Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

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Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby Matt Langworthy » Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:15 pm

SALSDP35 wrote:Really? The vast majority of the funding was NS. In fact, the State participation in Portageville was largely to help with the DEC and State Park issue. It gave them "skin in the game". A fact that has been confirmed and acknowledged by both NS and the State. The state funding was not what made this deal happen!

BTW, there are more trains on the west end. Fact of the mater is, until there is demand for the service, they won't be on the Delaware.


Trust me, the facts regarding the Tier have been explained to OIBU both here and on the NS Southern Tier/D&H page ad nauseum but he just won't believe them. Never mind the fact he doesn't live near the western Tier. Never mind the reports and photos of traffic on the Tier by railfans (myself included). Never mind the lectures he got from NS employees who actually work the Tier regarding train counts, car counts and the increased capacity of modern freight cars. OIBU's posts are a classic case of cognitive dissonance. While business on the western Tier is nowhere what it was during the EL years, it has grown slightly in recent years. The regular runs of W10 (which I've seen firsthand), I2K and I3K are proof that NS is trying to grow business on the Tier, whether he admits it nor not.
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Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby Matt Langworthy » Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:23 pm

SALSDP35 wrote:CP? that is laughable. They only managed one train into Oak Island when they had the chance and lost money (a lot of money) on that one. The NYS&W was free do develop the market and never managed more than a handful.

So just where would the business come from? Where do you and OIBU obtain your perspective on NS's marketing efforts and missed opportunities to make the statements that you make?


Foamers often claim CP or NYSW would have been a better owner of the Tier than NS or CR. I don't think CP or NYSW would have generated any more traffic than is there now, and the line likely would have been put on the chopping block by EHH when he was running CP. NS has the advantage of better connections to the Midwest (i.e. Bellevue and Elkhart) so they at least have the potential to grow more traffic.
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Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby Matt Langworthy » Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:29 pm

SecaucusJunction wrote:The fact remains that NS wants to run the same amount, or slightly more overall traffic with fewer actual trains.


The policy may disappoint railfans, but it makes good business sense. Why spend money on extra locomotives and crews when they aren't needed? Indeed, an NS employee openly stated on the NS Southern Tier/D&H page that NS 205 and 206 were combined into NS 22K, 23K, 28N and/or 287 as an accounting move.
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Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby SALSDP35 » Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:06 pm

Matt Langworthy wrote:Foamers often claim CP or NYSW would have been a better owner of the Tier than NS or CR. I don't think CP or NYSW would have generated any more traffic than is there now, and the line likely would have been put on the chopping block by EHH when he was running CP. NS has the advantage of better connections to the Midwest (i.e. Bellevue and Elkhart) so they at least have the potential to grow more traffic.


Walter Rich himself told me that the NYS&W had little to no real-estate to develop in Northern New Jersey. If you do a survey by car, ride the line or even use Google earth, you can clearly see what he was talking about. The company's large holding of land (the Little Ferry yard) was leased and later sold to Sea Land/CSX. Resources is small with little to no land to expand.

So where would the traffic originate or terminate in New Jersey. Are you going to run an Multi Level Train with no terminal? Van trains? Maybe a train or two a day into Resources but I doubt they would have been much more lucrative that the short lived CP Rail 260/261 pair. Where else was all this traffic coming from?

This is the same issue the D&H faced post 1976. It had a great map on paper but it didn't have access to any customers.
Last edited by SALSDP35 on Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby SALSDP35 » Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:08 pm

SecaucusJunction wrote:The fact remains that NS wants to run the same amount, or slightly more overall traffic with fewer actual trains.



Well yeah...
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Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby Matt Langworthy » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:29 pm

SALSDP35 wrote:Walter Rich himself told me that the NYS&W had little to no real-estate to develop in Northern New Jersey. If you do a survey by car, ride the line or even use Google earth, you can clearly see what he was talking about. The company's large holding of land (the Little Ferry yard) was leased and later sold to Sea Land/CSX. Resources is small with little to no land to expand.


I took a business trip in 2010 that included northeastern NJ. There is indeed very little land to develop. The same gentrification/residential development issues that plague other areas are even worse in that corner of NJ. Even if NYSW miraculously acquired a parcel there, the NIMBYs would fight a new intermodal terminal tooth and nail. Ditto for CP/D&H.
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Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby ricebrianrice » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:37 am

Guess what????

I am happy it is not a trail by now, and the NYSW runs a couple trains a week on it!

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Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby Matt Langworthy » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:31 pm

ricebrianrice wrote:Guess what????

I am happy it is not a trail by now, and the NYSW runs a couple trains a week on it!


The alternative would've been bad for the rail industry and shippers, as well as railfans like us.
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Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby SecaucusJunction » Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:57 pm

Here we go...

To be fair, NS had no choice but to replace the bridge. It was literally falling apart and way past it's useful life span. There was no alternative no matter who paid for it.

Again, to say NS has done a good job drumming up business on the line would be setting pretty low standards. 20 years and 8 trains per day, some of which ran the Buffalo Line before takeover. It's not just this line. The Crescent Corridor has been a disaster and they cleared a whole bunch of tunnels in the mid-Atlantic for hardly any traffic.

