What is Georgetown and High Line Rlwy LLC?

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What is Georgetown and High Line Rlwy LLC?

Postby johnpbarlow » Wed Jan 07, 2015 6:27 am

While surfing the STB web site, I came across this filing re: CSX negotiations for rail trail/banking use of the "4.2-mile line of railroad
between milepost QBU 0.0 (Fitchburg) and milepost QBU 4.2 (Leominster), in Worcester County, MA":

http://www.stb.dot.gov/filings/all.nsf/ba7f93537688b8e5852573210004b318/3cc09ab50b394e5985257dc5005d2210/$FILE/237387.pdf

Google search of Georgetown and High Line Railway didn't produce much revealing info:

http://www.bizapedia.com/fl/GEORGETOWN-AND-HIGH-LINE-RAILWAY-COMPANY-LLC.html

Does this Florida-based LLC entity with 3 principals really want to create a rail trail from Leominster to Fitchburg or do they have something more nefarious in mind? :wink:
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Re: What is Georgetown and High Line Rlwy LLC?

Postby JCitron » Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:51 pm

I don't trust them... They appear to be real estate developers. The only rail affiliation I can see is David Boor, the treasurer, who "has other corporate interests" including CSX Non-Rail Payroll Services, Inc., and more corporations. His past corporate affiliations, included CSX Holding Benefits... To paraphrase part of the link given below.

http://www.corporationwiki.com/Florida/ ... 61783.aspx

Can we say bike trail and condos?

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Re: What is Georgetown and High Line Rlwy LLC?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Jan 12, 2015 7:46 am

I wouldn't read too much into it. CSX asked $5M for this railbanked stretch of the Fitchburg Secondary, and Town of Leominster not only withdrew all support for the trail but said they'd never renegotiate as long as CSX was the line owner. Whoever this outfit is must be the private trail lobby entity that was orphaned when the town withdrew support. Apparently they just feel like paying the STB filing fee for infinite negotiating extensions...which is not unusual. It keeps their toes in the game in case CSX dumps the line to MassDOT, even if negotiating with CSX itself is fruitless in this case and even if they have no real financial backing. There are currently 2 other CSX lines in MA in the infinite negotiating extension limbo that have gotten extension filings once every 6 months for just as long (7 years): South Sudbury Secondary (Bruce Freeman Trail extension), and Saxonville Branch. The Holliston Secondary was another one in purgatory until Holliston and Ashland agreed to pay $300/month to CSX in rent for a barebones spread of crushed stone on that line as a Plan B when they couldn't agree to sale terms. Not an ideal situation because that was supposed to be a DCR-built paved trail, and now that's been kicked deep to the backburner.

CSX takes its sweet, sweet time with abandonment sales and slaps that railbank/long-term OOS label on them to gum up the works. Now...in the cases of South Sudbury, Saxonville, and Holliston the state was a little bit asleep on the job not doing the negotiations. Those towns do not have the internal budgets to pay the asking price, whereas MassDOT can get some economy of scale in a bundle. But for the Fitchburg Sec. that outrageous $5M asking price for those 4 miles is probably just a protect move so that if/when they do sell the whole line to MassDOT they get top dollar by transferring end-to-end ownership instead of having another private or municipal blocker at the end. Strategically it makes some sense to play keep-away until Jacksonville wants the whole thing off their books.
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Re: What is Georgetown and High Line Rlwy LLC?

Postby CVRA7 » Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:56 pm

I wonder if the Georgetown & High Line was a way that CSX could keep control of the 4.2 miles of line to Fitchburg in case the rest of the line's freight operation goes to a short line or regional operation. A rebuilt 4.2 miles could offer the new operator a second interchange partner if some sort of paper barrier doesn't prevent it. If potential traffic is there I could see Norfolk Southern helping with this.
What's your opinion on this, F-line?
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Re: What is Georgetown and High Line Rlwy LLC?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Jan 12, 2015 1:43 pm

CVRA7 wrote:I wonder if the Georgetown & High Line was a way that CSX could keep control of the 4.2 miles of line to Fitchburg in case the rest of the line's freight operation goes to a short line or regional operation. A rebuilt 4.2 miles could offer the new operator a second interchange partner if some sort of paper barrier doesn't prevent it. If potential traffic is there I could see Norfolk Southern helping with this.
What's your opinion on this, F-line?


