• Howard Street Tunnel Baltimore

  • Discussion of the operations of CSX Transportation, from 1980 to the present. Official site can be found here: CSXT.COM.
Discussion of the operations of CSX Transportation, from 1980 to the present. Official site can be found here: CSXT.COM.

Moderator: MBTA F40PH-2C 1050

  by QB 52.32
 
mmi16 wrote: Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:24 pm
QB 52.32 wrote: Sun Jul 28, 2019 7:21 am I would think the I-95 corridor potential is first and foremost, too, but, the ability to once again be able to co-mingle Philadelphia and Baltimore as well as Chambersburg and Portsmouth intermodal traffic via the ex-B&O is probably another driver of this. Then, too, the ability to run AutoMax autoracks from NC/SC plants into the Northeast and into Twin Oaks from the South or Midwest/West also likely has some part to play in CSX's ability to commit capital to this project.
Increased clearance for the Howard Street Tunnel WILL NOT benefit Philadelphia and points East thereof on the I-95 corridor. There is a tunnel between Twin Oaks and Philadelphia that will not clear double stacks and that will have to be worked upon also. That tunnel is why autoracks terminate at Twin Oaks.
As I wrote in my 7/27 post, this project is not simply clearing the Howard Street tunnel, but also 22 other overhead obstructions between Baltimore and Philadelphia, including Boones tunnel in Darby, PA. That's the basis for my 7/28 post about the benefits of full overhead clearances in the I-95 corridor as well as via the ex-B&O into Philadelphia and NY/NJ/beyond. It stands to reason that a Howard Street tunnel clearance project with committed CSX capital would have to tap into the much greater benefits of full I-95 overhead clearance and not simply the Baltimore domestic/transload freight market.
  by mmi16
 
However, the Port of Baltimore that has invested in deep draft dredging and post panamax sized container cranes at Dundalk Marine Terminal - without the enhancement to double stack standards that investment is basically money thrown into the water that won't see any economic benefits for the port.
  by QB 52.32
 
Full doublestack clearance improvement from the existing low/high-cube container doublestack restriction for the port of Baltimore, while it would provide benefit, at this point is not the game-changer you suggest in this new-Panamax world of container line port call decision-making.
  by johnpbarlow
 
This may improve two of CSX Intermodal service lane offerings by permitting use of double-stacked domestic containers (20' 2") to/from the Port of Baltimore (instead of just single stacked COFC) and:
- Chicago/New Baltimore OH/Pittsburgh area via daily IM trains Q137/Q138
- Jacksonville via daily IM trains Q031/Q032

Note that while Q031/Q032 trains operate north of Baltimore to/from Port of NJ, a restrictive clearance tunnel at Darby PA will prevent double stacks from running between NJ and Jax. As the Port of Baltimore does enjoy single stacked container service today, it would seem one of the easy options CSX has should Baltimore IM traffic volume grows is to add single stacked cars to existing trains (or even add trains if volume warrants) with zero dollar capital outlays. And ditto for Port of NJ - Jax IM traffic. Also note that CSX only offers a pair of IM trains in each of these two lanes;not a fleet of trains that CSX runs between Port of NJ and the midwest. I'm guessing this is why CSX has been lukewarm to this project. Clearly, Baltimore and the state of Maryland are driving the Howard St tunnel clearance project using a lot of Other People's Money (ie, Federal tax $).

Also note that CSX Domestic double stack service between the midwest and Port of NJ exists today operating via Selkirk. Similarly, now that the Virginia St tunnel clearance has been raised in Washington DC, double stack service between Portsmouth VA and the midwest is facilitated via daily IM trains Q135/Q136.

Perhaps an unannounced important side benefit to CSX by enlarging the Howard St tunnel is to resolve the debilitating water leak issues the tunnel has experienced over the past few years.

PS: I've been observing many container trains running on CSX and NS via various live rail cams (eg Fostoria OH, Chesterton IN, Vickers OH) and I've seen a lot of empty well cars and spine cars running in all directions, perhaps reflecting the winding down of the Christmas season merchandise traffic. IOW, there's a lot of underutilized IM capacity on the RRs bow. Worldwide trade volatility and uncertainty isn't helping on the demand side.
  by QB 52.32
 
This project not only clears the Howard Street tunnel, but also Boones in Darby and 21 other obstructions, finally clearing the entire I-95 leg of CSX's network and providing benefit well beyond Baltimore.
  by johnpbarlow
 
I'm curious where have you seen that the Darby PA tunnel clearance will be raised? This FRA poop sheet (page 5 of the INFRA grant fact sheet) re: the $125M granted to the State of Maryland references the only clearance projects for the Howard Street tunnel and the 22 bridges (presumably all in Maryland but I don't know). Thanks.

https://www.transportation.gov/sites/do ... sheets.pdf
  by QB 52.32
 
Google "CSX I-95 clearance project" and you will see multiple media reports and releases outlining the totality of this $477m. project which clears the entire I-95 corridor. That poop sheet mentions "22 existing grade seperated crossings" (Baltimore-Philly) and given the relative short length of Boones tunnel with Chester Pike passing overhead, I have to believe they must be classifying it as one of those "grade seperated crossings". As I understand it, the tunnel has already been cleared for fully-enclosed conventional autoracks and I'm curious if this project involves daylighting or further undercutting the roadbed.
  by mmi16
 
QB 52.32 wrote: Sat Dec 07, 2019 9:27 am Google "CSX I-95 clearance project" and you will see multiple media reports and releases outlining the totality of this $477m. project which clears the entire I-95 corridor. That poop sheet mentions "22 existing grade seperated crossings" (Baltimore-Philly) and given the relative short length of Boones tunnel with Chester Pike passing overhead, I have to believe they must be classifying it as one of those "grade seperated crossings". As I understand it, the tunnel has already been cleared for fully-enclosed conventional autoracks and I'm curious if this project involves daylighting or further undercutting the roadbed.
Boone Tunnel currently clears 19'2" high autoracks. It does not clear 20'2" racks.

Autoracks are narrower at their maximum height than are double stacks.
  by roberttosh
 
No way CSX doesn't clear the whole I-95 Corridor as part of this project. Regardless of what the press releases say, CSX is much more interested in that aspect of the project vs getting full DS clearance into the port of Baltimore.