Has CSX been good in that time period? Of course not. They're just as bad if not worse. (And Philadelphia intermodal traffic is routed via Selkirk, always has been). It seems that every line in the East has seen sad declines. We can make excuses all we want for the railroads, but the truth is times are changing and they haven't adapted. It's not any different than any other business. To keep numbers good, they slash costs and head counts instead of focusing on sustained growth. It is what it is, it will never change. Railroads will again be ill prepared if one part of their business tanks. If my company ran that way, investors would have our heads.

Without further competition, the railroads have no urgency to do anything different. Decades from now, we'll be looking back at these times as the Golden years as the slow decline in traffic will continue for the foreseeable future.
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: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby SALSDP35 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:28 am

NS had one other option. Sell or close the line vs. building the bridge.

Actually, there is much to agree with in your post. I don't think any railroad is doing a good job at marketing. The last "innovation" from an equipment standpoint was the stack car. This was developed by the SP as a means of cutting cost by shortening train length - not to innovate and create a new business model! Truth of the matter is, it took a steam ship line (APL) to see the potential of running dedicated trains similar to a ship (fixed number of container positions/fixed "sailing" schedules) to create the stack train "boom"!

The last marketing innovation was Mike Haverty getting together with JB Hunt himself. Together they saw the wisdom of combining the cheap line haul capability of a railroad with the superior retail aspects of a trucking company. This resulted in a huge expansion of intermodal.

Both of these were handed to the railroads. They are terrible about marketing. Some worse that others. With respect to NS and the Tier, drumming up business in New York State frankly is a near impossibility. Few of the companies that were large shippers in the EL days remain and some of the few that are along the tier had their sidings removed by Conrail. The business unfriendly environment in the state is not going to attract any volume of rail. The biggest increase in local business is because of natural gas fracking and development in PA.

As I have said elsewhere, the vast majority of the world does not understand railroading. The railroads think they do. When a plant manager asks "what is the transit time from point A to B"? and you say 14 days. He says "ok then I can plan around 14 days". They live in a world of production rates and can live with most numbers if they are consistent. When you have to tell him "well not so fast. They might do it in 8 but it might be 30". The next thing he says is "you have to be kidding! We have to maintain extra inventory because the railroads can't even work within a 4 or 5 day window?" Trucks generally can hit a target 4 or 5 hours (or less) even if they come clear across country! No wonder EVERY plant manager I work with HATES RAILROADS!

Railroads make themselves more irrelevant every day. The relentless pursuit of the OR means that they are ill equipped to develop any kind of service that will keep them relevant. The only kind of traffic that will be available to them is of the bottom feeder variety.

(Side note - When I lived in the Pittsburgh area, the B&O/early CSX ran the Philadelphia Trailer Jet. I do not have any involvement with that market, thus I did not know that this traffic had shifted to a Selkirk Routing if shipped via CSX. This is amazingly bad. It must do wonders for transit time and it's expensive to run a train across Conrail Shared Assets and pay those fees. Wow!)
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Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby Matt Langworthy » Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:13 pm

The Class 1s can be competent at moving large blocks of freight, when they want to be. Obviously, shareholder and/or board pressures for a higher OR can affect that service. On the other hand, Class 1s are lousy at local service, mostly because they are inflexible. I've heard horror stories of plant managers asking for a switch on a Tuesday, but the Class 1 would respond with the standard "our local runs on Monday-Wednesday-Friday only" reply. This is nothing new- Conrail was infamous for the practice 30+ years ago. All the Class 1s are guilty of poor local service to a certain extent, some more than others. Thus the trucking industry has made inroads into traffic that would be cheaper to ship by rail. The shortlines and regional RRs are much better for local service, but even they are at the mercy of the Class 1s. For example, FGLK lost sand business after NS imposed a 16% rate increase a few years back. (See, I can criticize NS!) However, the lost business hasn't gotten to a point where it hurts the bottom line and the status quo for poor local service will remain until it does.
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Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby Otto Vondrak » Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:00 am

I've been away all week and I have no idea what any of you are arguing about, so this thread is getting cooled off for awhile.

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Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby Jeff Smith » Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:02 pm

Seriously, WTF?

Stop this crap. If you can't argue without flame wars, you have no place on here.

I reviewed the last two pages, and deleted almost every post.

Warnings have been issued, suspensions will follow if this reoccurs. That goes for the same parties doing it on other threads.

I know many of you. If you feel flamed, REPORT the post, block the user (there is a feature for that), whatever, but DO NOT RESPOND. If you're a hockey fan, you should know the reprisal is often the play that gets punished, not the initial action.

We all want to read an interesting thread. This nonsense ruins it. Don't make my job harder, please?
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Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby newpylong » Tue Apr 03, 2018 12:39 pm

I am an NS shareholder and my perception of the earning's call could not have been further from Secaucus Junction's interpretation.

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Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby ANDY117 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 5:35 pm

The NS geometry train ran down the Tier to Port Jervis and back today. When was the last time it went down there?
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