• NCRR Lease

  • 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 Bob Roberts
I'll start by admitting this is a subject that I have little knowledge of beyond being a Charlotte area railfan so I apologize in advance for the naive question.

If my readings of stray internet documents are correct, NS's lease on the NCRR expires in 8 (?) years, at which point they have an option to renew for one more 15 year period. (I believe the lease has been renegotiated a couple of times since 1999 so I could be wrong)

Observation suggests that freight traffic on the NCRR is down a bit (even pre-covid). Linwood hump yard has been idled, the Charlotte classification yard appears to get emptier by the month and local freight generators seem be vanishing. Freight traffic east of Greensboro also seems to be dwindling down to nothing as well (perhaps a couple trains per day through Durham). I can't imagine its worth NS's while to maintain any of the tracks east of Greensboro (as the lease requires). The new Charlotte intermodal yard can be serviced from the South.

Can anyone more informed speculate on the future of NS on the NCRR? It seems like the Roanoke-Knoxville route might offer more capacity to Atlanta from the Northeast and I just don't see much future in local freight from Piedmont NC. Could / would NS walk away from the NCRR when they have the opportunity?
  by west point
Roanoke Knoxville is no bright sister. The 140 some miles from 'N&W Roanoke- Bristol has may curves and shorter sidings. Bristol - Bulls gap old SOU RR is also constrained with 1 - 2 mile siding before Johnson city with many slow curves. Johnson City has what is almost street running not signaled last time I was there. Then there is a crooked piece around Jonesboro that is one the side of a hill. Somewhat better to Bulls Gap and then only good past Morristown. Then good ROW to Knoxville. n