Gardner Branch

Topics relating to the operation of the P&W Railroad, which is a subsidiary of Genesee and Wyoming. Regional freight railroad based in Worcester and operating in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York.
Official web-site: http://www.pwrr.com/

Moderator: MEC407

Re: Gardner Branch

Postby jaymac » Wed Sep 21, 2016 7:54 am

by CPF363 » Sun Sep 18, 2016 9:40 pm
Wonder if PAR will look for this same kind of finding to rebuild the Worcester Route from West Boylston to Clinton considering it crosses the Wachusett Reservoir and run in close proximity other parts of the reservoir on the Clinton stretch.

It's been a bit since I've seen a train in the Oakdale area, and I've never seen a speedo, but it does look like CWR is already in place around Oakdale. Tie condition is another matter.
"Watching trains is better than smoking meth."
--Source, location, and time undisclosed.
jaymac
 
Posts: 3612
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:08 pm

Re: Gardner Branch

Postby jmar896 » Thu Sep 22, 2016 9:01 am

A couple of trains go through a week. Mostly early in the morning (around 6) and late at night (around 12). Continuously welded rail is in place through West Boylston to my knowledge, but it changes shortly after. However, overall the track is still in pretty poor condition.
jmar896
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2014 4:02 pm

Re: Gardner Branch

Postby jaymac » Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:05 pm

by jmar896 » Thu Sep 22, 2016 9:01 am
...A couple of trains go through a week....

SEPO/POSE are dailies, FI and/or AY locals service St. Gobain, and PWBO/BOPW has run as lime is needed at Bow.
"Watching trains is better than smoking meth."
--Source, location, and time undisclosed.
jaymac
 
Posts: 3612
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:08 pm

Re: Gardner Branch

Postby RJDC85 » Tue Sep 27, 2016 1:37 pm

Grants announced yesterday on the FRA's website included one for the P&W:

Providence and Worcester Railroad Co. – Mass.
$2.37 million to rehabilitate 12 miles of century-old rail to improve track conditions substantially with new continuous welded rail and ties along Providence and Worcester Railroad Company’s Gardner Branch rail line in central Massachusetts.
RJDC85
 
Posts: 25
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2014 10:01 am

Re: Gardner Branch

Postby b&m 1566 » Tue Feb 21, 2017 4:41 pm

QB 52.32 wrote:spur into the Holden Industrial Park.


What did this spur serve? It ends about 50ft or so past the Woodmeister's driveway.
User avatar
b&m 1566
 
Posts: 3015
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 2:09 am
Location: Hudson, NH

Re: Gardner Branch

Postby NashuaActon&Boston » Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:58 pm

When is best to witness trains on the P&W Gardner branch? It's the closest line to me that I've never explored. Any significant weekend action?
NashuaActon&Boston
 
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:10 am
Location: Concord, MA

Re: Gardner Branch

Postby johnpbarlow » Tue Mar 14, 2017 6:44 am

NashuaActon&Boston wrote:When is best to witness trains on the P&W Gardner branch? It's the closest line to me that I've never explored. Any significant weekend action?


P&W typically runs WOGR/GRWO turn from Worcester in the middle of the day most days - I'm guessing Sunday through Thursday. Trains can be lengthy and move at better than Pan Am speeds (ie, 25+mph).
johnpbarlow
 
Posts: 1854
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 12:50 pm

Re: Gardner Branch

Postby jaymac » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:32 am

Keeping an ear open for PAS District 3 to give the PW permission into the yard will give mebbe a half-hour's notice of arrival. Depending on the amount of business from and to Worcester, things can be quick or slow, especially if the PW inspector has determined that 1 car or more for Worcester will need to be set out for work first. If there is a PAS crew in the yard for racks and/or general, there can be coordination and joint effort or not. Sometimes PW will have its power coupled together and other times on each end of the train. When they're set to head for Worcester, the crew will radio their dispatcher.
"Watching trains is better than smoking meth."
--Source, location, and time undisclosed.
jaymac
 
Posts: 3612
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:08 pm

Re: Gardner Branch

Postby BostonUrbEx » Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:12 am

P&W purchased the Gardner Branch from Guilford, correct? What year did that occur? What was the motivation for the purchase, were there customers on the line at the time? How was the GTI—P&W interchange handled prior to Gardner?

