Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby rr503 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:16 pm

I don't think I know enough to say who's right here, but convention says that someone presenting an argument/hypothesis/fact must provide evidence for it. The onus of action lies on the author and not the reader to validate.

Imagine if a scientist said "Puppies cause cancer. I'm right, but I'm not gonna show you my research because you all should take the time to do it yourself if you care/want to participate in discussions with me."

Look, what you say sounds plausible, let's just see these stats, OK?
rr503
 
Posts: 549
Joined: Sat May 02, 2015 4:13 pm
Location: North by Northwest

Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby oibu » Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:09 am

I would agree. But we've about hashed things to death here, and Matt says he left, so I don't think any evidence to begin to build a case for the repeated unsupported claims to the effect that "NS moves as much or more now as anybody, ever, in the last 50 years", is coming. Every claim he's made has been refuted by facts and/or supporting evidence (car counts/train counts/changes in car capacities/traffic patterns/funding sources/tax agreements/track conditions/etc.), but he still says it is so. So I guess it "must be", and all the data and evidence and specific citations are secondary to speculative opinion, and even though fewer cars go by every day there are "actually more" and we just can't all see them. I'm fine with rational discussion, but I'm not going to endlessly provide further presentations of evidence over and over just because somebody says they disagree every time, but yet then never provides stats or evidence to support their rebuttal beyond a generalized unsupported statement or some stat that is at best dubious evidence that things -might not- be -negative- and tries to claim that it is somehow a strong supporting argument that something is "very positive".

I'd love to see evidence to support that too, but it's not out there even if someone could/would provide it.

I think let's just move along, this has gone well beyond the point of any reasonable discussion or debate and isn't productive, interesting, or educational for anyone I don't think.

Hopefully a new bridge or inland port or Panamax or something will come along someday, for now that seems to be about all we can hope for.

If anyone actually is interested, here is one snippet I did quickly find about the CNYK tax deal. It doesn't give much detail, but it should at least put to rest the " since I don't know about it, and anything I don't know about doesn't exist, the tax deal isn't real" claims. :wink:

http://www.sc-democrat.com/archives/200 ... /22/rr.htm
oibu
 
Posts: 711
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 9:36 am

Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby SecaucusJunction » Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:19 pm

The CNYK lease of the railroad was dependent on the tax breaks. The lease says that the CNYK could void the deal if the tax breaks weren't given.
I think it may be possible that NJ Transit might not be the perfect, infallible organization that most people assume it is.
SecaucusJunction
 
Posts: 3043
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2004 9:40 pm
Location: NS Watchdog

Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby CPF363 » Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:38 am

With all of the discussion regarding the Southern Tier Line, most especially east of Binghamton, the best thing that could have happened for this line is if CP was able to acquire the entire Southern Tier Buffalo to New Jersey line as a condition of the Conrail split. CP could have also asked for the former Michigan Central line between Detroit and Chicago to include the Porter Branch also. They could have used their ownership of the D&H and political influence to put pressure on the STB to bring it into fruition. Why they did not do that is anyone's guess. All of that would have orientated the D&H from being a north-south line to being more aligned with CP network to the west. But that all did not happen and if it did, CP could have moved much of the the long haul New York traffic away from American ports on the west coast and shifted it to Vancouver, something that U.S. roads did not want to see. NS and CSX broke up Conrail and the Southern Tier to the east was the odd man out.
CPF363
 
Posts: 640
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2009 9:00 pm

Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby Jimleighty » Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:53 am

I have heard from a very reliable source that NS has no immediate plans to start using the eastern Southern Tier. Even though the Portage Bridge replacement project is complete and heavier freight cars are able to use the line, the traffic will continue to use the Sunbury Line instead of the Eastern portion of the Tier. This was a big disappointment to me as I was looking forward to possible traffic increases after the bridge completion. I was told that NS will be leaving this option open and it indeed may use the line in the future, but no immediate schedule changes are planned.

