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Efficiency Illustrated

March 26, 2012

I photographed this KCS southbound passing through Stafford this past Saturday (3/24/12) afternoon. At first glance, it’s an unremarkable train. But if you look at the train in its entirety, note the thought and effort put into making this particular train as efficient as possible.

One locomotive on the point followed by a solid block of manifest.

KCS SD70M 3926 Stafford TX

The block of manifest is followed by a block of containers and a solid block of loaded grain cars.

Cut in between the grain cars and a solid block of auto racks is a single DPU.

The block of racks is followed by another block of stacks.

KCS runs trains of solid intermodal, grain, autos, and manifest traffic. In this case, there might not have been enough manifest, grain, intermodal, or autos to justify a solid train, so KCS chose to throw them all together. Once each block reaches its destination terminal, those cars can be cut-off with a minimum of time and effort.

All together, this train illustrates how  KCS was able to minimize fuel consumption, crew-starts and dwell time, maximize the utilization of locomotives and personnel, and reduce delivery time for the shippers.

All of which illustrates how KCS achieved Q3 2011 operating ratio of 66.6%, best among all major U.S. carriers!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kevin permalink
    March 26, 2012 2:30 pm

    Hello Robert
    A nice set of photos. I travel Hwy 90 from 6 to the Holmes Rd to Scott St. a lot. KCS have been running train like that for a while now. One day they had a train made up that way (manifest, double stack, auto). The next train right behind that one was another KCS with auto/intermodal only. Figure that one out. Hmmmmmmm!

  2. March 26, 2012 4:34 pm

    KCS does seem to be the most interesting of the 3 carriers that travel the Glidden sub. Thanks for your comment…

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