Why isn't there an arrangement where PAS and PAR interchange with P&W in Ayer and/or Worcester? Seems that under present-day operations, the Gardner Branch is unnecessary and a consolidation of operations could mean more efficiency. So, there must be something in the history which led to what we have today.
User avatar
BostonUrbEx
 
Posts: 3781
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:55 pm
Location: Winn to MPT 8, Boston to MPN 38, and Hat to Bank

Re: Gardner Branch

Postby johnpbarlow » Sun Apr 01, 2018 7:27 am

According to the Holden Historical Society article "A Brief on Railroads in Holden", P&W bought the B&M Fitchburg Division Worcester Branch in early 1974 with P&W operations starting February 2, 1974. B&M had apparently downgraded operations by eliminating Worcester-Mechanicville through trains WM-1 and WM-2 approximately 6 years earlier. By the time P&W acquired the line, B&M was servicing the few customers on the line as needed. I'm guessing that if P&W had not purchased the line, B&M or GRS would have abandoned it. I would further guess that at that time when goods were stilled being manufactured in Rhode Island/Worcester, P&W thought they could could enlarge their revenue share of the B&M interchange by acquiring and upgrading the Gardner line.

http://www.holdenhistory.org/holden_railroads.htm

As for why P&W/G&W doesn't divert its PAS interchange traffic from Gardner to Ayer, there are two obvious issues, first of which is that Pan Am Railways (ie not PAS) owns the Worcester main and has let the 30ish mile line deteriorate through extreme neglect. Secondly, Hill Yard at Ayer is often choked with intermodal (22K/23K doubling plus Poland Springs container handling), CSX interchange trains, and local traffic (not to mention MBTA trains running back and forth on the mainline) such that P&W/G&W/NS probably would be dissatisfied with the interchange performance. But having said that, my understanding is G&W might be more interested in trimming expenses than P&W was historically and thus moving the PAS interchange to Ayer might be attractive. But I hope not!
Last edited by MEC407 on Sun Apr 01, 2018 10:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: unnecessary quoting
johnpbarlow
 
Posts: 1854
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 12:50 pm

Re: Gardner Branch

Postby BostonUrbEx » Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:37 am

johnpbarlow wrote:As for why P&W/G&W doesn't divert its PAS interchange traffic from Gardner to Ayer, there are two obvious issues


To which, I'd have several suggestions. P&W gets rights on the Worcester Main or PAS gets "rights" on the Worcester Main, being the "easiest" among them. Money spent on the 30 mile Gardner Branch for only a moderately sized interchange trip per day could be spent on keeping the Worcester Main in better shape, improving and expanding the Clinton siding, and/or improvements to Ayer Yard. All of those things are important in and of themselves, and shifting the P&W interchange just makes them more feasible. Gardner Yard is limited in capacity, and the interchange is often a struggle for both parties involved (although, Pan Am could likely take the blame due to sloppy ops, but the grade and cramped tracks certainly are difficult).
User avatar
BostonUrbEx
 
Posts: 3781
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:55 pm
Location: Winn to MPT 8, Boston to MPN 38, and Hat to Bank

