• Andover complains about Pan Am train parking

  • Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.
Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.

Moderator: MEC407

  by Rockingham Racer
 
eustis22 wrote:What about the stub of the old Lawrence & Lowell? down in the industrial park?
There are customers in that industrial park. Stashing other cars on the industrial track between So Broadway and Beacon St. would block access to the industrial park, and it would be a very awkward move to put a train in there, even if there were room enough for one.

BTW, it's "up" in the industrial park, since there's a grade from the main line up to Beacon St. :-)
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
 
eustis22 wrote:What about the stub of the old Lawrence & Lowell? down in the industrial park?
Not nearly long enough between grade crossings, and if they think they're getting grief in Andover for idling in a residential area there are few worse places than right here in the backyards of densely-settled Andover & Amherst St.'s.


There undoubtedly are some things that could be done on either side of Lawrence Yard to provide the length for storing a large train. And all of them would be a complete waste of money because they don't get to the root of the issue: PAR's complete inability to run an on-time schedule within HOS. Speeds on the Stony Brook and Lowell Branch are the problem, and complete slop-ops are the problem. The latter is institutional brainrot that can't be fixed with any amount of money...only new ownership that rationally sees slop-ops for the money-waster it is. The former goes directly to the same dilemma re: the returned Northern ME grants: lack of motivation to self-upgrade for anything related to schedule reliability (as opposed to motivation to self-upgrade for increased car capacity/loading). As long as the passenger improvements serve up new canning spots they can attach themselves to like a barnacle, they've embraced schedule unreliability as a feature...not a bug. There isn't much of an empirical basis for evaluating the upside of quadding up Shawsheen-Lawrence, adding a middle runner along the river in North Andover where there's 3 miles between crossings and zero residential abutters, or other such raw capacity adds unless it's first established how much of the need can be met by tightening up slop-ops and closing the SGR deficit on the two company-owned connecting branches. How much of this is taken care of by running on-time?...80%, 90%, 100%? It's arse-backwards to be considering the remainders first before the crux of the problem.


So it's not logical to feed that problem by buying them more canning spots around Lawrence when the problem goes away if they can run within HOS. The flipside is it's unfortunately also not practical to appeal to logic re: the Stony Brook & Lowell B. when the railroad is unresponsive to basic logic like "canning eats profit margins". Imposing logic on the Billericadome is probably going to have to involve CSX raining fire from the heavens over SEPO/POSE slop-ops and NS putting the screws to them to start adding controlled sidings to the Pat Corridor if they can't stay out of their own way. Something like that which puts them on the Scared Straight Program™ with their Class I partners and compels some carryover scrambling to upgrade the SBB & LB speeds. And that's a lot to hope for. Chalk this up to another waiting game for sale and/or partition to happen before end of decade, because it's probably going to take a new regime that responds to conventional railroader logic before anything gets better.

In the meantime...Andover will stop being a canning spot when Town DPW completes its relocation and that infill northbound platform goes to design-build. Hopefully we're not waiting too much longer on that.
  by Trinnau
 
Rockingham Racer wrote:I forgot about the two So. Union St. overpasses. I'm referring to the one on the west end, where the engine house used to be. Can a new runner be laid there between I-495 and Andover St.?
Again, it's length. Adding another 70-care track there does very little for the operation. You would have to extend the third track beyond 495 to Shawsheen. Not sure if the room is there for that. Again, there has been a 120+ car track here where Pan Am could hide a train without bothering anyone since the 70s. The MBTA upgraded it and made it a mainline as an improvement to the infrastructure, effectively removing it as a hiding spot. Compound that with the single-track over the bridge and voila. If the bridge was in service they could probably get away with parking at Shawsheen again.
Rockingham Racer wrote:Trinnau, I like your posts; they are reasoned, informative and logical. I don't know if you work for PAR or not, but to defend a shoddy operation like this one might be pushing the envelope. :wink: I hope for better days for this railroad. :-)
Former employee - so trust me I'm not defending the company, but deferring to the people who have to run it day-to-day with sub-par infrastructure, tired engines and upper-management mandates to "get those cars no matter what" even if it costs 3 crews and 6 cabs because I was one once. They have people who know how to operate, either they aren't listened to and overruled or are forced into decisions simply because they have run out of options.. The recent departure of one of their top operating guys speaks volumes. All the reasons everyone has mentioned here lead to the train canning at Andover for some reason or another. I'm not disagreeing the trains shouldn't get over the road, but even if everything is fixed you still need to have an out - because even the big roads lose engines, break a knuckle or derail from time to time.
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:So it's not logical to feed that problem by buying them more canning spots around Lawrence when the problem goes away if they can run within HOS.
Precisely. But you still need an out.
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:In the meantime...Andover will stop being a canning spot when Town DPW completes its relocation and that infill northbound platform goes to design-build. Hopefully we're not waiting too much longer on that.
You're probably talking 3-5 years at minimum. It's not even in the 5-year CIP. And you honestly think a platform would prevent them from parking there? First, MBTA would need to have a meet scheduled between Vale and JK and even then, pushing it a few minutes east to occur between JK and Andover Street is something Pan Am would have no problem doing. They do it all the time on the Fitchburg Line, blocking one of the tracks at Ayer or North Leominster regularly. And if the MBTA was smart, they'd leave the meet right at JK to give Pan Am the option to make it on either side since Lawrence is still a single-track platform (or move it 10 minutes to be east of Lawrence).
  by johnpbarlow
 
