by QB 52.32
Gilbert B Norman wrote: ↑Thu Jul 23, 2020 8:45 pmBut I guess what I'm most interested to learn from this Forum is there any high value traffic presently moving over Maine "highways"(sorry but, "if you can call 'em that") that could move over the rails (with investment in FRA Class 3 45mph) in a competitive manner to attract shippers like Wally World, Amazon, and the automakers?Highly-rated New England rail traffic is hubbed through southern New England, primarily in Massachusetts, given regional demand distribution. Maine just does not make sense when New England's population is skewed toward the south and much of what is consumed and moving via rail flows from the west and south. And, if there were demand, Maine track investment is only one capital requirement with restricted overhead clearance the other.
When it comes to NS and PAS, folks need to remember PAR is responsible for carload marketing, including interchange with CSX, while NS only is focused upon autos, intermodal and overhead traffic to the P&W. But, when you evaluate where they are with their franchise at this point, intermodal volume has receded to pre-PAS levels with their auto and P&W business stagnant.
Because railroading is a network business, you have to look at this potential sale through that lens and how each Class 1 fits into the equation. In New England CSX dominates with muscle given their fast, efficient and high-capacity "water level" route accessing a strong east-of-the Mississippi/Western gateway franchise. So, evaluating CN, for example, involves in part how they might stack up against CSX, especially if they want to build new traffic beyond what simply is moving via PAR/PAS today. And, it's not like they haven't considered trying to compete more vigorously with the B&A before --- and walked away.