• Double Stacks Coming to the Southern Tier?

  • Discussion relating to the NS operations. Official web site can be found here: NSCORP.COM.
Discussion relating to the NS operations. Official web site can be found here: NSCORP.COM.
  by 2nd trick op
There is also a whole lotta north-south traffic to be considered as well; let's not forget that NS re-routed a lot of traffic around the Washington gateway after Potomac Yard closed.

And if the pressure for suburban service using the former NYC West Shore line intensifies, the southbound traffic out of Selkerk might one day be diverted via Oneonta, Binghamton and Sunbury some day, though I don't expect to see it in my time.

The nay-sayers will cite the steeper grades which, admittedly, are the foremost economic consideration on the contemporay rail scene, but that could change if long-term economic trends divert more freight, possibly of higher value, in smaller shipments and/or over shorter distances.

Because a lot of the barriers to these trends are at least partially "artificial" --- dependent upon legislative or regulatory fiat. And very little legislation is written in stone. Same for the price of fuel, for that matter.
  by jgallaway81
2nd trick op wrote:With regard to the posts by Mssrs Poppyl and Galloway, a couple of other points;

...It is worth noting that Gulf Summit doesn't seem as much of an obstacle when the eastbound ruling grade on the former PRR main between Johnstown and Gallitzin is factored into the mix, and NS has been paying less and less attention to this route as the Harrisburg-Roanoke-Memphis alternative is refined, even going so far as to downgrade the line to a short stretch of single track in the neighborhood of the Spruce Creek tunnels.

Please enlighten me... where is there single track ANYWHERE between Conway and CP-Rockville? On the Pittsburgh Line... the Port Perry Branch and the Conemaugh Lines don't count. I specifically terminated the limits at Rockville because of the singletrack/signalled siding main tracks across the Harrisburg Fuelpad.

As for the "ruling grade" between C & UN/AR, thats a totally unfair comparison. The entire region from Alto to Conpit is regular helper territory... and the westbound grade is the one where tonnage is limited... eastbound regularly sees 19,000ton trains go over the summit.
  by poppyl
Since I kind of diverted this thread from the Tier to a discussion of north-south double stacks, I guess that I should get it back on topic. The general issue of traffic on the Tier pops up regularly over on the NYS forum so I would encourage anyone interested in the topic to look over there. One item that generated a lot of chatter that could be relevant to this thread is the status of the lease on what I term the east end of the Tier. I believe that the lease expired back in July and, I must admit, I haven't heard the latest on the situation. Of course, when the rumor came out that NS might not renew the lease, the speculation floodgates opened.

Resolution of the Letchworth bridge situation also plays into the possible future uses of the Tier, including double stacks.

  by 2nd trick op
I'll have to do a bit more research on this to get the particulars on this one, and will admit that I might have read a bit too much into it. But reportedly, problems in the Spruce Creek area last fall led NS to close one of the two mains for something more than ust a maintainence "window" of a couple of hours, or even a day or two.

That would synch with the idea of longer closures for the major work previously cited.

My point was, and always has been, that changes in our entire distribution system have displaced the rail system from the dominant position it held until rougly 1960; the emergence of the Interstate higway network provides alternatives and a "backup system" (albeit a limited one) for emergencies and disruptions.

But while the balance has been shifting back since sometime back in the Eighties, up to this point there hasn't been too much interest on the part ofthe major roads in recapturing "less concentrated" business -- smaller, but more frequent shipments of higher value (and likely, more revenue-producing potential)

If as pointed out in last months Trains, expansion of the Panama Canal , and the diversion of container traffic to East Coast ports, wold make a very large dent in business on the "transcons", but it would also free up the capacity to seek revenue from shorter hauls of possibly more lucrative traffic for those segments of the network whch fwll into under-utilization

No one knows how this will play out; but with the overall political climate inveighing toward more public-sector involvement at the same time that serious cracks seem to be appearing the "bigger is better/one size fits all" mentality which led to a lot of our current troubles, it seems more apparent than ever to this writer that further experimentaion with new forms of both technology and entrepreneurship at the "fringes" and "pinch points" is in order.
  by jgallaway81
The only closure I know of personally is the fact that of the two tunnels that punch through the ridge there, one was closed by conrail, and the other enlarged and the tracks re-aligned to make the remaining tunnel a double-track tunnel.

Last fall, the tunnel that had been closed and was being used by NS MoW personnel collapsed, sealing off the tunnel completely on the west end. There may have been some halt to train traffic to inspect the rail tunnel to ensure it was still safe for travel, But I assure you, that area is still completely double-tracked. From Altoona Proper to Antis township is double track, antis to Tyrone is triple track*, Tyrone to Duncannon is double track, with a signalled siding from Hawstone to Mifflintown and an Industrial track from Lewistown to CP-Long. From Duncannon to CP-Banks is also triple-track*

* I say it is triple track, and that is the way it is used, but officially the tracks are called #1 & #2 main and the "Signaled Siding"
  by lakeshoredave
there's no way ns is single track on the ex prr in the juniata valley by spruce creek. i cannot believe that.