High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby DutchRailnut » Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:30 am

again Amtrak had no problem with mail, but USPS no longer wants rail mail.
the freight carriers objected to head end freight as its not part of Amtrak charter and competes with the carrier they run over.
on the NEC yes its their line, but the freight carriers own freight rights, not Amtrak.
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby Tadman » Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:02 am

DutchRailnut wrote:again Amtrak had no problem with mail, but USPS no longer wants rail mail.
the freight carriers objected to head end freight as its not part of Amtrak charter and competes with the carrier they run over.
on the NEC yes its their line, but the freight carriers own freight rights, not Amtrak.


DutchRailnut wrote:Ok I may not know much about law but you are abysmal in railroading , Amtrak is not chartered to run freight.


This is not a question of railroading. This is a question of the charter, which is written and interpreted by lawyers. Also, can you identify which passage in the articles of incorporation or charter back up your position if you are so intimately familiar with them?

Also, per my earlier remarks, can you identify which passages in the trackage rights agreements give the freight roads exclusive right to run freight, and which passages define mail and express as freight?

You can't. None of the above documents are publicly available without a FOIA request. You've never read any of those documents. None of the above are "railroading" as you assert. It would be great if you would quit telling people "how it is" and then lambasting them for doing the same, especially when it's clear you are way out of your lane.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby NY&LB » Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:10 am

Not hard to find the statutes:
Title 49 U.S. Code § 24306 - Mail, express, and auto-ferry transportation
(a)Actions To Increase Revenues.—
Amtrak shall take necessary action to increase its revenues from the transportation of mail and express. To increase its revenues, Amtrak may provide auto-ferry transportation as part of the basic passenger transportation authorized by this part.

Title 49 U.S. Code § 24305 - General authority
(c)Miscellaneous Authority.—Amtrak may—
(1) make and carry out appropriate agreements;
(2) transport mail and express and shall use all feasible methods to obtain the bulk mail business of the United States Postal Service;
(3) improve its reservation system and advertising;
(4) provide food and beverage services on its trains only if revenues from the services each year at least equal the cost of providing the services;
(5) conduct research, development, and demonstration programs related to the mission of Amtrak; and
(6) buy or lease rail rolling stock and develop and demonstrate improved rolling stock.

I am not a lawyer but mail and express seem OK;
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby WhartonAndNorthern » Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:16 am

bratkinson wrote:The other side of the coin is that Amtrak doesn't 'want' any freight on their tracks...perhaps even more so than the freight RRs 'want' Amtrak on THEIR tracks! So, Amtrak prices freight movement on the NEC high enough to discourage all but captive shippers/consignees from using the NEC.


Amtrak may be better off giving CSX and/or NS a "break" on pricing on the NEC in exchange for "consideration" elsewhere such as faster movements or increased capacity off the corridor. Of course it all depends on supply and demand and the exact nature of the pricing.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby east point » Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:22 pm

Doesn't Amtrak and MNRR try to keep freight trains on the outside tracks to minimize track wear /?
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:14 pm

The AEM7 hauled MHC and express trains were probably the closest thing to high speed electric freight in this country, though the MHCs were restricted to 90? instead of standard 110/125 mph for AEM7s.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby Ken W2KB » Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:37 pm

NY&LB wrote:Not hard to find the statutes:
Title 49 U.S. Code § 24306 - Mail, express, and auto-ferry transportation
(a)Actions To Increase Revenues.—
Amtrak shall take necessary action to increase its revenues from the transportation of mail and express. To increase its revenues, Amtrak may provide auto-ferry transportation as part of the basic passenger transportation authorized by this part.

Title 49 U.S. Code § 24305 - General authority
(c)Miscellaneous Authority.—Amtrak may—
(1) make and carry out appropriate agreements;
(2) transport mail and express and shall use all feasible methods to obtain the bulk mail business of the United States Postal Service;
(3) improve its reservation system and advertising;
(4) provide food and beverage services on its trains only if revenues from the services each year at least equal the cost of providing the services;
(5) conduct research, development, and demonstration programs related to the mission of Amtrak; and
(6) buy or lease rail rolling stock and develop and demonstrate improved rolling stock.

