High Speed Freight on the NEC.

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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby Ken W2KB » Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:10 pm

mtuandrew wrote: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.


To my knowledge Amazon now has 9 fulfillment centers here in New Jersey alone. The company is moving to same day delivery by having many of these, moving to fast rail likely would not improve delivery time. Their business model does not appear to include one huge warehouse per state size area which might be able to take advantage of rail shipments in some instances, but would impede same day or next day delivery on a cost-effective basis.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby STrRedWolf » Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:30 pm

Ken W2KB wrote:
mtuandrew wrote: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.


To my knowledge Amazon now has 9 fulfillment centers here in New Jersey alone. The company is moving to same day delivery by having many of these, moving to fast rail likely would not improve delivery time. Their business model does not appear to include one huge warehouse per state size area which might be able to take advantage of rail shipments in some instances, but would impede same day or next day delivery on a cost-effective basis.


Fulfillment centers are stocked with most commonly sold items, and Amazon's got the CPU power to predict where it needs stock and when. Freight from a warehouse to the fulfillment centers would be in advance and with common-sold stock, plus some predictions. Outliying stock will still be trucked in for 2-day delivery. For instance, if I need a half-dozen MicroSD cards for a Raspberry Pi rack-mount rig at work, I can get them in 2 hours from the Baltimore centers. That stuff can be pre-stocked by train. But if I need an obscure mounting rig that's only in Montana, that's getting flown into BWI overnight, shipped to the center by truck, and then delivered to the office on day 2.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby mtuandrew » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:48 pm

Exactly, Amtrak or a private freight operator on the NEC couldn’t compete with that. There isn’t broad-base high speed rail with lots of capacity across the country, but there are highways and airports at every middling town where someone could have a dozen SD cards delivered.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby Fishrrman » Wed Dec 12, 2018 4:42 pm

"High speed" freight?
On the Northeast Corridor?

Never gonna happen...
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby mmi16 » Sun Dec 16, 2018 9:10 am

mtuandrew wrote:The topic is High Speed Freight on the NEC, not Amtrak-Operated Freight. That could mean a Norfolk Southern single-stack intermodal - but it won’t touch triple digits in America. High doubles maybe, behind four-axle or steerable six-axle diesels.

Once Amtrak secured ownership of the NEC, their first order of business was to force ConRail to remove through freight traffic from the corridor.

To operate through freight Amtrak would have to do it during the Passenger 'off hours' - hours which are now available for MofW activity. Put through freight into the MofW's window and what do you have - a physical plant that is not be maintained to the level required for passenger operations.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Sun Dec 16, 2018 5:25 pm

mmi16 wrote:Once Amtrak secured ownership of the NEC, their first order of business was to force ConRail to remove through freight traffic from the corridor. To operate through freight Amtrak would have to do it during the Passenger 'off hours' - hours which are now available for MofW activity..

Then Ricky Gates was the final blow for through freight on the NEC, though some local, regional and terminal service (CSAO in Philadelphia and NJ for example, P&W from New England to Oak Point/Long Island and NS around Baltimore). (CSX between Long Island and Bronx has its own track on Hell Gate.) The longest NEC trains are the Conrail transfers between Oak Island and Metuchen, usually middays.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby ryanov » Mon Dec 17, 2018 1:30 am

mtuandrew wrote: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.

Someone could cause a five car accident right now. I would not be able to believe the highway is more reliable than the rails, given its thousands of unprofessional drivers. The only thing you could say about highway is is that you can usually get off of them. In a lot of areas, it won’t help you any though.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby RRspatch » Mon Dec 17, 2018 2:14 am

R36 Combine Coach wrote:Then Ricky Gates was the final blow for through freight on the NEC, though some local, regional and terminal service (CSAO in Philadelphia and NJ for example, P&W from New England to Oak Point/Long Island and NS around Baltimore). (CSX between Long Island and Bronx has its own track on Hell Gate.) The longest NEC trains are the Conrail transfers between Oak Island and Metuchen, usually middays.


The heaviest freight by volume and distance is on the south end between Bay View Yard (Baltimore) and Davis interlocking (Newark, Delaware). Between Bay View and Perryville Norfolk Southern runs intermodal, general freight and coal to/from the port of Baltimore. Between Perryville and Davis NS runs general freight and grain to Delaware. There is simply no other way for NS service these two points without using the corridor. Further south CSXT runs coal loads/empties between Landover and Bowie to service the PEPCO power plants on the Popes Creek line south of Bowie. I don't see any of this freight leaving the corridor as there's no other alternative route for it.

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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby EuroStar » Mon Dec 17, 2018 8:55 am

The existing freight is not leaving the corridor any time soon, but it is being whittled down over time as facilities close. About the only user that is guaranteed to be there 100 years from now is the port of Baltimore. Some minor stuff like stone and construction materials will also stick around forever, but any manufacturer or coal power plant is not likely to be here in a few decades.

There is no point in trying to reinvent the wheel. The Europeans and the Japanese do not run meaningful freight on their high speed passenger lines, so why do we think that we can do it better than them here in America? I do not believe that the Chinese do it either, but many people in this country are reluctant to follow Chinese example. It might sound good on paper to run some freight to help pay for the infrastructure, but it does not work. If it ever gets attempted it will be just for political reasons, not sound economics. They could not do it well in the heydays of railroading in the US, why does anyone think that we can do it now given how far behind we are in the technology and infrastructure?
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby east point » Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:44 pm

We believe that freight trains on passenger tracks cause more wear and tear than the revenue gained ?
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby mmi16 » Mon Dec 17, 2018 1:23 pm

east point wrote:We believe that freight trains on passenger tracks cause more wear and tear than the revenue gained ?

No - when it comes to construction we believe 50 years is forever.

The Interstates all over the country are approaching and exceeding 50 years old - and they are falling apart, without any real financial mechanisms in place to effect repairs and/or improvements. The Interstates were constructed to handle cars with only a passing reference to trucks and the trucks that were around in 1956 are a far cry from the trucks and their loads that are tearing up today's roadways - interstates and all others with load limits only railroads had in the 50's.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:02 pm

In regards to Interstates, they most certainly were built for heavy vehicles - military vehicles specifically. Lower traffic volumes and generally lower speeds, but relatively high axle weights on the trunk Interstates.

As for the Corridor, there simply isn’t demand for short distance high speed carload freight. Amtrak is welcome to go chase palletized shipments and mail/parcel delivery on its corridors though, if they could find a partner company to handle last mile arrangements.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:36 am

EuroStar wrote:The existing freight is not leaving the corridor any time soon, but it is being whittled down over time as facilities close. There is no point in trying to reinvent the wheel. The Europeans and the Japanese do not run meaningful freight on their high speed passenger lines, so why do we think that we can do it better than them here in America?
Does any freight operate on the high speed zone (150 mph) in SE Mass? Regarding the high speed line in Central Jersey (Trenton-New Brunswick), Conrail seldom goes south of County (Jersey Avenue), but I believe Monmouth Jct. is still active.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby johnpbarlow » Tue Dec 18, 2018 6:18 am

CSX operates local freight service on the NEC in Massachusetts between Attleboro and Readville. But there is no road freight activity on the NEC in Massachusetts. The P&W freight train between Groton CT and New Haven might be the only regular road freight activity on high speed NEC trackage in New England.
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