• Hunter Harrison at CSX affect NS in New York State?

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

  by RMB357
There is no question that E.Hunter Harrison will be transforming CSX into his precision railroading model / scheduling system and it already has begun. He has closed the hump at Stanley yard and is now allowing crews to step off moving equipment in order to speed up switching and yard dwell times for cars.

It's not secret what he has done at Illinois Central, Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railways. What we haven't seen yet in NYS is what is planned. How many secondary lines, branches and yards will be shuttered, sold or leased. Because of the high taxes on the railroads in NYS, I have my fears much is on the slicing platter. I don't see him keeping three major yards between Buffalo and Selkirk. Selling off real estate is in his books for maintaining a low operating ratio, also running less locomotives than he thinks are needed and less than high profit lines or redundancy is out of the question for him. Will the West Shore survive? How about the Montreal Sub, will that get leased to another operator and CSX or runs the stacks? Will he single track the belt line, Niagara Branch only to keep it for a down the road but eventual second shot at a merger with CPR, run by his son in law Keith Creel? Many unanswered and remained to be seen questions.

How will NS fare with all this? One of the by products of precision railroading has been unsatisfactory customer service over the years and a non dedication to unit trains. He will think nothing of throwing miscellaneous freight on the end of a high speed stack train, keeping it at 50 mph. NS can and should capitalize on this issue. The problem with NS is three-dimensional in NYS.

The first is CP draw in Buffalo and the bottleneck it creates. CSX runs it and can let the NS traffic sit. NS must get this addressed soon to allow the free flow of the east/west traffic from the Southern tier line to the old Nickel Plate and points west. The second is already being addressed at Portage Viaduct which will eliminate another bottleneck when the new bridge is finished. The third is for efficiency and this might be the hardest, NS must find a way to get at least there intermodal trains from Buffalo to Albany with one crew, eliminating the crew change in Binghamton. That means running 60 mph wherever and whenever they can on the tier and the old D&H. I've seen more than once the 205/206 delayed for a few hours for a new crew. If NS wants to ring the efficiencies out of the D&H and justify the 300 million spent to by it they have to be able to compete with what CSX is going to do.

The Port of Boston is getting big money for expansion and the Patriot Corridor should benefit from that. If NS is aggressive and can get rid of these deficiencies, there is no reason why it isn't feasible to see a much higher number of trains / traffic on the Southern Tier line and the ex D&H that was originally forecasted prior to the Conrail takeover.
Last edited by RMB357 on Sat Apr 01, 2017 5:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by BR&P
Damn - I need the Cliffs Notes version of that. Image Try decaf next time! And learn what paragraphs are, please.

And what are the 3 major yards between Buffalo and Selkirk?
  by ANDY117
You will never see a Buffalo crew run all the way to Mechanicville on NS. That's an almost 400 mile long pool, and NS would never allow that to run. Scheduling crews better, and speeding up things in Binghamton by redoing the signal system, and allowing those stack trains to do more than restricted speed from QD to CP-611 will shave off at least an hour, even with a crew change and fueling.
  by Noel Weaver
I don't doubt for one minute that there will be big changes under EHH and most of them will probably benefit the railroad as well as its customers. It would not surprise me if the entire B & A got sold off to some regional or maybe a partnership between a regional and Massachusetts. If that happens you could see expanded passenger train service on the B &A. I think they will closed or cut back as much as possible yard operations and I think Selkirk could get cut back big time, I hope not but really railroads don't make money by freight cars being processed in yards or sitting in yards waiting to be moved. There are already in place by-pass track(s) at Selkirk which will be used for sure. I think Frontier has a zero chance of re-opening UNLESS they decide to eliminate Selkirk entirely and I doubt that will happen. If the St. Lawrence stays I think the track will be improved in order to insure more reliable operation in this area, otherwise look for that to be sold off to a regional as well. I think operations to New York (Oak Point) will probably stay because they pay only a small amount for track maintenance and there is probably enough business to warrant continued operation by CSX in this area. Other than that there is not that much left in New York State and I suspect not too much else will happen. If what I mentioned above happens it will be enough for usre. I guess we'll all have to wait and see what the future brings.
Noel Weaver
  by tree68
My reading on another forum tends to make me think that EHH will be hard pressed to get the same type of results with CSX as he's gotten with his previous employers because everyone has looked at what he did and has applied at least a portion of it to their lines.

But don't think he won't try, and that will be the problem. He's not worried about customers, or employees, he's concerned with how much cash he can funnel to the investors.

