• Freight delays on Birmingham-Atlanta-Greenville line?

  • 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 SouthernRailway
Since Amtrak's Crescent is chronically significantly delayed on the northbound Birmingham-Atlanta-Greenville line, are freight trains along this line also significantly delayed?

If so, wouldn't NS's freight business be harmed? The Crescent's delays are so severe (often hours late) that I hesitate to ride it northbound.

And if so, why isn't NS investing in additional track or whatever infrastructure or operational improvements are necessary to reduce these delays? Parts of the line (through Clemson, and maybe elsewhere) were reduced from 2 tracks to 1 track in the 1980s, and I would think that NS still owns a sufficiently wide right-of-way to make restoring a second track relatively simple.

If freight trains on this line aren't delayed like the Crescent is, then isn't Amtrak all over NS's case to reduce the delays?

I have taken the Crescent for years (since the 1970s) and it seems as though it's been only in the past few years that its northbound delays have become so major.

  by R&DB
The Crescent delays are not just caused by NS. NS and CSX both have big yards in Atlanta and freight into/ out of and interchange traffic is very heavy. Any failures on either Class 1 can affect Amtrak. Keep in mind the Class 1's priority is hauling freight for profit, not passengers. But Amtrak does have a legitimate gripe as the host railroads are supposed to give priority to Amtrak by federal law. If Amtrak wants fewer delays, perhaps they should pay for the re-installation of double-track where it was removed by the Class 1's east and west of Atlanta many years ago when there was less traffic.
  by SouthernRailway
Thanks. I see that delays on the Crescent, particularly northbound, continue.

Isn't this congestion harmful to NS's business, particularly given the rise of "precision scheduled railroading"? If a customer expects something and it arrives 6 hours late, surely that's an issue for some customers. And does NS have any track or operational improvements in the works to address this chronic congestion?

  by east point
There are several pinch points. Birmingham - Meridian appears to not have enough long sidings so present long freights ccan pass and Amtrak gets delayed when a long freight and Amtrak cannot fit on a siding. Not enough sidings on Atlanta to Birmingham. Just south of ATL station is a CP " Howell " Both CSX and NX freight mains to the south cross the main line ( ATL = BHM ) at grade. CSX has a nasty habit to blocking this CP with their extra long north bound freights that often have to stop to change crews at the old Tilford yard which is just 1/2 - 3/4 mile north of " Howell " Have been delays of over 3 hours at Howell.