Jim Leighty
Jimleighty
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:23 am

Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby SecaucusJunction » Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:43 pm

This is surprising?
I think it may be possible that NJ Transit might not be the perfect, infallible organization that most people assume it is.
SecaucusJunction
 
Posts: 3043
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2004 9:40 pm
Location: NS Watchdog

Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby SALSDP35 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:15 am

While I clearly understand people's disappointment, and agree that NS had made projects of bigger things for all of the Southern Tier Line, things could be and almost were, worse.

In early 1996, Conrail came to my office and stated in no uncertain terms that it was their plan to close the line to the extent that was possible. They showed a plan to serve the remaining local business by running trains down from Lyons on the Corning Secondary. They stated that the line only had three industries from Erwin to Buffalo and the plan was for that line to go. They were trying to figure our how to deal with CP and the NYS&W. Both where being shown options to use the ex NYC - CP west of Albany and the NYS&W west of Syracuse. At that time, the only Conrail trains on the line were the BUBI/BIBU (Buffalo Binghamton) and an up and back turn train out of Croxton (or Suffern) that gave every other day service east of Binghamton. It was the change in ownership to NS and CSX in 1997 that saw the return of BUOI/OIBU and a pair of stack trains. People tend to forget that the last year of an "independent Conrail" was 1996 and things on the Tier were ugly.

After the NS take over of the line, the projected stack trains failed to materialize because of the fact that CSX was far more aggressive regarding the international shipping container business. As NS plainly stated, "We are not going to undercut, already cut rates". NS was in the position to be more selective due to the better franchise that they got out of the Conrail split. While CSX had domination in New England and excellent access to the NYC market, NS had equal access to New York and picked up a much better network to the south/west. Today in the United States, the eastern "Distribution Corridor" stretches from Hagerstown, MD to Allentown, PA - roughly along I81/78. NS found themselves smack dab in the middle of this and the IM terminals that they maintain reflect this. Bethlehem, Morrisville, two in Harrisburg and Greencastle. NS found that they can be selective in the New York markets and achieve better yield than CSX because they (CSX) have no large market outside of NYC other than Boston.

Further complicating matters is that intermodal traffic has not grown to the degree that was expected. Since 2008, intermodal growth has not continued on the same trajectory that it was on in the 1990's and early 2000's. This has changed in the last year. Still, the best hope for intermodal growth on the line would be a new terminal in the Maybrook/Campbell Hall/Middletown area to take advantage of the mini distribution area that is growing around Stewart Airport and giving them access to southern New England.

This is not what fans of the ex Erie want to see or hear but it is good business on the part of NS. Intermodal business on the line west of Binghamton is getting stronger and the I2K/I3K extra's have been regular even after the first of the year. By placing the Tier from Binghamton to Suffern in an arms length transaction (two really - the lease(s) to CNY and Metro North), the line 1. continuous in service and does not deteriorate as it would if it was closed or rail banked and 2. can be "retrieved" if and when it is needed in the future. While this status is not ideal, if it were a redundant line under CSX or still the distant third in a three way race that it was under Conrail, it would be gone.
Last edited by SALSDP35 on Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:44 am, edited 3 times in total.
SALSDP35
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:32 am

Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby SecaucusJunction » Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:46 pm

Land Bridge traffic has dissipated over the past decade or so with more ships using the Panama Canal. Most water shipments to the port of NY/NJ are for customers in the immediate area, which is not good economics for the railroads in NJ. Now with the canal expansion and Bayonne Bridge completion, there could be a lot more lifts for the railroads out of NJ in the medium term. Port of NJ is supposed to be completing a new ship to rail facility this year capable of 400,000 additional annual lifts. This could be quite a bit of extra traffic out of NJ but, again, CSX (even with precision scheduled railroading happening), has stated they are very interested in this additional traffic. Go figure.
I think it may be possible that NJ Transit might not be the perfect, infallible organization that most people assume it is.
SecaucusJunction
 
Posts: 3043
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2004 9:40 pm
Location: NS Watchdog

Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby SALSDP35 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:39 am

In addition to the Panama Canal factor, all water service via the Suez is more attractive as the container business shifts to ports further south and west in China, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, etc.

