CSX, Fresh Direct, and Harlem River Rail Yards

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CSX, Fresh Direct, and Harlem River Rail Yards

Postby Jeff Smith » Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:10 am

Cross-posting this potentially good news here in NYS forum, and then moving to CSX.

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20 ... /120119948

Brief, fair-use quote:

FreshDirect's decision to move to the Bronx or to New Jersey, which are aggressively wooing the online grocer, may be influenced by old fashioned rail lines that will help it to expand to such cities as Chicago and Boston. The Harlem River Yards in the Bronx offers exactly that opportunity.

“FreshDirect is looking into rail,” as a means for its expansion, said Anthony Riccio, senior vice president of Harlem River Yard Ventures, which has a long term lease on 104 acres of state-owned land, 12.6 acres of which is being offered to the grocer. Harlem River Yards in the Port Morris section of the Bronx is the largest facility served by CSX rail south of Albany.

Read more: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20 ... z1jLqF8zAq
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Re: CSX, Fresh Direct, and Harlem River Rail Yards

Postby Noel Weaver » Fri Jan 13, 2012 12:13 pm

I would love to see something like this develop and become a big user of rail freight out of New York. The problems are clearances for many freight cars, heavy passenger traffic especially on the New Haven Line and the Metro-North signal system which does not provide for a decent movement of through freight trains. They might do better somewhere else but it could be interesting.
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Re: CSX, Fresh Direct, and Harlem River Rail Yards

Postby Jeff Smith » Fri Jan 13, 2012 1:51 pm

Are there still clearance issues on the Hudson line?
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Re: CSX, Fresh Direct, and Harlem River Rail Yards

Postby Noel Weaver » Sat Jan 14, 2012 2:49 am

The clearances were improved on the Hudson as far south as Tarrytown to accomodate multilevel auto carriers but south of Tarrytown nothing was done and there are some low bridges. New York State put up much money to improve the clearances on one of the two tracks as far south as the old GM plant in Tarrytown and it was only a year or two later that GM pulled the plug on that plant and laid off a huge number of employees and New York got stuck with the tab for the work.
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Re: CSX, Fresh Direct, and Harlem River Rail Yards

Postby Jeff Smith » Sat Jan 14, 2012 7:33 am

That's what I remembered as well. From Tarrytown south the line really hugs the Hudson. Not having catenary is a plus, as is the Oak-Point link. It seems to me the worst spots would be the bottleneck at Spuyten Duyvil and the Putnam industrial track (forget what the interlocking is called there....). Ironically Noel, and let me know if you agree, the old Put was the "High and Wide" route that would have accomodated this (at least as far down as Riverdale anyway). When the NYC moved that traffic to the West Shore, they didn't need it. Of course, none of that is in place anymore, including the connection to Chatham at Brewster. With catenary on the NEC/New Haven, low bridges in the South Bronx on the Harlem, and all the commuter traffic, freight is a tough sell east of the Hudson especially on the shoreline of the Hudson and LI Sound.
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Re: CSX, Fresh Direct, and Harlem River Rail Yards

Postby Noel Weaver » Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:18 pm

Yes, the Put was for many years the clearance route into New York City. It was he route the GM Train of Tomorrow had to use with its dome cars and it was the route of many OD cars in to the city as well. After the passenger trains came off on the West Shore and that line was single tracked, the need for the Put was diminished and with the property taxes in both New York and New Jersey being as high as they were, a reduction in the physical plant was called for and thus the Put went. I am glad I took the opportunity to ride this line a couple of different times when it was possible to do so including the last trains in 1958.
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Re: CSX, Fresh Direct, and Harlem River Rail Yards

Postby jakirk » Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:17 pm

There aren't any clearance issues for non intermodal freight, which is presumably what this traffic would be. 286,000#, Plate F boxcars and refeers are a handled daily to Oak Point and Hunts Point.
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Re: CSX, Fresh Direct, and Harlem River Rail Yards

