• 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 Alex M
 
In buying any passenger potential trackage, one source of financial backing could be Fortress, especially for the real estate opportunities in the Raleigh area. Let a short line provide freight service and, after it proves itself, Brightline would step in for passenger operations, provided they can buy additional rolling stock.
  by mtuandrew
 
Alex M wrote:In buying any passenger potential trackage, one source of financial backing could be Fortress, especially for the real estate opportunities in the Raleigh area. Let a short line provide freight service and, after it proves itself, Brightline would step in for passenger operations, provided they can buy additional rolling stock.
Brightline from where to where? Not that Fortress wouldn’t be interested in CSX trackage (they also own the Central Maine & Quebec) but this isn’t Brightline-style territory.
  by Arlington
 
Could someone post a list of the CSX lines that are plausibly for sale? Such as by retyping the list that appeared in trains magazine but omitting the B&O and B&A?
  by bostontrainguy
 
Arlington wrote:Could someone post a list of the CSX lines that are plausibly for sale? Such as by retyping the list that appeared in trains magazine but omitting the B&O and B&A?
Did you read the first posting?
  by Arlington
 
I guess I was hoping to see it expressed updated and with parallel wording, as I've done below (and I've not seen a source for the B&O being in or out)

B&A Selkirk NY to Worcester MA (denied for divesting See [1]
B&O Greenwich OH to Baltimore MD [2]
B&O Cincinnati OH to E.St.Louis IL [2]
L&N Cincinnati OH to Atlanta GA
Pere Marquette in MI [3]
Canada Trackage in Canada and related US
Clinchfield RR & Coal-Related OH, WV, VA, NC, TN, SC [4]
Florence Division across NC & across SC [4]
Dothan sub Thomasville GA to Montgomery AL
Auburndale sub Tampa FL to Miami FL

Scattered Branches and redundant track in these states:
Alabama
Connecticut (Northside of New Haven)
Georgia
Illinois
Indiana
Ohio
New York

[1] but could still be a sale to MassDOT with trackage rights)
[2] Need source to say that this is or is not for divesting
[3] might Michigan DOT want any of this?
[4] might NCRR buy any of this?
  by gokeefe
 
I would add the MA branch lines to the list ... It wasn't clear to me from the denial that they were being excluded as well. The original report was "B&A along with MA branches". We know the main line supposedly isn't for sale but I thought the omission of the branch lines from the denial was significant.
  by STrRedWolf
 
Arlington wrote: B&O Greenwich OH to Baltimore MD [2]
http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/20 ... sand-patch" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
But Executive Vice President of Operations Ed Harris, who joined the railroad this month, insisted on its removal from the list of lines under review, according to people familiar with the matter.

The 500-mile line segment, which serves Pittsburgh and includes the Sand Patch grade, is a core main line for CSX. It handles about two dozen trains per day and at Greenwich connects with CSX’s main line linking Chicago and New Jersey.

A CSX spokesman would not confirm the decision and claimed the list of lines under review that Trains News Wire has published was not accurate, without providing further details.
  by gokeefe
 
B&O Cincinnati to E. St. Louis would be the former route of the pre-Amtrak National Limited correct?
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
 
gokeefe wrote:I would add the MA branch lines to the list ... It wasn't clear to me from the denial that they were being excluded as well. The original report was "B&A along with MA branches". We know the main line supposedly isn't for sale but I thought the omission of the branch lines from the denial was significant.
There's no mechanism for completely 100% expunging all Eastern MA locals. Worcester continuing to exist at all as a major CSX yard necessitates that Framingham continue to exist as a major CSX yard, because Worcester is all-IM with zero capacity on its limited acreage set aside for any other functions. To interchange at all with P&W and PAR right across the street in downtown Worcester requires the use of Framingham as their primary classification yard. Palmer's too far away over too many steep hills to absorb that job, and there's literally nowhere else in Worcester County to build a yard that fans out into enough parallel tracks to do the shunting work for the carloads in question. If/when PAR is partitioned from NS/PAS, Worcester interchange is going to get way busier too as anything heading east-of-Ayer for PAR that isn't running all the way to Portland on SEPO/POSE starts getting exchanged in Worcester instead of Rotterdam. So Framingham classification is needed as a growth vector, too.