When the majority of the traffic was ex Japan or Korea, MLB made a much greater difference in transit times.
SALSDP35
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:32 am

Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby SecaucusJunction » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:46 pm

Yes I've always thought the volume through East Coast Ports (especially PANYNJ) is going increase exponentially over the next few years. The stars seem to be aligning for it to happen. The question is how interested in the business are the railroads.
I think it may be possible that NJ Transit might not be the perfect, infallible organization that most people assume it is.
SecaucusJunction
 
Posts: 3043
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2004 9:40 pm
Location: NS Watchdog

Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby EL3601 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 5:39 pm

I do not post here very often but here goes. The lack of traffic on the east end also has another glitch to contend with. People, crews in other words. NS has been on hiring a binge here in Binghamton for a long time now. Through normal attrition the number of crews never seems to rise above a certain point. They hire 16 trainees lets say. By the time the cream rises to the top after training in Georgia and then back to Bingo you are lucky if you have 3 - 4 good trainees left. As in the case with every railroad operation there are retirements and other assorted reasons that people leave their jobs. I here it all the time here how short of crews NS is. I know this for a fact as I have relative who works right here in Bingo. The first thing you need are qualified people to run your trains but when have the guys on the extra board running all over the place re-crewing trains it is hard to put them on an extra train.
The point I am trying to make is anything out of Bingo east will be handled by the crews out of here. Croxton is also short on crews as my relative was called to go down and run one of the locals out of Suffern. He is not familiar with that end of the railroad and turned down the call due to a lack of qualifications. East Binghamton yard is so busy they are adding at least 2 yard jobs a day with extra yard jobs occurring quite often. They are having some difficulty handling the traffic they already have. Just in case some of you don,t know they moved the DL interchange back to Scranton so there are more cars to be handled. Winter is never kind to the railroads in the northeast snow, ice and bitter cold at times. I can also attest to how busy the place as I work right across the street from the engine house. Things are not busy down east and I know it but things are hopping in Bingo. I am no fortune teller but something will happen and you will get a pair of trains. First things first, the people have to be in place before the trains run and yes Portage will allow that now.
P.S. I lived for over 25 years along the east end before my move.
EL3601
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2015 3:55 pm

Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby oibu » Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:47 pm

All good points, but there is also the part of the equation that if Corporate actually WANTED to hire more than that, they could. They choose not to train and/or hire more. If they had a need for them, they could change it. BUt until NS decides to run a Class I instead of a regional-style railroad in the northeast, they won't hire those crews. At the end of the day, they are as cheap as the day is long, and seriously competing with CSX for northeastern traffic is something they have been pretty lackadaisical about. We'll see, but nothing much looks like it will change unless there is a culture shift at the top levels. I don't see the current skeleton staffing as something that prevents operating more or new trains or routes in the bigger picture- they *could* make that change in a few months if there were need and/or motivation to do so.

At least thanks to NYS funding, after 20 years of talking big, they finally did something at Portage. But all the new bridges in the world won't mean more trains if the railroad doesn't try to make it happen...
oibu
 
Posts: 711
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 9:36 am

Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby SecaucusJunction » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:10 am

You're 100% right about everything. I just listened to their fourth quarter earnings call and was somewhat shocked to hear some things they said. For one thing, they implied multiple times that CSX is not their competitor. This means that CSX can screw up all they want and raise rates all they want, and NS still isn't generally interested in taking any traffic they currently have. Also, they said multiple times they weee "open to growth" meaning they might not turn every opportunity away but it sure didn't sound like they were trying hard to grow the business. All of these statements would probably get me fired in my current industry. The really sad thing is even CSX seems to have more of a vision with their recent statements. Not saying they will be able to carry them out but they've talked a lot about the failures of the industry in the past few decades and their plans to correct them and be more time competitive with trucks NS is putting all their hopes in ELDs bringing down the trucking industry.

The fact remains that NS wants to run the same amount, or slightly more overall traffic with fewer actual trains. Doesn't matter if that's best for their customers or putting them in good position long term, it just helps their right now operating ratio. In the late 90s, we were all upset because Conrail didn't want to grow and NS/CSX offered all the growth potential in the world. Now we see the true colors. In the end, on the overall Conrail system, we probably have less traffic than before.

