Ask the Rail Industry Experts

"Ask the Experts" is a forum created for the Commtrex community to share rail industry knowledge while also providing a centralized repository for the wisdom and experience of our experts. Our goal is to connect the professionals who have knowledge with the people who need it. The rail industry as a whole benefits when professionals are empowered to share their different perspectives.

Find Answers on Topics that Can help you Professionally and Personally

The words "Ask The Experts" drawn on the chalkboard, along with light bulbs

At the core, we seek answers for what our members want to know: What impacts the industry? What are different ways business and operations are being conducted? How can we make important commercial decisions? How are leading companies in the rail industry are performing? What are some insights into general knowledge for transportation, logistics, and overall life decisions? We often bring together experts from different parts of the rail industry to answer the same question so that members of our community can learn from each other. Questions are asked by our community; answers come from experts who have first-hand knowledge about the questions.

What are the long term positive effects of PSR for rail shippers?

February 17, 2020

Jim Blaze - Railroad Economist


There is not a lot of what would pass for as solid evidence about direct shipper benefits from PSR. That's surprising since Canadian National "results" should have by now matured as a Harvard Business Case Study given the time that's passed since the first E. Hunter Harrison "training classes" were given now more than a decade ago. Documentation of the internal RR corporate benefits are plentiful, seen in almost every quarterly investor report as slides. But improvements like "promised scheduled final delivery times" for shipments VERSUS THE ACTUAL DELIVERED TIMES are not in the public record. What we do see occasionally now are trip plan statistics that site across the company's entire network reported improvements from previous pre-PSR days in the 60% to 70% Now after a PSR early phase execution are showing achieving carload siding placement at a better system average in the high 70's or low 80's percentage rate.