• Port of Boston - Why not Moran?

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England

Moderators: MEC407, NHN503

  by bostontrainguy
I am reading so much lately about the interest in developing ports in the Northeast. Searsport, Saint John, Portland, etc. are all in the news. Supposedly there is much more interest in potential smaller ship operations similar to Eimskip coming to the area. Portland is very small and limited.

The discussion of rail to Conley has been beaten to death and there is still no hope. Yet as many have mentioned, CP is now running double stacks to Saint John so the old thought that Conley is just too small isn't very valid. It could be done if the powers-to-be wanted it.

Track 61 does actually have rail on dock at it's end and smaller Eimskip type of ships could utilize that if wanted. No need for tall cranes which would not be possible because of the closest of Logan Airport. I often wondered if this was ever considered before Eimskip jumped ship to Portland. Track 61 could be fairly easily reactivated after the T Red Line program is over. There is a small yard at the western end so the direct crossing at Southampton Yards can be avoided and trains could be assembled there for easy main line haul out the B&A.

BUT . . . after thinking a lot more about the possibilities, it brought me to rediscover Moran. It's got a huge dock with lots of unused capacity. It is technically rail connected with a lot less investment than Conley to get it up and running. They could install OWLS crossings at FX to greatly lower the maintenance issue. It would be single stack of course but that is all there is going west through to Hoosac anyway and it could be double stacked at Ayer for going out via CSX or combined with trains coming down from Maine to go out PAS single stack.

I would think that there are possibilities for smaller "Crane Ships" like Eimskip's to utilize Moran in Boston. It seems like a giant waste of capacity and lost opportunity if these ships land elsewhere. I hope someone at Massport is interested in doing something with these smaller companies. The infrastructure is there. It's a shame that Massport is letting it deteriorate like it is. The potential here is rather exciting if Massport will get in the game.
  by jaymac
Boston -- like parts of Mellonized East Cambridge and Somerville -- can see more money from real estate development than it can from transportation.
It may be dismissed as anecdotal, but more than 40 years ago when I was working in commercial photography for a company that did much business with Massport, the only marine-based photo assignment that I can recall was in the late '70s when a shipment of Russian plywood in a Russian bottom berthed at Conley. Logan-related assignments were on a weekly -- occasionally daily -- basis because the Port's focus was the airport, even then.
  by bostontrainguy
Massport did announce the start of rail service to Moran . . . in 1993!

MICHAEL S. LELYVELD | Feb 17, 1993 7:00PM EST

The Massachusetts Port Authority is accelerating plans for dredging at its Moran Terminal in Charlestown to make way for a new direct, outbound service to North Europe, officials said.

Massport officials said they initially planned to use Moran for the weekly calls by Lykes Bros. Steamship Co., which are scheduled to start in mid-March. But at the last moment, they discovered that Lykes' Oceanis-class container vessels will need a 40-foot draft, requiring a temporary switch to Massport's Conley Terminal in South Boston.While the Conley facility is closer to open water, Moran is preferred for the new service because of an intermodal rail link, which is expected to open shortly.

https://www.joc.com/maritime-news/massp ... 30217.html
  by CN9634
The problem with Boston as a viable and relevant port beyond the local marketplace isn't what lies on the surface.... its what lies beneath. Hapag, ONE and Hyundai walked away in April because they went to larger ships on their Far East - USEC services... no one should be surprised by that.

The fact that you have Class I Rail gateways Saint John and Halifax in the northeast corners likely seals the fate of Boston.... it'll only be a key trucking gateway into and out of New England. NYC, Philly, Norfolk, Charleston and even an argument for Jacksonville will cover the rest of the east in terms of connectivity into the west and midwest US.

The follow up article to the last one posted sealed the fate in '96

https://www.joc.com/maritime-news/massp ... 60128.html
  by newpylong
The D&H and ST even did a media event there with some stacks on the pier.
  by jbvb
Moran is a long way into a tight harbor and behind a bridge which might have been generous in 1960, but isn't now. Plus everything stops when an LNG ship is coming or going. Also, it wouldn't surprise me if entrenched remnants of 1950s Boston persist so as to make it a rather expensive port of call.