GDLK Operations

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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby PatAzo » Sun Jan 12, 2020 12:07 pm

Ypsi wrote:Outside of shipping cost (A major factor of shipping indeed), PSR would have less effect on shortlines serving customers vs a class 1. It may effect how shortlines get their cars, but once they are on the property its still a short line. In the GDLK's case once it is in the yard at Kalamazoo it gets sorted just like normal and then served. Getting the cars from NS, CSX, or CN however might become a more of an issue over time. Most GDLK customers are getting below 10 cars a day, with some getting 1-3 per switch less than 5 days a week.


As an automotive supplier AAM is going to be driven by lean manufacturing practices like one piece workflow. In a nut shell they want to reduce the amount of work in process. Granted parts queue up in the trailer but to a lesser degree than they would in a box car. Trucks can be dispatched 24 hours a day on a schedule that meets the needs of the shipper. With a box car they would be at the mercy of GDLK's class one connection's schedule.

PSR does show positive results with asset utilization. In theory PSR would bring a benefit to the shipper in terms of scheduled and repeatable service. In practice it is being implemented by a culture that already saw loose car traffic as being bad and at the behest of Wall Street investors who generally expect near term results. It serves both cultures to identify the lowest margin traffic and instead of being more efficient with it, just get rid of it. While GDLK would handle switching on one end, AAM has a competitive alternative which limits rates and makes them a low margin customer.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby AARR » Sun Jan 12, 2020 12:39 pm

PatAzo wrote:As an automotive supplier AAM is going to be driven by lean manufacturing practices like one piece workflow. In a nut shell they want to reduce the amount of work in process. Granted parts queue up in the trailer but to a lesser degree than they would in a box car. Trucks can be dispatched 24 hours a day on a schedule that meets the needs of the shipper. With a box car they would be at the mercy of GDLK's class one connection's schedule.

PSR does show positive results with asset utilization. In theory PSR would bring a benefit to the shipper in terms of scheduled and repeatable service. In practice it is being implemented by a culture that already saw loose car traffic as being bad and at the behest of Wall Street investors who generally expect near term results. It serves both cultures to identify the lowest margin traffic and instead of being more efficient with it, just get rid of it. While GDLK would handle switching on one end, AAM has a competitive alternative which limits rates and makes them a low margin customer.

When AAM's Detroit plant discontinued rail service they spent over $100,000 to remove the spurs from their property and were happy to do so. They had two major issues: Inconsistent delivery times. Sometimes materials would arrive in a week, sometimes a month. The other was the railroads response to their issues. They felt the railroads didn't care if they lost the business. Seems like that was over 20 years ago when AAM's Detroit location stopped rail service. They used both CR and GTW.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby ConrailDetr​oit » Sun Jan 12, 2020 1:13 pm

The article below from 25 Years and 3 Days ago is when American Axle opened their Detroit Plant. It sounds like back then, rail service was tried for a very short amount of time; 5ish years or less; AAM unsatisfied with CR and GTW service performance, and all went to trucks. So, even back then, before Precision Scheduled Railroading was a concept, the bigger RRs had the same mindset.



January 09, 1995 12:00 AM
FORMER GM AXLE PLANT GETS NEW LIFE
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DETROIT - American Axle & Manufacturing Inc. is trying to take a General Motors plant that was a rusting relic of Detroit's past and transform it into a model for the future.

The plant is GM's Detroit axle plant that the automaker jettisoned as part of a move begun two years ago to sell 18 operations in its Automotive Components Group.

American Axle bought the 89-acre industrial and corporate complex on the border of Detroit and Hamtramck last February.

Since last March, the company has spent $25*million on improvements and hired 1,200 new employees, boosting the work force to 4,500. The company also landed contracts with automakers to sup- plement long-term deals with GM for gears, axles, brakes and forged parts.

While General Motors generated sales of $1.3 billion in 1993, American Axle is on target to exceed annual sales of $2.2 billion.

DRIVING FORCES

The driving force behind the resurgence is its chief executive, former Chrysler Corp. manufacturing chief Richard Dauch, his handpicked senior executives, and a remarkably cooperative relationship between management and labor.

What they hope to do is profit in the epicenter of the industrial Midwest, setting a standard for the global auto supplier industry. Its success - or failure - could provide a road map for what it takes to create jobs, renew neighborhoods and prosper in Detroit.

'I wanted to be CEO of an American-owned, Detroit-based automobile company,' said Dauch, who is partners in American Axle with Detroit investor Morton Harris and Cleveland industrialist Ray Park.

'The vision was to create an entirely new automotive tier, one global supply company .*.*. to compete with the big boys throughout the world' such as Rockwell International Corp., TRW Inc. and Eaton Corp.

'We want to be in Detroit and we want to profitably grow in Detroit. Our intentions were to buy it, fix it, improve it and make it world class.' That was something GM couldn't do.

Division spokesman Gerry Holmes said, 'The plant, if it was to be profitable, was going to require a large infusion of cash, and GM didn't have it. We couldn't spend it on axles instead of new products.'

GM CONTRACT

But GM desperately needs axles and gears. So it sold the operations, agreed to buy parts from American Axle and left the capital improvement to the new owners.

Longtime workers say GM neglected the Detroit complex during the past 10 years. There was too little preventive maintenance and too little spending on improvements.

No so with American Axle. It is spending $1.5 million on roof repairs and $5 million for two machines that transform iron bars into axle shafts. Another $5 million is being spent to renovate the forge's tool-and-die room.

That is refreshing for Charlie Gonchoroff, chairman of Die Sinkers 110 of the International Association of Machinists.

