• Amtrak New Gulf Coast Service - New Orleans to Mobile AL

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  • 239 posts
  • 1
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  by Ken W2KB
 
TurningOfTheWheel wrote: Fri May 14, 2021 11:45 pm NS and CSX are bound by the Faustian bargain that they and their predecessors made in 1971 to shift passenger obligations to Amtrak.
Perhaps not. There are both Constitutional and contract law principles that can be cogently argued by the railroads. For example, it is a fundamental principle that a contract entered into by mutual mistake of a material fact gives right to either party to void a contract at will. The literature and legislative history at the time and subsequently is replete with statements that the expectation of the parties was that Amtrak passenger service taken oven by Amtrak would continue to decline over a relatively short period of time after which there would no longer be a need for such service, and thus the freight railroads would no longer host passenger trains. That, plus the 5th Amendment takings clause which requires just (i.e., full, including costs, lost profits, business impacts, etc.) compensation be paid by the government for burdens on private property.
  by eolesen
 
Coal ain't going away. There will always be an export market and the EPA's reach doesn't extend to second and third world economies who don't really care about the Paris Accords.
  by eolesen
 
Ken W2KB wrote: Sat May 15, 2021 4:47 pm Perhaps not. There are both Constitutional and contract law principles that can be cogently argued by the railroads. For example, it is a fundamental principle that a contract entered into by mutual mistake of a material fact gives right to either party to void a contract at will. The literature and legislative history at the time and subsequently is replete with statements that the expectation of the parties was that Amtrak passenger service taken oven by Amtrak would continue to decline over a relatively short period of time after which there would no longer be a need for such service, and thus the freight railroads would no longer host passenger trains.
Yep. Just as the Wright Amendment was finally undone after 40 years, the day may come where what seemed reasonable in 1970 is now untenable.

There's no denying that traveling habits drastically changed with airline deregulation in 1981, and yet we insist on maintaining a money losing 19th Century mode of transportation...

There's a generational connection to rail with a bunch of 70+ year old politicians. As they die off, so will the support for Federally funded rail. It might take another 20 years but I'd expect both Amtrak and the USPS to disappear as Federal businesses in my lifetime.
  by David Benton
 
eolesen wrote: Sat May 15, 2021 9:55 pm Coal ain't going away. There will always be an export market and the EPA's reach doesn't extend to second and third world economies who don't really care about the Paris Accords.
*Bites tounge*
  by eolesen
 
Sorry you don't like that, but it's true. And you've still got first world economies importing it eg China, Japan and Korea. India is the second largest importer after China...

Fact is that steel production needs coal. There is no sustainable alternative as carbon is an essential component...

Electrical generation using carbon recapture may also be cheaper in some places than importing LNG. If the plants are built for recapture I see no problem.

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk

  by STrRedWolf
 
eolesen wrote: Sun May 16, 2021 1:54 am Fact is that steel production needs coal. There is no sustainable alternative as carbon is an essential component...

Electrical generation using carbon recapture may also be cheaper in some places than importing LNG. If the plants are built for recapture I see no problem.
As long as it's metallurgical coal... which from what I can gather off Wikipedia is a small fraction of all coal out there.
  by gokeefe
 

TurningOfTheWheel wrote: The legislation and current regulations clearly articulate Amtrak's rights to establish new service, but until now, Amtrak has never had the need nor the desire to flex the comparatively few legal privileges they have.
Amtrak took a case to the STB in the 1990s for the Downeaster to compel access on Guilford (B&M/ST). Amtrak also had another proceeding regarding the Conn River Line involving Guilford that resulted in a transfer of ownership from a freight railroad to Amtrak as a result of neglect by the freight railroad. Both of these cases where before the STB.

I think Amtrak may have had a case before the ICC concerning the rail segment off the B&A to access Albany which involved Conrail and the Lake Shore Limited. This resulted in Amtrak ownership of that track segment (which as I recall Conrail had attempted to preemptively abandon or destroy).

It's easy to forget some of these small battles because they seem so trivial by comparison to the long term issues with the Gulf Coast corridor.

My scorecard shows Amtrak 3 Freight Railroads 0 when these matters end up at the STB.





Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

  by eolesen
 
gokeefe wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 11:50 am It's easy to forget some of these small battles because they seem so trivial by comparison to the long term issues with the Gulf Coast corridor.

My scorecard shows Amtrak 3 Freight Railroads 0 when these matters end up at the STB.
1) Those earlier cases seem to be on lightly used/abandoned trackage and with very little potential for interference with revenue freight operations on the host road as well as roads they cross...

2) The railroads involved didn't have the money to fight their case.

I'm not aware of how many trains that operate on the proposed line, but I can't imagine it's trivial.

More importantly, both CSX and NS have the money to fight, and would think that all of the other Class 1's would support them one way or another. None of them want a precedent set here that could be even more impactful elsewhere on their networks.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr. Olesen, to carry your thought further, and that I think is topic relevant, it was interesting how after enactment of RPSA70, the "strongs" were willing to sign up seemingly to support "the weaks".

"Absolute no brainer" that "weaks" like PC, "my MILW", SP would all sign up. UP did so for they "were (to have been) rid of 'em on their "then (traditional wishbone) system".

But roads like ATSF, and SCL, darned near didn't. The other "strongs" could have taken the "shove it" position, figuring they could ride out the statutory five year waiting period, and then "mount a full court press" to have them gone. "20/20 hindsight is great"; whoever dreamed the Class I's would be handling anybody's passenger train fifty years later. That's why I've always held, it was "The Faustian Pact with the Devil".

