• Pan Am Railways (PAR) Maintenance of Way (MoW) Activity

  • 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 BM6569
 
Wasn't there some rail dropped east (north) of royal junction on the main line earlier this year or late last year?
  by gokeefe
 
BM6569 wrote:Wasn't there some rail dropped east (north) of royal junction on the main line earlier this year or late last year?
Yes, it was reported as relay rail and as I recall it has since been installed.

I have to say this has got to be the most active track season in GRS/PAR history. I would bet that this would blow away the 2001 season when all of the work for the Downeaster was underway.
  by gokeefe
 
So here is my second "outrageous" projection in as many days:

PROJECTION

1. Summary: PAR will consider installation of CTC signals as far north as Waterville (and perhaps further) within the next 12 months.

2. Reasoning: a) Oil trains are stretching the capacity of the Freight Main Line between Portland and Waterville. As production in the Bakken increases and Irving makes the necessary adjustments to their receiving capacity for oil trains PAR is going to see substantially increased traffic from additional oil trains. The two reasons this has not happened yet are the national shortage of tank cars and the fact that the production levels in the Bakken have not quite yet reached levels which will support sending such large quantities of ND oil to NB.

b) Track improvements documented north of Bangor indicate substantial preparations are underway to improve track conditions and remove most if not all standing slow orders.

c) PAR will require CTC signals in order to manage all of the additional traffic.

3. Discussion: As with my previous hypothesis I think there is plenty of reason to believe that this won't happen. However given evidence of major trackwork north of Bangor I am no longer convinced that PAR will not be looking at further improvements between Portland and Waterville in order to be better able to manage and dispatch trains along this section.

There is no good reason for them to lose so much as a dime getting these trains through as quickly as possible and for the lowest cost possible. Doing so will require signal installation between Portland and Waterville in order to best utilize available track capacity. I believe the hypothesis becomes a near certainty if in fact PAR does get contracts for additional traffic. We will have to see. Thank you in advance for what I'm sure will be a very illuminating discussion. Feel free to PM me with any details as necessary.
  by newpylong
 
That certainly is outrageous :). You won't see CTC installed up there unless someone pays for it. There is still plenty of capacity if track speed is increased and sidings are rebuilt.
  by gokeefe
 
newpylong wrote:That certainly is outrageous :). You won't see CTC installed up there unless someone pays for it. There is still plenty of capacity if track speed is increased and sidings are rebuilt.
Ok. And that's exactly what I was sort of pointing at. The implication is that District 1 is going to be substantially rebuilt from Royal Junction all the way to Mattawamkeag. Royal Junction - Danville Junction has already received substantial attention. It would appear to be the case that we should expect trackwork between Waterville and Danville Junction within 3-5 years and trackwork between Waterville and Bangor within 1-3 years (if not sooner).

I think that is not only interesting but obviously quite surprising if we think back to where we were at the beginning of this year. No one (other than those with prior knowledge) would have believed it if anyone on this thread had said that the Mattawamkeag yard was going to be rebuilt within the next 365 days.
  by CN9634
 
Not true at all. Railroad operations over the past few years have improved and prioritization of projects has been the goal. Given the amount of time in a give work season, the amount of resources, the amount of projects and the amount of money (technically part of resources) then things pile up quickly. Just because significant work hasn't been done doesn't mean they didn't want work to be done. The plan of revitalizing the line up here in the east has been in the works for a few years now and the oil movements were the catalyst. This has been clearly known without any "inside information"
  by Rockingham Racer
 
My understanding [correct me if I'm wrong] is that the transport of Bakken [and other] oil is a temporary boon to the railroads, and will become less lucrative with fewer trains as pipelines continue to be put into the ground. OTOH, one could ask if Irving is projecting a pipeline to arrive at their facility in the future? If so, District 1 will be just fine without CTC. It will also be fine without CTC if more passing sidings of a suitable length are installed. There are many subdivisions on western railroads that handle 8+ trains a day on them operating under train orders from the dispatcher.
  by pnolette
 
Just noticed today a new signal base and signal box at MP 180,Five miles east of CPF 185,or Royal Jct.Don't know how many blocks they are installing,or if this is going to be the new approach signal to CPF 185.Five miles does seem to be a long block though.
  by gokeefe
 
pnolette wrote:Just noticed today a new signal base and signal box at MP 180,Five miles east of CPF 185,or Royal Jct.Don't know how many blocks they are installing,or if this is going to be the new approach signal to CPF 185.Five miles does seem to be a long block though.
Is there a siding in the area?
  by pnolette
 
The nearest siding is Walnut to Royal Jct.,which is four miles west.The next closest siding would be New Gloucester,which is 7 miles east.
  by Highball
 
Rockingham Racer wrote:My understanding [correct me if I'm wrong] is that the transport of Bakken [and other] oil is a temporary boon to the railroads, and will become less lucrative with fewer trains as pipelines continue to be put into the ground. .
Both CP Rail and BNSF are expanding their ability to move oil from the North Dakota / South Saskatchewan Bakken shale source. For example, as stated recently by CP........ " It’s a roaring business. In 2009, when Calgary-based Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. started dabbling in crude oil transportation, it moved 500 of its black barrel-shaped cars out of the basin. Last year, its oil trains carried 13,000 cars and soon CP could be moving 70,000 cars or more a year out of the North Dakota Bakken tight-oil field alone.

