• CSX Boston and Albany Line

  • Discussion of the operations of CSX Transportation, from 1980 to the present. Official site can be found here: CSXT.COM.
Discussion of the operations of CSX Transportation, from 1980 to the present. Official site can be found here: CSXT.COM.

Moderator: MBTA F40PH-2C 1050

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  by jaymac
 
To continue the flaying of an extinguished equine, "Nevens" may have been printed in the closing CR ETT as a nod of thanks to to the YM and -- thus -- perpetuated by CSXT.
  by Safetee
 
before the yard became nevens or nevins, in 1978 Conrailese it was referred to as the North Yard portion of the Framingham yards.
  by jaymac
 
North Yard was the designation for the ex-NH/ex-OC yard north of the B&A and just west of the now-mebbe-ex-RMV office, at least when I was a Framingham regular between 1982 and 1990.
  by Safetee
 
so the old north yard is not nevins/nevens yard?
  by Ken Rice
 
Nevins yard is the one along the main line. The North yard is the one at the start of the branch to Leominster. The CP yard is (was?) on a stub to the south of the mainline. (CP Yard annotation I added, rest is straight google maps)
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  by QB 52.32
 
roberttosh wrote: Sun Mar 21, 2021 11:59 am How do you move freight traffic off the B&A East of Springfield when you have multiple trains terminating East of there on the B&A at places like East Brookfield, Worcester & Framingham? The fact that NS is shifting its' intermodal/auto traffic to the B&A tells me that there are no planes period to improve clearances in the Hoosac.
You do it by thinking strategically and not tactically. You do it by tapping into a probable infrastructure stimulus plan by using political power. You do it by electing to build the E-W passenger corridor for 110 mph operation but saving infrastructure capital to separate freight traffic using PAS. You do it with horse-trading amongst the various interested parties in this time of big generational structural change to southern New England's rail landscape. You do it by recognizing CSX's own self-interests, not the least of which is in protecting and re-structuring their Worcester/Springfield-and-east franchise which has multiple-times more value than north of Portland, ME and under urban growth and passenger rail pressures, not to mention rapid changes in areas of their most lucrative market segments. And, lastly, you do it just as it has been done before, with improved Fitchburg infrastructure and a combination of simple re-routes, moving existing railroad facilities, encouraging and facilitating the move of rail-served facilities, and, possible renewed connections, revised operations and limited freight operations as needed and where needed. And, CSX's intermodal train pair trackage rights trade with NS for PAR AND assuming PAR's current ownership and control in PAS in the scheme of things could be viewed as small potatoes and the opening number in a longer dance. It's important to recognize that this strategic move by CSX for PAR and 50% ownership/control of PAS is at least as likely for their existing franchise east of Springfield/Worcester as it is for anything north of Portland, ME.
  by roberttosh
 
So you're suggesting that they're going to rebuild the entire Fitchburg from the ground up, clear the tunnel, close and relocate the East Brookfield auto terminal, East Worcester intermodal, Westboro transload and all the Southeastern MA customers and relocate them somewhere on the Fitchburg (most likely in MBTA territory), run a fleet of trains out of Selkirk that need to reverse ends at Rotterdam Jct to head east and all this on the a stretch of railroad that is 50% owned by your biggest competitor and that you've gone on the record stating that you want no part of in the future?
  by bostontrainguy
 
QB 52.32 wrote: Sat Mar 20, 2021 8:22 am Yes, for sure, but what was viewed as "developable" back in the 1950's, swamp land (the Great Cedar Swamp), became "undevelopable" in later years due to environmental restrictions. Otherwise, very good chance the existing site of CSX's (expanded) Worcester intermodal facility would have been located there in Westboro.
Seems like a real lost opportunity. I am sure if the Powers That Be wanted to get it done they could have. There are plenty of cases where swamps or environmentally sensitive areas were moved slightly or replicated elsewhere to keep the balance of nature satisfied. There seems to be a lot of open land around that yard. Great loction.
  by QB 52.32
 
The "Powers That Be", who on the one hand wanted Beacon Park closed, completely and unequivocally closed down the option of re-locating Beacon Park's intermodal terminal (to be combined with the E. Worcester intermodal terminal) into a modern, high-capacity facility in Westborough because of its impact upon the Great Cedar Swamp, an important water resource within Massachusetts. It was an absolute non-starter.
  by QB 52.32
 
roberttosh wrote: Wed Mar 24, 2021 7:54 am So you're suggesting that they're going to rebuild the entire Fitchburg from the ground up, clear the tunnel, close and relocate the East Brookfield auto terminal, East Worcester intermodal, Westboro transload and all the Southeastern MA customers and relocate them somewhere on the Fitchburg (most likely in MBTA territory), run a fleet of trains out of Selkirk that need to reverse ends at Rotterdam Jct to head east and all this on the a stretch of railroad that is 50% owned by your biggest competitor and that you've gone on the record stating that you want no part of in the future?
I'm suggesting at this particular moment in time, the benefits accruing to a variety of parties and the politics and the horse-trading available provides more than "never going to happen" possibility of funding a rebuild of Pan Am Southern's "Fitchburg" with the kind of infrastructure and connections that, of course, would be acceptable to all stakeholders. Suspend your disbelief and imagine what could be done with $500 million - $1 billion of funding to accomplish that, recognizing that instead of the disruptive, untenable scenarios that fuel your point of view, it would set the stage for the next 25-year evolution of the Commonwealth's freight and passenger rail network. In fact, at this point in time, I believe this possibility probably hinges more on politics than railroading.

Readville and its biggest direct traffic source is already under big-time re-development pressure while the E. Worcester intermodal facility is also a target for re-development and likely an important driver of CSX's play for PAR. You can also throw Framingham into the mix, though that might be a tougher issue. When it comes to the Westboro transload, that's easily transferred to any number of options. I could see E. Brookfield staying in place or being moved over a longer period of time. For southeastern MA/Cape traffic I can see any number of possibilities as to how you continue to maintain access to that network. Additionally, re-locations of rail facilities and rail-served facilities do not necessarily mean location onto MBTA territory, or, if so, in any way that would not be acceptable and anticipated anyways with CSX's play for PAR. Within all of this, keep in mind that such a move would not mean no CSX trains on the B&A east of CP-98, it would mean (much) fewer freight trains. On the west end gaining and improving access via the Port subdivision/CP as well as Rotterdam Jct. and/or reconfiguring blocking/train operation with PSR are not out of reach. Finally, to think that CSX would necessarily be opposed to shifting their traffic to a joint ownership, neutral operator arrangement in the big scheme of things, it's not unheard of and in practice with CSX today in at least a few examples, no?

If I were a planner who believed in the longer-term efficacy of passenger rail for commutation and intercity travel and the value of the MA E-W passenger rail project, I'd be advising the powerful Chair of the House Ways & Means Committee (overseeing tax policy with taxes on the rise and E-W passenger rail's biggest proponent) to "go for broke" in this next likely round of infrastructure economic stimulus (~$1.5 trillion soon to be announced by the White House) with a very hard look at reducing/removing B&A freight traffic east of Springfield as a possibility. Good chance CSX's continued behavior toward the PAS end of their play for PAR recognizes this, keeping options open, and if not for this particular time, possibly as a "safety valve" or with longer-term possibility. Railroading is a long game played by smart people. We'll likely have a better idea, probably sooner than later, in the next few years. "You never know!".
  by roberttosh
 
QB, I respect your opinion, but I don't think there's a snowball's chance in hell that CSX is going to downgrade the B&A in favor of making the Fitchburg their main corridor into New England.
  by QB 52.32
 
Tosh, I respect your opinion as well, but with so many broken paradigms strewn along the course of railroad history, as has been said, "never underestimate a snowball's chance in hell, at least if that snowball is adequately prepared for its trip".

Recognizing that the past 30 years of Conrail and CSX New England railroad history have been informed by the larger trends of metropolitan growth pushing freight activity to areas with lower land values; investment and growth in commuter rail; and, in response to both, the challenge of finding adequate land for the rail-based activity of an east-west railroad in a north-south geologic post-glacial topography, you can't ignore the range of possibilities addressing these trends in CSX's play for PAR/50% PAS. Additionally, the superiority of the B&A over The Fitchburg has been tied more to the superiority of the network of which it's a part than anything else, no? So, a deal that produces the near -same utility of the B&A while providing a next-generation step forward in addressing longer-term challenges would be an absolute non-starter for CSX, because...?
  by roberttosh
 
QB,

(1) Why would CSX want to move captive business from its' own line to a line that is jointly owned with its' biggest competitor and that it has gone on record saying it wants to sell its' half of?
(2) Why would CSX want to run a fleet of trains out of Selkirk to Rotterdam Jct where they need to change ends to head East when they already have a fast, direct route of their own in the B&A.
(3) Where along the Fitchburg are you going to relocate mile long intermodal operations, massive auto terminals and Trans-Flo sites with good Interstate highway access and close proximity to the big metropolitan areas without interfering with MBTA operations?
(4) Why would CSX want to add close to 100 miles to get from Selkirk to Springfield via the Fitchburg, which would include 2 back up moves?
(5) CSX is not going to want to have one Intermodal terminal on the B&A and one on the Fitchburg which would require 2 completely different Intermodal lanes and again I don't see Springfield being relocated to say Shelburne Falls or Erving.
(6) Who is going to pay for the massive upgrades and clearance work that would be required to get the Fitchburg on par with the B&A. If anything, I don't think anyone wants to touch the Hoosac with a 10 foot pole at this point (hence the NS deal via the B&A)
(7) How do you get Framingham/Southeastern MA freight traffic onto the Fitchburg?
(8) How do you get Mass Central, G&U and Mass Coastal freight on to the Fitchburg?
(9) Moving the CSX/NECR interchange from Palmer to Brattleboro would add needless/significant cost, transit time and handling.
(10) One major advantage that CSX now has over the NS in New England is its' ability to connect with all the shortlines and regional railroads directly whereas NS has to go over the PAS. Do you really think that CSX would give up that advantage, even going so far as having to now route Maine traffic over the PAS vs CSXT direct? Isn't this whole deal about the benefits of CSX's superior single line service and pricing, not sure how the PAS fits into that equation?

Those are just a few that come to mind and am sure there are other reasons as well.
Last edited by roberttosh on Sun Apr 04, 2021 9:50 am, edited 7 times in total.
  by Boatsmate75
 
one small problem with anything coming out of Fitchburg to Framingham, the line from Leominster center (end of active track) to Fitchburg is gone and is being turned into a bike rail trail including replacing the bridge over Rte 2with a smaller bridge
  by roberttosh
 
All the money in the world will not be able to address most of the issues I brought up and even if it could, CSX is never going to run a mainline out of Selkirk to New England by way of Rotterdam Jct, that in the future may require up to 10, 12, 14, or more backup moves per day creating an unprecedented bottleneck on a busy main line, especially when the existing B&A route is an unimpeded high speed route that checks all the boxes.
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