By Jeff Stagl, Managing Editor – Progressive Railroading
In 2017’s latter half, Union Pacific Railroad rolled out a transportation plan designed to balance the network, boost productivity and improve asset utilization.
The “Blend and Balance” plan called for operating general purpose trains by blending manifest and bulk trains, and balancing the network by running equal numbers of trains daily in each direction. The idea: to balance power and crews, and enhance efficiencies by increasing train lengths.
While Blend and Balance appeared solid on paper, it didn’t always pan out as expected in the field. Operations managers found that some trains were balanced well in one direction in the first part of a week, but were more balanced in the other direction in the week’s latter half.
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