Ironically, there's plenty of car storage capacity on the dirty dirt transport partner's CSX: empty and loaded gons could be stored at the basically unused CP yard in Framingham near the Adesa facility with cars moving to/from Everett via the CSX B721 local. This route also has the slight advantage of being 50 miles between Worcester and Framingham, v. 75 miles by way of Ayer/Lawrence. But the Grand Jct branch would have to be used through downtown Cambridge. And PAR's revenue would be dramatically reduced for this temporary business.
  by johnpbarlow
 
Yet another meeting was held between Andover town manager, selectman, police/fire/public service reps, various state politicos, and Pan Am wrt PAR's apparent insistence on idling trains at Andover station on the new second track.

http://www.andovertownsman.com/news/idl ... a1aaa.html

The article does not report any response from PAR so as far as I can see, nothing new was revealed v. previous meetings. There's another discussion on tap with PAR for Monday 2/6 selectmen meeting. A couple more questions: the article says PAR owns the track through Andover but I thought MaDOT/MBTA owned these tracks as of 1976? If so, shouldn't Andover be inviting MBTA officials to these meetings?

Also, I thought PAR installed APUs in many of their locomotives starting 6 or 7 years ago and apparently lots of CSX engines have APUs installed as well so why are the locomotives' prime movers idling continuously at Andover? Or are neighbors complaining about APU fumes?

Lastly, re: this excerpt:
Vispoli said recently that there appears to be "no short-term fix" to the problem. He said the trains used to park at the train yard in Lawrence but the configuration has been changed making it unsuitable for idling trains. He said he was "not optimistic" a solution could be found soon because the double-track is only available for a short stretch, which happens to be in downtown Andover. "If the double track went all the way to Lowell Junction, they could move them," he said. "But the double track doesn't go that far. Short-term they will try to maneuver and mitigate. But i'm not optimistic. It might be a long-term play with additional tracks."
would double tracking through Ballardvale station (not likely to happen anytime soon) really solve Andover's parked trains problem? I doubt PAR is going to want to park freights on their single track main west of LJ.
  by MEC407
 
I'm not 100% certain, but I believe that most of CSX's newer locomotives (such as the GEs typically used on POSE/SEPO) use autostart rather than APUs. For other readers who aren't familiar with the difference: autostart shuts the locomotive engine down when the weather is warm, and automatically starts it back up again if the temperature drops below a certain point. An APU is an auxiliary power unit and is usually a separate (and much smaller) diesel engine which serves several purposes, such as keeping the main engine warm enough so that it won't freeze.

The good news is that the CSX GEs could, in theory, be shut down during the warm weather months. That would provide significant relief for the abutters.
  by newpylong
 
Pan Am installed only a handful for show and I would be surprised if they still work or the engines are still in service that had them.

Even the new autostart engines have to come back on and keep the air charged from time to time.

