• Portageville Bridge Replacement, Future Tier Traffic

  • 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 Matt Langworthy
 
thebigham wrote:^Thanks.

Of course the bridge has been strengthened many times.
The bridge has been patched up a number of times since Agnes whacked it in 1972... but it is still crumbling. A couple of heavy pieces fell off it last summer, necessitating a temporary shutdown (and detour using the ex-PRR Buffalo Line/EL main alignment) until repairs were completed. I've heard rail crews have been calling the bridge "Old Shaky" for decades- a well deserved title.
  by s4ny
 
The best route into Buffalo is the former New York Central, of course. The best other route was
the Lehigh Valley. Better than the Erie because of no crumbling bridge. Better than the DL&W because of
better grades. Remember the DL&W was built to haul coal westward (downhill) and empties back up the hill from
Groveland to Wayland.

The DL&W was the shortest route and worked will for the Nickel Plate, but when the Erie Lackawanna was
formed the merged company, run by Erie men, quickly severed and downgraded that line in order to
push more activity to their facilities in Hornell. They even shifted the Phoebe Snow onto the Erie
which immediately prior to the merger had no Buffalo to Hoboken service.

When Conrail took over the bankrupt railroads they tore up the LV as soon as they could in order to
keep a competing RR from acquiring the LV or rights to use it.

The best route was Buffalo to Waverly on LV, Erie to Binghamton, DL&W to Scranton, LV/CNJ to eastern terminus.

Now, they are stuck with a bridge that will either be rebuilt as part of some government pork project, or the route will be
severed.

Bad railroad management combined with bad politics.
  by Matt Langworthy
 
s4ny wrote:The best route into Buffalo is the former New York Central, of course. The best other route was
the Lehigh Valley. Better than the Erie because of no crumbling bridge. Better than the DL&W because of
better grades. Remember the DL&W was built to haul coal westward (downhill) and empties back up the hill from
Groveland to Wayland.

The DL&W was the shortest route and worked will for the Nickel Plate, but when the Erie Lackawanna was
formed the merged company, run by Erie men, quickly severed and downgraded that line in order to
push more activity to their facilities in Hornell. They even shifted the Phoebe Snow onto the Erie
which immediately prior to the merger had no Buffalo to Hoboken service.

When Conrail took over the bankrupt railroads they tore up the LV as soon as they could in order to
keep a competing RR from acquiring the LV or rights to use it.

The best route was Buffalo to Waverly on LV, Erie to Binghamton, DL&W to Scranton, LV/CNJ to eastern terminus.

Now, they are stuck with a bridge that will either be rebuilt as part of some government pork project, or the route will be
severed.

Bad railroad management combined with bad politics.
Nope. LV had its own grade issues- on the east side of Seneca Lake. As fond as I am of LV, Conrail did not need it. In fact, they didn't even tear it up. The LV main between Buffalo and Van Etten (except for a few sections used for local service) remained in the hands of the LV estate... which in turn was folded into the PC estate. The PC estate tore up the LV main in upstate NY because they didn't need it, either.

While I do have some pretty serious criticisms of Conrail and its planning, its decision to not use the LV main west of Van Etten makes sense to me. I don't know if the LV main was longer or shorter than the Erie main/Buffalo Extension but that was not relevant to the planners. The EL main west of Waverly had alot more customers and connections than LV did. The LV main could be dismembered without losing alot of customers. Simply put, the EL main was generating a modest amount of local traffic, which was more than the LV.

Also, the former Lackawanna main was a definite liability in Dansville. Pushers were needed for eastbound bridge traffic (read: eastbound loads!) at Dansville, which became very important as the anthracite market collapsed. The Erie route did not need pushers between Buffalo and Binghamton in the diesel era. On top of that, local history books also noted a serious drainage problem developed on the hill at Dansville in the early '60s, which made for frequent (and thus expensive) maintenance. Old Shaky did not have any serious repair issues at the time. BTW, CEO Bill White was involved in the decision to sever the Lackawanna main in 1963... and he did not have the pro-Erie bias of the McInnis era.

The Erie route made and makes the most sense as an alternative to the Water Level Route. Of course, the Water Level Route has the least grades and best traffic base between Buffalo and the New York City metro region... but having a viable competitor just makes good business sense. There was no grand conspiracy to gut the LV or DL&W. Practical decisions were made with the goal of having as much traffic as possible. Looking at the overall condition of the former Erie between Buffalo and Binghamton today, it seems pretty good to me. There's nothing bad about the railroading or politics at all. The amount of state money going into the Portageville bridge replacement is pretty modest in comparison to the overall size of the state budget... so I have no preblem with NY partnering with NS on the project.



