Sealand Piggyback Trains in the 1980s on the B&P?

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Sealand Piggyback Trains in the 1980s on the B&P?

Postby JPoland » Thu Dec 14, 2017 7:58 pm

I have heard reference to this but how long did the trip take from Buffalo to Pittsburgh on the B&P when it was intact in the 1980's on there fastest train? Was the train loaded in Buffalo and in Pittsburgh and if so where was there ramps?
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Re: Sealand Piggyback Trains in the 1980s on the B&P?

Postby ExCon90 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:43 pm

The train carried mini-landbridge containers between North Jersey and the West Coast. Sea-Land's North Jersey terminal was on the NYS&W in or around Little Ferry; the train moved to Buffalo via NYS&W, including trackage rights over Conrail, thence B&P and Chessie (or whatever it was then) to Chicago for movement beyond. I think it ran about once a week. I don't know the running time over the B&P, but it undoubtedly got priority treatment. Now that I think of it, many of the movements took place before the former BR&P was spun off to become the B&P.
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Re: Sealand Piggyback Trains in the 1980s on the B&P?

Postby lvrr325 » Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:15 am

In fact, when the B&P was spun off the train came into Buffalo on Conrail, I'm not sure off the top of my head if it ran all the way from Chicago or came part way across on CSX. After the D&H went to CP Rail, they ran to Syracuse and down the former DL&W (it took about two years to get that going). I took some night exposures of the first train to run that routing eastbound.
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Re: Sealand Piggyback Trains in the 1980s on the B&P?

Postby SALSDP35 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 1:15 pm

lvrr325 wrote:In fact, when the B&P was spun off the train came into Buffalo on Conrail, I'm not sure off the top of my head if it ran all the way from Chicago or came part way across on CSX. After the D&H went to CP Rail, they ran to Syracuse and down the former DL&W (it took about two years to get that going). I took some night exposures of the first train to run that routing eastbound.


The Sealand trains ran on the Buffalo line from mid 1985 until 1989. Sealand moved the business over to Conrail in 1989 due to handling issues on the B&P. The move to Syracuse took place in 1995 when the contract came up for renewal. For the first year, Sealand occasionally put together a single stacked COFC train which ran via the C&O through Canada and Michigan. A fast routing but it could not handle stacks.

The trains did not go into Pittsburgh. They turned west to New Castle. Running time from New Castle to Buffalo was 12-13 hours. Initially there were two eastbound and two westbound per week. In early 1987, Sealand decided to split one of the westbound's and have a Monday, Wednesday and Friday night departure. In fact, the train that was in the head on at Colden was the first Wednesday night train.
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Re: Sealand Piggyback Trains in the 1980s on the B&P?

Postby lvrr325 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:42 am

The contract renewal may have allowed the move, but it was planned out well in advance; they spent about a year rebuilding the north end of the DL&W in Syracuse to allow the move under the excuse of Ontrack. I think the first press run was in May of 1992 with the 142 and all the local dignitaries on board (check Railpace, they published my photo). It could even be they brought in other business first, I know that first train had an NS unit leading. Others turned up with you name it for power, even new BNSF units.

I should do a "Trackside" book for that era.
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Re: Sealand Piggyback Trains in the 1980s on the B&P?

Postby SALSDP35 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:08 am

lvrr325 wrote:The contract renewal may have allowed the move, but it was planned out well in advance; they spent about a year rebuilding the north end of the DL&W in Syracuse to allow the move under the excuse of Ontrack. I think the first press run was in May of 1992 with the 142 and all the local dignitaries on board (check Railpace, they published my photo). It could even be they brought in other business first, I know that first train had an NS unit leading. Others turned up with you name it for power, even new BNSF units.

I should do a "Trackside" book for that era.


Right. The Syracuse side needed a considerable investment before the trains could be moved. Prior to the Sealand Trains, the line only saw fairly limited local business. The move was part of the entire packaging including the purchase of the line from Jamesville to the connection with the Chicago Line, the upgrade of the trackage, the upgraded connections, the Ontrack project with the track to the new Syracuse Station, etc. It was quite involved.

The one aspect of it that didn't get built until much later was the connection in Binghamton from the Westbound DL&W main (or track 3) to the Eastbound Erie main (track 2). That would have to wait until after the NS takeover.

The change west of Buffalo was easier to make. Since CSX owned Sealand, they had no issue with changing the contract from CSX to CR. The B&P only had a handling agreement.

You should do a book. It was a very interesting era.
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