In addition, the railways can offer flexibility to producers that pipelines can’t. They can scale up or down quickly. Because their tracks are in place, they can provide transportation now, while pipeline permitting and construction takes years. CP’s energy and merchandise vice-president, said in an recent interview......" We have never suggested rail will replace pipelines, there is a role to play as a supplement.”

I recently heard a radio interview, whereby a marketing executive for the Canadian Oil Industry stated the only means to deliver crude oil from source to refining is by pipeline...........the so called expert needs to do further research it seems.

I understand Irving has completed the expansion of their rail receiving facility for crude shipments, in Saint John N.B. Further to the Irving owned NB Southern RR, in the last 16 months, their locomotive roster has increased from 14 to 36 with an additional 80 employees hired for their New Brunswick Southern RR / Eastern Maine RR / Maine Northern RR operations.
  by gokeefe
 
Rockingham Racer wrote:My understanding [correct me if I'm wrong] is that the transport of Bakken [and other] oil is a temporary boon to the railroads, and will become less lucrative with fewer trains as pipelines continue to be put into the ground. OTOH, one could ask if Irving is projecting a pipeline to arrive at their facility in the future? If so, District 1 will be just fine without CTC. It will also be fine without CTC if more passing sidings of a suitable length are installed. There are many subdivisions on western railroads that handle 8+ trains a day on them operating under train orders from the dispatcher.
The pipeline operators are just as aware, if not even more so, of the risks associated with building pipelines to the shale fields. Some say that the production curves of shale fields can have a very steep drop off after an initial production surge. This would make it all that much less likely to be profitable for the pipeline companies. Regardless, all indications are that rail will continue to play a role that is more significant than usual for oil transport. How much so is yet to be determined. We will only really know once the production expansion in North Dakota tapers off (which it has yet to do!).
  by obienick
 
gokeefe wrote:The pipeline operators are just as aware, if not even more so, of the risks associated with building pipelines to the shale fields. Some say that the production curves of shale fields can have a very steep drop off after an initial production surge. This would make it all that much less likely to be profitable for the pipeline companies. Regardless, all indications are that rail will continue to play a role that is more significant than usual for oil transport. How much so is yet to be determined. We will only really know once the production expansion in North Dakota tapers off (which it has yet to do!).
Yes, production curves are only known for a few years as the drilling is only a few years old. But, wells can be refracked to restimulate production.
  by obienick
 
Rockingham Racer wrote:My understanding [correct me if I'm wrong] is that the transport of Bakken [and other] oil is a temporary boon to the railroads, and will become less lucrative with fewer trains as pipelines continue to be put into the ground. OTOH, one could ask if Irving is projecting a pipeline to arrive at their facility in the future? If so, District 1 will be just fine without CTC. It will also be fine without CTC if more passing sidings of a suitable length are installed. There are many subdivisions on western railroads that handle 8+ trains a day on them operating under train orders from the dispatcher.
That's not what I've heard from industry. It's supposed to be about 20 to 30 years before the Bakken is fully connected with pipelines. Drilling is simply occurring too fast to keep up with the permitting, ROW acquisition, and construction of pipelines. In fact, drilling has occurred so fast in order to lock in leases at older/lower rates (like $5/acre vs. $1500+/acre and 10% royalties vs. 12-15%) and due to 10-year low natural gas prices that 34% of Bakken gas wells are being flared off, some for even over a year, as there is nowhere for the gas to go.

If the Keystone XL wasn't proposed by Canadians bringing their tar sands oil, the Bakken would be connected much quicker IMHO, as the Bakken would be connected to the Keystone XL, IIRC.
  by gokeefe
 
pnolette wrote:The nearest siding is Walnut to Royal Jct.,which is four miles west.The next closest siding would be New Gloucester,which is 7 miles east.
Does that kind of distance make sense for braking applications when running really long trains? Obviously the train wouldn't be loaded if it were coming from Waterville towards Royal Junction but it might matter nonetheless.

I find the whole situation very interesting. I think its also worth remembering that CWR was installed recently in this area which would potentially make it easier to get track circuits running in the area (no need to install signal jumpers on all of the rail joints).
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