• CSX to acquire Pan Am Railways

  • Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.
Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.

Moderator: MEC407

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  by QB 52.32
 
From my vantage point, there remains possibility at this time that CSX will use their 50% ownership and control of PAS to facilitate movement of at least some B&A traffic east of Springfield onto PAS to make way for the E-W passenger rail project, or at least to provide a hedge until the full plan is possibly hammered out over time. For ~$1b. PAS could be brought up to snuff, including full overhead clearance, to provide nearly the same utility for CSX. It could very well be part of their strategy in purchasing PAR/50% of PAS for the re-structuring of their freight franchise east of Springfield to accommodate metropolitan Boston and passenger rail growth with transit-oriented development at the nexus. I would think that's an important part of the sausage likely being made at this time in "the rooms where it happens".

When it comes to the possibility of a Portland, ME intermodal terminal through the lens of CSX's proposed purchase, on the one hand they will need at some likely point to replace Worcester to make way for transit-oriented development, but on the other hand Portland would be at the northern-most end of the range from which to serve the marketplace; on the one hand it could be a promise made or political quid pro quo, but on the other hand there is history of promises, including backed by capital investment, that don't come to fruition over time; and, on the one hand the ability to serve large inbound headhaul customers in southern NH and eastern MA as well as the backhaul Maine paper market, but on the other hand the contemporary case of the unused easy opportunity for NS, Hunt and Hub City Ayer-Waterville service, especially once the water began, if the economics were superior to a well-managed trucking operation off a Central MA ramp.
  by newpylong
 
Re: your first paragraph, non of that is going to happen or factors into the purchase of PAR. If they could have left out PAS from the purchase they would have. They literally don't care or have any plans other than hoping to exit the venture asap.
  by bostontrainguy
 
The only thing that may upset that applecart is if the State makes a deal too good to pass up on the B&A and CSX shifts a bunch of stuff to PAS and brings the trains down a reconnected and rebuilt Fitchburg - Framingham line. It's a long shot but it's possible. There's a lot of money involved and Massachusetts is looking for something from CSX for their East-West Passenger Rail Plan. Moving stuff off the B&A would get brownie points but the State has to agree to the Leominster line rebuild and maybe even pay for it.

The ROW is there, albeit with gaps, but it could be done. It's rare to have such available options. Stranger things have happened like the rebirth of the G&U.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr. Train Guy, I know and respect that you are a passenger train aficionado, even if I am no longer particularly such (rode too many of the "good ones" back in my day). But I must continue to ask you and the others at this topic, "How did this proposed transaction become all about passenger trains?"

To me it looked like Timmy had enough of playing with his Lionels, and rather than having a tantrum and throwing them against a brink wall, he decided to "put them on E-Bay" and sell 'em - maybe with hopes of an Ambassadorship during a Trump 47.

I doubt if there is any concern that the publicly funded FRA Class 4 over which the MBTA and NNEPRA (Amtrak) presently operate trains is in any kind of jeopardy, but why should this transaction, which seems to me the public benefit will be derived within expanded industrial and maritime development particularly in Maine will come about with the good paying Union jobs that will follow, be muddied by the interest groups seeking additional passenger trains?

I'd like to think that Chessie is not just seeking to buy PAR with the intent of liquidating it even further than this already rinky dink property (sorry Mr. Newpy and anyone else who have worked on it) has been (the photos here showing the weeds and otherwise FRA Class 1 leading to a principal interchange at Keag and the engine as good as on fire tell it all to me). Rather, I'd like to think Chessie, as she purrs away at 500 Water, has visions of the sparsely populated land, rich in renewable natural resources best handled with rail transportation, two maritime ports (possibly three should she gain access to Searsport), yielding fruitful benefits to the "bottom line" - and hence shareholder value, is what it is all about.
  by bostontrainguy
 
Mr. Norman, it's not us. It's the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that has made this all about passenger rail. They spend money like crazy on such things and if they come up with a proposal that interest CSX, I can see them agreeing to rerouting SOME, not ALL, trains via the PAS. Hell the last deal they did was for $100 million dollars! They are trying to play hardball now with the public opposition to the merger. You can see where this is going.

