• Naugatuck Intermodal Yard - Pan Am Southern PAS / Poland Spring

  • Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.
Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.

Moderator: MEC407

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  by ccutler
 
It would not be hard to solve staffing issues by importing armies of uneunemployed CSX dispatchers, engineers, and conductors. Plenty of cheap motive power available as well. Also, the 286K and clearance questions won't matter if they use single stack containers, transferred directly to bogies in Naugatuck for the last 20 or so miles to the Poland Spring warehouse. The question is mainly whether the equipment rental plus operational costs plus capital improvements costs are less than the current trucking costs that Poland Spring pays. If lower, it could work and in scale. 100 container trains? No problem!
  by fogg1703
 
To play devils advocate here....why not build two large warehouses on either end and stuff the water in 263K boxcars and use dedicated water trains instead of handling a container multiple times? I understand the Hollis plant loads make sense in a container as its drayed to Waterville first, but if a plant was to say open in Lincoln or Rumford, and had a direct rail loading dock at the bottling plant as well as any new warehouse in CT, why fill a container with pallets of water, lift the container onto the railcar, transport it, unload the container off the railcar, dray it to the warehouse and then unload the container into another warehouse or awaiting tractor trailer for final delivery? Wouldn't it make economical sense to have dedicated trains of say 60 boxcars go point to point and return every 24 hours? How does intermodal become cost effective when the final delivery is not in the original container?
  by gokeefe
 
Because loading at the ends is far more efficient as well as the intermodal transfer itself of course.
  by KSmitty
 
Fogg, yes, it would make sense, and I believe if they open a rail line adjacent plant you would see railcar direct transit.

F Line:
I would think just the opposite, splitting the haul on such a short haul would make it extremely tricky to both operate the service efficiently and profitably.

CCutler:
It's not as simple as hiring 100 plus people. They still need to qualify, and you're paying for that. The initial jump in payroll with no additional increase in income is going to be considerable. Locomotives may be "cheap" but 12 new trains a day would require a minimum of 24 units, which is going to run somewhere in the $4.8M range. They do have a bunch of parked EMD's right now, too. But many of those would need work to bring back and they are tired. So to start a service yes the pieces could be put in place in the course of maybe 6 months but with an initial outlay of well over $5M, before the cost of terminal construction and operation are added. Its not chump change, even to a regional railroad.
  by gokeefe
 
I think the only other obvious way to deal with the extraordinary crew requirements would be to upgrade the lines from Class 2 to Class 3 or 4. This kind of volume may come close to justifying that kind of investment.

As it stands right now significant sections from Royal Junction to Plaistow are good for 60 MPH for freight. Other sections of the Conn River Line are going to be Class 6 which would allow for 80 MPH freight. I wonder if Pan Am would implement a "hotshot" policy for intermodal trains carrying water only.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Class 6 = Springfield Line
Class 4 = Western Route, Portland-Royal, Conn River
Class 3 = Waterbury Branch (pending Class 4 uprate w/CDOT signalization)
Class 1 = Highland Branch

Highland would probably need to go up to Class 2, and of course all native main territory straight through Northern Maine can't be any less than Class 2. Ideally PAS, the Stony Brook, and Lowell Branch should all be Class 3 if Billerica were actually playing to win.

Seeing as how they turned down the grant to make the MEC north of Waterville Class 2 not months ago, this is a crushing constriction they may not have the cash on-hand (much less the track gangs) to solve unless Mellon writes the railroad a check out of his personal fortune. And Mellon never ever does that.
  by newpylong
 
gokeefe wrote:I think the only other obvious way to deal with the extraordinary crew requirements would be to upgrade the lines from Class 2 to Class 3 or 4. This kind of volume may come close to justifying that kind of investment.

