You’ve probably heard about the recent Surface Transportation Board hearings regarding railroad service improvements. The complaints are ample, and there’s a consistent theme: the rail industry is in dire need of network visibility.

In reading through the STB Decision document, this quote stood out:

“Rail users also expressed concerns about the lack of communication and transparency from Class I carriers about existing service issues and emphasized that more visibility would help them make informed business decisions, such as right-sizing their private freight car fleets and scheduling a sufficient number of employees to load and unload freight cars. Many rail users indicated that increased visibility into first-mile / last-mile (FMLM) service and trip plan compliance (TPC) data would be particularly useful. Further, rail users suggested that service assurance or recovery plans would help provide needed transparency.”

As you may have read in our blog post by John Schmitter, delays and congestion at the first and last miles are all too common. Work events — like crew shortages, too much volume, derailment, and general congestion — impact efficient operations. Without the ability to see, in real-time, where and when these issues take place, rail users are left blindsided. Were they able to see conditions up ahead of their shipments, they’d be able to make strategic decisions — i.e. choose a new route or a new mode of shipping. However, the only information rail users have is system-wide data from weeks prior. It doesn’t speak to the overall network. It doesn’t reflect the current situation along rail lines. It doesn’t give rail users any added insights, so they can better control their shipments.

Progressive Railroading reported this week that the STB ordered BNSF Railway Co., CSX, Norfolk Southern Railway, and Union Pacific Railroad to “correct deficiencies in their rail service recovery plans filed in response to a board order issued May 6.” The board also ordered the railroads to be more forthcoming with information. The STB requested that the railroads “provide more information on their actions to improve service and communications with customers, as well as more detailed information on what they’re doing to hire more workers to provide reliable rail service.” Reliability is crucial, but so is the ability to weather an unreliable situation.

RailState is what the railroad industry needs. Our data shows the entire rail network’s operations, meaning rail users can see what’s in store for their trains. Gone are the days of waiting for system-average statistics from weeks prior; of blindly waiting for empties, only to find out none are coming; of hearing about a train that’s gone off the rails, and of learning — days, or weeks later — that your train has been stuck. RailState’s data is customizable, so you can always know what you need to, in order to plan your operations. No more waiting. No more unnecessary costs. Just visibility.

 

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