They're already anchored half the distance between Worcester and Boston hell or high water by yard division of labor, and the yards in Framingham that are halfway to Boston just so happen to be sitting on top of a nice 4-way junction of diverging routes pointing due north-south-east-west on the compass hitting all 6 of their Eastern MA interchange partners. Some of the daily locals that they run along those compass points are indeed lucrative enough with anchor customers to be keepers even with chainsaw cuts to every non-core company business, and it costs them such a pittance to run such a small roster of not-very-long distance jobs out of a conveniently centralized node like Framingham that some Eastern MA trackage is simply worth more staying in-house as miscellany than it would value under a different carrier. It's not a mere matter of lopping off every limb from Framingham and bringing in the shortlines to pick 'em up. All 6 of CSX's incumbent Eastern MA interchange partners NEED unbroken direct interchange with the Class I because they can't hack it if their rates are jacked by middlemen carriers standing between them and CSX. Somebody else's freight franchise gets rendered instantly worthless if they find themselves suddenly 2 steps removed from the direct Class I access they once had. And you can't redraw the Eastern MA map in a way that preserves direct access to every single interchange without all the rest of the non-interchange cuts ending up this motley assortment of useless fragments. It's not enough to just set up a shortline on a discontiguous set of track and tape the resulting map back together with overhead rights when most of the local fragments would lack the nooks and crannies for doing even the barest minimal functional staging and yard work. The map just can't be sliced up surgically enough to make it all work.

There's several further trims they can easily put on the table to net the absolute fittest, most zero-fat Boston Div. possible. But it's not an all-or-nothing proposition as if one could infer from the Trains rebuttal that because CSX didn't specifically name which branchlines were keepers that somehow...none of them are keepers and literally everything not- Worcester or Framingham is jump-ball. That's way too simplistic. Most likely it breaks out closer to this. . .

-------------------------

The obvious shortline dispersals:

-- Milford Branch + Franklin IT to Grafton & Upton. Long-planned, if also long-delayed. Abolishes a very small-carload weekly off the schedule, scrapes all crew qualifications off of Walpole-south, and consolidates the same customers to G&U North Grafton interchange. G&U gets direct access to industrial parks on I-495 for its Logistix truck transload division to do some nifty things on a major highway corridor, and they get overhead rights between Franklin and Walpole to use Walpole Yard as a backup interchange.

-- Attleboro-Middleboro-Braintree to Mass Coastal. Encore to the outsource of the South Coast lines to MC 7 years ago. New 286K capacity coming online on a Plate F route between Framingham-Taunton (the Mansfield-Attleboro NEC was weight-uprated 20 years ago, but the connecting branches are only being done now), so lots of room to grow biz at this interchange. If MC absorbs that territory and utilizes the heavier loading capacity well CSX can drive higher profit margins through combo of interchange growth and cost-cutting than it could ever achieve alone. The Framingham-Middleboro-Braintree overnighter would be abolished, pickups at the relocated Attleboro Jct. interchange can be absorbed by the afternoon Walpole-Attleboro NEC local (interchange storage available by the junction on the tri-track portion of the Middleboro Secondary), they shrink down to 1 daily round-trip on the lower Framingham Secondary just in time for real commuter rail schedules to get established there, and MC takes on greater share of interchange sorting duties to help streamline Framingham ops a smidge. MC is still fully landlocked and prevented from interchanging with P&W, and so long as they're kept off the NEC between Attleboro Jct. and East Junction to avoid touching the start of P&W local rights on the East Junction Secondary it stays that way.