Postby freightguy » Mon Jan 16, 2012 6:35 pm

Fresh Direct large warehouse in Queens is on the site of the former Case Paper. The building had like a 6 car spot until around 2000 or so used to get several carloads of paper. There operation(Fresh Direct) has expanded since than, but they have a facility with rail direct already on the LIRR lower Montauk branch. Hopefully they'll use rail in some form always a ton of trucks clogging up Borden Ave in Long Island city. With expansion maybe they outgrew that facility and looking for a larger warehouse and surburban expansion.
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Re: CSX, Fresh Direct, and Harlem River Rail Yards

Postby NYCS » Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:21 am

Does anyone know where exactly this facility will go? Harlem River Yards is currently a cluttered brown-zone of abandoned rail and random dirt lots, and I'm wondering as to an exact location. Also, does anyone know if the New York Post still receives rail service? They've got two sidings that go into the building, but all of the satellite imagery I've studied from various sources never show a car spotted.
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Re: CSX, Fresh Direct, and Harlem River Rail Yards

Postby freightguy » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:14 pm

I think the Post cars goes right into the building. You'll see the bright red CP Rail newsprint cars on the CSX East of Hudson trains. Usually the block of Oak Point cars in on the South end of trains, with NYAR bound following behind...
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Re: CSX, Fresh Direct, and Harlem River Rail Yards

Postby DogBert » Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:29 pm

Clearance, as stated, is no longer an issue. The oak point link more or less fixed that situation. Belmont racetrack on long island routinely gets tall cars of hay. The siding in LIC I believe is still in place, through fresh direct doesn't use it. There or the south bronx would be great for expansion, without the tolls their trucks would get coming in from jersey. Those tolls would slaughter their profit margin.
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Re: CSX, Fresh Direct, and Harlem River Rail Yards

Postby ccutler » Sun Jul 13, 2014 10:33 am

Did Fresh Direct just talk about using rail or did they actually start receiving cars?
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Re: CSX, Fresh Direct, and Harlem River Rail Yards

Postby DogBert » Mon Jul 14, 2014 11:14 am

They haven't moved yet so far as I know. I'm not even sure where at harlem river they are suppose to be moving into. The city gov announces plans like this that never happen pretty often. They look good in the press for a day and then everyone forgets all about it.

I'm willing to bet a nickel that if and when they actually do end up in the Bronx, they won't be receiving anything via rail. (They could in LIC, with only a few hours more transit time than they'd get in the bronx - so I don't think timed delivery is the issue - probably price or their suppliers not using rail is the problem)
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Re: CSX, Fresh Direct, and Harlem River Rail Yards

Postby NYCS » Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:07 pm

Exactly. Fresh Direct could very well receive via rail from their LIC facility, and I think the empty promise of them "using rail" was simply a ploy to sweeten their negotiations for the Harlem River site (former Post Office site, btw). Also, the nature of the business isn't rail-friendly; that is, their business model and the commodities they import would all be LCL and come in by truck. For proof of this concept, look at their direct competitor - Jetro/Restaurant Depot. Jetro built a distribution center right along the Lower Montauk Branch (former Phelps Dodge site) that is right next to the rail line, but no spur was ever put in. The building wasn't even designed to accommodate rail service, as aerial photos show. Jetro also built that MASSIVE distribution center smack in the middle of Oak Point Yard. In what is an ultimate smack in the face, they graded their site above rail level, put in giant stone retaining walls almost as if they were building a fortress, and put no thought into rail despite their location. Everything about their Bronx warehouse was designed specifically to keep rail out. I'm actually surprised they didn't put in a moat filled with alligators. The sadness sets in when you realize Jetro/Restaurant Depot built their anti-rail fortress on what could be considered one of the last remaining PRIME industrial sites in NYC that is capable of connecting to the railhead. It's right in the middle of Oak Point Yard!!!

Take a look at this building, the retaining walls, and tell me this isn't the biggest insult to rail - with its site location only adding salt to the wounds. http://goo.gl/maps/B7k0e

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Re: CSX, Fresh Direct, and Harlem River Rail Yards

Postby ccutler » Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:14 pm

Jetro/Bronx is right next to Oak Point Food marketplace which does use rail; and I would speculate that the food shipped in by rail goes to specialty vendors who then sell a portion through Jetro.

It may be more efficient to truck it, or to rail it to Oak Point and than truck it to Jetro...or to intermodal it to NJ and drive to Jetro.
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