P.S. Shifting the route of the Phoebe Snow is a non sequitor, as few passengers boarded the train between Buffalo and Binghamton.
Last edited by Matt Langworthy on Mon Aug 16, 2010 8:16 am, edited 3 times in total.
  by pumpers
 
s4ny wrote: The best route was Buffalo to Waverly on LV, Erie to Binghamton, DL&W to Scranton, LV/CNJ to eastern terminus..
Here's a question. Once you got to Waverly, why go all the way to Binghamton and then over Clark's Summit to Scranton. Lot of climbing. The LV had a water level route from Waverly to Pittston (near Scranton), and you could get on the LV/CNJ to NJ from there. What made the Binghamton/Scranton routing on Erie/DLW better? Thanks, JS
  by lvrr325
 
The biggest reason is Conrail sold a portion of the LV to the R&N and it would take both track repair and trackage rights to resume using it. It was just as easy to make a deal with CP instead, and their route is in better shape.

That said, the combined EL to Waverly-LV to NY is supposed to be the shortest and easiest alternate to the NYC, and when NS was rumored to be taking over Conrail around 1995, supposedly they'd staged a welded rail train ready to go to start rebuilding the LV.
  by SecaucusJunction
 
If you look in this article... it shows that NYS applied for 17.5 Million in TIGER funds for the project.

http://www.empirestatenews.net/News/20100830-3.html
  by Roadgeek Adam
 
Just going to clarify Tip Top for what its worth. Tip Top is the highest point the Erie ever made along its mainline between Hornell and Salamanca. Located at Milepost 340 just off NY 21 in Alfred, Tip Top Tower and the nearby tracks basically signified that. Designated QP, it served some sidings.

http://wnyrails.org/cities/tip_top.htm
  by K4Pacific
 
This will explain in detail why Portageville Bridge needs replacement.

This just in from a presentation to the Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Committee in July - enjoy: http://www.gbnrtc.org/fileadmin/content ... tation.pdf

As always yourthoughts are encouraged. My NS folks are correct when they say there are "big doings" for 2011. One glaring piece is that the presentation shows the Southern Tier Line east of Binghamton will rise again. www.gbnrtc.org
  by blockline4180
 
K4Pacific wrote:This will explain in detail why Portageville Bridge needs replacement.

This just in from a presentation to the Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Committee in July - enjoy: http://www.gbnrtc.org/fileadmin/content ... tation.pdf

As always yourthoughts are encouraged. My NS folks are correct when they say there are "big doings" for 2011. One glaring piece is that the presentation shows the Southern Tier Line east of Binghamton will rise again. http://www.gbnrtc.org

Very good to hear K4...Thanks for posting this!! :-D
  by northjerseybuff
 
I am skeptical...I heard all this when NS got the line. Is this a ploy for NY to pony up money for the project? and then no trains east of Binghamton?
  by nysw3636
 
Very encouraging news. If this does come to fruition, then NS should commit (sign a contract if you will) to run X amount of trains over the said routes. NYS made Conrail do this with the funds they provided to improve the Southern Tier back in the day.
  by Matt Langworthy
 
northjerseybuff wrote:I am skeptical...I heard all this when NS got the line. Is this a ploy for NY to pony up money for the project? and then no trains east of Binghamton?
I'm not skeptical at all. Sure, NS was far more committed to the Buffalo Line when it took over its share of CR 11 years ago. However, management has at least seen the light with the Southern Tier Mainline between Bingo and Buffalo. The track speed (in most places) is 40-50 mph, thanks to improvements made by NS... and at least one pair of symbols (12T/13T) was moved to the former Erie when NS downgraded the Buffalo Line. Freight traffic is forecast to grow substantially over the next 30 years. It just makes sense for NS to have everything lined up so they can add more trains to Southern Tier Mainline. Also, the Bergen tunnel clearance project referenced in K4's link is a good sign that NS plans to make more use of the former Erie/EL.
  by poppyl
 
K4;

Thanks for posting the briefing!! Based upon the charts (and not knowing what was said along with them), I did find the written sales pitch to the Buffalo/Niagara Frontier folks a little weak but then again, maybe that wasn't the purpose of the briefing.

Two things jumped out at me after reviewing the charts. The first was the "apparent decision" as evidenced by the "picture" of the new bridge that the bridge will be replaced in its current location rather than built new to the south. If that is the "final" decision (and I wasn't aware that this decision had been reached), I guess the two year detour plan possibly using the Secondary is back on the radar.

The second was whether CN will gain trackage rights on the Tier all the way into North Jersey if the east end of the Tier comes back to life. With CP coming down the River Line, this would seem to be very appealing to CN from a competitive standpoint. Or conversely, will CP now be interested in the route east from Binghamton to Jersey given the congestion on the River Line?

I agree with you that the near future will be very interesting.

Poppyl
  by johnpbarlow
 
Re: development of Buffalo-NY/NJ intermodal traffic over the Tier, couldn't NS be running such traffic today via Allentown? Why are the Bergen Tunnels critical to this traffic? I would think the ex-Erie between Binghamton and Port Jervis might need investment to accommodate time sensitive traffic whereas the NS south/east out of Wilkes Barre is already in decent shape handling multiple daily manifest/intermodal trains.
  by northjerseybuff
 
Bergen Tunnels will allow double stack(higher clearance) to Port Newark. Not only for NS from Croxton-tier, but CSX as well as I inderstand it
Is NS hiring for this? with no crews, they need people to run trains. This could be a sign if this is true
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