Stupid CSX Abandonments

Discussion of the operations of CSX Transportation, from 1980 to the present. Official site can be found here: CSXT.COM.

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Postby crazy_nip » Sat Apr 22, 2006 7:11 pm

hmm, no NS there

Also, I dont think the stampede pass line was railbanked, just deactivated. Not positive though

Im still waiting for examples of NS's superior foresight in this regard
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Capacty & assets

Postby MSchwiebert » Mon Apr 24, 2006 2:13 pm

For years when all this extra capacity existed, the railroads were unable to charge a rate that covered the cost of capital. Now that the demand exceeds the capacity the rails can raise rates to where they can have the funding to add the capacity - where it makes sense to do so. Take a listen to CSX's first quarter 2006 conference call replay, or take a look at the projects that are underway to improve capacity on key corridors. These were made possible by rates being up to where they should be.

http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zht ... ID=1268506

Having Capacity closely match demand also allows the carrier to shed low/no margin business. For example, (again using the first quarter conference call as reference) CSX carried less intermodal in Q1 '06 compared to Q1 '05 - yet made more money doing so CSX also mentioned that they had capacity to give on their key intermodal lanes after shedding the lo/no margin business.

Finally, how long should an industry wait before shedding excess capacity? Do you keep capacity in a lane that may no longer be a key lane. For example, St. Louis used to be a key interchange point, but now much of that traffic is handed off at Memphis.
A parallell could be made with the domestic auto industry, the big three kept capacity in the hopes that they could regain share from the imports. Would they be better off now if they had been able to shed more capacity earlier - they would probably be in better shape.
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Stupid CSX Abandonments

Postby NellieBly » Tue Apr 25, 2006 3:10 pm

Crazy Nip:

Carload freight hasn't "vanished". In fact, it accounts for more than half of Class I railroad revenues. See:

http://www.fra.dot.gov/us/content/1437

Furthermore, coal traffic is growing, not declining. The percentage of the grain harvest moved by rail is smaller than it once was, due to changes in grain markets. But I think the total rail volume is at least level.

Finally, an example of a "railbanked" NS line: Columbus, GA to Birmingham. Actually, I think it's back in service, but it was out of service for a decade or so.
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Postby Cowford » Tue Apr 25, 2006 11:32 pm

Woah, Nellie! Nip was a bit hyperbolic: carload freight hasn't vanished, but it's not over 50% of Class I revenue... and railroads continue to make a conscious effort to reduce the percentage of "loose cars" as a percentage of total business. (Railroads hate big humps yards almost as much as they do small serving yards!)

While I haven't read the report you posted, let's look at CSX's (2004)revenues: 24% is coal, coke and iron ore - all unit train. Intermodal is 16% - all unit train. 10% is automotive - most in large block or unit train. That's 50% right there. Add to that: CSX's fert/sulfur revenue is one-third unit train, with a long term goal to increase to over two-thirds. Most grain moves in unit trains. Ethanol is largely moved in unit train. Then include waste, aggregates, non-CCIO unit train coke, military movements that are mainly in unit trains, and you're probably looking at unit trains generating 65-70 percent of total company revenue.
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Postby crazy_nip » Wed Apr 26, 2006 11:41 am

its nowhere near 50%
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Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:02 pm

just a friendly reminder, keep it nice and clean :wink:
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Postby CSX Conductor » Fri Apr 28, 2006 11:37 am

Don't forget the occasional solid train of empty pigs and buckets just to alleviate yard congestion, lol. :P
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Postby Sam Damon » Sat Apr 29, 2006 12:17 pm

Noel Weaver wrote:The question regarding lines that had been "railbanked" then later returned to service, three examples come to my mind at the moment:
1. Stampede Pass on the BNSF in Washington (State)
2. New York, Susquehanna and Western in New Jersey, the line over
Sparta Mountain between Butler and Sparta Junction.
3. The line between Canaan, Connecticut and New Milford, Connecticut
which is operated by the Housatonic Railroad.
All three of the above lines had been idle for several years and today get
daily use.


OTOH, how many rails-to-trails lines have been railbanked, and put back to use?

It's one thing to idle a line, and leave the tracks in place. It's quite another to put down new roadbed and rails, once they're gone. I am hard pressed to think of anywhere in the USA where that's been done.
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Postby Noel Weaver » Sat Apr 29, 2006 11:48 pm

Sam Damon wrote:
Noel Weaver wrote:The question regarding lines that had been "railbanked" then later returned to service, three examples come to my mind at the moment:
1. Stampede Pass on the BNSF in Washington (State)
2. New York, Susquehanna and Western in New Jersey, the line over
Sparta Mountain between Butler and Sparta Junction.
3. The line between Canaan, Connecticut and New Milford, Connecticut
which is operated by the Housatonic Railroad.
All three of the above lines had been idle for several years and today get
daily use.


OTOH, how many rails-to-trails lines have been railbanked, and put back to use?

It's one thing to idle a line, and leave the tracks in place. It's quite another to put down new roadbed and rails, once they're gone. I am hard pressed to think of anywhere in the USA where that's been done.