The solution is just not to leave the trains there.
  by eustis22
 
> but the configuration has been changed making it unsuitable for idling trains

Um..what? when? there's been no work in Lawrence yard.
  by octr202
 
Close enough for town official and newspaper use. The yard may be unchanged, but the Lawrence Runner certainly isn't in the same configuration as PAR used it before.
  by Trinnau
 
johnpbarlow wrote:The article does not report any response from PAR so as far as I can see, nothing new was revealed v. previous meetings. There's another discussion on tap with PAR for Monday 2/6 selectmen meeting. A couple more questions: the article says PAR owns the track through Andover but I thought MaDOT/MBTA owned these tracks as of 1976? If so, shouldn't Andover be inviting MBTA officials to these meetings?
MBTA-owned, PAR controlled dispatching. Issue is with PAR, MBTA really has nothing to offer here. They can't force Pan Am to move the trains, nor do they necessarily want to because moving them would impede the MBTA's operation. Noise gets tricky when it comes to interstate commerce.
johnpbarlow wrote:Also, I thought PAR installed APUs in many of their locomotives starting 6 or 7 years ago and apparently lots of CSX engines have APUs installed as well so why are the locomotives' prime movers idling continuously at Andover? Or are neighbors complaining about APU fumes?
407 and Newpy answered this the best, no matter what you still have to idle an engine to hold the air test.
johnpbarlow wrote:would double tracking through Ballardvale station (not likely to happen anytime soon) really solve Andover's parked trains problem? I doubt PAR is going to want to park freights on their single track main west of LJ.
The question is how long of a train can be held between Cemetery Crossing in Andover and the station at Ballardvale, assuming the correct crossovers are installed with double-track or the station is rebuilt. The answer is a pretty big one, as the distance is a little over a mile and a half. But then you're just moving the problem from downtown to the neighborhood at Ballardvale. Again, too many crossings on the single-track west of LJ to park a train of any length, and it's only 20ish more minutes to the Concord River bridge.
johnpbarlow wrote:Ironically, there's plenty of car storage capacity on the dirty dirt transport partner's CSX: empty and loaded gons could be stored at the basically unused CP yard in Framingham near the Adesa facility with cars moving to/from Everett via the CSX B721 local. This route also has the slight advantage of being 50 miles between Worcester and Framingham, v. 75 miles by way of Ayer/Lawrence. But the Grand Jct branch would have to be used through downtown Cambridge. And PAR's revenue would be dramatically reduced for this temporary business.
For whatever reason, Pan Am has the rights to the traffic, not CSX. Otherwise you likely would have seen exactly what you described and Pan Am would not be needed at all in the equation - CSX would have been able to cut them out entirely.
  by PBMcGinnis
 
"For whatever reason, Pan Am has the rights to the traffic, not CSX. Otherwise you likely would have seen exactly what you described and Pan Am would not be needed at all in the equation - CSX would have been able to cut them out entirely."

That is an assumption, I'm sure the 2 railroads likely equally put in a bid to the company loading out of Everett. The winner probably had a lower bid even with CSX being involved in the haul either way. Which means one has a lower switching cost in Everett over the other.
  by BostonUrbEx
 
From my understanding, the reason it went to Pan Am is because they were able to successfully argue that only they had the rights necessary to switch the customer. They dug deep into records on trackage and haulage rights, and even sifted through the history of the layout of tracks (B&M vs B&A) and what rights were secured by who. Perhaps they did not need to bring their evidence up, though, if their bid was lower anyway. CSX isn't too interested in performing switching in Eastern MA anymore -- they just want to handle the long haul and hand it off to captive shortlines.
  by doublebell
 
From today's Salem News
John, the guy in the blue car with the wing on back
Salem News wrote:In Andover, residents and town officials are running into a comparable brick wall.

Selectmen, the town manager, state legislators, even members of Congress have been notified and are complaining about the ongoing problem of the Pan Am diesel engines parked in Andover at night and on weekends.

It seems, however, there’s nothing they can do about it as federal law governing interstate commerce seems to trump all state and local ordinances when it comes to noise and air pollution, Selectman Paul Salafia reported at a recent meeting.

During a meeting last week attended by local, state and federal officials, Pan Am was told in no uncertain terms that the practice had to cease and desist.

“We made it very clear that the current practice is unacceptable,” said Town Manager Paul Flanagan. “I will continue to take any action or measures necessary to put an end to this unintended consequence of the double tracking project.”

Another meeting is planned soon, possibly later this month, with Pan Am officials and members of the public to discuss the problem. Hopefully, the company will get the message and solve the problem.
Read the rest of the article at: http://www.salemnews.com/opinion/column ... 549eb.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Last edited by MEC407 on Thu Feb 09, 2017 1:00 pm, edited 1 time in total. Reason: reduced entire article to a smaller fair-use quote; added link to article