Trains on CSX St. Lawrence Sub (CR's Montreal Secondary)

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Re: Trains on CSX St. Lawrence Sub (CR's Montreal Secondary)

Postby lvrr325 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:02 am

Seems kind of dumb to me, after all that time spent running empty test trains to get the shipper to even use the railroad in the first place. To turn it into what, the Massena Branch?
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Re: Trains on CSX St. Lawrence Sub (CR's Montreal Secondary)

Postby SecaucusJunction » Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:26 am

The line was rumored to be sold to the NYSW a while back. Maybe they can throw their hats back into the ring...
I think it may be possible that NJ Transit might not be the perfect, infallible organization that most people assume it is.
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Re: Trains on CSX St. Lawrence Sub (CR's Montreal Secondary)

Postby Bigt » Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:56 am

Personally, I think the line still has potential. It just needs a railroad company that
wants to operate it, and, provide good service. That is not CSX.
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Re: Trains on CSX St. Lawrence Sub (CR's Montreal Secondary)

Postby charlie6017 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:38 pm

I remember some discussion some years back about the line being sold and with Fort Drum still being a customer, I
assume a US rail company would still have to service them? If that still is the case, that would eliminate CN and Canadian
Pacific from the equation.

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Re: Trains on CSX St. Lawrence Sub (CR's Montreal Secondary)

Postby tree68 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:46 pm

Bigt wrote:Personally, I think the line still has potential. It just needs a railroad company that
wants to operate it, and, provide good service. That is not CSX.

Agreed. If it's not a cash cow, EHH doesn't seem to be interested.

I wonder if GVT would be interested...
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Re: Trains on CSX St. Lawrence Sub (CR's Montreal Secondary)

Postby charlie6017 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:52 pm

I think GVT would be a nice fit, probably the best fit -- at least from Syracuse to Massena.
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Re: Trains on CSX St. Lawrence Sub (CR's Montreal Secondary)

Postby BR&P » Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:54 pm

You've got a long stretch of railroad, difficult weather conditions in winter. How much money are they apt to make, how much if any bridge traffic will CSX give them, is there ANY possible new business given the business and political climate of NY State? Is the current on-line traffic enough to make the line viable?

Before answering who might want it, we need to ask why would someone want it?
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Re: Trains on CSX St. Lawrence Sub (CR's Montreal Secondary)

Postby charlie6017 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:01 pm

BR&P wrote:You've got a long stretch of railroad, difficult weather conditions in winter. How much money are they apt to make, how much if any bridge traffic will CSX give them, is there ANY possible new business given the business and political climate of NY State? Is the current on-line traffic enough to make the line viable?

Before answering who might want it, we need to ask why would someone want it?


Great points, Don. I'm certainly no expert on this line, but as far as I know there's not much traffic (if any?) between Woodard
and Watertown. I'm also not sure if there's anything happening on the branch from Woodard to Fulton and Oswego.

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Re: Trains on CSX St. Lawrence Sub (CR's Montreal Secondary)

Postby lvrr325 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:05 pm

NYS&W is a no go, no longer independent company, no reason for them to connect CN to New York. if CN was even still interested. Would be like handing half of the line over to NS, I don't see CSX doing that.

Massena has some local traffic and iron ore trains. New York & Ogdensburg up there too.

Fulton branch has regular unit trains for the ethanol plant plus a number of customers served by a once a day local; Woodard also still has enough local customers to support a local. Port of Oswego gets enough cars to warrant a trackmobile to switch them. Traffic's certainly not what it used to be but the south end is busier than ever with the various trains up and down.

Seems unlikely even under Hunter Horse's Caboose that CSX would give up being able to market one road Montreal to Miami service. That was the primary reason for not selling before. Then they developed the intermodal facility. Traffic has to come from somewhere, you can't just swap blocks back and forth and hope they magically become loads somehow.
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Re: Trains on CSX St. Lawrence Sub (CR's Montreal Secondary)

Postby BR&P » Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:50 pm

lvrr325 wrote: Traffic has to come from somewhere, you can't just swap blocks back and forth and hope they magically become loads somehow.


