WATCO Ithaca Central operator of NS Ithaca Secondary

For discussion of the various Class III Lines of WATCO Companies. Class II holdings should be discussed in the relevant separate forums above.

Their website is here: http://www.watcocompanies.com/
A list of their holdings is here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watco_Companies
Matt Langworthy
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WATCO Ithaca Central operator of NS Ithaca Secondary

Post by Matt Langworthy » Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:55 pm

After several years of rumors, it looks like the Ithaca Secondary will get a new operator soon. Watco is advertising for a conductor job in Ithaca.

From the glassdoor.com website:
Location: Ithaca, New York (US-NY) 14850

This position requires a current FRA Conductor / Engineer Certification. The engineer/conductor position will be to control and coordinate the train movements while switching railcars whether in the yard of a railroad, industrial plant, or similar location to facilitate the unloading and loading of railcars in a safe and efficient manner to service our customers.
I do not not know if NS will lease just part or all of the Ithaca Secondary to Watco. This will be interesting to watch. For those of you not familiar with Watco, they operate 32 shortlines across the US and Australia.
Matt Langworthy

"It is highly likely that the 1990s were an overrated decade."

lvrr325
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Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Post by lvrr325 » Wed Oct 17, 2018 1:13 am

Boy that's strange they've broken that line up to three operators. I suppose it's just who bid the most for it? But seems like it would be cheaper for the Lehigh Railway to operate it.

Matt Langworthy
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Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Post by Matt Langworthy » Wed Oct 17, 2018 6:49 am

I know an employee of the Lehigh Railway and he told me 3 years ago that his employer was definitely interested in leasing the Ithaca Secondary. Watco seems to be a good operator, but it would have been interesting to see what LHRY would have dome with the line.
Matt Langworthy

"It is highly likely that the 1990s were an overrated decade."

pumpers
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Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Post by pumpers » Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:57 pm

lvrr325 wrote:Boy that's strange they've broken that line up to three operators.
Who's the 3rd operator after Lehigh Railway and Watco. Are you referring to the Reading and Northern (south of Lehigh Railway)? Not sure what they own vs. lease on the LV main, and if they lease, from whom.

lvrr325
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Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Post by lvrr325 » Thu Oct 18, 2018 3:49 am

They control the former LV from Lehighton to Mehoopany, owing it from at least Lehighton to Wilkes-Barre as NS and CP used portions of it via trackage rights. There's a section where RBMN owns one track while Conrail and later NS retained the second track. IIRC they were unhappy they were unable to pick up from Mehoopany to Sayre after buying the Towanda-Monroeton line with plans to haul fracking sand.

I can't imagine an Ithaca Secondary takeover be anything but run the entire line, it wouldn't make much sense to make Ithaca the interchange point.

Matt Langworthy
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Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Post by Matt Langworthy » Thu Oct 18, 2018 6:55 am

NS was rather upset with CR for selling the former LV south of Mehoopany to the R&N in 1996. It has created a bottleneck in operations between Bingo and Allentown.

Getting back to the original subject, I'd be interested in knowing when the new operation will start, as well as the name of the shortline.
Matt Langworthy

"It is highly likely that the 1990s were an overrated decade."

thebigham
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Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Post by thebigham » Thu Oct 18, 2018 3:01 pm

I hope Watco gets some Alcos for their new shortline.

That's what I always think and then some EMD/GE units show up. lol

lvrr325
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Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Post by lvrr325 » Sat Oct 20, 2018 6:28 pm

Watco will almost certainly have EMDs here.

FWIW, the hot rumor about 1994 when NS made a takeover bid for Conrail then, was that they would reroute all the Tier traffic to the LV route, because it was the shortest. Apparently this went as far as staging welded rail trains to drop rail and begin a rehab once the takeover was approved. Which of course never happened.

Has NS ever upgraded the former LV main? The portion that had been the LV Ithaca branch got upgraded with welded rail and was a reasonably smooth ride, but the jointed rail up to Van Etten was rough, it was like being out to sea.

sd80mac
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Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Post by sd80mac » Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:05 pm

lvrr325 wrote:FWIW, the hot rumor about 1994 when NS made a takeover bid for Conrail then, was that they would reroute all the Tier traffic to the LV route, because it was the shortest.
probably the shortest but I don't think it would be the fastest.. too much zig-zag. just looked at the map..

nydepot
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Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Post by nydepot » Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:35 pm

Is this basically salt and that's it?

Matt Langworthy
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Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Post by Matt Langworthy » Mon Oct 22, 2018 1:55 pm

Yes, the current traffic is just salt. However, my contact at the Lehigh Railway indicated there are other potential customers on the line... whom he did not name. Given the track record of Class 1s (including NS and CSX) with growing local service in recent decades, his statement didn't surprise me.
Matt Langworthy

"It is highly likely that the 1990s were an overrated decade."

Matt Langworthy
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Location: Rochester, NY

Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Post by Matt Langworthy » Mon Oct 22, 2018 2:02 pm

lvrr325 wrote:Watco will almost certainly have EMDs here.
Agreed. There are alot more used EMDs than Alcos these days and the latter does require a specialized skill set to maintain. Watco has been an EMD operation throughout its history. Among other things, they did have an ex-EL GP35 on their roster, although that went to the scrapper a year or two ago.
lvrr325 wrote:FWIW, the hot rumor about 1994 when NS made a takeover bid for Conrail then, was that they would reroute all the Tier traffic to the LV route, because it was the shortest. Apparently this went as far as staging welded rail trains to drop rail and begin a rehab once the takeover was approved. Which of course never happened.
It was 1996 because the NS and CSX were in the midst of their fight for Conrail. NS's management was so incensed by the sale that they made sure the CR transition team (which came aboard a short time later) froze any further sales of railroad lines.
Matt Langworthy

"It is highly likely that the 1990s were an overrated decade."

TrainDetainer
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Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Post by TrainDetainer » Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:59 pm

Miliken Station closed or converted to gas? When?

johnpbarlow
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Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Post by johnpbarlow » Tue Oct 23, 2018 5:25 am

From Ithaca.com of July 2018: "Lansing power plant to re-power with natural gas"

https://www.ithaca.com/news/tompkins_co ... f4ca3.html

thebigham
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Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Post by thebigham » Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:50 am

I was just joking about Watco getting Alcos. Jeez.

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