-- Framingham-Everett to PAR haulage. Not an outsource per se, but the Grand Junction is severely height-restricted so they can move bigger Plate E refrigerator cars to New England Produce by laundering this job out to PAR with a haulage contract. With Houghton Chemical's freight contract ending this summer B721 serves no other purpose than chewing up crew hours pinging between Framingham and Everett while getting gummed up in commuter traffic. If PAR can deliver the produce on-time to Worcester to be picked up on B722 instead they can save a lot of dough never running east of Framingham on the B&A ever again, at only the cost of a few bucks of kickback to PAR for effortlessly tacking CSX's customer cars onto the back of the existing PAR Everett daily. Only now those fridge cars can be more space-efficient Plate E's instead of the cramped Plate B's the Grand Junction forces on them. CSX still retains its customers at the terminal as well as any future sign-on considerations that entails, and can take back the job in-house if they're dissatisfied with PAR service. But they get higher margins out of the same exact business by not running it themselves...while PAR barely incurs any change whatsoever in ops costs for the perk of pocketing a few extra bucks. Win-win.

-------------------------

The obvious low-margin customer dispersals:

-- Stoughton. There's 1 little zit of a transient building materials customer still taking cars once every week on one of the tiny sidings off Evans Dr. This forces the 3-day-a-week short run from Readville to Home Depot Warehouse on the Westwood IT to triple its mileage for a measly couple carloads and encounter all kinds of nasty passenger congestion through Canton Jct. Prime candidate to play "Let's Make A Deal" to relocate that little customer off Stoughton to scrape that territory and reinstall them at one of the faceless Old Colony lumber sidings one town over in Randolph...then shove them onto MC when they outsource that line.

-- Sterling-Leominster. Outer extent of the 5-day-a-week local on the Fitchburg Secondary is busy Bestway Lumber about 2 miles north of Clinton Jct. just over the Sterling/Lancaster town line. The final 6 miles of track past there to downtown Leominster only gets served twice a week to one remaining on-line customer, Teknor Apex, and nearly vanished setoffs of occasional cars in the downtown yard. The days they run past Bestway they run out of hours-of-service for getting back to Framingham in a single shift and have to can the train overnight at Clinton Jct. Teknor's a costly customer to serve for the extra running miles that induce that outlaw. City of Leominster despises CSX and is more than happy to encourage the slow death of all its thicket of industrial park rail sidings close to downtown if it gets the tracks ripped up sooner. Sad waste of good property, but that's the path they chose. CSX has to be chomping at the bit for Teknor to give up its rail service so they can slap the embargo on everything north of Bestway, get out from under whoever's still spotting the occasional car in the yard, and keep the busier portion of that local safely within HoS all 5 days a week so it actually earns them a decent margin.

-------------------------

That pretty much leaves stuff that's either too profitable to part with, fills some quasi-strategic niche worth holding onto, has competitive protection coattails worth keeping paper-barriered, is too ops-affordable to bother cutting, or simply has no one available to dish it off to. Minimalist network of Eastern MA locals probably looks something like this. . .

Dailies:
-- B722, daily local Framingham-Worcester [G&U, P&W, PAR interchanges]. Mission-critical, esp. when PAR gets partitioned off from NS/PAS sending more Portland main interchange traffic through Worcester.
-- B725, daily local Walpole-Attleboro [relocated MC interchange]. The existing job that works the Mansfield-East Junction stretch of NEC, now absorbing MC interchange duties with the outsourcing of Attleboro-Middleboro-Braintree and abolishment of the overnighter. Maybe beef up the staffing on this job so it can gets its wider set of tasks done more efficiently w/o Amtrak NEC dispatch breathing down their necks.
-- B724, daily local Framingham-Sterling-?. With CSX hoping that Leominster dies out and they can trim the end-of-line flab. It's a podunk branch, but they don't want PAR or P&W worming their way in via Clinton Jct. to one of the rail-accessible industrial parks at I-290, I-495, or the Mass Pike and setting up a competing transload to Westborough Transflo. Protectionism definitely serves their core interests here. And if they could just get rid of the outlaw on Leominster days and keep the whole week's schedule within HoS it actually does earn its keep on the margins.
-- New train, daily local Readville-Braintree [Fore River interchange, backup MC interchange]. With the MC outsource, profit margins for the Fore River interchange biz would be too poorly diluted if it took an MC middleman to get those loads to CSX every day, so a new direct pickup from the north is necessary. Braintree Yard can also double as a #2 interchange for MC from the south as needed. This job would repurpose the current Fairmount Line weekly that departs Readville after commuter rail service shuts for the night to hit the cold storage warehouse at Widett Circle, extends it down the Old Colony to scoop Braintree, and expands out the schedule to nightly. If/when Massport builds out rail access from Track 61 to Marine Terminal those Southie pickups can be folded in to flesh out this nocturnal job out to its fullest.

