Good evening folks,
I wanted to respond to BK77's question. He said:
I recall reading back when the county lines changed operators the M&E stated they would work with the D&RR with getting them CSAO traffic from Harrison. Curious, has that been happening or has the D&RR only been interchanging with NS so far?
Based upon certain key "evidence", the answer to your question appears to be "NO" ...... I too was curious about the amazing (read: unbelievable) "public disclaimer" made by Morris County officials during the course of the STB proceedings. My gut seemed to say to me that the self-serving proclamation was made because there was concern that shippers might rightfully "object" at the STB regarding the loss of competitive rail access. Such a protest or objection would likely have delayed the takeover, or complicated the regulatory proceeding.
Turning to the primary evidence
which supports my position that the public declarations were/are not accurate, one need only look at both of the websites for the D&RR and the M&E to realize that there is likely no agreement for the M&E to haul CSX-bound bridge traffic to Lake Junction.
While the M&E website touts its dual competitive access (NS/CSX), there is NO mention at all
of any ability to connect to the D&RR at Lake Junction, or to act as a "bridge carrier" for other Morris County shippers.
When one looks at the D&RR website, there is NO mention
of being able to bridge traffic to CSX through the M&E. The D&RR website lists their sole connection as the NS.
I would like to remind everyone of what Mr. Vitz claimed earlier in this thread was one of Morris County's main justification for switching operators. He said:
The review committee (two employees that oversee the railroad operation and one from another division) felt the new operator has offered some innovative ideas to market the lines to retain and hopefully attract new business.
Obviously, making it clear to potential shippers that industrial sites in Morris County have access to competitive rail service is NOT an innovative idea to market the line for attracting new business. So, it would appear that all the industrial sites located in northwest Morris County will remain competitively disadvantaged.
I do not mean to sound particularly harsh with my criticism, but I feel that the County should have carefully weighed access to competitive rail connections
more carefully when it made its decision. The County also should have consulted with its own railroad attorneys on how best to have preserved competitive access before it made a decision which might have closed off a competitive gateway.
It is my sincere hope that Morris County will make it clear to both carriers
(M&E / D&RR) that they need to work together to make as many industrial sites as possible in Morris County competitive with those industrial sites located adjacent to the CSAO area, NYS&W, Raritan Central, NYNJ Rail, etc..... That begins by PUBLICLY advertising competitive access routings.
The only reason one would NOT advertise such a routing would be if such routing were no longer possible. This glaring public omission by both the M&E and the D&RR forms the basis for my belief that the closure of competitive access did, in fact, occur when the M&E lost their operating contract. Given the fact that no photos have emerged of an M&E "bridge line" train, nor any report of overhead traffic spoken off, nor any public acknowledgement of, or advertising of, any type of competitive access routing, I respectfully submit my evidence to support my position that there is no agreement to allow the M&E to bridge traffic to the former County lines and this critical publicly owned asset just became captive because of a serious mistake made by those officials who failed to properly consider and protect the competitive rail access to their property.
Just my two cents... but given the strong evidence, competitive rail access in Morris County clearly appears to be now limited to just the Whippany line. I would be gratefully surprised to be proven wrong....