• Potential PAR/PAS Traffic Growth

  • 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

  by bostontrainguy
There is no rail connection to the container terminal and Beacon Park is long gone. A new road bridge was built across the Reserve Channel but no provision for future rail was included. Another new road bridge for the parallel Haul Road was also recently built behind the old power plant but again there was no provision for a future rail bridge.

Although some kind of rail service would be certainly possible since there is inactive track nearby and a very short dray away (for instance the MMT site that was vacant for years could have been used), Massport just doesn't seem to have the desire to do it.
Last edited by bostontrainguy on Thu Jun 24, 2021 8:51 am, edited 2 times in total.
  by Gilbert B Norman
Mr. Train Guy, isn't Boston just one big "moving parking lot drawn by snails"?

Absent rail, they are looking at one big disadvantage.

I guess their pro rail only means pro passenger rail.
  by jwhite07
The question of "When these big ships come in, how does all that stuff get sent to its final destination?" is glaringly absent, and probably deliberately so. The Port of Boston has zero viable rail access today, and the historic rail infrastructure and opportunities to renew it are disappearing as fast as urban "planners" and developers can make them go away. So the answer, dear Bostonians, is get used to all the trucks running through your already congested neighborhoods and highways. No wonder that got glossed over.
  by bostontrainguy
Well rail is not dead in the Port of Boston. It's in a deep coma. But it's a reversible coma.

On the north side you have active rail to the water in Everett. Eimskip was at a pier here before they moved to Portland. I do not think they ever used the rail here although it ran adjacent to their dock. I also don't know if Boston ever tried to keep them here or even if they knew of their plan to move to Maine.

You also have the Charlestown Moran area. This is no longer connected to the outside world but could easily be reconnected probably with a OWLS crossing. You got lots of room here to do something. This certainly is an area that could be used to bring in heavy bulk stuff like they plan to do at Eastern Salt/MMT in Southie. There is an active cement facility here with an onsite track and a bunch of unused piers along the line. There are also piers at the end of the line under the Tobin bridge. And there was a haul road/rail "Freight Corridor" study done. Of course the NIMBYS didn't like it and now there are even more new residential buildings built right next to the forgotten rail line.

On the south side track 61 still exists and new overhead bridges have been constructed with double-stack clearance just in case. Also new buildings built along the tracks have been built with the ability to retain rail service. One even has the tracks literally running through the middle of its outdoor restaurant/bar.

Track 61 ends at a rail-on-dock pier that has never been used AFAIK and there is an active cement plant there which showed interest in the past. Also extending track 61 into the MMT property is still on the back burner with a spur into Boston Ship Repair's dry dock. I have never seen any plan to bring rail directly into Conley however.

So it's all there. The disjointed puzzle pieces are all there. It's just going to take someone with the right vision to link them all back together.
Last edited by bostontrainguy on Thu Jun 24, 2021 3:59 pm, edited 4 times in total.
  by Gilbert B Norman
Mr. Train Guy, I can only hope that Chessie, accompanied for the moment until the closing by Pan Am, will have her Traffic Department "hit hard on them" to allow rail equal access to the expanded facilities. That's for their own good - shippers and the Authority!

From what I read here, it sounds as if the Icelandic maritime concern got "sent to Left Field" and no doubt was their decision to make like Enya and "Sail Away" factored such.

I haven't been in Boston since '01 (pre-9/11); and I just can't imagine that they would have their expanded Port with these new cranes be hindered with their existing highway traffic. Even if the containers were drayed (local trucking) out to Ayer or Worcester, you're still looking at congestion.

Any other major port, coast notwithstanding, has direct rail access to it. To be competitive the Port of Boston will need same.
  by jaymac
In the necn interview, the Massport rep said the upgrades were for New England customers, guessing probably more consignees than shippers. Also guessing that SW Connecticut is probably more interested in New York than in Boston. Dunno if anyone else remembers Conrail's exit from the <500 miles IM market, but there aren't whole lotsa New England consignees and/or shippers that would be anywhere near 500 miles from Southie. Drayage is the only sensible mode.
If the sale does go through, CSXT will be looking for a return on the investment it's already made and not for ways of making more investments to produce more quarterly disappointments for shareholders.
  by Cosakita18
The Port of Boston is pretty much exclusively dealing with New England local traffic and honestly I'm a bit skeptical as to whether this expansion can reverse the stagnation that Conley terminal has seen over the past few years. Overall TEU volume has remained fairly static and currently Conley only sees two regular weekly calls (Down from about 5 a few years ago) from Evergreen / Ocean Alliance and MSC / 2M Alliance. It's difficult to imagine any substantial growth coming from the Conley terminal given growth at Saint John, New York and even Portland, which all have direct rail access and better avenues for expansion. Although, of course, it's still by far the largest container port in New England which will likely never change.

Speaking of Containerized port growth, I've been consistently hearing that the Maine Port Authority has been working to bring scheduled refer services to Portland once the cold storage facility is operational sometime in 2022. This would likely be a port-of-call change to existing refer services on the Alaska-Panama Canal-Europe trade which currently call in Bayside, NB to bring imported fish products to Eastern destinations. It could open new opportunities for refrigerated Imports / exports via Portland.
  by F74265A
Exactly. Boston port container traffic is local. There is no facility for a big import operation to move boxes inland to other markets. The space for building such a facility is largely gone and massport to my knowledge has never been interested in making such an investment.
What does Boston offer over my/nj, SJ or Halifax? Nothing.
  by roberttosh
Agreed, with no on-dock rail (or even potential for a nearby suitable IM yard) and no DS service it is a non-starter, end of story.
  by octr202
Pretty sure the switch to 3 Wheeling Ave has been gone for a long time. Going back to my commuter rail riding days (started in 2008) only Atlantic Plywood, Rohtstein, and Tighe have had service in Woburn. You can see in Google Maps that there's a lot of former sidings, but I'd assume the chances of any coming back are slim to none - you'd have to move a LOT of traffic to justify the cost of cutting in a new switch in signaled/PTC commuter rail territory, and these aren't the sites that are likely to generate it.
  by newpylong
More importantly than the cost, these businesses for the most part have changed hands so as to not be moving product that economically can utilize rail.
  by GP40MC1118
I can't remember the name of the rail user at that location, but I do know we used that spur for two or three high-wide loads.
  by newpylong
I believe there is another one just to the north of this parcel with a spur through their lot too, and a track off of that one at one point to another building.
  • 1
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 16