• New York & Lake Erie Railroad (NY&LE) Discussion

  • 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

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  by thebigham
 
Here are pics of the Waterboro overpass in Nov. 2006. The tracks had been removed underneath it:

http://photos.greatrails.net/s/?p=88126" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://photos.greatrails.net/s/?p=88125" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The crossing at Goodwins Landing Road was removed years ago:

http://binged.it/1MoKJTn" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The r.o.w near Cowens Corners Road has been washed out:

http://binged.it/1Nbjjj5" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by Railroaded
 
As far as the Rich stadium train service is concerened, that sounds like Pablo is talking about something completely different from what was going on 10 or 12 years ago in the local news media, he's on the trail of something new & different then. I still have the newspaper reports about that idea. At the time, they specifically mention the B&P line for trains to the game or other events there. I'm surprised Otto hasn't chimed in because IIRC, he had some knowledge on the subject & years ago had already felt it was beaten to death with no movement on it at all.

Anyway-

Apple Maps shows that washout with the track suspended in the air over the water. There's paved over crossings, no signaling, big trees & brush growing from the tracks so thick down there that you can't even see the rails in the Fall after the leaves are down, no existing connection at Waterboro, all in all, I'd say it be quite an undertaking.
  by Matt Langworthy
 
Let's say somebody won the lottery or a rich guy who grew up in the area decided to spend the millions to rebuild the NYLE. What purpose would it serve? Without new customers, reviving the southern end of NYLE would be a colossal waste of money... and time.
  by BR&P
 
Matt Langworthy wrote:Let's say somebody won the lottery or a rich guy who grew up in the area decided to spend the millions to rebuild the NYLE. What purpose would it serve? Without new customers, reviving the southern end of NYLE would be a colossal waste of money... and time.
How dare you bring common sense and logic into a discussion about saving a rail line? :P
  by pablo
 
Some conversation here with comments from BSOR's good people here:
http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopi ... 8&start=30" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Another one that references a Brian Higgins press release I can't find now from 2005:
http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopi ... 04&start=0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Relevant quote from article linked below:
''We have also been working with some groups who are interested in restoring excursion train service opportunities into the Jamestown area,'' Teresi said. ''This isn't a regular passenger train service, but instead a train service that would take people for day trips into other parts of the region.''

For example, Teresi said Jamestown could be a destination for trips to Pennsylvania Dutch country or to Corning.

''Folks could stop here for a couple of hours or for an overnight visit,'' he said. ''That would tie in nicely with the multimodal transportation center we're trying to create.''
http://www.post-journal.com/page/conten ... l?nav=5018" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Regarding the whole reason for a connection...look, I dunno.

I can say the following. There was interest to do so, what I would consider to be legitimate interest. I say this because money was about to be spent (and yep, I'm being vague on purpose). My guess is that if you are captive to the B&P or NS (not saying that either is "bad", per se) getting to Buffalo via Gowanda now more than doubles your connections: if the WNYP could now get traffic from NS, B&P AND NYLE/BSOR and CSX, your pricing power would be positively affected. I have no numbers to prove that, but people here would certainly recognize what I mean.

However, the grade out of Gowanda is significant. I pulled the Erie track chart and saw that for a stretch it's 2.72%. Over 2 for the whole grade. I don't know how much freight you could conceivably move over that (not a lot of tonnage, I'll bet) and so then we're going to try to move a train, how large, over that grade, and how often? Lots of questions. Excursions might be the only game in town anyway...and what weight is that rail?

So...another connection! Yay! But then the WNYP got the Buffalo line. Sure, there's a grade there, but it's heavy-duty and can handle more traffic. I believe that any serious interest in Waterboro went away as soon as that happened.

I'd love to see it. If there was money floating around, I'd even help or lead the effort to go get it. That would, certainly be a huge tourist draw. There are passenger cars you can buy and locos you can use. Sure.

But that 11 miles will be way more than the $1 million a mile I used to read about to rehab things. I'd guess from Waterboro through to Gowanda would cost upwards of $50 million, and yes, I just made that number up out of thin air.

