Reoptimizing its Railroad Operating Plan

CSX Transportation

5 Million

Carloads moved more efficiently per year



Every few years, railroads take a clean-slate look at their operating plans and seek opportunities for major improvements. We partnered with CSX to optimize its operating plan and to reduce the company’s annual operating costs.

Business Problem

CSX Transportation moved over five million carloads annually on its merchandise network. Over the years, the company made incremental changes to its operating plan to accommodate changes in shipment volumes and traffic shifts. CSX hired Optym to take a fresh look at its operating plan and identify opportunities for improvement, as well as analyze the company’s yard locations and capacities to determine how well they could accommodate current and future volumes.

Our Approach

We performed a thorough analysis of the existing blocking plan and improved it using our blocking optimization system. We also used this system to perform a variety of yard rationalization studies. We analyzed the existing train plan and improved it using TrainMAX®. This system optimized CSX’s train plan, taking into account all resources, including railcars, locomotives and crews. We worked with CSX’s service design department and senior executives, taking their feedback into account for our analysis, and then helped the client implement our recommendations.

Key Benefits

  1. Our systems optimized CSX’s blocking and train plans, reducing out-of-route miles and increasing train volumes. This saved the company tens of millions of dollars in annual operating costs.
  2. Based on our recommendations, one major hump yard was closed and its traffic was diverted elsewhere. The closure of this yard resulted in significant savings in capital investment for yard modernization and operational cost savings.
  3. After we recommended where CSX would need extra railcar processing capacity in the future, CSX used these recommendations to shape its capital expenditure decisions.


CSX put into production most of the recommendations made by our systems, immediately improving its bottom-line profits.