunter-harrison-has-died-1513453754

Here's additional material that appeared in print today and prior to the announcement of Mr. Harrison’s death. This Journal column suggests it's time to call your broker:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/csxs-first-class-ticket-to-chaos-1513366319

Fair Use:

  • Even if Hunter Harrison wasn’t struggling with health problems, the value that investors put on his ability to turn around CSX was overly optimistic. Now, it looks irrational.

    Despite his reassurances earlier this year, the 73-year-old’s medical issues seem to have caught up with him, forcing a leave of absence from the railroad. Investors have been willing to suspend disbelief and attach some truly gaudy numbers to Mr. Harrison.

    That is looking iffy following Friday’s announcement, and CSX shares promptly lost $4 billion in market value as of early afternoon. Since May 17, when The Wall Street Journal reported on concerns over Mr. Harrison’s health, the share prices of three close North American competitors have outperformed CSX by 12 percentage points.

    The market may be doing just that. While Mr. Harrison’s “Precision Scheduled Railroading” yielded significant improvements at three smaller railroads where he previously worked, the surge in CSX’s value was unrealistic for two reasons. One is that it wasn’t all that inefficient based on its operating ratio versus peers. The other is that the nature of its sprawling 21,000-mile network made Mr. Harrison’s changes less effective and more disruptive.

    Big delays led the Surface Transportation Board to contact the company this summer over what it called widespread degradation of service. A listening session held by the transportation board in October to address customer gripes was even more cause for alarm. Mr. Harrison looked haggard based on photos from the event and was hooked up to an oxygen tank, and he gave some rambling responses.

    Shareholders can be forgiven for letting off some steam

Posts: 8539 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Aurora Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
palmland
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My condolences to his family.

I have mixed feelings about this. I hate to see his tenure cut short because I was curious to learn if his ‘precision scheduled railroad’ would work at CSX. The stock market thought it would.

On the other hand, as my former eimployer, I am glad that the incredible disruption may come to an end. It is a shame that some of the good people employed there left the company with a lot of institutional knowledge.

Let’s hope the new regime can right the ship. It is hard to believe the former Seaboard mainline through my town is now passenger only (Silver Star) for most of it. That can’t be sustained long term.

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Gilbert B Norman
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First, allow me to note that at one site, the discussion of Mr. Harrison’s passing could be at the least vile and at worst libelous - and you pay to read it.

Another site at which I'm active has preemptively shut down discussion and will consider opening it again after his Memorial.

But I don't think that any action on Laurie's part will be required around here.

Now there is one point Mr. Palmland has made regarding the Seaboard where through freight is no longer being routed South of Hamlet and only Local freight will be operated by CSX - and 91-92, Silver Star.

Of concern here should be that if Amtrak wants FRA Class 4 trackage (psgr 79), they may well end up paying for it, as Local Freight can be operated with Class 2 (25).

But the "emaciation" of the Seaboard started when Yäger was a Carman with the IC, or wherever he started out in the crafts. That began with the 1967 Seaboard-Atlantic Coast Line merger. I contend that to chop up a mainline railroad was false economy. There could have been two one way railroads in place and operating practices such as both BNSF and UP have put in place with their "spaghetti bowl" of trackage they each inherited in the South Central region could have been adapted on the SAL and ACL.

Now returning to passenger train service, we know that contiguous Virginia and North Carolina "love trains" and each could have developed more regional service such as Richmond-Charlotte had the direct Seaboard been available. Maybe Amtrak would have thought twice about downgrading the Star to the level of the Cardinal or Three Rivers.

It seems as if all that will be left of the Seaboard will be Hamlet-Atlanta and their routes in Central Florida.

Posts: 8539 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Aurora Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
palmland
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GBN, the only path I see to long term retention of passenger service on the former Seaboard would be if Southeast High Speed Rail (SEHSR0 ever comes to pass. This includes restoration of the Petersburg-Raleigh segment.

While the Seaboard was mostly single track and had grades and curves not seen on the ACL racetrack, they were very competitive to ACL passenger service. In my opinion it was far better than the ACL - Florida Special not withstanding. With SEHSR a good case could be made for routing all passenger trains over that line as it would have minimal freight interference.

For now, we’ll wait and see if the next shoe will fall for line downgrade or sale. And a slight correction to your comments - now there isn’t any freight traffic, including locals, on the northern 50 miles of the line into Hamlet. The line has already been downgraded - a few years ago - to Class 3, 60mph for passenger north of Columbia. Still class 4 south of there.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Mr. Palmland, my first trip to Florida was '56 with my Mother to Deerfield Beach. It was on the Star as my Mother saw a half day on the beach going "bye-bye" if we went on the Meteor (guess we also could have gone on The Miamian). Same with the return. Wonder why I do nicely without beaches (good reason to "nix" thoughts of visiting my Niece in Australia next year) in this life. There was no separate Sleeper Lounge, and the food, with my "thrifty" Mother calling the shots, it was "just the simple stuff" like baked chicken. Deerfield station was simply "in the Styx" and it was "a long ride" in a taxicab on Hillsboro Road until "civilization" and then on out to some simple Motel on A1A (with a Kitchenette - one night we went out to some seafood place - then as now, I don't eat it) - and lots of French spoken.

Well, so much for that.

1967 saw me doing a round trip "my way" down from Wash on the Meteor, return on the Special. The Sun Lounge was the best appointed car I had been in East of "Ol' man", but then I wondered why (the Pine Tree bit). Return on the Special (feature was the L&N "Royal-- Obs) had its "cutesy" gimmicks, and just clipped along at 80 (it "owned the railroad"). But all told, I preferred the Meteor.

Posts: 8539 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Aurora Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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