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

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

Postby blockline4180 » Mon May 29, 2017 9:18 am

ccutler wrote: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.


Yes, but it may not matter anymore if M&E can't serve the County branch lines.. They can still get cars there for the Whippany line, but generally all they get are tankers. Unless of course the new "Rockaway River railroad" sets up an interchange there with CR/CSX, but that may not make much sense.
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Re: Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris Cou

Postby NYSW2300 » Tue May 30, 2017 8:58 am

IIRC the Morris County lines were restricted interchange to NS back from the original sale from Conrail in the 80's The Center St Interchange was only for Whippany Line customers.
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Re: Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris Cou

Postby cjvrr » Tue May 30, 2017 9:26 am

Not true. At least not at this point in time.


NYSW2300 wrote:IIRC the Morris County lines were restricted interchange to NS back from the original sale from Conrail in the 80's The Center St Interchange was only for Whippany Line customers.
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Re: Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris Cou

Postby blockline4180 » Tue May 30, 2017 10:17 am

NYSW2300 wrote:IIRC the Morris County lines were restricted interchange to NS back from the original sale from Conrail in the 80's The Center St Interchange was only for Whippany Line customers.


Nope.... They use to get cars for Kuikens on the Chester Branch from the Center Street interchange.
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Re: Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris Cou

Postby blockline4180 » Tue May 30, 2017 7:50 pm

Rumours now are that BRW/BDRV will lease 3 or 4 SD40s for the WASS and Branch line service and not geeps.. I find that rather hard to believe, but maybe.
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Re: Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris Cou

Postby Angus202 » Tue May 30, 2017 7:59 pm

6 axles? I'm hearing NJT hollering and picturing units on the ground while running the D&R and some parts of the HB. I can't imagine what the benefit would be here vs an equivalent HP Geep. Still, hopeful it's true!
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Re: Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris Cou

Postby blockline4180 » Tue May 30, 2017 8:43 pm

Angus202 wrote:6 axles? I'm hearing NJT hollering and picturing units on the ground while running the D&R and some parts of the HB. I can't imagine what the benefit would be here vs an equivalent HP Geep. Still, hopeful it's true!


Well perhaps the Black River SW1500s will be transferred to Chester Junction to work the branch lines, with the SD40s carrying the cars from P'burg to the Interchanges at Chester/Lake Jct and Dover..... Who knows yet. Time will tell.
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Re: Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris Cou

Postby NYSW2300 » Wed May 31, 2017 6:52 am

blockline4180 wrote:Rumours now are that BRW/BDRV will lease 3 or 4 SD40s for the WASS and Branch line service and not geeps.. I find that rather hard to believe, but maybe.


That will work out great, most have cab signals. Going to be hard to do customer work since 6 axle locomotives are prohibited from customer sidings on NJT.
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Re: Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris Cou

Postby oibu » Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:41 am

Eric S Strohmeyer wrote: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 for point of clarity, it was actually the County that brought the initial suit against the railroad (as a result of the railroad performing normal common-carrier rail services like storing tank cars). Not the other way around. Not sure on the details of what the back-and-forth may have been after that, but I'm pretty sure the eventual legal outcome was "um, you guys have a contract with a railroad, and the railroad is performing normal business practices in accordance with Federal law. NEXT CASE ..." There may have been some clauses added that would apply to future channels of communication with the COunty, but I don't think it was the railroad that ultimately was made to be the whipping boy.
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Re: Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris Cou

Postby blockline4180 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:17 pm

For further clarification in why M&E was not retained as the Branch line operator... This was posted on facebook a few days ago and emailed to me last night....

As head of the Division within Morris County that oversees the railroad operations I will state quite clearly the butane storage issue was not the reason for the change as reported in the press.

Dover & Rockaway River Railroad LLC is not just an offshoot of the Black River and Western. Majority ownership (60%) is held by officers of the Maryland & Delaware Railroad Company with 40% owned by officers of the Black River & Western.

Morristown & Erie has been a great operator to the County since 1982 and the County has been happy with their service. The review committee (two employees that oversee the railroad operation and one from another division) felt the new operator has offered some innovative ideas to market the lines to retain and hopefully attract new business.

-----

Another LLC owned by that joint organization is working with NS to lease the Washington Secondary, the Totowa Industrial, and I believe the Newark Industrial. They will service freight customers on the NJT lines, including those on the Peapack / Gladstone. However once east of Dover there are few, if any freight customers on the NJT lines. To the best of my knowledge, Morristown & Erie will continue to interchange at Lake Junction with NS or the new operator of NS' lines.

The changeover of the NS lines to the new operator is currently in the negotiation process with NJT as NS's operating rights need to be assigned to the new operator and everything needs to be in order to do so. My understanding is the new operator is hoping to take over the NS operation in the third or fourth quarter of this year.

