Portageville Bridge Replacement, Future Tier Traffic

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Portageville Bridge Replacement, Future Tier Traffic

Postby Bethlehem Jct. » Wed Aug 11, 2010 6:46 pm

I'm asking this in all seriousness. If replacing the bridge is going to be an expensive endeavor that NS and NY State seem to want to accomplish, what's the justification? Now, the logistics of dealing with several railroad companies aside, couldn't trains be rerouted via Wellsville to Olean and onto the old Pennsy Buffalo line? What are the compelling reasons to keep the line intact as a through route between Hornell and Buffalo? Is the grade out of Hornell to Tip Top that bad?
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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement: Why?

Postby Matt Langworthy » Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:22 pm

Bethlehem Jct. wrote:I'm asking this in all seriousness. If replacing the bridge is going to be an expensive endeavor that NS and NY State seem to want to accomplish, what's the justification? Now, the logistics of dealing with several railroad companies aside, couldn't trains be rerouted via Wellsville to Olean and onto the old Pennsy Buffalo line? What are the compelling reasons to keep the line intact as a through route between Hornell and Buffalo? Is the grade out of Hornell to Tip Top that bad?


Yeah, that westbound grade west of Hornell on the old Erie main is pretty steep. That's a big part of the reason why the Erie built the River Line 100 years ago. Also, the combined Buffalo Line/Erie Main route is longer and slower than using the former Erie Buffalo Extension. Worst of all, locomotives must run around the train at Olean... which slows the transit time even further. NS definitely seems interested in improving transit times in upstate NY- that is why they have impoved track speeds on the Southern Tier Mainline. A new bridge in Portageville will increase the speed even further, as trains must slow to 10 mph to cross the current bridge, The Portageville bridge should have been replaced a long time ago. Better late than never, IMO.
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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement: Why?

Postby roadster » Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:10 pm

They are also preparing for future traffic increases as economic conditions improve over the next few years. Severing another rail link which is in good condition with exception of this one structure, could curtail furture rail and economic growth for the region, and the owning RR.
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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement: Why?

Postby Anchorman » Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:22 am

As soon as the new bridge is completed you won't see any more coal trains on the Olean Secondary....that is if and when NS ever builds a new bridge. As with all the rumors on the RR....I'll believe it when I see it. I know that NS isn't happy with the WNYP tho. Transit times over the secondary are pathetic to say the least. They rerouted the trains over there for state funding and no other reason. It's all politics.
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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement: Why?

Postby Flat-Wheeler » Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:51 am

So is Tip-Top really the summit in this area ? I seem to recall swampyness and water runoff areas there when I last hiked through 5 years ago . Found old telegraph glass sticking out of the cuts along the ROW too.
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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement: Why?

Postby Matt Langworthy » Thu Aug 12, 2010 6:25 am

roadster wrote:They are also preparing for future traffic increases as economic conditions improve over the next few years. Severing another rail link which is in good condition with exception of this one structure, could curtail furture rail and economic growth for the region, and the owning RR.


Excellent points. The budget hawks who express concern about the cost of replacing the bridge should weigh the costs of not having the Buffalo Extension in the future. And let's not forget that Conrail chose to keep the line intact even as it rationalized other routes.
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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement: Why?

Postby pablo » Thu Aug 12, 2010 7:18 am

I don't know how happy NS is or isn't with the WNYP, but I do know that the tax abatement is no small consideration, either. There's a lot of money that NS doesn't have to spend due to PILOTs, and I'm sure a minimum traffic level in return is "appreciated."

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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement: Why?

Postby pumpers » Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:56 am

Flat-Wheeler wrote:So is Tip-Top really the summit in this area ? I seem to recall swampyness and water runoff areas there when I last hiked through 5 years ago . Found old telegraph glass sticking out of the cuts along the ROW too.

Looking at topos, it seems to be the summit, 1774 feet above sea level --I guess they call it "Tip Top" for a reason :P . - must be some at kind of high plain that doesn't drain. Hornell is about 1160 ft (about 12 miles away), so that is an average grade of about 50 feet/mile or 1%, the last 4 miles near the summit look closer to 1.5%. The highest point I found on the Portageville Route is only 1400 ft at Silver Springs, a few miles west of the bridge, and Wellsville, about 14 miles past Tip Top, is down to only 1500. JS
Last edited by pumpers on Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement: Why?

Postby poppyl » Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:34 am

So what is the current state of play on the bridge project? Several months ago it sounded like some announcement about the project would be forthcoming soon but then things seemed to go quiet. Could the state's funding be in jeopardy given the current fiscal situation or are the various permits and environmental reviews taking longer than expected?

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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement: Why?

Postby Bethlehem Jct. » Fri Aug 13, 2010 11:25 am

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I went to Alfred Univ. in the mid 90's when the line west of Hornell to Olean and beyond was out of service. I remember the storm that caused that massive washout of the line near Alfred Station occurred. I took many a trip to Hornell for various reasons, and I can't ever recall not seeing trains on the ex-Erie Buffalo line. It was very busy then under Conrail.
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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement: Why?

Postby Matt Langworthy » Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:30 pm

Bethlehem Jct. wrote:Thanks for the feedback everyone. I went to Alfred Univ. in the mid 90's when the line west of Hornell to Olean and beyond was out of service. I remember the storm that caused that massive washout of the line near Alfred Station occurred. I took many a trip to Hornell for various reasons, and I can't ever recall not seeing trains on the ex-Erie Buffalo line. It was very busy then under Conrail.


The Buffalo Extension was a valuable connection to NS in Buffalo during the '90s for CR, CP and Suzie-Q. I recall seeing 8-10 trains per day on the Southern Tier mainline back in those days, although CR slowly decreased the number of symbol freights on the Tier as the decade wore on. The important thing to remember is that CR did not use the Erie/EL main west of Hornell to connect to Buffalo. Desides the ex-Pennsy Buffalo Line, CR initially had access to what is now the NYLE and BSOR... but chose not to use that routing, either. (The grades were an issue there, too.) The Buffalo Extension, aside from a modest grade near Attica, is a relatively flat route between Buffalo and Binghamton... so it was and is the logical route* for moving traffic eastward from Buffalo. Replacing the Portageville Bridge will only make the Southern Tier Mainline better.


*-assuming one doesn't wish to use the Water Level Route.
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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement: Why?

Postby thebigham » Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:59 pm

Wasn't the current bridge built in 1875??
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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement: Why?

Postby charlie6017 » Fri Aug 13, 2010 4:47 pm

thebigham wrote:Wasn't the current bridge built in 1875??


According to Wikipedia, you are correct. Construction began June 8, 1875 and opened for traffic just 53 DAYS LATER.....July 31, 1875.

*Try getting union workers to work that quick today! :P

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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement: Why?

Postby thebigham » Fri Aug 13, 2010 9:03 pm

^Thanks.

Of course the bridge has been strengthened many times.
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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement: Why?

Postby SST » Sat Aug 14, 2010 9:22 am

Why didn't anybody tap into the Obama Stimulas Package? Lots of high paying jobs for steel production, transport and assembly. This would have been better than filling potholes or paying the execs at AIG.

By the time NS and NYS get done, we'll already be in the next cycle of a recession.
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