X, the third largest railroad company in the US, fielding a flurry of customer complaints in recent weeks, from idle rail cars to wild swings in the number of shipments arriving on any given day. Now, according to a letter seen by Reuters, dozens of US trade groups are asking federal rail regulators to investigate CSX over, quote, chronic service failures.
Saying problems have rippled across the rail network. Reuters interviewed current and former employees of CSX, who say the problem lies with the company's new CEO, Hunter Harrison. Whose plan to slash thousands of jobs they say has resulted in confusion, significant rail traffic delays. And at times, no workers available to switch cars onto different tracks.
Reuters correspondent Eric Johnson.>> Harrison is famous in the railroad industry. He’s known for turnarounds of two Canadian railroads before coming to CSX. He took up the job as CEO in March to great investor and shareholder fanfare. He's known for aggressive cost cutting and job layoffs to improve operations and boost profitability.
Our reporting shows that he's implementing these changes but he's off to a rocky start. Customers have complained of not being able to reach a CSX representatives so a long time representative that they have talked to to discuss any service issues or any problems that come up, they pick up the phone and they can't reach anybody.
He wrote a letter to customers essentially apologizing for service disruptions across the system, and he also took a somewhat unusual step of blaming employee resistance to his changes for some of the disruptions they've seen at the railroad. This was obviously received with a mixture of anger and dismay from a lot of ranking-file employees at the company.
Who have in turn said that really drastic changes to operations such as doubling the length of trains, shutting rail yards, and other changes to operations that came really fast and furious have been behind these problems.>> Johnson says CSX has lost some clients business to a rival railroad and trucker since March, the month Harrison was hired.
CSX has also contended with an August 2nd derailment in Pennsylvania where a railcar slid off the tracks and burst into flames.