Re: Gardner Branch

Postby jaymac » Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:08 am

Some of this echoes what johnpbarlow has already posted, and some is new.
What is critical to remember is the PC-Contract-Whenever-Possible approach of Fink 1.0 . In addition to the PW purchase of the Gardner Branch in 1974, the PW did get rights on the Worcester-Ayer line sometime in the middle-late 1980s. The PW even had its own "No Trespassing" signs at the Prescott Street, West Boylston, crossing and probably others. The PW also installed solar power for the Prescott Street protection, the town's municipal power stopping a few hundred yards before the crossing and welled batteries providing the pre-solar power. On the subject of rights, B&M and then Guilford maintained rights to Norton -- now Saint Gobain -- off the Gardner Branch.
When Guilford sought to downgrade West End service to increase savings on ROW, power, and crews, it began to shift racks and coal to Conrail via the Worcester gateway with the PW allowing overhead to Shea, Shea to Ayer reverting to Guilford. As part of the "upgrade" of the Worcester Main, Guilford got the West Boylston Municipal Lighting Plant to extend electrical service to the crossing, replacing the solar. How many other crossings in other municipalities were similarly affected is something I don't know.
Sometime before the middle of 1990, Guilford and Conrail attempted to run general freight over the PW to Shea in violation of the earlier rights agreement. PW refused to issue orders, and a negotiation took place that eventually permitted general in addition to coal and racks.
The breakup of Conrail and NS's interest in getting as much of a favorable rate division on the coal and racks that generally originated on its newly-acquired lines, not to mention general and IM, led to PAS and its not-yet fully-realized rehabilitation of the RJ/CPF-312 route.
If the pre-G&W PW felt a bit whipsawed by Guilford, the pre-and-post-G&W NECR dealings with Guilford/PAS have probably done little to reduce PW suspicion of PAR/S under the G&W. The Hill Yard barely has capacity as it is. Add racks and general to and from the PW -- absent at least 3 more tracks being rebuilt -- and capacity will be exceeded. Additionally, the Clinton siding is adequate only for locals and work trains. Increase the number of movements with racks to and from Worcester and the new chokepoint of power swaps at Greendale. The old auto yard might serve for storage, but given the need to get headway from the T, little else.
However wasteful and inefficient it might seem, the PW's continued use of the Gardner Branch provides an operational flexibility and certainty that shifting to the Worcester Main would not, absent a major PAR -- not PAS -- or Commonwealth investment in a major passing siding and increased capacity at Greendale and the Hill Yard.
"Watching trains is better than smoking meth."
--Source, location, and time undisclosed.
jaymac
 
Posts: 3612
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:08 pm

Re: Gardner Branch

Postby newpylong » Sun Apr 29, 2018 1:56 pm

The idea of the P&W canning the Gardner branch is nonsense. Why would they pay for operating rights/fees and be governed by PAR when they already have their own line? The P&W can "scoot" up to Gardner fairly quickly to drop off or pick up cars if PAS misses the normal drop. They also move more tonnage over that line than most think. All of that flexibility goes away if they run via the Worcester main. If it made financial and operational sense they would have done it decades ago.
newpylong
 
Posts: 4085
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 12:32 pm
Location: NH

Re: Gardner Branch

Postby BostonUrbEx » Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:05 am

newpylong wrote:Why would they pay for operating rights/fees


Either they would because it'd be cheaper than maintaining a 30 mile branch with zero other traffic, or they wouldn't because the interchange would be in Worcester.

newpylong wrote:If it made financial and operational sense they would have done it decades ago.


Not necessarily, for one there may have been customers that needed serving at the time, so might as well keep the branch online and switch them on the way by. Which was entirely the premise of my post, to ask questions and find out why it wasn't done.
User avatar
BostonUrbEx
 
Posts: 3781
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:55 pm
Location: Winn to MPT 8, Boston to MPN 38, and Hat to Bank

Re: Gardner Branch

Postby jaymac » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:10 am

Sitting dim on Gardner Yard Lead pre-0600/08-22-2018 were PWs 4004 -- east and in G&W colors -- and 4006 -- still in P&W colors. Also on Yard ! and on to the Extension were presumably Worcester-bound loads that head been there since at least 08-20.
"Watching trains is better than smoking meth."
--Source, location, and time undisclosed.
jaymac
 
Posts: 3612
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:08 pm

Previous

Return to Providence and Worcester Railroad

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest