• Wacky idea: Abandon CSX main through Rochester?

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

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  by BR&P
 
A few years ago I floated an idea on here which to some bordered on blasphemy, and I think the thread even got locked. But over the past few years we have seen the removal of the Rochester Yardmaster, RG&E uses no coal, Kodak's plant will be converted entirely to gas, and so on. The new regime at CSX will be looking at all options and as RMB357 says in another thread, real estate will get a careful consideration. Who knows what radical measures CSX's new honcho will endorse? So - since I occasionally pour gas on the fire :wink: here's something to consider. Does it make more sense now than 3 years ago?

Change the interchange with R&S to Genesee Junction. All Kodak traffic goes R&S. Charlotte branch can be abandoned - if they want, put a connection back in north of Dewey Ave to serve the box plant but probably not worth it.

Spend money on Maplewood/Genesee Junction - clear it out all the way to the property line, and put in as many tracks as they can.

Double track the West Shore. The right of way is there, it USED to be double track so just put back the second track. STB approval would not be an issue I believe because it's not a new route. Big problem would be the NIMBY's in Pittsford. Probably putting a bridge back in at Monroe Ave would be helpful to avoid whistle blowing. LA&L could get dispatcher's permission to open up and run the mile or two to the yard.

Build a new passenger station at Henrietta (yeah, I know, new one going up downtown, use it for Trailways or something.)

THEN: Abandon from Chili Jct, through downtown Rochester, all the way to Fairport. Maybe keep a stub up to the old can plant - what is that, pasta sauce now? Rochester gets to open up their views of the falls without those dirty old trains there, the whole wall of elevated ROW can come down (they were all excited to fill in the Inner Loop because it "divided" things.)

Taxes saved. City of Rochester might even help with some demolition costs. Sell off real estate. Keep trains from stopping in the less attractive areas to reduce theft. Fewer track-miles to maintain.

I know, I know, it just CAN'T be done and it's a terrible idea! But I'll post it anyway, it should be good for generating some forum traffic, anyway! Image

(FWIW, I would not be happy to see this happen. There is so much history - railroad-wise and personally - in the way things are now. I'm just throwing it out there for outside-the-box thinking.)
  by jr
 
The Amtrak station has to be in one of the worst locations in the County, since before my arrival in the area, 33+ years ago. High crime, vagrants, and little or nothing in the area for food or entertainment. The station should have been moved to Fairport, Chili, or Henrietta, long ago. A move to the burbs could have had a significant positive impact on passenger counts (a topic that will certainly be getting more scrutiny with the current administration in Washington).

Here's another goofy idea to piggyback with BR&P's - If CSX gives up the mainline from Chili Jct to Fairport, doesn't that remove the major impediment to high speed rail? Assuming they keep the downtown station, Amtrak could take possession of the whole thing, for something like 20 miles? Imagine 48 and 49 sailing through Coldwater at 110 mph. . . That would be fun to watch.

JR
  by SemperFidelis
 
jr wrote:(a topic that will certainly be getting more scrutiny with the current administration in Washington).
JR
I swear to the good Lord that I am not trying to start a political argument. I hate politics ever since everyone went crazy...

That being stated. What does the new administration care about, or have to do with, or have any reason to affect passenger counts in Rochester?
  by BR&P
 
SemperFidelis wrote:
I swear to the good Lord that I am not trying to start a political argument. I hate politics ever since everyone went crazy...

That being stated. What does the new administration care about, or have to do with, or have any reason to affect passenger counts in Rochester?
Also without discussing whether you love him or hate him: I don't think JR meant Rochester alone, but rather that the current administration will be drawing up a budget. How passenger rail is funded in that budget will have an impact on the level of service at various places, and ridership on any given route or at any given place can enter into the considerations once Amtrak knows what they will have to spend.

At least that's what I think he is getting at.
  by Matt Langworthy
 
Since you've chosen to beat the drum again, I'll respond. It won't happen and it shouldn't happen. First and foremost, does anyone think the residents of Pittsford, who already complain the about the oil and ethanol trains passing through their town/village, are going to let CSX triple the rail traffic* on the West Shore? BR&P even admits this will be an issue.

Second, while I can't fully speak for EHH will or won't do, CSX did learn a tough lesson in 2009 when their computer told them to shut down Frontier in 2009. They suffered a nasty service meltdown, which was alleviated only by partially reopening Frontier. Having 2 routes through Monroe County relieves congestion. Dumping either the West Shore or the main is a fool's errand from a standpoint of congestion.

Third, one item that we never firmly established in our last debate on this subject was the acreage currently being used at Goodman Street vs what is available at Genesee Junction. I'd love to know the actual sizes of both yards. It should be noted that the Genesee Valley Greenway occupies some of the former yard. We've seen the power of the trail advocates elsewhere. Does anyone think they won't fight tooth and nail if CSX wants to reacquire the Greenway to expand the yard at Genesee Junction?

Fourth, it would take many years to realize the savings in taxes after the capital expenditures, study costs and legal costs needed to realign the main from its current route to the West Shore. Most shareholders are more interested in quarterly dividends than long term savings. (Americans in general fail to look at things in the long term, but that's another discussion for another time and place.) EHH himself is about quick results. I tend to doubt he'd pursue such a project.

Fifth, CSX is a much more complex beast than CP, which largely operates over the open prairie. EHH is going to have his hands full trying to figure out the complexities of New Jersey and Philly. Upstate NY will be far down his list of priorities. And given EHH''s past behavior, I think he is going to focus more on slashing employees and locomotives than cutting routes, at least to start.

Just my $.02 for the occasion. Your rebuttal, BR&P?


*- CSX currently operates about 50 trains per day through Monroe County, with approximately 16 per day using the West Shore. This does not include Amtrak, which operates 8 more trains per day through Rochester.
  by ctclark1
 
BR&P wrote:Double track the West Shore. The right of way is there, it USED to be double track so just put back the second track. STB approval would not be an issue I believe because it's not a new route. Big problem would be the NIMBY's in Pittsford. Probably putting a bridge back in at Monroe Ave would be helpful to avoid whistle blowing. LA&L could get dispatcher's permission to open up and run the mile or two to the yard.
Double tracking the West Shore is not as easy as just throwing a second set of tracks back down on one side of the existing tracks. It was discussed before that when CR single tracked it they weaved back and forth between tracks based on which was in better condition, in some areas the line is in track 1 position, some in the track 2 position. This complicates matters. As does the LA&L getting to Gen Jct,
Build a new passenger station at Henrietta (yeah, I know, new one going up downtown, use it for Trailways or something.)
"or something" That'll go over well. Let's abandon the multimillion dollar tax-assisted station we just spent years designing and building for a new one in the suburbs, to cause exactly the issues Buffalo has with Depew.
  by BR&P
 
Having 2 routes through Monroe County relieves congestion. Dumping either the West Shore or the main is a fool's errand from a standpoint of congestion.
If you eliminate block swapping at Rochester, there is about NO congestion. You've got what - 1, maybe 2 trains dropping at Gen Jct. a day. Granted Amtrak would possibly affect the issue but maybe a third track could be put at the station in case a freight needed to get by? Most trains go through here and wave as they pass by already.

Acreage? What for? Rochester is rapidly becoming just a wide spot in the road. You would not need nearly the acreage that is at Goodman Street now.

As far as I know, Frontier is essentially dead except for recrews, storage and block swapping.

As for the station, re-purpose it for bus traffic or whatever else - sell it to some private entity and recoup some tax $. People don't want to go to the armpit of a city, whether it is Buffalo Central Terminal or Rochester. Or for that matter, the whole idea would take time, let's see if there is still rail passenger service to even need a station.

Biggest issue I can see is the NIMBYS and I agree that would be a major obstacle.
  by TB Diamond
 
Amtrak, almost forty-four years ago, did consider building a new Rochester passenger station on the West Shore in Henrietta to replace the one in downtown Rochester.

An article in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle dated Wednesday, August 8, 1973 gave the proposed details: The station would be constructed near Brighton-Henrietta Town Line Road and Jefferson Road. There was a possibility that the station would be built and used jointly by both Amtrak and the proposed Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Agency Charlotte - Henrietta rail commuter line.

Plans of mice and men as of course none of the proposals ever came to fruition.
  by jr
 
I meant no offense regarding any interpretation of my previous post. I take no public position on politics, and did not mean to imply a "pro" or "con" position on the current administration.