CSX never gave up its freight rights. It's railbanked, which in MassDOT nomenclature just means long-term OOS. They have rights to re-lay track with due notice to abutters without having to go through all the hoops and NIMBY games of a full-on de-abandonment. They'll never have a need to because they'll never have to interchange at East Fitchburg again because they have full overhead rights Worcester-Ayer. So right now it's just a paper threat they hold over everyone's heads and a way to increase the cash value of the line by keeping contiguous ownership and operating control junction-to-junction.

The similar situation on the Holliston Secondary is why DCR won't build the paved trail on it and Holliston had to settle for a light sprinkling of crushed stone and 'rent'. It's still technically OOS, meaning you don't have nearly enough certainty to commit more than the barest minimum in public funds for a trail surface or landscaping. And that's the way it'll be until these ROW's in negotiation-extension-of-time limbo with the STB get purchased outright by the state or municipalities. This is what Leominster decided when it withdrew support for a trail...it wasn't worth the effort if CSX could take it away from them that easily.


As for outsourcing...it's unlikely. For one, there's no one available to take it. I seriously doubt with how much Bay Colony screwed the pooch on the Framingham & Lowell that CSX is going to give them any territory. Whether someone else is operating or not...CSX still wants to profit on the interchange business. Second, while they could block PAS by leasing out the active line but keeping rights on the inactive part (like PAR does on the VT end of the Mountain Div. to keep several carriers interested in linking SLR and VRS together), Fitchburg isn't the connection they need to worry about. Clinton Jct. is. If would-be shortline isn't blocked further south than Clinton there's an exposed flank for reconnecting the long-disused junction track to the Worcester Branch and giving PAR a way to potentially weasel in. So for a number of reasons that's one they're going to keep for themselves to operate, even if the ownership goes to MassDOT like with the Framingham Secondary.


Basically, until the line gets sold to the state it's probably going to be status quo with endless extension-of-time filings that go nowhere. CSX gets max value selling the line whole, so as long as it owns the active segment it's in its financial best interests to hold on to the railbanked segment. And no public funds are going to go to a trail as long as CSX holds on to that strategic railbank...especially after the bad blood with Leominster. Which means this outfit has no funding source to make a usable trail even if they managed to score a 'rent-paying' trail lease like Holliston.
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Re: What is Georgetown and High Line Rlwy LLC?

Postby CVRA7 » Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:31 pm

I forgot about the possible Clinton connection. Thanks for the info, F-line.
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Re: What is Georgetown and High Line Rlwy LLC?

Postby BandA » Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:12 pm

According to the Bizapedia report linked above, two of the three principals of the Georgetown & High Line have mailing address of 500 Water ST, Jacksonville FL. Which is also the HQ of CSX. Therefore I assume this is a shell corporation owned by CSX. Does everybody already knows that?
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Re: What is Georgetown and High Line Rlwy LLC?

Postby JCitron » Wed Jan 14, 2015 4:36 pm

BandA wrote:According to the Bizapedia report linked above, two of the three principals of the Georgetown & High Line have mailing address of 500 Water ST, Jacksonville FL. Which is also the HQ of CSX. Therefore I assume this is a shell corporation owned by CSX. Does everybody already knows that?


Interesting... I didn't look that far into the address, but I noticed one of the guys has some ties to CSX.
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Re: What is Georgetown and High Line Rlwy LLC?

Postby johnpbarlow » Wed Feb 15, 2017 6:09 am

Bumping this mysterious thread with latest STB filing extending negotiating period to end of 2017:

https://www.stb.gov/filings/all.nsf/ba7f93537688b8e5852573210004b318/b9ce111a487776ef852580c7006a3c5d/$FILE/242629.pdf

Googling "Georgetown and High Line Railway" produced a few more tidbits:
- GHLR is a foreign limited liability company, defined as an LLC which has been formed in one state but which is now carrying out business, or wishes to carry out business, in another state.
- Signature on the filing is Melanie B Yasbin (Attorney for Georgetown and High Line Railway LLC), a former STB attorney but who now works for the law office of Louis G. Gitomer a firm that appears to handle many RR related STB filings for various entities such as CSX!
- Two of the GHLR managers are listed on the CSX web site as part of the executive management team:

Richard Hood (President, CSX Real Property Inc.) - Mr. Hood was named president, CSX Real Property, in 2014 after 10 years as assistant vice president-business unit services. He oversees real estate activities, including the sales, leasing and development of surplus property, acquisition of property for industrial development, and licensing of rail corridor and pipeline usage as it relates to CSX’s properties. Mr. Hood joined CSX predecessor company Chessie System in Baltimore in 1980.