Is there anyone that wants to build a 1:1 gauge toy for excursions from Jamestown to the casino, Bills Games, Erie and other points south? No? OK....I'll show myself out.

Dave Becker
  by BR&P
 

''Folks could stop here for a couple of hours or for an overnight visit,'' he said. ''That would tie in nicely with the multimodal transportation center we're trying to create.''
http://www.post-journal.com/page/conten ... l?nav=5018" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
There's a huge difference between "could" and "would". There are a lot of things which are physically possible, but that does not mean they will actually happen. Rehabbing the entire NY&LE could lead to a new Toyota assembly plant being located on line. Anybody want to hold their breath until it actually happens?

We can argue all day about the political, technical, social and economic changes which led to the demise of heavy industry in the state, but the fact is this state is NOT a good place for large business and is very unlikely to reverse that - ever. You're never going to see Bethlehem Steel come back, nor any other significant users of rail enough to bring back what used to be. Hopefully, if they are lucky, NYLE can attract one or two customers to help keep them afloat, but even that is not a high percentage bet. If passenger is done right it may put a few bucks into the till but IMHO unless you have something like Durango & Silverton, you can't sustain an entire railroad on passengers alone.
  by pablo
 
I'm on-again/off-again working on a degree in Transportation and Logistics. There's research out there on millions of topics, but one idea that is kinda-sorta there is a slowly-growing push for redundancy.

An easy example to mention would be what happens when the Letchworth bridge gets taken out: all of that traffic needs to go somewhere, and there are contingency plans in place for this. This site has threads and posts-a-plenty about this.

An example where there were NO easy contingency plans in place for a major railroad was when derailments happen on CSX in upstate New York and everything grinds to a halt. This happens throughout the country, and redundancy is something that anyone should be able to get behind. Especially at this site.

The point is that you might have to be creative with wording things, but funding streams could come from anywhere. Homeland Security? Sure (Though this line would be about last on the list when using this idea). Tourism and creation/support for bringing more people in? Of course. It would be easy to create an educational component of this, too, to try to get education funding. Money is around. But likely not enough to get it going.

So, in 1951, most of the B&SW had 110 pound rail, or 112. That has to be upgraded...but what else? Dunno. but the simple idea is that if anyone wanted to make Jamestown a destination, using the B&SW, it could be done, but BR&P is right: unless someone's making a massive industry push, freight cars will be a non-existent part of the equation.

Dave Becker
  by Matt Langworthy
 
BR&P wrote:If passenger is done right it may put a few bucks into the till but IMHO unless you have something like Durango & Silverton, you can't sustain an entire railroad on passengers alone.
Agreed 100%. Even well-known excursion operations like the A&A and the Strasburg RR haul freight to help pay the bills. I've spoken with a couple of shortline companies that have run passenger trains, and the margins are thin in the best of years.
  by BR&P
 
NYLE has survived on next to nothing for a long time, and they deserve credit for that - I'm sure it's not easy, and can only be done by people dedicated to making it happen.

But speaking in general terms: For a railroad which hauls both freight AND passenger, if some customer wants ONE extra car to load out, it's a fairly easy process. Order 2 instead of 1 from your connection, or get 2 instead of 1 from the yard if you have your own. Everything else falls right in line. Same engine, same crew, a little extra computer time, and it's done. Now for a passenger train to be added, it's an additional crew (got enough men?) or more time for your regular crew (how are they on Hours Of Service?). Going to need a second engine while the first one hauls freight? Clean the coaches again? Insurance? Tickets? Concessions? Need a second track inspection that week to be legal with the FRA?

The specifics will vary from one railroad to another, but - again speaking in generalities - that 1 extra passenger trip will involve way more headache and expense than one extra freight car, and will pay about the same return. And that one extra freight car will not twist an ankle, get left behind when leaving town, nor bitch about the lavatories overflowing.

My hat is off to those who thrive on excursions. More power to them. I've seen both sides, and except for the "scenery" with nice legs, give me freight any day of the week!
  by lvrr325
 
Five million a mile is probably a high estimate. For the track where rails remain, brush clearing isn't that expensive, it's just a matter of ties. You don't need to rebuild it to mainline standards for a few excursion trains. Repairing the washout will likely be the biggest headache, followed by restoring torn out crossings. But I don't see why you couldn't get it all in service for 25 MPH for a reasonable cost. Catskill Mountain RR has been doing similar things with tracks that haven't seen a train in many years.

