DFF Item #31

31. Dear Mr. Railroad President:
There was a heated discussion at work today between Track Foreman and CMO Mr. Clem Chalk and myself. The discussion centered on the Lackawanna Terminal Railway’s most auspicious intermodal policy and exactly what is going on. I was under the impression that the Lackawanna Terminal Railway is running intermodal traffic only to suit its “higher ups” in the corporation, that is, those who have never set foot in a rail yard. It was also my belief that intermodal traffic runs a distant second to the more important traffic; local customers on the Lackawanna Terminal property such as Sulfex Chemical and National Chemical and Refining from whom the real money is made. It was Mr. Chalk’s opinion that the intermodal traffic on the Lackawanna Terminal Railway was a true cash cow for the railroad. He said that all railroads should be as lucky to have as booming an intermodal business as the Lackawanna Terminal has. He made the point that intermodal is king and carload traffic to industries is a dying breed. My response to his statement is, if intermodal was so important on the Lackawanna Terminal Railway why did I have a pair of Alco's shoving the precious TOFC's on my last train instead of the more modern, and therefore more reliable, high horsepower available in the locomotive market today . I believe that this shows that the managers at the Lackawanna Terminal Railway have little appreciation for the cargo in these trailers therefore put the helpers on to "rock" the packages.

What is the official view on the intermodal business from those at the top of the Lackawanna Terminal Railway food chain?

Ty Butts
Locomotive Engineer
Vice Local Chairman
Brotherhood of Locomotive Employees
Division 666

Dear Mr. Butts:

At the request of the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Lackawanna Terminal Railway, it has become my most pleasant task to explain the priorities set by the Lackawanna Terminal Railway Management Team relative to the Lackawanna Terminal Railway's most successful intermodal service provided to our customers from the recently constructed Intermodal Facility at Mount Morris, NY, a facility that serves customer throughout the Southern Tier of New York State with gateways to the west coast and beyond and traffic generated by our most important customers whose shipments take a more traditional path to their destinations.

You are quite right in your assumption that the Lackawanna Terminal Railway is running this new and important intermodal service for the benefit of those “higher ups” who have never set foot in a rail yard. However, your assumption does not go quite far enough since all Lackawanna Terminal Railway traffic is run to suit the “higher ups” and those who have never set foot in a rail yard. 

Every economist understands the financial incentives that justify each type of transportation tariff generated by the Lackawanna Terminal Railway’s Department of Undeniable Rate Generation. Proper rate generation, sprinkled liberally with attractive fiduciary incentives, results in a level of profitability that assures a substantial return on investment which is the goal of any for-profit corporation. The Lackawanna Terminal Railway Management Team is justifiably proud to be one of the more successful in fulfilling this mandate; one of many such mandates that spew daily from the LackawannaTerminal Railway’s Corporate Headquarters. Since its inception, the Lackawanna Terminal Railway’s Rapid Intermodal Service from Mount Morris, New York to points west and beyond has, in fact, generated revenues far beyond the level first projected by the Lackawanna Terminal Railway’s Accounting Department, Division of Revenue Projection. This, in effect, makes the intermodal service a “cash cow” as Mr. Chalk correctly opines and indeed, many other railroads have tried to surreptitiously infiltrate our offices in Scranton, Pennsylvania to purloin those most effective marketing techniques used to create and build what has allowed the Lackawanna Terminal railway to become a juggernaut in the railroad industry. The Lackawanna Terminal Railway’s Management Team is further proud to state that our marketing techniques that have allowed such a rapid development of the intermodal business flowing from the Mount Morris facility has peaked the interest of law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal levels and is the focus of several task forces set up to determine the legality of said marketing techniques; techniques that have managed to drive several long haul trucking companies out of business in the short years and have cornered the intermodal market in the northeastern Unites States since the inception of our intermodal service.

Having voiced our delight with the growth of the intermodal traffic on the Lackawanna Terminal railway, the Lackawanna Terminal Management Team wishes in no way to denigrate the importance of our customers who ship their commodities in more conventional and diverse railcars. Customers such as Sulfex Chemical, National Chemical and Refining, as well as the New York State Power Authority, Stradivarius Steel Corporation, Amalgamated Processed Foods, and the myriad of customers stretched out over the Lackawanna Terminal Railway’s vast rail system all contribute huge profits to the railroad’s burgeoning bottom line creating a corporation almost embarrassingly flush with cash. 

The Lackawanna Terminal Management Team wants you and all those of your ilk to know that the Lackawanna Terminal Railway’s Operating Department has always, and will continue always, to put efficient and fluid operations of all Lackawanna Terminal Railway freight trains, and therefore customer service as their most precious duty. To this end, and with the cooperation of the Lackawanna Terminal Railway’s most professional and hardworking mechanical department, power dispatchers and train dispatchers, every available means and type of motive power is used to move all types of freight over the railroad in as efficient and effective manner as possible. Having researched the motive power used on your TOFC train on the date relative to your letter we found that the Alco locomotives used as pushers on that train were in top mechanical condition having recently been rebuilt after an unfortunate electrical cabinet fire in the one engine and damage suffered in a derailment caused by vandals in the case of the second. The use of both engines to assist the TOFC train allowed it to maintain track speed in spite of a torturous grade and many sharp curves along the route thus allowing the superior service to our shippers and their customers that has become the hallmark of the Lackawanna Terminal Railway.  

Speaking for the Lackawanna Terminal Management Team I would like to thank you for your interest in our railroad operations and hope I have addressed all your concerns in this matter.

I remain, 
Edward Gilmartin
Manager Public Relations of
the Lackawanna Terminal Railway

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