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PC: Cut Overs

The stopping of traffic on the former Conrail lines that has been the 
subject of discusion on this list was a very good move. I spent time 
on the TSS (Transportation Support System) Impulmentation Team 
during the BNSF merger. There was three groups of programers 
working in Ft Worth, St Paul and Overland Park, KS to work out 
the bugs to make the two systems talk to each other. I spent 2 1/2 
months sitting on the 16th floor of Continenal Towers in downtown 
Ft Worth running programs in TSS and COMPASS (the BN 
system). Finding what worked and what did not work. Once you 
found something that was not working right and reported it to the 
programers they then fixed it, but when they fixed this problem you 
later found something else that they broke. The programs are so 
interealted. Learned a lot doing this. Once the programs where 
compatible then it was out on the road for about 10 months cutting 
the ATSF TSS into the former BN. Onless you have been out on 
one of these the things that computers will do you can not imagine. 
We had cars going in circles that where waybilled as loads in one 
system, the waybills became hung up and did not cross over to the 
other system which then returned the cars empty to where they 
had come from as loads. Had one complete loaded 54 car grain 
billed out of Souix Falls, SD that made it as far as Willimar, MN 
where the train then became empty and was returned back to the 
consignee for loading, per the waybill. That was sure one supprised 
elevator when they went to load the train and found out it was one 
they had loaded already just a few days before. 
	When we where cutting in the system we had troubles with 
trains out on the road between yards that left the yard in the 
COMPASS system, then the yard it left and the yard the train was 
to arrive in made the change over to TSS while the train was 
between them. Often the trains had to be manually put back into 
the system. Not running trains while the change over was being 
done was a very sound business decission. I know how hard it was 
when we where just dealing with shipments on your own railroad. 
Now you take and split the railroad into two parts and it becomes 
even more complex. Give NS and CSX credit for pulling this off. 
Bob Stafford

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