Now once you have it restored and can run trains, then you make the argument for funds to bring the track speed up so it doesn't take all day to go from Jamestown to Buffalo.

Is it possible to run up into the Tifft St. area and connect to the B&P to run right close to the stadium?
  by Matt Langworthy
 
BR&P wrote:But speaking in general terms: For a railroad which hauls both freight AND passenger, if some customer wants ONE extra car to load out, it's a fairly easy process. Order 2 instead of 1 from your connection, or get 2 instead of 1 from the yard if you have your own. Everything else falls right in line. Same engine, same crew, a little extra computer time, and it's done. Now for a passenger train to be added, it's an additional crew (got enough men?) or more time for your regular crew (how are they on Hours Of Service?). Going to need a second engine while the first one hauls freight? Clean the coaches again? Insurance? Tickets? Concessions? Need a second track inspection that week to be legal with the FRA?
Yep, that's what the excursion operators told me. And let's not forget the cost of maintaining a waiting area for the passengers, although not all excursion operations have it.
lvrr325 wrote:Five million a mile is probably a high estimate. For the track where rails remain, brush clearing isn't that expensive, it's just a matter of ties. You don't need to rebuild it to mainline standards for a few excursion trains. Repairing the washout will likely be the biggest headache, followed by restoring torn out crossings. But I don't see why you couldn't get it all in service for 25 MPH for a reasonable cost. Catskill Mountain RR has been doing similar things with tracks that haven't seen a train in many years.

Now once you have it restored and can run trains, then you make the argument for funds to bring the track speed up so it doesn't take all day to go from Jamestown to Buffalo./quote]

That's not a bad idea... but it would require an army of volunteers for it to happen. CMRR benefits from being in a densely populated area of downstate NY. The big question would be if NYLE could attract a large enough volunteeer crew to getthe job done.
lvrr325 wrote:Is it possible to run up into the Tifft St. area and connect to the B&P to run right close to the stadium?
The track connections exist. With that being said, the train would either have to cross over on CSX (which restricts friction bearing trucks) or NS (long reverse move) to get from BSOR to the B&P. Even if NYLE was fully intact, that final piece could kill the trains going from Jamestown to Orchard Park and return.
  by pablo
 
I think there's some confusion about some things that I've said here.

There's no doubt that this would be a difficult process to do, and it's simply not going to happen. But BR&P is speaking here like I don't know what I'm talking about, or haven't been around down here for the last 16 years to hear exactly what has been going on. And I think most of us are aware of what is involved with excursions at any level.

Yes, silly things have been said about getting passenger trains going again.

No, they have NEVER said they would use the B&P.

Yes, there have been attempts to reactivate the connection at Waterboro.

It seems my point was missed or glossed over regarding the specific way to do this: you'd have to bundle this like a multi-use sort of thing, or it's a non-starter.

I think one last thing I should mention: if the National Comedy Center turns into a thing (it's already there, and starting, but I mean if it takes off) that would be an additional possibility to consider RE:excursions.
  by BR&P
 
Dave, I never suggested you don't know what you are talking about. I was just pointing out some of the realities which affect the overall concept.

Unfortunately, there is often a big disconnect between what people WANT to happen, what people SAY will (or could) happen, and what actually DOES happen. This is true on many levels. The late David Beers, first president of Ontario Midland and Ontario Central Railroads, used to have a saying: "Don't count the cars until they are on the interchange track." That could probably be modified to "Don't count the passengers until you punch the ticket"

And it's one thing to have the Grand Opening Weekend, highly publicized and long awaited, and run several sold-out trains. It's entirely different to keep the revenue stream coming month after month, year after year. I'm not saying it can't be done. But the "if you build it, they will come" hope has been the downfall of many businesses, rail and non-rail.

I would love to see the entire line open, operating and prospering. An entire career in the business tells me that's very unlikely to happen.
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