As it stands right now significant sections from Royal Junction to Plaistow are good for 60 MPH for freight. Other sections of the Conn River Line are going to be Class 6 which would allow for 80 MPH freight. I wonder if Pan Am would implement a "hotshot" policy for intermodal trains carrying water only.
You're never going to see above 40 freight on Pan Am or the T, they are too risk averse for that even on good track. Amtrak will keep freights at 50 regardless of class.
  by MEC407
 
Agreed. That said, upgrading from 25 to 40 makes a huge difference, cutting travel time almost in half — assuming, of course, that it's maintained and doesn't drop back to 25 within a year or two of being rehabbed.
  by gokeefe
 
This spring should be quite revealing in terms of maintenance policy. My sense right now is that they intend to keep it at Class 2 and will undertake any work necessary as quickly as possible in order to do so. I know there are certain realities financially that they have to live with but right now the railroad appears to be very serious about gaining this new traffic and MaineDOT is likewise on board supporting it any way that they can.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
 
MEC407 wrote:Agreed. That said, upgrading from 25 to 40 makes a huge difference, cutting travel time almost in half — assuming, of course, that it's maintained and doesn't drop back to 25 within a year or two of being rehabbed.
Taming the slop-ops is almost a bigger challenge for this outfit than whacking the speedos. It's been described here by multiple ex-employees how they could be making tolerably functional time getting across the MEC or B&M within a crew shift even at timetable 10 MPH if they would only get out of the damn yard on-time and not end up in a staring contest between crew and dispatch on who's waiting for whom to forget what. Speedos whittle the HoS margins down too small for a carrier of their size, but wretched coordination is the primary source of canning hell across the system keeping them consistently afoul of HoS crew limits. With equipment maint standards also playing a significant role. Both the speedos and the slop-ops used to be better, and unfortunately closing the gap on slop-ops and canning hell hasn't seen as many recent strides made as the raw radar readings so the essential problem facing PAR has not changed much. Timetable 25 on the Back Road is still going to be hard to meet consistently enough to run high-volume IM service if Billerica's attitude towards making schedule is still: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Hasn't it been said that the biggest immediate improvement to PAS in an NS-takes-over scenario is not the armada of track gangs being dispatched from out-of-region to tie-replace the whole corridor up to TT 40...but rather the pinkslips that'll be handed out across D3 to wholesale-replace everyone who's been part of the problem with imports (and re-hires) who'll conform to NS-quality ops standards? And isn't this what value any new buyers would be seeing in the system when they size up D2: how much more valuable and high-leverage are a POSE/SEPO, its post-partition NS equivalents, and deeper Class I relationship considerations therein if Worcester-Portland (and beyond to Waterville) were simply run like on-time was a core company value? I don't know if or how Billerica has it in them to reform these deep-seeded attitudes so thoroughly as needed here, because so much of what we analyze on this forum seems to point to an inevitable conclusion that it can't/won't be Billerica doing the 180 on ops reform...it will/has to be somebody else because these attitudes are far too ingrained in the way Mellon conducts business for himself.
  by asull85
 
A few thoughts...

Where is Pan Am going to get the cab signaled/ACSES equipped power to pull all of these pipe dream trains?

Where are the crews coming from?

How are they going to potentially squeeze five or more additional freight trains in between the 24 passenger trains that will be running without significantly delaying Amtrak/Herzog.

Will Amtrak allow the additional trains?
  by gokeefe
 
asull85 wrote:Will Amtrak allow the additional trains?
Interesting question. My impression is that Pan Am's rights are such that Amtrak has to accept the trains. I would like to know the real answer ...
  by newpylong
 
Yes but accept and be able to efficiently accept are two different things. They might make them sit at Spring for 6 hrs like the NECR does at East Northfield all the time.
  by gokeefe
 
Very true. On the other hand in this situation there is reciprocity between the two railroads (Amtrak and Pan Am) given the operation of the Vermonter and the Downeaster.
  by KSmitty
 
Reciprocity only works if you're playing with equal footing. Amtrak is going to win everytime.
-The PAS portion of the Conn River is actually MDOT owned.
-The last time GTI screwed with Amtrak, they lost the northern section of the CT River, which is why NECR now has the power to screw PAS.
-The reason PAS's CT river line is in good shape is because it was rebuilt FOR that passenger service. Otherwise it would still be a second tier branch line covered in speedos.
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