I am not a lawyer but mail and express seem OK;


Agree that mail and express (mail equivalent, think UPS, FedEx packages at higher cost than bulk freight for faster service) can be handled by Amtrak. But the existing mail and express terminals/centers cannot be directly served by Amtrak so a truck between Amtrak and the terminals is required. So terminal via truck to Amtrak and Amtrak via truck to terminal versus terminal to truck to terminal - by avoiding the transload the time is probably roughly equivalent and the economics are not in favor of the extra transfers and handling required if Amtrak were to get this business.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby benboston » Mon Nov 05, 2018 5:45 am

I have this feeling that Amazon is a potential delivery customer either for Amtrak, or for their own high speed freight system on the NEC.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby johnpbarlow » Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:17 am

Another challenge with attempting to implement Acela-speed package service (a la FedEx Ground or UPS) on the NEC is that some infrastructure would need to be built at the terminals to permit easy/quick transloading of parcels to/from delivery trucks. I'm guessing these terminals would be metro locales for easy highway access (eg, RTE area or New Carrollton area) in addition to downtown stations. Also a 2nd issue is that the approximately 4 hour Boston to NYC Acela transit time isn't likely any faster than trucks over this route, especially at night.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby Suburban Station » Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:47 pm

what about running a high speed freight service out of Harrisburg (to and from NEC destinations) which is home to a number of major yards or does the new paoli station prevent any through freight on this line? it could be run in partnership with a private company where Amtrak essentially provides the high speed transportation but the private company provides the business.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby STrRedWolf » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:08 pm

benboston wrote:I have this feeling that Amazon is a potential delivery customer either for Amtrak, or for their own high speed freight system on the NEC.


Maybe. Amazon's Baltimore warehouses and delivery centers are within spitting distance of connecting rail lines. The connection is at Bayview Yard. All that is needed is a load/unload track at one of the warehouses.

That said, where along the NEC would the warehouses be? They'd have to be connected to the NEC by at least one line.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby benboston » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:43 pm

Amazon has a warehouse in Stoughton, Ma very close to the NEC. Also, in Wallingford, CT is near the Hartford Line (close connection to the NEC), approx. two blocks from Penn Station in NYC. There are also numerous in close proximity to the NEC in New Jersey near EWR airport. Many of those already have rail spurs or industrial lines connecting including the one on Staten Island. There is a fulfillment center in North East, MD which is very close in proximity to the NEC. In Baltimore, there is a fulfillment center directly on a yard that has direct connections with the NEC. I think that goes to show that Amazon has many fulfillment centers very nearby the NEC.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:05 pm

Amazon fulfillment centers are great, but how much traffic goes between them? Of that, how much is time-sensitive and also delay-insensitive? Amazon can predict when I-95 gets snarled, but it can’t predict a downed catenary or a medical emergency that shuts down a two-track main.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby Tadman » Tue Nov 06, 2018 1:39 pm

NY&LB wrote:Not hard to find the statutes:
Title 49 U.S. Code § 24306 - Mail, express, and auto-ferry transportation
(a)Actions To Increase Revenues.—
Amtrak shall take necessary action to increase its revenues from the transportation of mail and express. To increase its revenues, Amtrak may provide auto-ferry transportation as part of the basic passenger transportation authorized by this part.

Title 49 U.S. Code § 24305 - General authority
(c)Miscellaneous Authority.—Amtrak may—
(1) make and carry out appropriate agreements;
(2) transport mail and express and shall use all feasible methods to obtain the bulk mail business of the United States Postal Service;
(3) improve its reservation system and advertising;
(4) provide food and beverage services on its trains only if revenues from the services each year at least equal the cost of providing the services;
(5) conduct research, development, and demonstration programs related to the mission of Amtrak; and
(6) buy or lease rail rolling stock and develop and demonstrate improved rolling stock.

I am not a lawyer but mail and express seem OK;


You're absolutely right, with the caveat: the railroad will do what it wants to some extent. Clearly food service (#4) has never broken even. You could also argue that #1, make and carry out appropriate agreements, has not been carried out. If it had, wouldn't the trackage rights be market rate? Appropriate agreements wouldn't result in habitual lateness on host roads. Also, #6, demonstrate improved rolling stock, is very tenuous. By common sense measure, they don't replace rolling stock often enough and the replacements are generally late, over-budget, and arguably not improved.

The long and short of it is that Amtrak has a slew of lawyers and professional managers and accountants that are paid to argue this stuff all day, and Dutch is not one of them.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby John_Perkowski » Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:01 pm

Where to where?
Products to be moved?
New business overall, or simply transferring existing cargo/revenue? (Aka, robbing Peter to pay Paul)

Before we even get to the how, let’s figure out the why, shall we?
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