Semi-dailies:
-- ~3 days/wk., Readville-Westwood IT. Home Depot Warehouse, major anchor customer. Shortie job, now trimmed of superfluous Stoughton miles. Quick enough that if Home Depot's service hours are amenable the nightly Braintree crew can mop this one up before beginning their main shift.
-- ~3 days/wk., Walpole-East Walpole IT. CertainTeed, major anchor customer. This shortie isn't going anywhere as long as the CT plant on that spur remains stable.

Various and sundry (blended in w/other schedules):
-- Multiple daily, Framingham-Walpole-Readville yard transfer jobs [incl. BCLR-Medfield interchange]
-- Yard switching shifts, Walpole & Readville
-- Run-as-directeds (post-outlaw shifts, extras, etc.)


I think you'd be hard-pressed to boil it down to any more bare-essentials than ^^that^^. As zero-fat as it can possibly get without cutting a little too much and inadvertently harming the B&A franchise or its shortline partners' direct Class I interchanges.
  by Ironman
 
Your posts are very well informed and I always enjoy reading them. On this topic though, everything you say makes sense when applied to the old CSX management, whom, no matter some other faults, had the long term interest of CSX in mind.

You have to remember we are dealing with a distorted Harrison vision here, maybe distorted, but his none the less. All senior management are Harrison disciples, trying to carry out what they think he might do. But they are not him so wall street is looking hard now too, when they weren't before with full confidence in Harrison.

Some one leaked the new plan to Trains, prematurely, and now CSX has to talk it back a bit so that investors don't get jittery.

I admit, I don't know who will take what in N.E. My guess is that the B&A will be spilt up among many, but none will have the resources to rebuild Castleton Bridge and won't be able to connect directly to CSX at Selkirk.

I do know that CSX will no longer be a player in any case.
  by bostontrainguy
 
Concerning Framingham, it is an important crossroads for CSX freight as mentioned. However, the town of Framingham has been very interested in buying the north yard for development. It is a valuable WATERFRONT parcel of land and worth a lot of money as residential property.

There are four yards in Framingham! It's freight yard overkill. What's the possibility of reactivating the former auto yard (unused old Adesa) and the also unused (old GM?) yard just south of it. There is plenty of room to actually connect the two and make one big yard. It would also be remarkably isolated for being in a developed area. The east leg of the wye to the mainline could easily be put back in. The west yard could still be used especially to send freight up the Framingham Secondary towards Clinton.

There's probably a deal to be made here. Framingham gets it's downtown tax-producing waterfront neighborhood and CSX gets a large sum of money and a larger more modern yard.
  by BandA
 
CSX is looking for quick money, but they are looking for easy. So, sell the B&A trackage to MA. The state will maintain the track to a higher level than CSX will going forward, especially east of SPG. Then next year if the management is still around you sell the freight ops.

The Framingham stuff sounds complicated; I assume they would have done it already if it was easy. Pond front property would be interesting to developers despite the congested roadways. I think we are getting too specific for a global topic. The pond front yard is north of the mainline and doesn't seem that large. You would have to figure out how to provide access to a hi-rise development and the pond and still keep the track in service. The yard(s) to the south of the mainline require grade-crossing busy state roads and are a bit far away from the mainline. The former GM assembly plant was the last automobile plant in New England and closed 1990-ish.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Ironman wrote:Your posts are very well informed and I always enjoy reading them. On this topic though, everything you say makes sense when applied to the old CSX management, whom, no matter some other faults, had the long term interest of CSX in mind.

You have to remember we are dealing with a distorted Harrison vision here, maybe distorted, but his none the less. All senior management are Harrison disciples, trying to carry out what they think he might do. But they are not him so wall street is looking hard now too, when they weren't before with full confidence in Harrison.

