• CSX Selling Trackage

  • 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

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  by roberttosh
 
Looking at google maps, it appears that the entrance to CSX's Worcester yard is literally right across the street from the Interstate off-ramp, so not sure that highway access is an issue. The Worcester yard, while cramped for parking, is a high-efficiency, modernized operation that can handle many more lifts than West Springfield. If they do lease out the yard my guess is that it will be a cost saving measure similar to how they have the short line operator switch the auto facility in a East Brookfield. Can't see CSX giving up the linehaul moves to either the auto ramp or the IM facility in Worcester, which are both East of Springfield.
  by johnpbarlow
 
Also CSX interchanges significant carload traffic with both P&W/G&W (and International containers) and Pan Am Railways at Worcester with a pair of daily (I think) manifest freights. East of Worcester is the transload facility at Westborough that handles substantial business. And Framingham still handles a pair of daily road freights. Selling freight rights or track on lines radiating out of Framingham to a short line might make sense, though.
  by Ironman
 
The dedicated P&W train, Q422 which also had Palmers on it, has been abolished for almost a year now. The outbound P&W general freight, traffic which used to go west daily, now rots for days down there. The inbound intermodal to P&W on Q022 is not that much, 1200 feet on a good day. I'll say it again, everything being said is what you would expect the old CSX to do.

I'm telling you it's not like that anymore and to expect a total re-drawing of the N.E. railroad map.
  by Ironman
 
roberttosh wrote:Looking at google maps, it appears that the entrance to CSX's Worcester yard is literally right across the street from the Interstate off-ramp, so not sure that highway access is an issue. The Worcester yard, while cramped for parking, is a high-efficiency, modernized operation that can handle many more lifts than West Springfield. If they do lease out the yard my guess is that it will be a cost saving measure similar to how they have the short line operator switch the auto facility in a East Brookfield. Can't see CSX giving up the linehaul moves to either the auto ramp or the IM facility in Worcester, which are both East of Springfield.
I kind of disagree with some of this. True the CSX Worcester yard is new,and maybe able to lift faster, but it has no extra capacity like West Springfield does. It looks close to an interstate, but is actually a bit more convoluted than the map shows. Remember the embargo on in coming traffic a couple months ago. G&W will propose to merge the current P&W intermodal site with the CSX site.
  by jaymac
 
P&W "Port" of Worcester has better access to I-290 S/I-90 E&W than new CSX yard does. Traffic on Southbridge Street from "Port" to/from the College Square ramps for I-290 also has less residential impact. Kinda makes one wonder why the prior CSX wheeler-dealers didn't make P&W an offer they couldn't refuse...
  by Safetee
 
i'm not exactly sure what is going on today but the view on the P&W in the past was that they needed to be contained. This was especially true in the Conrail days and I'm sure some of the same people brought that view into CSX.
  by roberttosh
 
Ironman wrote:
roberttosh wrote:Looking at google maps, it appears that the entrance to CSX's Worcester yard is literally right across the street from the Interstate off-ramp, so not sure that highway access is an issue. The Worcester yard, while cramped for parking, is a high-efficiency, modernized operation that can handle many more lifts than West Springfield. If they do lease out the yard my guess is that it will be a cost saving measure similar to how they have the short line operator switch the auto facility in a East Brookfield. Can't see CSX giving up the linehaul moves to either the auto ramp or the IM facility in Worcester, which are both East of Springfield.
I kind of disagree with some of this. True the CSX Worcester yard is new,and maybe able to lift faster, but it has no extra capacity like West Springfield does. It looks close to an interstate, but is actually a bit more convoluted than the map shows. Remember the embargo on in coming traffic a couple months ago. G&W will propose to merge the current P&W intermodal site with the CSX site.
There are multiple on ramps for I-290 going in both directions within probably a quarter mile from the yard, so unless there's some type of local ordinance preventing trucks from using those ramps, interstate access at Worcester looks a lot better than at Springfield; plus if I recall, there is a low bridge issue at West Springfield. In addition, I'm guessing that the vast majority of business at Worcester is going to points East, to NH, ME, RI, Eastern, CT or greater Boston, so moving that business to Springfield is going to add close to an hours dray time in each direction. Lastly, where is the extra capacity at Springfield? Are you talking about an expansion or just increasing throughput? Looks like they would need to completely re-design the entire yard and possibly move a road in order to increase the footprint.
  by QB 52.32
 
Ironman wrote:I'm telling you it's not like that anymore and to expect a total re-drawing of the N.E. railroad map.
While anything might be possible, and not that I have a lock on what will happen, I have to say the odds would favor CSX managers acting rationally when it comes to what the outcome of the rumored line studies leads to. In that regard it seems to me, unless CSX were to spin off everything ex-Conrail east of Cleveland, then likely they would anticipate that their New England franchise would continue to funnel the majority of traffic to them or would act to protect their interest in making sure that happens. I think if a re-drawing were likely then the rumors would encompass the entire ex-NYC east of Cleveland but all we've continued to hear over a long period of time is that it's part of their strategic triangle. On the other hand, given that the past is likely prologue when it comes to railroad.net and rank and file rumors vs. railroads' behavior, I'd anticipate drastic re-drawing of the Northeast rail map to have a low probability. In my opinion, things have to make sense in the big scheme no matter the players. Additionally, it appears CSX is entering into a period of "calm after the storm" now that the drastic changes have been made. To highlight this thinking, just consider what 1 customer, UPS, would have to say to CSX or public and regulatory officials if anything that would put at-risk their rail-based operations in New England was planned or implemented. The "zombie apocalypse" always gets the juices flowing, but somehow the less interesting realities hold true. Time will tell and certainly bears watching.
  by roberttosh
 