'I see somebody spending money, making improvements we should have made 20 years ago, interested in people - so far,' he said. GM 'never put nothing into this place and half the machines didn't run.'

American Axle's connecting rods, stabilizer bars and axle shafts and gears must be lighter, stronger and better engineered.

To make profits that eluded GM, the new company must improve its quality, streamline management and draw new customers.

The management team is designed to enable American Axle to quickly push through new products, new processes and new hires.

'The process at GM was fraught with bureaucratic hurdles,' said former GM executive Phil Lugger, now American Axle's director of labor relations. 'Now, I don't even have anybody to call.'

Rick Rossman, Dauch's vice president for manufacturing, dismisses suggestions that business can no longer flourish in Detroit.

'All of us have worked in and around Detroit for years,' he said. 'Detroit doesn't frighten us. I'd rather solve the problem than run from the problem.'
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Super Chief » Sun Jan 12, 2020 4:45 pm

IFIK AAM Three Rivers has 2 wages and thats it. Turnover is a problem as well, drugs and boredom seem to dominate the exit gates but they still are St. Joesph counties largest employer. As for quality of their product I wouldn't have a clue as to rejection rates. All the GM employees that were there either retired or drove to cities in Michigan, Indiana or Ohio to keep their seniority. The lights are still on though.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby justalurker66 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 1:11 pm

Early this morning (around 1am) three NS engines and a string of grain cars nearly a mile long came off of the GDLK in Elkhart. Was this a GDLK operation or is NS using trackage rights? Chatter on the Elkhart camera channel said the cars had gone east to White Pigeon before this morning's return. (I had tuned in to the camera to watch the late night Amtrak 48 pass and noticed occupancy on the GDLK. The engines stopped west of Prairie St next to the Middlebury St crossing to wait for Amtrak.)
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Super Chief » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:56 pm

Went by the Andersons last week and there were no cars, engines, just trucks bringing the harvest in. I would guess they would have needed that train this week. Compared to past years they have been slow this year.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby 1TrackMind » Tue Jan 14, 2020 5:03 pm

justalurker66 wrote:Early this morning (around 1am) three NS engines and a string of grain cars nearly a mile long came off of the GDLK in Elkhart. Was this a GDLK operation or is NS using trackage rights? Chatter on the Elkhart camera channel said the cars had gone east to White Pigeon before this morning's return. (I had tuned in to the camera to watch the late night Amtrak 48 pass and noticed occupancy on the GDLK. The engines stopped west of Prairie St next to the Middlebury St crossing to wait for Amtrak.)


GDLK crew with run through power.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby justalurker66 » Fri Jan 17, 2020 7:13 am

Thank you. I thought they were run through power but was not sure,
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Ben Higdon » Fri Jan 17, 2020 9:36 am

Super Chief wrote:After American Axle bought it all that went dormant with just in time rolling down M-60 & I-94 to points east.

I have a picture I took around 1995 showing a few covered hoppers inside the gate there. I guessed they were plastic pellets for American Axle but I don't know whether they did any injection molding there. They also had two old auto racks on the property (pre-side panels and roof). No idea why they were there other then intraplant movements? I don't recall how many times I saw them there but it appeared they'd been sitting there for years.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Super Chief » Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:57 am

Ben I'm just going to throw this out on those cars you saw but don't hold me to it but Crocker Limited was across the tracks and they blow molded a lot of orange highway barrels we all see. Since GM siding was used for other Conrail purposes they wouldn't tie that up with non-moving cars unloading pellets.Seems since the GM yard was 5 tracks I'm thinkin I remember one with a ramp at the end they would load axles in those auto racks to ship to Detroit. All a big forklift had to do was go into the ends of those autoracks with axles and back out. The axles were in big metal totes. When that method ended they just sat because they were old.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Super Chief » Mon Jan 27, 2020 1:44 pm

4017 was sent out last week for repair to MEI. Will come back like 4009 after pretty much the same work to be preformed.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Super Chief » Mon Feb 03, 2020 10:21 pm

4002 & 4009 have been the 501s power last week and today.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby dave989 » Sun Feb 16, 2020 3:14 pm

I see one of the GP-35's has appeared back in Grand Rapids (I think it's 3531). If anyone has details on were its been and if it's back for good to let us know.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby SD80MAC » Sun Feb 16, 2020 3:17 pm

Supposedly 3534 was going to be sent out for a rebuild, not sure if 3531 was slated for one or not.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby 1TrackMind » Mon Feb 17, 2020 12:24 pm

31 just needed repairs
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby dave989 » Mon Feb 17, 2020 4:59 pm

[quote="1TrackMind"]31 just needed repairs. Went by Hugart this afternoon and 3531 is sitting at the south end of the house. Wondering when they will fire it up?
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Super Chief » Tue Feb 25, 2020 5:38 pm

Congrats to the Elk for the one day turnaround of the CSX grain train. Also Andersons crew for the quick loadout on a weekend. So with B33 cut back to Battle Creek Elk is now receiving more loads from CN up the Pavilion branch vs NS from the east. Empties of course still going west to Elkhart.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Jim_c » Wed Feb 26, 2020 4:21 pm

Saw HLCX 3834 coming out of Elkhart just a little while ago. They took a NS down , and brought the HLCX back.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby 1TrackMind » Wed Feb 26, 2020 10:36 pm

Jim_c wrote:Saw HLCX 3834 coming out of Elkhart just a little while ago. They took a NS down , and brought the HLCX back.

More power for the Elk.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Super Chief » Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:19 pm

A 3 unit 501 tonight. 4002,3834 & 4009 with 55 cars and at least 13 centerbeams. Switching Reitenmeyer in Schoolcraft at 6:00pm. Local was longer than 302 has been lately.
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