Ideally we would need more railroads around to keep them honest and spur competition, but we just might be better off allowing the final round of mergers and letting UP take over. It can't get much worse in the Northeast.

Edit: oh and by the way, the move to switch the DL interchange to Scranton had little to do with NS wanting to route extra traffic over Portageville. It is step 1 of NS attempting to shut down Allentown hump yard. Whatever saves a quick buck.
I think it may be possible that NJ Transit might not be the perfect, infallible organization that most people assume it is.
SecaucusJunction
 
Posts: 3043
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2004 9:40 pm
Location: NS Watchdog

Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby SALSDP35 » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:39 am

oibu wrote:All good points, but there is also the part of the equation that if Corporate actually WANTED to hire more than that, they could. They choose not to train and/or hire more. If they had a need for them, they could change it. BUt until NS decides to run a Class I instead of a regional-style railroad in the northeast, they won't hire those crews. At the end of the day, they are as cheap as the day is long, and seriously competing with CSX for northeastern traffic is something they have been pretty lackadaisical about. We'll see, but nothing much looks like it will change unless there is a culture shift at the top levels. I don't see the current skeleton staffing as something that prevents operating more or new trains or routes in the bigger picture- they *could* make that change in a few months if there were need and/or motivation to do so.

At least thanks to NYS funding, after 20 years of talking big, they finally did something at Portage. But all the new bridges in the world won't mean more trains if the railroad doesn't try to make it happen...


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.
SALSDP35
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:32 am

Re: Southern Tier - East of Binghamton

Postby SALSDP35 » Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:00 am

SecaucusJunction wrote:You're 100% right about everything. I just listened to their fourth quarter earnings call and was somewhat shocked to hear some things they said. For one thing, they implied multiple times that CSX is not their competitor. This means that CSX can screw up all they want and raise rates all they want, and NS still isn't generally interested in taking any traffic they currently have. Also, they said multiple times they weee "open to growth" meaning they might not turn every opportunity away but it sure didn't sound like they were trying hard to grow the business. All of these statements would probably get me fired in my current industry. The really sad thing is even CSX seems to have more of a vision with their recent statements. Not saying they will be able to carry them out but they've talked a lot about the failures of the industry in the past few decades and their plans to correct them and be more time competitive with trucks NS is putting all their hopes in ELDs bringing down the trucking industry.

The fact remains that NS wants to run the same amount, or slightly more overall traffic with fewer actual trains. Doesn't matter if that's best for their customers or putting them in good position long term, it just helps their right now operating ratio. In the late 90s, we were all upset because Conrail didn't want to grow and NS/CSX offered all the growth potential in the world. Now we see the true colors. In the end, on the overall Conrail system, we probably have less traffic than before.

Ideally we would need more railroads around to keep them honest and spur competition, but we just might be better off allowing the final round of mergers and letting UP take over. It can't get much worse in the Northeast.

Edit: oh and by the way, the move to switch the DL interchange to Scranton had little to do with NS wanting to route extra traffic over Portageville. It is step 1 of NS attempting to shut down Allentown hump yard. Whatever saves a quick buck.


Actually I think you misunderstood the point that NS was trying to make in the call. Fact of the mater is, NS has picked up half of the carload business that CSX has lost. (Look it up.) The other half has gone to trucks. The point that they are making is, at the end of the day, the real competition is the trucking industry. Trucks have eaten the railroads lunch 80 years. Going after CSX"s traffic just isn't going to result in growth. I doubt anything I say is going to make a difference with you or OIBU but frankly, who cares.

The DL traffic is all about Allentown? While closing Allentown may in fact be desirable, the DL business isn't going to enable that! Truth of the mater, the multiple handling on the PRR/RDG side is what moved it to a Tier routing. Certainly closing the Portland Secondary is a goal. Containing cost, quickly or over the long term should always be one goal of any for profit organization.

So where should all this traffic come from? Let's hear your insight into how NS, CSX or anyone else could fill the Delaware with trains! 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?
Last edited by SALSDP35 on Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
SALSDP35
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:32 am

PreviousNext

Return to New York State Railfan

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests