• CSX Track Upgrades & Infrastructure of Pan Am

  • 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 QB 52.32
 
Given that MA DOT is reportedly in talks about re-establishing a Clinton connection, with CSX in discussions with MA DOT about implementation and development of East-West Passenger Rail extending what has been long on-going and increasing strategic pressure to reduce and re-locate freight activity on their ex-Conrail Worcester & east franchise now as far west as Springfield, my take is that it's for these strategic reasons, directly or indirectly as part of a bigger deal.

CSX will use PAR to strategically reduce and relocate freight activity and infrastructure and future large growth initiatives ex-CR Worcester and east to make way for increasing passenger rail and transit-oriented and other re-/development. There's some chance that they might also use PAS strategically to reduce freight traffic between Springfield and Worcester to make way for what East-West Passenger Rail will/could bring and in light of their agreed conditions with Amtrak .

Exploring re-establishing a Clinton connection offers potential to bypass Worcester-Framingham on the B&A (with some of that traffic reduced and moved up onto PAR) whether from the south via Barbers and/or, if needed, from PAS to the north via Ayer.

Additionally, CSX could also potentially use their Fitchburg sub for freight facility and related activity re-location toward that goal of reducing & re-locating freight activity on the ex-CR franchise Worcester & east. For example FWIW, one option within Conrail's strategic planning considerations surrounding closure of Beacon Park was a re-location site on the Fitchburg sub.

Separating the wheat from the chaff in the ever-increasing chatter surrounding a strategic acquisition like this, that by all indications contains multiple reasons justifying the move, requires screening through a strategic framework. Using PAR Portland and south and potentially PAS for the opportunity to meet the growing strategic challenge of passenger rail and development pressures along their ex-Conrail franchise is a likely reason CSX pursued PAR and with some possibility at the least as a hedge, directly or indirectly because of NS, half of PAS. Time will tell.
  by taracer
 
Maybe I'm not understanding but are you saying that CSX will re-route traffic off the B&A, which they wholly own, for PAS jointly owned with NS, because of a few passenger trains? The B&A used to handle twice as many trains than today just 15 years ago.

Remember that there is no easy way to get to PAS from Selkirk, and a lot of B&A traffic is coming off the River Line from the south. So it can't really be classified someplace west of Selkirk without a long detour. Selkirk is the hub, they said that themselves in the STB presentations.

I believe it's more likely that MA will pay to expand capacity on the B&A. Basically double track from 92 to 48, maybe put the third track back 64 to 57. Maybe even on the mountain from 147 to 140.
  by BobbyT
 
I don't think CSX has any interest whatsoever in running their own freight over the old B&M/PAS route and I think they've been pretty clear about that. The problem with trying to push Eastern MA business up to say points south of Portland is that now you're dealing with the MBTA on multiple routes, Amtrak, PAS, more of your own freight activity and lots of single track. I think they will continue to use Framingham for their existing Eastern MA network similar to how Lawrence will be utilized as their central yard on the north side.
  by BobbyT
 
Not to mention the fact that most B&A trains are going to B&A points like East Brookfield, Worcester and Framingham where a PAS routing would make zero sense. Back tracking to Rotterdam and changing ends is much less efficient than running straight East out Selkirk on the B&A.
  by newpylong
 
How did we get from restoring the Clinton connection to more essays on why CSX bought Pan Am and what-ifs?
This connection was discussed off handedly in one meeting ie "we could do that if ever needed". There has been absolutely no talks beyond that. It does not play into any strategic plans.

Also, CSX is not going to divert 1 carload over PAS outside of the Ayer switching district traffic which will go via RJ instead of Barbers as it does now. That isn't to "relieve pressure" anywhere its because that is how it has to happen once the common carrier for PAR and PAS are divorced.
  by neman2
 
CPF363 wrote: Thu Jun 02, 2022 8:26 pm CSX stated to regulators during the approval process that they plan to invest more than $100 million in infrastructure improvements across Pan Am lines within the next three years. Post any system-wide improvements to track structure, terminals and yards here as CSX's integration of Pan Am moves forward.
This is where this thread started, a place where actual work in the field that was observed could be posted not speculation about future plans. Where are we going now ?
  by F74265A
 
Railroad bridge
Where the Framingham to Leominster line crosses over the Worcester main

It was already raised and under cut in the early 1990s to clear rax
  by QB 52.32
 
newpylong wrote: Thu Aug 25, 2022 5:09 pm How did we get from restoring the Clinton connection to more essays on why CSX bought Pan Am and what-ifs?
This connection was discussed off handedly in one meeting ie "we could do that if ever needed". There has been absolutely no talks beyond that. It does not play into any strategic plans.
With all due respect, we got here as part of a 20-post conversation that went to the potential behind a rumored re-establishment of a Clinton connection discussion and the necessity of occasionally balancing an "anthology" of concrete short-range conclusions more narrowly considered with an "essay" offering nuanced long-range possibility in the big picture, at least as valid in understanding where we're going, including this latest issue.

To expect that a rumored conversation about a potential Clinton connection between MA DOT and CSX, for however long it was discussed, had no direct or indirect relationship to the required strategic planning and how that might play out amongst both parties with the coming impactful East-West Passenger Rail project, clearly the biggest elephant in the room, is a bit of a stretch.

I'll make my replies to Taracer and Tosh over on the acquisition thread.
  by johnhenry
 
Lots of activity on the Worcester Branch around Clinton in the last week. This morning observed a large crew of RJ Corman trucks and equipment on both sides of Sterling St not to mention many white CCSX pickups. The new welded rail has been installed (with new tie plates and spikes) on the north side from Sterling st to the west past South Meadow Rd (where the long dormant hi-load detector stands). I guess they clean up and continue to run the 426/427 freights at night at restricted speed (oh wait -that's all they already were running at!).
  by newpylong
 
QB 52.32 wrote: Sat Aug 27, 2022 8:44 am To expect that a rumored conversation about a potential Clinton connection between MA DOT and CSX, for however long it was discussed, had no direct or indirect relationship to the required strategic planning and how that might play out amongst both parties with the coming impactful East-West Passenger Rail project, clearly the biggest elephant in the room, is a bit of a stretch.
I've paraphrased the discussion I thought quite well in my last post (as given to me by someone who has been in those discussions). The chance of that connector being rebuilt, or factoring into any CSX or "East West" passenger strategy is infinitesimal. Of course, one is free to have their own opinion, but it would be at odd with the evidence.
  by SpiderHill
 
johnhenry wrote: Sat Aug 27, 2022 11:47 am Lots of activity on the Worcester Branch around Clinton in the last week. This morning observed a large crew of RJ Corman trucks and equipment on both sides of Sterling St not to mention many white CCSX pickups. The new welded rail has been installed (with new tie plates and spikes) on the north side from Sterling st to the west past South Meadow Rd (where the long dormant hi-load detector stands). I guess they clean up and continue to run the 426/427 freights at night at restricted speed (oh wait -that's all they already were running at!).
I went through Sterling St about 11:30am and saw the same. I also went by about 6:00pm when they were wrapping up for the day.

A couple additions to this report:

1. In addition to all the Corman equipment on rails was a Railworks ten wheeler box truck in the middle.
2. The CSX/PAR workers seem to be only dealing with signals. There are at least half a dozen CSX trucks around most with Maine plates and a couple with Pennsylvania plates.
3. There continues to be a string of rough looking gondolas on the Clinton siding. Most are NS or Sou. There are also a couple CR and CSX. Corman unloads steel components onto the boom truck for distribution.
4. I figured the rail only MOW equipment would be stored on the Clinton siding at night. That is not the case. I assume they must be traveling back and forth from Worcester.
5. Possibly related, there was a small/mid sized excavator working near the Swift building across Main St. from the station. All the trees between the building and the ROW of the Fitchburg line have been taken down in this area. The building is partially the retaining wall for the tracks above. It's very tight quarters. This is right where CR installed a steel retaining wall as part of elevating the line over the Worcester main. Perhaps this is preparation for lifting the bridge again or replacement of the bridge. It's also possible this is related to work being done to the building. Since NAPA closed a few years ago, the only activity in that building was when Netflix used the building for shoot. Any activity in the area is very noticeable.
  by codasd
 
Thanks for the update on the work progress. The Railworks truck is probably for flash butt welding of the CWR joints.
  by F74265A
 
Really appreciate all these on the ground reports from Clinton and sterling. Any sign of work north of the Clinton siding yet, ie Lancaster through Harvard?
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