I saw a mass coastal press release on facebook announcing that there lines are now 286k. I wonder if it includes the cape cod canal bridge?
From the Mass coastal facebook page:
"FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
To our Customers and Rail Partners, please see below information. Additionally please communicate with your Shippers and Origination Points to allow then to update the date bases for your traffic.
The Mass Coastal Railroad is issuing a System-Wide declaration that the lines support 286,000 Lb Gross Weight on Rail. The final piece of the puzzle was the verification and official declaration of the North East Corridor between Mansfield and Attleboro MA. This project has been over 5 years in the making and Mass Coastal has worked with its partners MASSDOT-Rail, MBTA, and CSXT.
In the United States, the ability for Class I freight railroads to carry 286K Lb gross weight (286 kip) traffic is the industry standard. In order for Mass Coastal to maintain an efficient, economical service on the South Coast rail lines the infrastructure must be consistent with this standard.
In the past 12 years, all new rail cars have been constructed to 286K capacity, and more recently 315K. An unfortunate by product of the newer cars is that they will be transported “light-loaded”, wasting valuable potential shipping volume. In most cases, the transportation costs to move the light loaded cars often do not consider the decrease in carried weight.
Many of our customers have expressed the need to accept the more-modern 286K cars. Obviously the entire industry is shifting to the larger rail cars and hopefully the national rail system has been making further changes nation-wide. Unfortunately we are seemingly on the “periphery” of the national rail system, yet recognize that the key to our mutual success rests on this subject. Additional cost savings are offered by large rail cars simply from their ability to carry more tons of the commodity. This results in a reduction in car ownership and repair costs, and an increase in system capacity due to an ability to handle more payload at side track locations.
The restriction on these lines to loads not exceeding 263,000 pounds is primarily a restriction dictated by two elements, track & bridge conditions on rail lines between Framingham, MA and Mansfield, MA and timetable restrictions over MBTA-owned and Amtrak controlled properties.
1. Shipper cost savings which result from shifts to less expensive per ton/mile modes (e.g. truck to rail) and/or improved service on existing routes.
2. Congestion relief benefits to freight trucking as highways are improved or freight traffic volumes are diverted to other modes.
3. Freight logistics benefits which result from improved reliability of travel times and supply chain logistics.
4. Highway maintenance costs are reduced in scenarios with greater freight volume traveling by rail.
The United States Government has reaffirmed that the Otis Air Base/MMR remains part of the Strategic Rail Access Network (2018).
A quick comparison of a standard 53' dry cargo semi-trailer van against a 60' Hi Cube railroad box car shows us the following:
Interior height: 9.2'
Interior volume: ~4085 cu. ft
empty weight: varies, but assume and average 32,000 lbs
max allowable weight with load: 80,000 lbs (in "18 wheeler" configuration)
max cargo weight: ~48,000 lbs (24 tons) per "truckload"
Hi Cube (High Cubic Volume) railroad box car:
length: 60' 9"
Width: 9' 6"
interior height: 13' 1"
Interior volume: ~7580 cu. ft
empty weight: 79,500 lbs
max allowable weight with load: 286,000 lbs
max cargo weight: 206,500 lbs (103.25 tons) per "car load"
So on a volume and weight basis, each railroad box car can carry twice the volume or over 4 times the weight of a single 18 wheeler semi-trailer. It is also drastically more fuel efficient to pull a fully loaded string of box cars in a train than to move the equivalent load by over-the-road truck.
Some of the customers on the MC that have communicated the need to support 286K handle to following commodities;
Feed Ingredients (corn, canola, soybeans)
New Bedford Harbor-PCB Project"