• Pan Am Worcester Main Line

  • 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 BostonUrbEx
 
johnpbarlow wrote:Massachusetts' purchase of Pan Am's Worcester main is not listed as either a near term or long term freight rail project in MassDOT's latest edition (May 2018) of the commonwealth's rail plan.
That's because it is an MWRA goal for MassDOT to acquire the line, and the idea came about very quickly after SEPO derailed and spilled a bunch of dirty dirt near the Wachusett Reservoir.
  by johnpbarlow
 
That's very interesting! I Googled "MWRA Wachusett Pan Am" and found a link to a January 2018 75 slide MWRA preso of which the final 11 slides pertain to how to prevent a Pan Am derailment by fixing up the track from current FRA Class 1 standards to Class IV.

Here's URL to the MWRA presentation: http://www.mwra.com/monthly/bod/present ... 011718.pdf

I've attached Snip-it screen captures of two of the cost summary slides...
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Last edited by MEC407 on Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:24 am, edited 1 time in total. Reason: unnecessary quoting
  by neman2
 
Interesting that Mass DOT estimates the cost of replacing 7.6 miles of track and ties at about $14,000,000 and Pan Am estimates the cost at $7,000,000 ! Also ironic that if this does happen Pan Am would be required to maintain track to class 4 (60 mph max freight) but trains will be still restricted to 10 mph.
  by gokeefe
 
Probably the difference between with signals and without.
  by johnpbarlow
 
The post-upgrade 10mph MWRA speed restriction would be for just the 7.6 miles of track in the Wachusett watershed but I'm guessing MWRA intends it apply to MBTA trains, too, should passenger service ever be initiated over that route?

Q: wonder if, as part of an upgrade to FRA Class 4 track, Pan Am would get Worcester main clearance improvements to plate H to accommodate domestic double stacks (I have no idea where the height restrictions are between CSX CP-45 Worcester and Hill Yard)?
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  by newpylong
 
Possibly but for what purpose? Can't go anywhere east/north of Ayer and the Hill Yard is owned by PAS and part of NS service lanes.

It doesn't get any more asinine than rebuilding and maintaining to Class IV and restricting to 10 mph.
  by johnpbarlow
 
I don't have a specific reason why Pan Am or other entity might want double stack clearance on the Worcester Main but as long as public money is to be spent to acquire and upgrade the track, why not use that opportunity to raise clearances (again, I don't know if that is easy or hard to do on the Worcester Main as I don't know what the obstructions are)? But if this line were cleared to plate H, at some point in the future both 20' 2" high" AutoMax auto carriers could be forwarded to Ayer (perhaps the formerly CSX-leased auto transload facility might be re-opened?) as well as double stacked containers interchanged with CSX (or perhaps a successor owner of the B&A main). And obviously Pan Am Southern operation/ownership, if it continues as is, would have to evolve to accommodate this. My guess is clearing the Worcester Main using Massachusetts money is more likely than seeing anyone (eg, Massachusetts, NS, PAR) pony up the TBD but large amount of $$ necessary to raise Hoosac Tunnel clearances.

As a somewhat related example, when MassDOT acquired the Framingham Secondary from CSX (a line that has little to do with MBTA commuter rail service) as part of CSX double stack clearance project on the B&A, MassDOT dropped new rail and began upgrading the track on this branch line that sees only a pair of daily CSX freights whose consists continue to shrink.
  by jaymac
 
Just guessing that the Class 4 conditions with Class 1 MAS for the watershed area might serve 2 purposes: provide -- as noted -- overkill protection for the watershed stretch of track and provide a negotiations cushion.
60 MPH was the MAS during double-track and ABS passenger-service time.
  by KSmitty
 
Double stack clearance is a pretty standard consideration in any publically funded project. When road bridges are rebuilt, DOTs usually try to raise heights to clear full doublestacks. In this way the railroads can essentially pawn the responsibility for clearing the line off on government agencies, as long as time isnt a consideration.

The Worcester Main may not have a current or near term outlook for doublestack, but given its key role in the region, and the potential for intermodal out of Waterville and Saint John, it would be a wise thing to ask for, because the long term potential certainly exists.
  by BostonUrbEx
 
I highly doubt the Worcester Main would be used for double stack to Ayer because of NS, but east of Ayer is straight PAR without NS. If PAR gets double stack to Portland, Waterville, and/or anywhere between or beyond, then they're going to want to play off both CSX and NS for run-through trains... whatever will bring them the most money, which would be forcing CSX and NS to compete for traffic in and out of Maine.
  by CPF363
 
The state is looking to significantly lower the risk of derailment in and around the reservoir with this project. Not sure that one can read any more into it beyond that. The track structure over the entire line is old and in need of replacement. It is surprising that the line is getting this much attention considering that it has seen a significant amount of big freight movements since April of 1990 and for much of that period the line's speed limit was 25 and 30 MPH respectively, to include the watershed area, so it is hard to understand why they are restricting the speed limit to be 10 MPH even after the improvements are completed. At one time there were as many as eight trains a day over the line and those trains were much bigger than the ones that are using it today. It is not that the reservoir portion of the line has gone unnoticed, Guilford installed some welded rail between Greendale and Sterling but much of that may be worn out by now.
  by rustyrails
 
SRS has been working near Fitchburg. Are they headed down to Burncoat?
  by rustyrails
 
Just looked at the rails between Burncoat and Newborn. A lot of missing steel in the middle of the rails.
  by rustyrails
 
The tracks near Burncoat crossing are getting pretty bad. Does anybody know if any rehab work is scheduled in the near future???
  by rustyrails
 
Burncoats area rails needs a lot of TLC....
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