Matt Langworthy wrote:Other than interchange traffic, NS has no customers on the line north of Corning. Lidestri Foods moved from Dundee to Rochester a year or two ago, and the AES plant has closed down, too.
AES will never receive another carload of coal again - unless there is some major energy crisis in the state (i.e., price of natural gas skyrockets... nuclear fuel shipments stop... Great Lakes dry up, etc...) and the state has no choice but to waive requirements and take the idled coal plants out of mothballs. But as of October, only 2% of the state's electricity was generated by coal - and that number will continue to drop as plants go off-line due to more stringent environmental regulations and cost of coal continues to rise and natural gas falls. When/if Fuhrer Cuomo ever allows fracking in NY - you can kiss coal energy production in NY goodbye for good.
So with nothing between Himrod Jct and Corning - and nothing between Geneva and Lyons... that opens up some possibilities / speculation as a single but large customer may not be worth the expense of running NS crews up and down the Corning Secondary:
- * NS sells the entire Corning Secondary to the FGLK - they interchange with CSX in Lyons and Solvay, and NS in Corning - and opens the possibilities to industrial development along the line (I know... I know... this is NY - but we can all dream).
* NS abandons Lyons to Geneva - FGLK maintains interchange with NS at Geneva and CSX at Solvay
* NS abandons Himrod to Corning - FGLK maintains interchange with CSX at Solvay / possibly Lyons as well if that segment also survives
* NS abandons entire Corning Secondary and sells Geneva to Himrod Jct - FGLK maintains interchange with CSX in Solvay.
Whatever happens - there will surely be state money to go along with whatever piece of the Corning Secondary that FGLK acquires - along with funds down the road for overhaul and repair.
The big picture here is cost of operating and maintaining the Corning Secondary - NS costs are higher due to union crews (unsure if FGLK is a union shop or not), work rules, higher wages, OT, etc. In theory, it should be cheaper to run trains with FGLK engines and crew from Geneva to Corning. There's also a sizable high bridge over Glen Creek in Watkins Glen that can be a major financial headache for a shortline operator should it be deemed unsafe or fail.