Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris County

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Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris County

Postby Ken W2KB » Thu May 25, 2017 11:51 am

Press release from Morris County:

"The Morris County Board of Freeholders has awarded a five-year railroad operations management contract to the Dover & Rockaway River Railroad to run Morris County’s three rail lines. . . .

D&R, which runs the Black River Railroad and the Belvidere& Delaware River Railway, has grown business on those lines over the past 15 years, and has marketing relationships with Norfolk Southern, CSX, and Union Pacific, according to its proposal."

https://morriscountynj.gov/2017/05/freeholders-award-county-rail-contract-to-dover-rockaway-river-railroad/
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Re: Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris Cou

Postby kilroy » Thu May 25, 2017 1:29 pm

That leaves the M&E the Whippany Line and Bayway plus their equipment leasing and repair.

Is that enough to keep them afloat?
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Re: Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris Cou

Postby brwfan » Thu May 25, 2017 8:46 pm

I believe that M&E still have freight rights on njt Morris line as well. It's going to be a big loss for m&e but a huge increase in freight for bdrv. I would think they will need trackage rights on njt to get between the lines. Assuming they will be using locos they already have, are any equiped with cab signals and Auto stop as I think they are required for njt?
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Re: Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris Cou

Postby NYSW2300 » Thu May 25, 2017 11:01 pm

kilroy wrote:That leaves the M&E the Whippany Line and Bayway plus their equipment leasing and repair.

Is that enough to keep them afloat?


For now.
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Re: Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris Cou

Postby riffian » Fri May 26, 2017 9:21 am

What customers remain on the rump Morristown and Erie?
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Re: Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris Cou

Postby oibu » Fri May 26, 2017 6:50 pm

NJT rights are only for access to various lines and interchanges, they do not actually serve customers on the NJT trackage rights.

What a pain if BRW/BDRV had to equip units with all the safety equipt. just to run what, at most maybe 1 mile from Chester Jct. to Wharton!
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Re: Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris Cou

Postby blockline4180 » Fri May 26, 2017 10:47 pm

oibu wrote:NJT rights are only for access to various lines and interchanges, they do not actually serve customers on the NJT trackage rights.

What a pain if BRW/BDRV had to equip units with all the safety equipt. just to run what, at most maybe 1 mile from Chester Jct. to Wharton!


From what I was told, this new company will lease NS 2-4 geeps with cab signals at first. Perhaps they will send a BDRV engine to Lake Junction for switching the county lines too.. Who knows yet.
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Re: Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris Cou

Postby NYSW2300 » Sat May 27, 2017 11:49 am

The end result, hopefully, is going to be having all the work (Morris County Lines, Washington Sec, HO2 work) under the same banner, this is where a lot of savings will occur. They might not need to leave a locomotive online if the work can be broken up one or two crews might all be what is needed. The NS/(new short line) interchange is rumored to be Hudson Yard. Eventually the new short line will install PTC on its own locomotives. Leasing of NS units will be needed in the short term. If all this comes to pass the M&E might need a new Interchange location. The Center St interchange is actually with Conrail not CSX, so if wanted the NS interchange could go there as well if they want to avoid a short line to short line interchange.
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Re: Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris Cou

Postby oibu » Sat May 27, 2017 12:29 pm

Umm, this is only for the County-owned branches. Nowhere near Hudson yard (which is way out in Phillipsburg).

And yes, while ultimately a scheme to incorporate the whole works under one banner would probably make sense, the M&E has been trying to do just that for at least 25 years (Ben Friedland wanted to do it back in the 1990s- if not before) without success. Maybe someday...
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Re: Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris Cou

Postby blockline4180 » Sat May 27, 2017 2:09 pm

Then there are the rumours that DL is taking over the Portland Secondary down to Hudson yard. Who knows what is fact and what is fiction though.

Also, the new "Shortline" taking over the Washington Secondary and Morris county branches has to get their cars from somewhere and it seems Hudson yard makes the most sense if NS drops them off there. That is if they wont go to Washington yard anymore.
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Re: Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris Cou

Postby Eric S Strohmeyer » Sun May 28, 2017 12:07 am

This outcome (for the M&E) should not have been unexpected. The minute the M&E decided to sue their landlord, all the goodwill that was built over the decades likely evaporated the minute the County received the legal papers.

Just a couple of points.

First .... While NJT would clearly prefer to have all foreign locomotives operating over their lines to have the appropriate cab signal / PTC equipment, given the very short distance that the BR&W would have to run over NJT lines to connect the Rockaway branch with the likely interchange point at Lake Jct., it is possible that the BR&W could be given a period of time in which to equip their locomotives with the appropriate equipment. The NORAC rule book provides appropriate rules for governing the operation of non-cab signaled equipped locomotives in cab signal territory.

Second, what I find fascinating will be how the M&E decides to handle their interchange arrangements. When Conrail was split between NS and CSX, it was the M&E (and not Morris County) that received the right to interchange traffic with CSX (hence the rights down to Center Street). By changing operators, the County might have cooked their own goose.

As mentioned earlier, the M&E is not permitted to interchange / or serve other lines off the NJT line (except for their own tracks).

If I was a shipper on the County owned lines, I would be going berserk with Federal regulators in Washington over the loss of competitive rail access. For the shippers, if they want competitive rail access, they need to put up a colossal fight. If they don't - they just became captive NS customers. Once the M&E is gone, so is their access to CSX. This could get interesting if the shippers decide to blast the County for their shortsighted action to retaliate against the M&E for suing them.....
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Re: Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris Cou

Postby H.F.Malone » Sun May 28, 2017 7:22 am

Why did M&E bring suit against Morris County?
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Re: Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris Cou

Postby NYS&W142Fan » Sun May 28, 2017 10:25 am

At this point everything is speculation. In just over a month we will start to find out what is actually going to happen.
I firmly believe that if the M&E had been a little more forward in their ideas/long term plan, we would see a different picture here. I think they would have been the ones selected to run the Washington Secondary from P'burg to Dover and beyond including the Morris County lines. Remember the M&E and NS inspection train from a few years ago?
I seriously think because of the M&E's way of just going ahead and bringing in the propane cars without asking first, (they do not own the lines), and then suing the County, ticked off the County and gave NS cold feet with the M&E.
As far as the NJT lines, NS must have had the Freight trackage rights for them, NS served Mennen in Morristown and ran over NJT to serve the Totowa spur and it may be part of the deal.
As far as the interchange with CSX and the M&E, that could still happen and there could be interchange between the new Company and the M&E in both directions.
Historically, the interchange with CSX has been more expensive/costly than the NS routing. It costs more to go further East and then come back West than to just go East.

I'm going to sit back and watch as this is getting interesting!
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Re: Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris Cou

Postby pdtrains » Sun May 28, 2017 1:17 pm

How much traffic was actually interchanged with CSX on the east end anyway? Low wire at Newark used to be 15' 4", so that would restrick a lot of cars. Even if they raised it during the 1980's rebuild, high wire was only 17' and change. Still restricts a lot of cars by todays standards...
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Re: Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris Cou

Postby ccutler » Sun May 28, 2017 10:08 pm

IIRC the clearance on the east end of the Morris and Essex lines was raised to Plate C only in the last few years. So, effectively the CSX interchange is a relatively new thing.
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