Peter J. Shudtz (Vice President-Federal Regulation and General Counsel for CSX) - Mr. Shudtz leads all activities related to regulatory matters and associated legal issues. He joined the CSX predecessor company Chessie System in 1976 in Baltimore, and later worked in Cleveland and Richmond, Va. He was named general counsel in 1990, and vice president-law and general counsel in 1997 in Richmond. A former Interstate Commerce Commission attorney, Mr. Shudtz has led regulatory affairs and served as Washington counsel since 2001.

Many of GHLR "Key People" per Corporationwiki appear to have associations with other CSX related LLCs such as CSX Equipment Leasing LLC, CSX Realty Development LLC, CSX Intermodal Terminals Inc, Seaboard Coast Line Railway Supplies Inc...

So CSX is negotiating with CSX employees over this 4 mile stretch of not-yet abandoned line? Curiouser and curiouser as Alice would say...
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Re: What is Georgetown and High Line Rlwy LLC?

Postby johnpbarlow » Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:49 am

Not trying to make too much of this STB filing for a one year extension to negotiate interim trail use/rail banking but the namesake of the Louis E. Gitomer law office for which Melanie Yasbin (representing GHLR) works has filed with STB representing CSX indicating their acceptance of the proposed one year extension!

https://www.stb.gov/filings/all.nsf/ba7f93537688b8e5852573210004b318/b2f3a924c1c702ef852580c900708a01/$FILE/242652.pdf

Generally these trail use negotiation extension filings include a non-RR entity named "XYZ Trail Committee" or a municipality name. Seems odd that CSX should be spending $500 to file an extension to negotiate with itself for another year over a RoW where the tracks were lifted long ago. Is this a CSX ploy to keep someone else from attempting to lay claim to the RoW between PAS at Fitchburg and end of CSX rails at Leominster?
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Re: What is Georgetown and High Line Rlwy LLC?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Fri Feb 17, 2017 12:50 pm

They still own it and collect rent from the power lines that run along the inactive section. Technically it's classified on the state rail map as a railbank with CSX retaining reactivation rights.
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Re: What is Georgetown and High Line Rlwy LLC?

Postby johnpbarlow » Thu Aug 03, 2017 4:01 am

Per STB filing, CSX has apparently struck a deal with Leominster and Fitchburg ["Cities"] to takeover the northwest segment of the CSX Ag branch for trail use. Excerpt:

Pursuant to 49 CFR 1152.29(£)( 1 ), GHLR [existing trail user Georgetown and High Line RR] notifies the Surface Transportation Board that it intends to terminate negotiations for trail use and the Cities intend to become trail users by assuming financial responsibility for the right-of-way. GHLR and the Cities request that the Surface Transportation Board (the "Board") reopen the abandonment exemption, vacate the existing Notice of lnterim Trail Use issues to GHLR, and issue an appropriate replacement NITU to the Cities for the railroad line between Milepost QBU 0.0 (Fitchburg) and QBU 4.20
(Leominster)


Another interesting excerpt:

As required by 49 CFR 1152.29(£)(1 )(iii), the Cities acknowledge that interim trail use is subject to possible future reconstruction and reactivation of the right-of-way for rail service.


https://www.stb.gov/filings/all.nsf/ba7f93537688b8e5852573210004b318/c0890edfdb074b3685258170007326e6/$FILE/244029.pdf
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Re: What is Georgetown and High Line Rlwy LLC?

Postby tom18287 » Thu Aug 03, 2017 5:49 am

im just trying to figure out what georgetown has to do with this
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Re: What is Georgetown and High Line Rlwy LLC?

Postby jbvb » Thu Aug 17, 2017 8:52 pm

Sounds like a reference to Colorado narrow gauge, but unless someone organizing this at CSX is actually a fan, it may have been the words that stuck when they threw them at the wall (picking company names gets increasingly difficult as the decades pass and trademarks etc. linger).
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