He's reported as having said that if he took over BNSF (when that was on the agenda), "Z" trains would not happen.

EHH likes a smooth running conveyor belt type of operations. He hates anything cyclical. Your business only generates carload five days a week? That's a problem. He wants them seven days a week. Same with deliveries. Either change how you use the railroad or find another way to ship/receive product.

It's a good thing that NYSW got their Utica-Binghamton line fixed. They may need it. Hard to say what will happen with MWHA - I'm sure EHH won't appreciate having the main tied up for an hour or better while CSX makes their pick-ups and drops in Utica.

Of course, that's all conjecture until it happens.

From what I read, folks are usually glad when he leaves. That includes employees and customers.
  by RMB357
Frontier, DeWitt and Selkirk. Sorry for the non paragraphs
  by BR&P
RMB357 wrote:Frontier, DeWitt and Selkirk. Sorry for the non paragraphs
OK, I thought you meant in between Selkirk and Buffalo.

As far as I know, Frontier, Rochester and Dewitt are all essentially "closed" except for locals and block swapping, although Dewitt does still handle stuff to the north country. But there's not a whole lot left to close. As to your point about real estate, it's quite possible some of the railroad properties there will get sold off. Between the changes in the area's economy and political structure, big industry is not apt to return. And even if it does to some degree, railroading itself has changed drastically.

We're never going to see it like it was, sadly. How much more we will see disappear remains to be seen. But get your photos today - it WON'T always be there.
  by BR&P
EDIT: OP edited his post, I read it all the way through and see now that he is focused on the NS for this discussion. So I'll make a separate thread for my CSX item. Image
  by RMB357
BR&P, makes sense what you suggest. EHH will probably do more ripping up than what may make sense. He wants an operating ratio of around 58 percent for CSX and adding track anywhere unless it's an absolute necessity just won't happen. He probably will divest himself / CSX of their ownership.of the NYS&W to.
  by RMB357
Andy, those are great suggestions to get an hour off the schedule and when it comes to intermodal every minute can count if you want good customer service. Question, if the track was up to snuff the whole way and the signal system upgraded, could you guys get a 100 car intermodal train from Buffalo to Albany in ten hours or less with two SD70ACE or ESD units?
  by SecaucusJunction
Sorry but the Port of Boston will never be a big player on the East Coast and it does not have a direct rail connection with the Patriot Corridor at all. The ships come to NY for deliveries along the Immediate East Coast and that territory will likely expand once the big ships can come in.

I do think NS could benefit in general from what CSX is likely to become in the next few years. I can't see CSX selling the B&A as it is still a relatively busy route and not redundant at all.
  by JoeCollege
Does NS really need the Tier? Is the NKP from Cleveland to Bflo worth the headaches at Draw?

Now that the Horsey owns D&H couldn't they just run to Harrisburg, then up the D&H all the way to get to New England? I suppose they wouldn't have fixed the bridge at Letchworth if they didn't plan to use it, but I'd think they could make do with the old PRR and maybe the Buffalo line to get back there if needed.
  by RMB357
The intermodal yard at Bison and any potential traffic from Canada would be cut off. It would add hours to the schedule if they ran that route. The only alternatives to bypassing CP Draw would be the original plan back in 1997 was to build a connection in Blasdell from the Nickel Plate to the Buffalo line and use the Ebenezer Secondary. It was essentially a ramp. If you travel the Route 400 you can they put the Y back in years ago but nothing else.

The other alternative would be to use the Meadville line to Corry Pennsylvania and run the A&E on trackage rights to Erie. A ton of money would be needed to do this in trackwork, signalling, sidings, etc and then pull the lease on the WNY&PA if they wanted the operations completely back to themselves.

The money already put into the tier and the Portage Bridge wouldn't justify it. It's probably always going to be there primary route.
  by DogBert
I'll be surprised if there's much change at oak point due to politics. The longer trains up & down the hudson will always be a move best made at night, the run to fremont, early morning - otherwise the nimbys there will sue again. Trash gets loaded during the day, every day. If that flow gets disrupted cuz some exec wants to muddle with an already tight schedule, there will be a backlash. The politicians control the cross harbor RR, practically putting NS in brooklyn - along with the possibility of quickly shifting half the MSW traffic to NS.
  by poppyl
Just curious -- has the NYS idea to create an inland port at Buffalo to handle unit trains from Port of NY been abandoned? If it is still in the works, would seem like a use for the western Tier.