Some one leaked the new plan to Trains, prematurely, and now CSX has to talk it back a bit so that investors don't get jittery.

I admit, I don't know who will take what in N.E. My guess is that the B&A will be spilt up among many, but none will have the resources to rebuild Castleton Bridge and won't be able to connect directly to CSX at Selkirk.

I do know that CSX will no longer be a player in any case.
The one twist in assuming "anything goes with Wall St." is that all of these dispersals being fed into the wood chipper are subject to STB dockets. So somebody concerned with railroading and hearing counter-claims from concerned railroader interests will be ruling on this. That means different things for every territory up for grabs, so let's just examine this B&A scenario from the last few posts on this set of assumptions:

1) They are not, per the official denial, considering selling off the whole B&A IM franchise. Sideline all the what they say vs. what they mean intricacies about lopping Boston Div. off as a separate discussion for now, along with the will-they/won't-theys about the whole of Selkirk hub collapsing into a black hole.
2) If Worcester is staying, then Framingham classification stays with it as a non-optional functional necessity.
3) Assume they ARE itching to dump the locals out of Framingham to other carriers, and will offer up whichever of the 3 Framingham yards they don't need as an accessory to Worcester in the deal.
4) B722 Framingham-Worcester is the one and only local they can't part with, because of the physical impossibility of running Worcester IM without a Framingham classification appendage. That retained classification function and this retained territory to the classification yard encompasses the PAR, P&W, and G&U interchanges, so those 3 carriers will still get their normal service. The railroad can't function any other way.


OK...north to Leominster, east to Everett, south to Walpole & all points beyond to Boston and southeast: everything must go to anyone willing to pay! Except...hold the phone!. . .

-- What happens if Mass Coastal has its direct Plate F/286K interchange severed by P&W grabbing the Attleboro-Mansfield cluster? Or somebody else entirely 'other' breaking the chain to their Class I interchange? MassDOT gave CSX $100M in the mega-package for the Worcester Line, South Coast ownership, and down payment on the double-stack project. MC took over the South Coast franchise concurrently on promise that it would grow the interchange biz to CSX and expand its operations to suit. MassDOT committed dozens of $M's in future I.O.U.'s in the deal for interchange-boosting track upgrades that are now spent and under active construction. CSX committed for its partners who put up all this cash infusion that the interchange with a much beefed-up Class I lane would amortize all their upgrade investment in due time. Oh...and Iowa Pacific also bought Cape Rail/MC for good money a couple years into this process because that was their can't-miss valuation of MC's growth prospects.

This whirlwind of deal-making has a zillion little commitment clauses enumerated in the filings. Some of them are big and unbreakable (mostly MassDOT's), some of them are small and quite easily breakable (mostly CSX's), some of them are open to wide interpretation and either matter or don't matter depending on how skilled a lawyer tongue is doing the interpreting. But all of the players have some degree of legal skin in this game where double-crossing a partner is not an absolute 100.00% consequence-free whim. And in the case of CSX the consequence is that by co-signing to so much STB-affirmed legal verbiage about a direct Class I interchange to MC, they make much bigger craw sticking in the STB's teeth about any counter-claims from MC/IP & MassDOT about stiffing them with a rate-killing Class II middleman. Especially when there's no railroad financial logic that the STB would be able to discern for CSX's necessity in making this particular line sale...or making this particular line sale in a way that precludes *some* means of direct interchange when a microscopic tweak to the map (see MC dump scenario from earlier post) would save all this trouble of virtually killing MC's freight franchise and possibly taking all of fiscally-distressed Iowa Pacific down with it.

Verdict?: DENIED! Convincingly so, because the minute difference in how CSX draws the map causes such an outsized reversal in fortunes for all others and impugns the 9 figures worth of MassDOT investment in all-things-CSX that's still contractually ongoing.