The only way CSX would consider selling a main trunk route would be if there's a way of diverting traffic, as is the case with the line from Cincinnati to Atlanta through Knoxville where traffic can be re-routed via Nashville. Ditto for the Florida panhandle route between Flomaton and Baldwin where trains can be re-routed via Montgomery and Manchester. There is no such diversion route available for the B&A. The other sale driver is for low density lines or ones with a dying industry base, such as the Clinchfield or the former B&O through Grafton (Coal). The B&A still handles up to 16 trains a day, is a major corridor for high profile intermodal/auto traffic and at the end of the day serves a region (New England) with a concentrated population pushing 15 million people, which made it a very key part of the Conrail takeover. It would seem to me that the B&A in no way shape or form would be a candidate for a line sale - at least West of Worcester.
  by mtuandrew
 
Depends on how big a cashout CSX needs. I could see them selling a lot of track, but eventually they sell so much that they set up a competitor to eat into CSX business.

If Jacksonville just wants out of the railroad business, KCS would be a natural buyer without entirely upsetting the North American railroad scene. (Assuming certain divestitures & trackage rights of course.)

And if I were at FEC, I would consider bidding on the Jax-Pensacola Line & stealing some BNSF interline traffic.
  by QB 52.32
 
roberttosh wrote:The only way CSX would consider selling a main trunk route would be if there's a way of diverting traffic, as is the case with the line from Cincinnati to Atlanta through Knoxville where traffic can be re-routed via Nashville. Ditto for the Florida panhandle route between Flomaton and Baldwin where trains can be re-routed via Montgomery and Manchester. There is no such diversion route available for the B&A. The other sale driver is for low density lines or ones with a dying industry base, such as the Clinchfield or the former B&O through Grafton (Coal). The B&A still handles up to 16 trains a day, is a major corridor for high profile intermodal/auto traffic and at the end of the day serves a region (New England) with a concentrated population pushing 15 million people, which made it a very key part of the Conrail takeover. It would seem to me that the B&A in no way shape or form would be a candidate for a line sale - at least West of Worcester.
I think there's some chance that CSX will sell east of Selkirk at some point, but, I think the odds favor doing something much less drastic for those reasons you state regarding the attractiveness of the market in addition to the fact that it is one of the longest hauls in the east, has decent balance, nearly all of the market's premium traffic, not only in intermodal but also carload traffic, and, good prospects for keeping it that way with full overhead clearance and connection to a high-speed-and- capacity network. Additionally, there's a possible prospect that further capacity-enhancing deals could be made with the Commonwealth for sale of the Worcester-Springfield portion of the Boston Line ala Framingham-Worcester. If the past is prologue, then obviously CSX's early 21st Century look at selling everything east of Selkirk didn't even lead to a long-rumored exit in eastern MA, so what does that tell us?

What drives the chance for sale east of Selkirk, however, might be New England's mixed strategic importance as a middle-sized, slower growing market representing less than 10% of total revenue for CSX up against other opportunities and coupled with the need for speed to reach a rock bottom operating ratio, appearing likely abated with EHH's death, or to generate cash or make the company more attractive for important strategic capital investment that builds capacity for faster growing and bigger markets also sharing New England's attributes. Or, for a long-range proactive, defensive move against dark storm clouds on railroading's horizon which in turn drives the retention hurdle rate higher similar to what would occur in a rush to the lowest possible operating ratio. However, as other folks have also pointed out, unless they completely exited the ex-NYC east of Cleveland, it's hard to believe they would sell east of Selkirk unless they thought they would (through competitive advantage) or could (through agreement) keep this traffic coming their way.
  by Scalziand
 
The CSX Worcester Yard does have good access for three of four principle movements on I290; from 290S, from 290N, and to 290N. Getting from the yard to 290S on the other hand, is a bit trickier. The most direct route leads through Kelly Square, an unholy intersection where 7 roads come together in an unsignaled cluster**** because the traffic engineers run from it screaming in terror. Not where you want a lot of truck traffic. The other route requires backtracking through Washington Square past Union Station.
  by leviramsey
 
Scalziand wrote:The CSX Worcester Yard does have good access for three of four principle movements on I290; from 290S, from 290N, and to 290N. Getting from the yard to 290S on the other hand, is a bit trickier. The most direct route leads through Kelly Square, an unholy intersection where 7 roads come together in an unsignaled cluster**** because the traffic engineers run from it screaming in terror. Not where you want a lot of truck traffic. The other route requires backtracking through Washington Square past Union Station.
A large proportion of where you'd go via 290S from Worcester Yard is Connecticut. Upgrades to West Springfield Yard's access to US-5/I-91 south could easily pick up that, and the upgrades are apparently on Massachusetts' roadmap (reputedly the framework being that those upgrades will grease the skids for Massachusetts to buy Worcester-Springfield for increased passenger service).
  by roberttosh
 
Isn't the Springfield ramp already serving the I-91 corridor south to New Haven? Worcester on the other hand is much better positioned to serve the more Easterly I-395 corridor.
  by Ridgefielder
 
My understanding is that there's a low bridge-- probably this one on Union St. https://goo.gl/maps/rSiMqrnap4r" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; --that impedes direct truck access to I-91. This has been extensively discussed I believe over in the New England forum.
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