BostonUrbEx wrote:I just have never really understood how routings are determined. Who is behind these decisions, exactly?
Here is a little history of the Barber interchange and the Worcester Main Line since back in the late 1980s. Ford has had an automobile off loading yard for many years in Ayer. When Guilford owned the D&H, they ran auto trains from an interchange with NS in Buffalo to Ayer via the Southern tier Line and the D&H. However, as the covered auto racks were coming on line, their vertical height prevented these auto racks from running through the Hoosac Tunnel and under many of the overhead bridges between Rotterdam Jct. and Ayer. That and the bankruptcy of the D&H put Conrail in the position to grab the Ford auto traffic on to their line east of Buffalo. Conrail was able to work an arrangement to move autos across N.Y. State and into New England via the B&A. Part of this was to open up a new interchange at Barber and repair the Worcester Main line, fix up a few clearance issues and move auto trains up to the Hill Yard (prior to that, much of the Worcester Main Line was a parking lot for old boxcars). Ayer ST locals would handle the switching of the Ford Yard and Conrail crews would handle the train from Selkirk or Springfield to Ayer. Then, Guilford worked out a separate arrangement with Conrail to include a haulage arrangement between Rotterdam Jct. and Barber to move all or most of their freight through the Barber interchange after April 1st, 1990. Conrail crews would turn the entire train, power and all to Guilford at Barber with ST crews handling the train to Rigby. The Worcester Route was in much better shape than it is today with trains running over the line in and around an hour. For a while, there were two freight trains in each direction plus the autos, and for a short period, TV trains made for a busy line; all DCS territory. Following the breakup of Conrail, CSX decided to move move some of their B&M bound cars back via the Rotterdam Jct. interchange. Then came along Pan Am Southern with Norfolk Southern and that changed everything, effectively breaking up the B&M between PAR and PAS. Now, CSX trains bound for PAR move via Barber and CSX trains bound for PAS (the grain trains for example as this consignee is on PAS) have to go through Rotterdam Jct. PAS set up an interchange with PAR at the Willows East (PAR has trackage rights from there to Harvard). If CSX cars are interchanged at Rotterdam, these would have to pay a fee to NS to run over the PAS territory, so hence the reason why Maine Central bound cars are not going over the B&M's west end any longer. NS built up the container business that they have today plus they got the autos back via the same routing that Guilford had over the D&H and Southern Tier to their new auto yard at San-Vel in Ayer.