• Pan Am Southern / Patriot Corridor Discussion

  • 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

  by QB 52.32
 
newpylong wrote:Who is to say that once the tunnel is raised, Ayer expanded, the pony doesn't increase it's investment to get the B&M back up to 40 MPH like it was in 2009? With reduced transit times, the "network advantage" of CSX is eroded. All of a sudden NS becomes more competitive from the West and South. They can begin to egress traffic from the North in a more expedited fashion if PAR cooperates, etc. Instead of just sucking basement traffic they can go after middle tier traffic.

There is no question CSX has the better lanes here in the Northeast, but their hedge fund-led Draconian railroading methods of the recent past is causing much concern among shippers.
At best, NS could save a service day by getting back to the best the B&M could ever offer, one day slower than CSX or single-driver truck, but a big hurdle is how to pay for the improvements to do so.

While concerns from unanswered questions remain for CSX intermodal with implementation of PSR, my experience leads me to believe odds favor no erosion in the position of CSX where it holds the advantages (not only in the Northeast). There also has to be some consideration that CSX's strategy will be to gain and then use a more efficient, lower cost operating position over NS to attack them commercially, and, if so, how that might play into this.
  by gokeefe
 
That would go against the idea that they are trying to improve their operating ratio. No price cuts coming from those guys anytime soon.
  by CN9634
 
QB 52.32 wrote:
At best, NS could save a service day by getting back to the best the B&M could ever offer, one day slower than CSX or single-driver truck, but a big hurdle is how to pay for the improvements to do so.

While concerns from unanswered questions remain for CSX intermodal with implementation of PSR, my experience leads me to believe odds favor no erosion in the position of CSX where it holds the advantages (not only in the Northeast). There also has to be some consideration that CSX's strategy will be to gain and then use a more efficient, lower cost operating position over NS to attack them commercially, and, if so, how that might play into this.
Well if any of what you suggest is true then NS wouldn't have any intermodal franchise (that grew 20% in revenue, 8% in volume at H1), and certainly not one that has the preferred routing of the #1, and #3 domestic IMCs by volume. Also, they wouldn't be considering raising the clearances in the tunnel ( which they are after doing a soft raise a decade plus ago). So unfortunately I have to disagree with what your opinion, mostly because what is actually happening is the exact opposite...
Last edited by MEC407 on Sat Aug 25, 2018 5:41 pm, edited 1 time in total. Reason: excessive quoting
  by QB 52.32
 
gokeefe wrote:That would go against the idea that they are trying to improve their operating ratio. No price cuts coming from those guys anytime soon.
Depending upon how you define "anytime soon", CSX's 3-year plan runs through 2020 and includes merchandise/intermodal traffic growth ramped up in the out years. Adding new traffic with precision price cuts coincident with a lower cost operation, leveraged to network strengths and taking advantage of rail economics that give the biggest bang for the buck is surely an option to lower the operating ratio. To the extent their plan is successfully executed and directly or indirectly affects PAS, the time frame surely beats NS' ability to improve their New England intermodal competitive position.
CN9634 wrote:Well if any of what you suggest is true then NS wouldn't have any intermodal franchise (that grew 20% in revenue, 8% in volume at H1), and certainly not one that has the preferred routing of the #1, and #3 domestic IMCs by volume. Also, they wouldn't be considering raising the clearances in the tunnel ( which they are after doing a soft raise a decade plus ago). So unfortunately I have to disagree with what your opinion, mostly because what is actually happening is the exact opposite...
It's just simply fact that NS doesn't hold the service advantage over CSX in the Northeast, that they're a couple of days slower and more unrealiable in the Chicago-New England lane and that the UMAX Chicago interchange re-structuring is really a lot of nothing that doesn't change the situation. This does not suggest NS "wouldn't have any intermodal franchise", but one qualitatively competing more on price and less on service. And, while NS posted very good 1H18 intermodal numbers, particularly with unit revenue growth, they're at least a couple of years farther along than CSX in their plans, though already bested by a bigger than expected CSX OR leap; hauling traffic for IMC's is but one of five intermodal lines-of-business and it's interesting how very much traffic the #1 IMC gives non-preferred CSX but how the #2 IMC gives non-preferred NS none; and, when it comes to PAS, you have to ask how much of the plan to raise the tunnel clearance is really just a hope at this point given NS' inability to financially justify the cost.
  by newpylong
 
Operating Ratio, the metric of how $hitty your service can be while still making most amount of money at the same time. Luckily for customers and employees (and unlucky for CSX's), it's low on Squires' list to improve.
  by QB 52.32
 
It's not that low on his list since his 5-year plan through 2020 is to get from ~75 down to 65/below, including partly through cost reductions coming mainly from reducing the number of employees. And, if CSX is able to open the spread greater than 5, to hell with everything else, it'll quickly become #1 on his list. The consequence of Squires' plan, as it pertains to PAS within NS' intermodal network, is that there will be no additional intermodal terminals, so that puts a pretty good damper on speculation of a new western MA/CT terminal.
  by newpylong
 
Their OR is already below 65. In contrast, CSX's jumped from high 60s to high 50s overnight with Precision (rape and pillage) railroading. That should tell you something.

On the last NS shareholder call Squires repeatedly told investors his number one priority for improved shareholder value is improved service and revenue growth and that a lower OR would be a secondary effect.

Of course Norfolk Southern is not going to build another terminal in Western MA or CT - there is no purpose with XO and Ayer already existing within dray distance. Not only that, CT is not in their service lane, any IM service down there would be marketed and operated by Pan Am.

If their market is to grow in New England significantly then their partner has to increase velocity (fix track, tunnel) and reduce dwell time (fix Ayer).
  by gokeefe
 
I find it interesting that Ayer has become a chokepoint practically overnight with the introduction of intermodal service. I can't recall it ever being such a big deal before.
  by newpylong
 
gokeefe wrote:I find it interesting that Ayer has become a chokepoint practically overnight with the introduction of intermodal service. I can't recall it ever being such a big deal before.

The ramp in the Hill Yard has been in use for 20+ years it certainly hasn't been overnight. Traffic coming down from Maine and 10,000 foot trains from Chicago have made it reach critical mass.
  by Trinnau
 
Rockingham Racer wrote:Dopey question: how about using Lawrence more?
Too far away from the customers and on the wrong side of the PAR/PAS line. The convergence at Ayer is with the Intermodal, Auto and regular carload service. As Newpy said, regular long trains of 9-10k feet, two to three times a day plus the traffic from Maine are what's killing it. Good problem to have though, traffic being up. Better move would be to utilize Fitchburg more.
  by lordsigma12345
 
I see Pan Am train EDPL quite a lot in Springfield. Is that train considered a Pan Am Southern operation or is that a Pan Am only operation with track rights on PAS territory? I wasn't sure if all the trains now operating on the PAS territory were under the PAS umbrella or if PAS operations just encompass the Norfolk Southern trains operated by Pan Am crews on the Mechanicville to Ayer corridor.
  by newpylong
 
PAS. They own and operate Rotterdam to Willows East and everything in between with the exception of the Worcester Main. PAR owns that and has rights over PAS to reach it as it is their only direct interchange to CSX.
  by CN9634
 
QB 52.32 wrote:
gokeefe wrote:That would go against the idea that they are trying to improve their operating ratio. No price cuts coming from those guys anytime soon.
Depending upon how you define "anytime soon", CSX's 3-year plan runs through 2020 and includes merchandise/intermodal traffic growth ramped up in the out years. Adding new traffic with precision price cuts coincident with a lower cost operation, leveraged to network strengths and taking advantage of rail economics that give the biggest bang for the buck is surely an option to lower the operating ratio. To the extent their plan is successfully executed and directly or indirectly affects PAS, the time frame surely beats NS' ability to improve their New England intermodal competitive position.
CN9634 wrote:Well if any of what you suggest is true then NS wouldn't have any intermodal franchise (that grew 20% in revenue, 8% in volume at H1), and certainly not one that has the preferred routing of the #1, and #3 domestic IMCs by volume. Also, they wouldn't be considering raising the clearances in the tunnel ( which they are after doing a soft raise a decade plus ago). So unfortunately I have to disagree with what your opinion, mostly because what is actually happening is the exact opposite...
It's just simply fact that NS doesn't hold the service advantage over CSX in the Northeast, that they're a couple of days slower and more unrealiable in the Chicago-New England lane and that the UMAX Chicago interchange re-structuring is really a lot of nothing that doesn't change the situation. This does not suggest NS "wouldn't have any intermodal franchise", but one qualitatively competing more on price and less on service. And, while NS posted very good 1H18 intermodal numbers, particularly with unit revenue growth, they're at least a couple of years farther along than CSX in their plans, though already bested by a bigger than expected CSX OR leap; hauling traffic for IMC's is but one of five intermodal lines-of-business and it's interesting how very much traffic the #1 IMC gives non-preferred CSX but how the #2 IMC gives non-preferred NS none; and, when it comes to PAS, you have to ask how much of the plan to raise the tunnel clearance is really just a hope at this point given NS' inability to financially justify the cost.
Well they don't have doublestack and they deal with Pan Am, so in New England they don't hold any service advantage with their severely over capacity and inefficient Ayer ramp, no doublestack and yet another emphasis on dealing with Pan Am. CSX owns the line and has two ramps, as well as a foothold in Intransit right off their property in Worcester.... so that much is obvious for New England.

Now the Northeast... Mechanicville & Taylor cover better footprint in conjunction with Croxton & E-Rail. Then you add in Allentown, Harrisburg (Rutherford too), & Greencastle and the Northeast is locked pretty tight compared to CSX's Kearny, Philly, 'Cuse and C-Burg. Hunt has over 85,000 containers and Hub is second at about 40,000... so not only is Hunt #1 but they are #1 by more than double the next guy. So losing some volume of Hunt's in New England is just due to the low capacity at Ayer. The bad news is actually for HUB, which is choked out even worse and just sold off their MODE broker, so their New England portfolio will likely suffer... unless they buy another IMC (in the works) and hedge volumes. My point all in all is a real Ayer expansion is needed for growth in New England for NS, but in totality of their 'Northeast' business they certainly have a large share. And lets be honest.... CSX old regime's thinking was a bit off in many cases.... Valleyfield? Really?
  by Backshophoss
 
CSX Worcester yard is already "Overloaded" as this was carved out of any available land in the yard,and add to that lousy access to the interstates and
Mass Pike,limited access hours(NO weekend access),CSX Wants MassDOT to fund projects at W Springfield to improve access there from the interstates/
Mass Pike,and there's some expansion space for trailer/container storage,that's just not there at Worcester.
PAR/PAS need to speed up service on the B&M mainline,DO the needed tunnel work to clear double stacks,and deliver as advertised on the
time the trailer/container is ready for pickup! That's the only way to win customers away from CSX!
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