-- What happens if Fore River has to middleman it with loss of Class I interchange? The sludge tankers of treated waste from Deer Island Treatment Facility that they interchange in Braintree go out on CSX to the Midwest to ferilizer plants (not sure on exact routing...but may go all the way to Chicago on CSX). The revenue stream from that vertically-integrated operation of state-run MA Water Resources Authority is a taxpayer fiduciary responsibility. Small (and stinky!) potatoes or not, if the rates get jacked by some other middleman carrier installed to do the handoff to CSX at Framingham it immediately becomes a state gov't responsibility to litigate for a fairer deal. Another STB adverse filing.

This one in isolation could probably be batted away without issue. But if it comes in-tandem with an MC/IP/MassDOT challenge with bigger-$$$ consequences? Or other flare-ups across the map? Then it's a good bet to also denied because now the splitting-hairs arbitrariness of the sell-offs is creating a distinct damage pattern at chopping interchanges on the final 25 miles to the hub. Also start tallying up support statements from other New England shortlines far and wide, as well as from other out-of-state CSX interchangers as paranoia starts to stir.



Now...of the 8000 miles supposedly up for grabs, how many STB dockets does that entail if they similarly just don't give a crap how hacked to pieces the resulting dispersals are? 20 dockets? 50 dockets to expunge it all? And how many of those dockets would get challenged with adverse filings if they were as ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ with their choices as ^^these^^ careless little Eastern MA screw jobs where they either forgot they were dealing with a paper trail from previous filings or inadvertently poked sleeping dogs (like a gov't agency) who any tactful actor should've/would've left to lay? At that level of fragmentation, with this degree of lizard-brain callousness?...probably quite a bunch of adverse-filings. The STB doesn't like it when somebody's causing their mailbox to overflow. And if they're careless enough at failing to cover their butts that all these counter-claims turn into hearings they get stuck in the mud at completing these dispersals, start risking outright rejections, start risking rejections turning into precedents, and start risking another round of fed regulators looking into their overall business practices. In the meantime, the shareholders they promised a quick buck...aren't getting their bucks quicker because pace of line sales is dragging from the flood of counter-claims.


It doesn't take a perfect storm to wind up in that scenario where they wind up so bogged down in paper claims that the sales start grinding to a halt. It doesn't even have to result in them losing a lot of claims...just too much time chewed until these dumps are no longer the insta-payday speculators thought they'd be getting bang-bang quick. It's simply the end result of what happens when basic, perpetual dumbarsery starts getting its perpetrator entangled in the vines. The more they brush up against those vines, the more times a pantleg gets snagged. Until even the strongest find themselves completely ensnared in their haste. I know Wall St. these days likes getting in on a good scam while the getting's good...but the market still frowns upon a scammer who's too loud, messy, and unskilled at limiting the unforced errors. For a railroad scam, unforced errors and excessive loudness = inability to pass quietly in front of the STB. "Anything goes to the first who pays" projected across 8000 miles of trackage can only end with getting snared in vines.

The new management, if they're smart at the pump-and-dump game, will use *just* enough railroader brain on these dump selections to avoid getting ensnared in vines over truly stupid and preventable stuff that isn't worth the trouble. Looping back around to this B&A example, not doing stupid stuff would entail: "Gerrymander that map to retain some token form of direct MC interchange, because it's not worth subjecting our own written word to new interpretation" and "Boning over a minor state agency in an election year for both the Governor and Attorney General might provoke an outsized political response bigger than the stakes". I'm sure you can come up with literally dozens of examples of similarly good advice for the divestment sharks with other individual properties amongst those 8000 miles. It's a very very low bar, but they can't execute these divestments at a pace that'll net that quick buck their investors want without a little bit more tact than...complete and total anti-tact.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
 
bostontrainguy wrote:Concerning Framingham, it is an important crossroads for CSX freight as mentioned. However, the town of Framingham has been very interested in buying the north yard for development. It is a valuable WATERFRONT parcel of land and worth a lot of money as residential property.

There are four yards in Framingham! It's freight yard overkill. What's the possibility of reactivating the former auto yard (unused old Adesa) and the also unused (old GM?) yard just south of it. There is plenty of room to actually connect the two and make one big yard. It would also be remarkably isolated for being in a developed area. The east leg of the wye to the mainline could easily be put back in. The west yard could still be used especially to send freight up the Framingham Secondary towards Clinton.

There's probably a deal to be made here. Framingham gets it's downtown tax-producing waterfront neighborhood and CSX gets a large sum of money and a larger more modern yard.
CSX did talk hypotheticals about what it would take to put North Yard in-play for redev about 15 years ago when the Allston relocation talks were getting heavy-n'-steady and broader statewide considerations were starting to mix into the discussion. In short, their conditions were:

-- All North Yard ops had to be relocated to CP Yard (no problem...it's physically the biggest).
-- Funding help for upgrading CP Yard for service and modernizing the CP + Nevins cluster.
-- Funding to reopen the old NYNH&H connector track between CP and the Framingham Secondary (still there buried in the weeds), and install a southbound wye leg on the connector so Walpole trips could depart CP without needing to re-cross the downtown grade crossings.
-- Retention of the Fitchburg Sec. east wye leg, and easement retained on the branch through the affected property so they can still use the runaround track and stay out of the MBTA's way should there ever be future passenger service on the branch while they're performing a runaround maneuver.
-- Framingham eases up on allowing them to use the grade crossings for Nevins-CP transfers, and backs off on some of its longstanding objections to yard hours-of-service.


Framingham violently objected to any additional CSX use of the crossings. Objected even though it was known that the state was actively negotiating to pretty much already end 90% of CSX's use of the crossings via the Beacon Park move. They objected to the HoS easing. They objected to anything that made CP more accommodating for re-use. They cried foul at not being able to build over the east wye (but hey...they have their parking lot in the triangle now!). In short...Framingham pretty much behaved like the same Framingham that scared the GM plant clear out of town and got CSX saying "nuts to these guys!" on the auto yard and all the jobs lost when it closed. Same as it ever was over there.

MassHighway had a proposal going, which at the time had a little juice behind it, to install an quick-dip underpass of Route 135 underneath Route 126 with single-lane frontages handling turns to/from the two roads to finally find some perma-solve for the grade crossing traffic, as thru 135 traffic could now go nonstop and the 126 traffic that backs up over the crossing would now feature an extremely short light cycle for turns only. It was hella expensive and has been dropped off the MassDOT Transpo Improvement Plan into "wishlist" purgatory. Framingham also hated the design. They hated an earlier (ultimately less-feasible) design for sinking 126 under 135.

Framingham is really good at hating everything to spite themselves.



Anyway...no, practically speaking it is not a big deal at all to swap out of North to CP and redevelop that property. The freight schedule over the grade crossings has already been pared back to such enormous degree that a few more crossings of 135 shouldn't scare anyone with non-hysterical memories of Conrail circa 1998 working the auto yard. Especially if the reopen of the CP-FramSec connector makes most of those Nevins-CP crossings one-way at the start or end of a local (what few of those remain). Framingham State U. was who the original hypotheticals discussion centered around for the North Yard property and state purchase of, which serves up fantastic possibilities for that site. At the time CSX's asking price was a bit too ritzy for them, and probably remained so at least until the last Jacksonville regime was deposed. But it's prime waterfront property, so they'd be correct in asking for a fortune on land that can host a fortune's worth of redev...while making sure they're going to be well taken-care of at a renovated CP before signing off.

Who knows where that leaves them today, because even an EHH-ified CSX probably can't take that sale to transaction with the hysterical denizens of Framingham sure to stand in the way with some new tantrum. They can't operate the B&A living off Nevins alone, and Westborough's all full with Transflo biz so that's not an option. Even if a bunch of locals got subject to some very brutal chops in the great sell-a-thon, the coming partitioning of the PAR system from NS is going to send a new influx of interchange loads via Worcester much bigger in scope than whatever's soon to be cut. They need 2 yards there to run the B&A franchise...full-stop. Not 3, but definitely 2.
  by spRocket
 
IAIS would certainly be a good fit for the New Rock Sub, given that CSX has already shrunk its portion of the Rock Island route. Originally, in the wake of the Rock Island liquidation, CSX ran it all the way to Bureau and the Peoria Branch to Henry. These days IAIS has all of the Peoria Branch and the main line from Utica westward.
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