My point was 1) The Amtrak location for Rochester is abysmal, and has been for some time. 2) The decision to put in a new building at that location might very well be perceived in some circles as a poor business decision. The location does, in my opinion, have a rather detrimental effect on passenger counts in Rochester. 3) The Trump administration has publicly indicated that it intends to push major cuts in funding for Amtrak. (Please note: This was intended as a statement of fact, and neither pro-administration, nor anti-administration)

I was not implying that the executive branch has been studying passenger counts specifically in Rochester. They are, however, making "their case" for funding cuts, based in part, on system ridership. Which points back to my complaint about the attempt to resuscitate an utterly failed location. Will it be an attractive building? I think so. Will I use it? If Amtrak continues service to Chicago, I do intend to use it. Should it have been built in a better location? Undoubtedly.

JR
  by MP366
 
The main difficulty I see is that a westbound train dropping cars at Genesee Jct (and it does happen, between empty salt and loaded WMX cars) would physically be unable to drop based on the need for a trailing point switch somewhere around or west of the bridge over the current R&S, given that all the trackage at Genesee Jct currently bends away to the south in connection with the R&S. Further, any train dropping at Genesee Jct would tie up one of your two mains unless you are going to install a controlled siding between Mortimer and Genesee Jct.
  by BR&P
 
MP366 wrote:The main difficulty I see is that a westbound train dropping cars at Genesee Jct (and it does happen, between empty salt and loaded WMX cars) would physically be unable to drop based on the need for a trailing point switch somewhere around or west of the bridge over the current R&S, given that all the trackage at Genesee Jct currently bends away to the south in connection with the R&S. Further, any train dropping at Genesee Jct would tie up one of your two mains unless you are going to install a controlled siding between Mortimer and Genesee Jct.
Point taken about tying up the main. As for the drop, one track in the yard would be designated as the lead or runner and kept clear. A train dropping would pull in to a clear yard track and bring the power back east on that lead.
  by sd80mac
 
BR&P wrote:
MP366 wrote:The main difficulty I see is that a westbound train dropping cars at Genesee Jct (and it does happen, between empty salt and loaded WMX cars) would physically be unable to drop based on the need for a trailing point switch somewhere around or west of the bridge over the current R&S, given that all the trackage at Genesee Jct currently bends away to the south in connection with the R&S. Further, any train dropping at Genesee Jct would tie up one of your two mains unless you are going to install a controlled siding between Mortimer and Genesee Jct.
Point taken about tying up the main. As for the drop, one track in the yard would be designated as the lead or runner and kept clear. A train dropping would pull in to a clear yard track and bring the power back east on that lead.
or coordinate with RS and LAL to make drop and pick up more effective. Have them wait and ready to go in to grab block off CSX train and then put outgoing block onto the block. Something like that to cut down the time of tying up mainline
  by SST
 
jr wrote:.......I was not implying that the executive branch has been studying passenger counts specifically in Rochester. They are, however, making "their case" for funding cuts, based in part, on system ridership. Which points back to my complaint about the attempt to resuscitate an utterly failed location. Will it be an attractive building? I think so. Will I use it? If Amtrak continues service to Chicago, I do intend to use it. Should it have been built in a better location? Undoubtedly.

JR
For this reason alone I worry about moving Amtrak to a new or existing terminal. All that money spent and then have service cut. Just fix the current roof and wait for Washington to make its budget move.
  by MP366
 
My only debate with that is the new era of EHH/CSX freights that are currently in the 200 to 250 car range...the westbounds would fit between East River Road and Brighton Henrietta Town Line, but the eastbounds would have to fit between 33A and Union St? Interesting theoretical debate we have here...

Point taken about tying up the main. As for the drop, one track in the yard would be designated as the lead or runner and kept clear. A train dropping would pull in to a clear yard track and bring the power back east on that lead.[/quote]
  by tree68
 
Point taken about tying up the main. As for the drop, one track in the yard would be designated as the lead or runner and kept clear. A train dropping would pull in to a clear yard track and bring the power back east on that lead.
One or the other main at Utica is regularly tied up when CSX handles MWHA (drops made eastbound and pickups made westbound), and may or may not still happen with NYSW (everything was done eastbound).

As for the political aspect - let's face it, every administration has done that, one way or another. No matter who gets elected, someone seems to put Amtrak under the gun. Pro-Amtrak folks mourn, anti-Amtrak folks cheer. It never changes.
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