Framingham and Mansfield manifest stuff could go via Fitchburg through Leominster as I mentioned. That may actually be a better routing at least from Rotterdam and Mechanicville. Faster non-stop premium DS and auto-carrier trains could still run on the B&A from Selkirk and Voorheesville to Worcester and Ayer. There are options.

I don't know what we are going to end up with here. We'll just have to wait and see what develops I guess.
  by QB 52.32
 
CSX's existing franchise, which could be threatened to some degree by a Canadian incursion if PAR were to go that way and is under strategic pressure from Boston metropolitan and (reasonably sensible) passenger rail growth and transit-oriented development pressures, is worth multiples the value up north. And, most of what can be gained up north has marginal value that I believe does not rise to the level to justify what CSX is giving up to make this deal. To not recognize these factors, I believe, is a mistake when looking at CSX's play for PAR and half of PAS. And, writing from experience, the only place the real answers would be found are in the executive suites at 500 Water Street, not from rumors, press releases, or within this thread. Other than that it's all about probabilities weighted by source credibility.
newpylong wrote:Re: your first paragraph, non of that is going to happen or factors into the purchase of PAR. If they could have left out PAS from the purchase they would have. They literally don't care or have any plans other than hoping to exit the venture asap.
And, speaking of that...right, even though you've recently pushed the rumor that CSX wants the Hoosac cleared simply for detours which makes very little sense. And, you're someone who has already mistaken CSX's strategic re-structuring of their New England franchise as a "retreat" from the Boston market. Time will tell.
  by roberttosh
 
If the Leominster branch is reconnected to the Fitchburg, how does that do anything for the Worcester intermodal and PW traffic as well as the E Brookfield auto business? They surely aren't going to backtrack West over an even more congested passenger route from Framingham. The problem is, once you get to Framingham, you've already gone past where most of the business is going to and from. As has been discussed before, there is just no realistic, efficient way of running a fleet of trains from Selkirk over to the PAS then back to the B&A. Even if there were, I still think CSX would have less than zero interest in pursuing that option. The B&A checks all the boxes for them and would simply need to be fully double tracked on the states dime in order to accommodate an influx of passenger trains. I think CSX would simply walk away from the deal rather than be forced to exit the B&A.
  by NYC27
 
QB 52.32 wrote:From my vantage point, there remains possibility at this time that CSX will use their 50% ownership and control of PAS to facilitate movement of at least some B&A traffic east of Springfield onto PAS to make way for the E-W passenger rail project, or at least to provide a hedge until the full plan is possibly hammered out over time. For ~$1b. PAS could be brought up to snuff, including full overhead clearance, to provide nearly the same utility for CSX. It could very well be part of their strategy in purchasing PAR/50% of PAS for the re-structuring of their freight franchise east of Springfield to accommodate metropolitan Boston and passenger rail growth with transit-oriented development at the nexus. I would think that's an important part of the sausage likely being made at this time in "the rooms where it happens".
Folks, CSX already has made a deal to sell their half of PAS, it is in the STB filings. The only reason it isn't being done right now is because no one has a sense of what PAS financials will look as a stand alone company especially with all the traffic shifts. They don't want two trans-Mass mainlines. They are only buying PAS because this was a package sale.

BTW Why would CSX pay to enlarge the Hoosac Tunnel as a backup route when NS wouldn't pay to do it as their primary route? The length of the Hoosac is equal to all the tunnels NS had to enlarge to make the Heartland Corridor happen...you can look up what the cost of that was.
  by roberttosh
 
bostontrainguy wrote: Sat Jul 24, 2021 9:07 am Framingham and Mansfield manifest stuff could go via Fitchburg through Leominster as I mentioned. That may actually be a better routing at least from Rotterdam and Mechanicville.
Not sure how you think that would be a better routing when it's dozens of more miles and requires a run around at Rott Jct in order to get to Selkirk. Much of 436's train is traffic going to or from the south so there is no way that that train can avoid having to go to Selkirk.
  by QB 52.32
 
NYC27 wrote: Sat Jul 24, 2021 9:44 amFolks, CSX already has made a deal to sell their half of PAS, it is in the STB filings. The only reason it isn't being done right now is because no one has a sense of what PAS financials will look as a stand alone company especially with all the traffic shifts. They don't want two trans-Mass mainlines. They are only buying PAS because this was a package sale.
I have read the filings and did not see any language indicating that CSX has already made a deal to sell their 50% ownership and control of PAS, only specifications as to how the deal would be unwound, in the event either party wants to pursue that action moving forward from go-day.

Perhaps they already have a plan in place to get out of PAS, but from where I sit PAS remains a possible play within the E-W passenger rail project over the strategic planning horizon for CSX and MA DOT that both sides very likely knew would be part of the dance, even with an eventual CSX exit from PAS, though, perhaps, with trackage rights, and, of course, sale of the B&A from at least CP-98 to CP-45.
  by taracer
 
F74265A wrote: Fri Jul 23, 2021 4:46 pm This knowledgeable report on currently available track capacity strongly supports my outsiders view that more track capacity, plus more crews, likely will be required in Worcester for this to work
Which is why I've been saying they are going to have to put at least another track on the branch from CP45 to Barber, there is no where else to expand in Worcester.

I wouldn't be surprised if they put a few tracks in where the old B&M yard used to be. Kind of like CP did on the old D&H yard in Waterveliet for the oil and ethanol trains to the port of Albany.
  by roberttosh
 
Back in the 90's they were able to run many more freights than today as well as a few inland route Amtrak trains on a single track railroad with sidings between Worcester and Springfield so what makes anyone think that if the line is fully double tracked it won't be able to accommodate the additional passenger train traffic? I'm assuming there are also places along the route where a third track or passing siding could be added if necessary. Keep in mind that the B&A is mostly an overnight railroad whereas the passenger traffic will mostly be daytime.
  by QB 52.32
 
Inland service consisted of 2 roundtrips with interference, importantly, with some of the premium traffic and CSX wanting out. The strategic issue might come from an eventual high-density, high-speed passenger railroad as far west as CP-98 with the typical issues of ownership, capacity/slots, and liability (big one for CSX) that would have to be hammered out. Unless Covid materially changes pre-Covid trends, though with momentum already in place, looking at it, I believe there's possibility for the eventuality. In the initial report on the E-W passenger rail project, there is recognition of CSX's requirements and the added costs these requirements bring, as well as recommendation to explore with CSX alternatives. The alternative of investing in PAS for utility to move at least some of the B&A freight traffic east of Springfield over to PAS looks to me to provide one such cheaper alternative.
Last edited by QB 52.32 on Sat Jul 24, 2021 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by roberttosh
 
Again, if Conrail was able to accommodate 12 or more additional long, slow moving freight trains and 2 pairs of inland route Amtrak trains over a single track railroad, then how many passenger trains will need to be added before they run out of capacity on what will likely be a fully double tracked line between Worcester and Springfield? Pre-PSR wasn't the double track Chicago line handling 8-10 Amtrak trains and 50+ freights per day?
  by taracer
 
Long and heavy is debatable. A "big" train back then may be around 7000 tons.

I know I've been around since shortly after CSX took over Conrail, and while it is true that there were more trains, alot of them were also short and fast van trains. Or second sections of other trains. These trains could make track speed over the single track sections, so hold time was minimal. There was also a robust crew base so they could quickly recrew any train that outlawed. I can assure you none of these points are the case today. The east end B&A crew base was decimated after the closure of Beacon Park. Selkirk based crew were heavily cut as well.

They would have to roll PSR back to be able to run the way they did 15-20 years ago. Do you really think they are going to do that?
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