Mikejf wrote:I don't think they will all be rebuilt. There are some that are just about shells. Not much of anything left of them.
They have been improving the Main Line from CPF 185 through to Leeds Junction to raise speeds to 25. I predict when the ground thaws that the speeds will permanently drop back to 10mph
The rumor going round is that Helm has purchased the 5 OOS 500's with the intention that they all be rebuilt. I'll give you 513 is a shell, but the going price for a recently rebuilt GP40-2 mixed with the guarantee of a sell-and-lease-back deal with Pan Am should justify the expense of new internals.
Ground thaw always brings some slow orders back. The fact is though, that they realize 10mph for 200 miles doesn't get the job done. Recent projects have worked to stabilize what they have (5 and 10's) but as I know, nothing has been increased to TT speeds (185 to Waterville is all "40MPH" railroad and Keag to Newport is all, laughably so, "25MPH"). 30 years of deferment takes more than 1 or 2 years of work to undo, and runs in the hundreds of millions. They have limited resources, both monetary and physical, and 600 or so miles of railroad to cover. They have obligations that take priority, Downeaster service area, PAS, etc...They fix the squeaky wheel first, and only those that are economically viable to fix.
Its hard to see, if you don't step back and look, but things are changing on Pan Am. Look at the big picture. Realize the time (1 mile/day with a tie crew for example, surfacing crews cover less than that) and money (+/- a million/mile to go from Class 1 to Class 3 track). Much of the line east of Waterville needs new iron, thats big bucks. Pretty much the whole line MP.3 to 467 needs some tie or surfacing work. Locomotives need work, but deadlines didn't grow much if any this year. Most importantly 30 years with a corporate culture of "good enough" takes a while to turn to "do it better", but it is happening.
Good things will happen for Pan Am in 2014. Even if paper mills are a short term customer as the paper market continues to decline, there is promise of new traffic. Have you seen the lumber? As the housing market recovers, and Irving opens a lumber mill in Ashland lumber promises to be a growing commodity. Fiber could also be big business, but they need to do work to offer the turnaround needed for efficient equipment use. Ayer is busy, and Eimskip promises to boost intermodal loadings, even if nominally. The "fluff piece" in Trains back in January 2010, about how the railroad was a "Phoenix Rising" holds a lot of merit...