Now that's words of wisdom right there - I like that! Image

Somebody should print up some posters of that and send them to Jacksonville.
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Re: Trains on CSX St. Lawrence Sub (CR's Montreal Secondary)

Postby tree68 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:32 pm

charlie6017 wrote:I'm certainly no expert on this line, but as far as I know there's not much traffic (if any?) between Woodard
and Watertown.

B778 seems to have reasons to go south. I think there may be a customer in Parish that they handle.
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Re: Trains on CSX St. Lawrence Sub (CR's Montreal Secondary)

Postby joha107 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:43 am

B778 services a customer in Lacona and the feed mill in Adams Center, I think Rudd's south of Watertown also still occasionally gets cars.

The customer base is pretty limited, anyone purchasing the whole thing would really need the Beauharnois and CN run-through traffic to make it really worthwhile.
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Re: Trains on CSX St. Lawrence Sub (CR's Montreal Secondary)

Postby Matt Langworthy » Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:28 pm

lvrr325 wrote:NYS&W is a no go, no longer independent company, no reason for them to connect CN to New York. if CN was even still interested. Would be like handing half of the line over to NS, I don't see CSX doing that.

Massena has some local traffic and iron ore trains. New York & Ogdensburg up there too.

Fulton branch has regular unit trains for the ethanol plant plus a number of customers served by a once a day local; Woodard also still has enough local customers to support a local. Port of Oswego gets enough cars to warrant a trackmobile to switch them. Traffic's certainly not what it used to be but the south end is busier than ever with the various trains up and down.

Seems unlikely even under Hunter Horse's Caboose that CSX would give up being able to market one road Montreal to Miami service. That was the primary reason for not selling before. Then they developed the intermodal facility. Traffic has to come from somewhere, you can't just swap blocks back and forth and hope they magically become loads somehow.


This a very astute assessment. Unlike some other traffic lanes, CSX has made no moves to reduce or eliminate traffic on the St. Lawrence Sub. I think it's safe to assume EHH still wants the traffic to/from Montreal. The only alternative is to route traffic via CP, but that would add a 3rd RR to the rate pie (which also includes CN). The St. Lawrence Sub is handicapped by a relatively low volume of local traffic, but it's far from being the only line in the Northeast that no longer has a large manufacturing base.

GVT and GWI are good operations, but they are not ideal candidates to take over the line. GVT is Alco-centric and their ability to purchase more Alcos to operate a new route is limited by the dwindling supply of Alcos for sale. Both they and GWI would be dependent on CSX continuing to operate stack trains on the St. Lawrence Sub. I don't see CSX selling the line and then continuing to operate trains on it. NS tried that with the WNYP and they eventually moved the coal trains off that line because they found it was more profitable to keep the traffic on their own route, even with a longer haul. I can't see a cost cutter like EHH sacrificing margin on the St. Lawrence Sub by selling it and then continuing to use it
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Re: Trains on CSX St. Lawrence Sub (CR's Montreal Secondary)

Postby ccutler » Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:55 pm

There is a valuation arbitrage between what short lines think these routes are worth, and what class 1s think these lines are worth. I could see the Montreal line being sold and CSX rataining trackage rights for intermodal, happening easily. And that would probably be a very good thing for the future of the line.
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Re: Trains on CSX St. Lawrence Sub (CR's Montreal Secondary)

Postby Matt Langworthy » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:32 pm

It's harder than you think. NS made their deal with WNYP back in the early 2000s when operating ratios were not a major concern, and the deal was ended when NS's bean counters realized it was less expensive to keep the trains on home rails. EHH is obsessed with operating ratio. It's a safe bet he won't make a deal on the St. Lawrence Sub that diminishes CSX's margins.
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