I would say so... the Downeaster could have been more mileage - but I think the Conn River right of way is in worse shape than the Western was. Just my opinion of course, the Downeaster was quite the job too.
Not sure on that one. It could be a combination again of NS doing the rail and Pan Am doing the ties. Although, last go round the NS crews were constantly waiting for Pan Am to keep up. Let's face it, those NS crews probably do more maintenance or "production" on one Subdivision than Pan Am does over it's entire main line.
I think we're starting to see a shift in where priorities and efforts are happening though - NS being the PAS and PAR just being PAR. PAR is again trying to shift even more traffic through Worcester. You can argue this is the better / cheaper option for shippers but it doesn't sit well with NS after a "join venture" to share revenue was formed. I have heard mumblings of a lawsuit between the two brewing, but I have yet to confirm yet, so that is just rumor. I do know PAR will be rebuilding the Worcester line to at least 25 soon... so take that for what it's worth. I think the relationship at this point has lost it's friendliness (if it had that) and is strictly out of necessity.