Matt Parker is a locomotive engineer and serves as Chairman of the Nevada State Legislative Board for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen. He recently authored the essay in Railway Age, "PSR: Can We Please Be Honest Here?"
"PSR" is short for "Precision Scheduled Railroading," a business model that has very little to do with precision or schedules. What it is clearly about is reducing operating ratios, boosting profits and shareholder value. This is the dominant business model for 6 of the 7 North American railroads. Increasingly, PSR is understood as contrary to the public interest and detrimental to growing freight rail capacity, providing reasonable, reliable freight service to none but the largest corporate shippers, and cutting capacity and the labor force.
Matt is in good company. Earlier this year Rep. Peter DeFazio and Rep. Donald Payne Jr. of the US House Transportation Committee requested that the GAO (Government Accounting Office) do a study of PSR and its impacts on the public. Check out their letter HERE.
And just last week, Surface Transportation Board (STB) Chair Martin Oberman confronted the large railroads with an impressive critique that could turn the tide against the status quo of unaccountable railroading. Check out this report on STB Chair Martin Oberman's historic words. (Word is that the representatives of the Class 1 RRs present at the conference walked out in protest.) It is a tremendous relief to hear the lead railroad regulator make the points Solutionary Rail has been making for the last couple years.