While I like to think Mobile-NO has traffic potential (that '84-'85 Expo Special apparently had good ridership, but still lost public finding), I applaud the two roads for their stand against a further "Fifth Amendment taking" of their property. Time for the sponsoring agencies to recognize what the Constitution says and pony up if you want your choo choos.
  by MikeBPRR
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Tue May 18, 2021 8:42 am While I like to think Mobile-NO has traffic potential (that '84-'85 Expo Special apparently had good ridership, but still lost public finding), I applaud the two roads for their stand against a further "Fifth Amendment taking" of their property. Time for the sponsoring agencies to recognize what the Constitution says and pony up if you want your choo choos.
I may be wrong, but wouldn't the Class I's be less opposed if someone upgraded their infrastructure for them? My understanding is that the New Orleans - Mobile Route is mostly single-tracked, and to an amateur like me, it seems rather pointless to have a corridor passenger rail service sharing trackage with freight rail if the line isn't double-tracked.
  by gokeefe
 
Single track with modern signals and occasional passing sidings is more than adequate. That's the magic of modern dispatching. You don't have to build two tracks in order to have fluid bi-directional operations. In the 1870s? Not so much ...

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

  by gokeefe
 

eolesen wrote:
gokeefe wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 11:50 am It's easy to forget some of these small battles because they seem so trivial by comparison to the long term issues with the Gulf Coast corridor.

My scorecard shows Amtrak 3 Freight Railroads 0 when these matters end up at the STB.
1) Those earlier cases seem to be on lightly used/abandoned trackage and with very little potential for interference with revenue freight operations on the host road as well as roads they cross...

2) The railroads involved didn't have the money to fight their case.

I'm not aware of how many trains that operate on the proposed line, but I can't imagine it's trivial.

More importantly, both CSX and NS have the money to fight, and would think that all of the other Class 1's would support them one way or another. None of them want a precedent set here that could be even more impactful elsewhere on their networks.
The Guilford case for the Downeaster was on their Freight Main Line. I agree with regards to the other two. Guilford most certainly did have enough money to fight and took their case all the way through to Federal District Court. They appeared to have very good counsel who saved them a boatload of appellate counsel fees once the STB had made a definitive ruling and the District Court was not sympathetic. For all I know they appealed to the First Circuit (and perhaps even the Supreme Court) and got turned down.

Guilford was no stranger to drawn out litigation. I agree that the Class Is represent another caliber of legal firepower entirely. On the other hand I also think the risk to them of secondary effects of a loss are substantial.

I would also note that although Conrail was digging out from the PC bankruptcy they had some very sharp legal minds and likely more than adequate resources to fight. Their problem was more likely that as a government chartered entity it was not good for them to be seen blocking another federal railroad entity. Possibly a unique situation in American railroad history ... The feds were effectively on both sides of the fight with actual operating railroads.


Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

  by Gilbert B Norman
 
I hope it's understood in this instance am I not saying "fight the train" as it "did OK" during its '84-'85 run. Then there was only one attraction, an Expo, in New Orleans.

Even if the region, and notably the Crescent City is a "total zero" to me (last time I was there was '04 laying over from #1 to #58 and never once leaving the NOUPT), the bachanalle is an apparent draw.

I recognize there are attractions - casinos - all along the route and further recognize that upgrading the existing L&N right of way would certainly be part of Just Compensation under the Fifth Amendment, as Mr. BPRR notes.
  by Ridgefielder
 
gokeefe wrote: Tue May 18, 2021 10:24 am The Guilford case for the Downeaster was on their Freight Main Line. I agree with regards to the other two. Guilford most certainly did have enough money to fight and took their case all the way through to Federal District Court. They appeared to have very good counsel who saved them a boatload of appellate counsel fees once the STB had made a definitive ruling and the District Court was not sympathetic. For all I know they appealed to the First Circuit (and perhaps even the Supreme Court) and got turned down.

Guilford was no stranger to drawn out litigation. I agree that the Class Is represent another caliber of legal firepower entirely. On the other hand I also think the risk to them of secondary effects of a loss are substantial.

Guilford a/k/a PanAm is basically one man who a) has pockets as deep as the Marianas Trench and b) apparently enjoys litigation. I'd actually argue that Guilford was willing to continue to litigate in a situation where a publicly-traded company would have thrown in the towel.

gokeefe wrote: Tue May 18, 2021 10:24 amI would also note that although Conrail was digging out from the PC bankruptcy they had some very sharp legal minds and likely more than adequate resources to fight. Their problem was more likely that as a government chartered entity it was not good for them to be seen blocking another federal railroad entity. Possibly a unique situation in American railroad history ... The feds were effectively on both sides of the fight with actual operating railroads.
IIRC the rails on the Post Road branch had actually been lifted, but by PC not Conrail. Remember the Lake Shore Limited was not part of the A-Day network. Passenger service between Springfield and Albany stopped in May '71.
  by ExCon90
 
I'm sure I recall that Roger Lewis was president of Amtrak at the time and Moore was president of Penn Central, which should help to fix the time period and thus establish that it was Penn Central rather than Conrail. I think PC had already obtained regulatory permission to abandon the line from Post Road to Albany and told Amtrak "if you want the line it's for sale, and if you don't, up it comes."
  • 1
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16