One limiting factor to the Washington Secondary has always been a low clearance bridge (16'-6")in Phillipsburg, NJ. NS has been disinterested in doing anything to correct that issue. This in turn limits car height on the Morris County branches and lead to the loss of several businesses to trucks. There are also three bridges that restrict 286,000lb cars from getting to the Dover area from the west. The new operator has plans to improve the clearance within a few months and will look to increase the weight limit on the three bridges shortly thereafter.
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Re: Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris Cou

Postby oibu » Fri Jun 02, 2017 10:41 am

YADAyaDA YADA BLAH BLAH

After they sued the railroad at least once, publicly lambasted them in the local media, etc. etc. etc. over and over. 'Oh yes, we were very happy" ... to blast them in the papers and then sue them.

When was the last time you heard politicians actually talk straight and use real facts? Sorry, you don't get to publicly tear someone down, sue them, and then turn around and say "they're the best, we love them".
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Re: Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris Cou

Postby cjvrr » Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:18 pm

Guys and gals, just an FYI; I am the author of that posted lifted from Facebook. I don't consider myself a politician. I am the Morris County Engineer and head the Division of Engineering and Transportation. And yes, what I said is true.

You are free to submit an OPRA request via the Morris County government website and get a copy of both proposals. We have already had requests for the documents. I think the choice was quite clear from the proposals submitted hence the award to the new firm.

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

Postby oibu » Fri Jun 02, 2017 11:09 pm

Sounds like there are some "minor differences of opinion" between your office and the "boss"/Freeholders/etc. then... pretty sure after all of the antics by the County of late, they would have some different words on the topic, even if the guys that actually worked with the railroad day-to-day were happy with things.
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Re: Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris Cou

Postby Eric S Strohmeyer » Sat Jun 03, 2017 2:06 am

Good evening folks, .... I can see this thread is producing some interesting discussion. Given some of the recent comments, I feel compelled to weigh in on this matter once again.

cjvrr wrote: And yes, what I said is true.


I have no reason to doubt or quibble with Mr. Vitz's statement. If his official position is that the Butane dispute played no role in the decision to select a new operator, I will not challenge or dispute the statement. To the extent that my earlier comment suggested otherwise, I respectfully withdraw my previous statement to the contrary.

Having said that, I still firmly believe that the County's decision failed to take into consideration one critical element essential to growing traffic - i.e. Head to head rail competition between NS and CSX. Having worked with M&E sales and marketing people over the years, I'm acutely aware of what traffic can, and can not, move to the CSX interchange. More importantly, the agreement the M&E entered into as part of the split of Conrail between NS and CSX was written to the benefit of the M&E and NOT to the benefit of the underlying owners of the various lines. At the time of the agreement's execution, the Chester Branch was still owned by Holland Manufacturing. The County only owned the D&R branch, and the High Bridge branch at that time.

When the M&E is removed from the County owned rail lines, the shippers on the line will become captive to the NS. I'm sure the County is being told that access can be "negotiated". That statement is a serious misrepresentation.

The new proposed short line (should it actually come to pass) will almost certainly be via NS Short line feeder "lease". (It will be similar to the NS lease of the lines to Middletown and New Jersey in and around Campbell Hall, NY.) Instead of a traditional "paper barrier", the NS uses a mechanism called a "lease credit" which effectively works as a paper barrier. This device was developed when the NS was worried that the STB might eventual outlaw traditional paper barriers. If you interchange traffic with NS, your lease payment is decreased exponentially. If you interchange traffic with another carrier, your lease payment increases. If you divert existing traffic away from NS, your lease payment goes up be nearly double.

So, when the new operator tells the County there is no paper barrier preventing interchange, the statement, while "technically" true, is highly misleading. The operator has no incentive to interchange any traffic with any carrier other than NS. In fact, it costs the operator considerable amounts of money when they do. Those costs subsequently get passed on to the customer in the form of much higher freight rates for non-NS traffic.

In case anyone is interested, the BR&W has begun its official pleadings with the Surface Transportation Board today.

Official Notice of Exemption for the Dover and Rockaway River Railroad

https://www.stb.gov/filings/all.nsf/ba7 ... enDocument


Continuance in Control Exemption for Mr. Burenga

https://www.stb.gov/filings/all.nsf/ba7 ... enDocument


I wish the new carrier(s) the best of luck. However, I'm seriously concerned for the shippers located along the lines. I truly feel the County failed to take into consideration the importance of competition.
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Re: Black River & W. affiliate to replace M&E ops Morris Cou

Postby oibu » Sat Jun 03, 2017 12:32 pm

Just to be sure, I'm sure what CJV says is true -from his perspective- or that of his office/department.

Clearly doesn't jive well with the what the position and actions of the individuals higher up in County Government have been toward the M&E, though.
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