While the line never became a "rail trail", the track was physically removed and stay that way for some time. The route of the Boston
section of the Lake Shore between Rensselaer and Post Road was torn up
soon after the start up of Amtrak by Penn Central. When the Boston
section of the Lake Shore was put on, they had to run to the freight bridge
over the Hudson at CP-SM, then back down the line to the Hudson Line
before going north on the Hudson to Rensselaer.
Restoration of the track allowed the train to make a straight away move
between Post Road and Rensselaer and saved lots of both time and miles.
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Postby crazy_nip » Sun Apr 30, 2006 5:17 pm

Noel Weaver wrote:Restoration of the track allowed the train to make a straight away move
between Post Road and Rensselaer and saved lots of both time and miles.
Noel Weaver


bet amtrak payed for that one...
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Postby RussNelson » Sun Apr 30, 2006 7:16 pm

Sam Damon wrote:It's one thing to idle a line, and leave the tracks in place. It's quite another to put down new roadbed and rails, once they're gone.


You're neglecting something, Sam: the time value of capital. I'm not an expert on railroad economics, however it's possible that if a railroad isn't going to be used for twenty years, it may be cheaper to pull up the rails and sell them, even if you can anticipate needing that route later. Does it make sense to leave tracks lying on the ground unused? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on the numbers. Maybe it's cheaper to relay new rail from scratch than recondition a line after twenty years of disuse? Depends on the condition of the roadbed, ties, and rails.

I don't know the answer, but I'm pretty sure that you shouldn't assume that your answer is correct in all cases.
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Postby Noel Weaver » Sun Apr 30, 2006 11:51 pm

crazy_nip wrote:
Noel Weaver wrote:Restoration of the track allowed the train to make a straight away move
between Post Road and Rensselaer and saved lots of both time and miles.
Noel Weaver


bet amtrak payed for that one...


Not positive but I think the state of New York paid for the restoration of
this particular line, I know they paid for the restoration of the line through
Schenectady and I think they paid for this one too.
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Postby Alcochaser » Thu May 04, 2006 12:53 am

In the Conrail merger, gained a much better access to the St Louis gateway.

I am refering to the ex NYC big four trackage thru Belefountain and Indy towards Terre Haute and the ex PRR line to St Louis. This route is predominately double track and underutilized. And it can be accesed via Sand Patch or the Water Level with ease.

They have not utiliized it as much as they can however. But at least one train runs a St Louis to Maryland direct route. Q148. I still do not understand why there is no westbound equivelent. How do they get the autoracks and empty TOFC/COFC back?

The B&O line thru West Virginia/Ohio/Indiana/Illiniois and St Louis is/was never a good route. the route over the mountains is to this day a hellish operating chalenge. And the route missed all large population centers except Cincinatti. The line across Indiana and Illiniois never got but one short CTC install. The rest is ABS and hand throws. The B&O route had a lot of what make operating headaches. Tunnels, grades, and old signal systems.

CSXT continues to pull traffic off this backwaterish route. Recentlty all Cinci-St Louis traffic was diverted thru Indy in the form of Q670/Q671. Cinci to Columbus was shortlined, and the traffic diverted to the Big Four/B&O toledo line route.

The remaining B&O portions serve nitch purposes. Grafton east is to haul those valuable Dinosaur Turds (coal) and Mitchell IN towards St Louis is used as a Louisville Gateway. Seymour IN to Cincinatti is used for detours for work on the L&N route.

Q148 runs a St Louis to Maryland route -faster- then any B&O train was ever scheduled. If the B&O had not been removed then, it would have been done so post merger.

Now the C&O of Indiana. Now there is a bonehead move, well minus the south end anyway. Cottage Grove to Chicago was a valuable route.
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Postby Gilbert B Norman » Fri May 05, 2006 7:09 pm

Today's Wall Street Journal carries an editorial "teeing of' at wasteful spending and in particular the 'tacking on' of "a little pork for the folks back home' to a needed Iraqi Freedom appropriation bill"

The pertinent "brief passage":

    As Mr. Byrd knows from his years in the Roman Senate, this is a time-honored legislative tactic: Load up a vehicle that the President wants with junk that you want, and dare him to veto. We trust Mr. Bush knows his Presidential manhood is being challenged here. The Senate's misbehavior only grew worse in the wake of his veto threat, as if the Members don't believe he can finally be serious. They loaded up with earmarks, such as the $700 million Mississippi railroad to nowhere, and some $4 billion in farm aid at a time when farm income is high thanks to soaring commodity prices
Evidently, the Journal's editorialist cannot properly define what is a railroad to nowhere.

But if this project, namely relocating the L&N Gulf Coast Line to an inland routing, moves forth, I must wonder why it could not have been better coordinated from the "get go". Albeit with insurance proceeds, CSX has apparently restored the Gulf Coast Line, but it still appears to be a waste to have expended the funds, beyond what was necessary to "patch it up' so that Katrina relief building materials could be handled, for rebuilding only to abandon it when this project is complete.

Should the existing line be abandoned, then such would qualify under the originator's, Ms. Bly, topic as a stupid abandonment - even if in this case, the abandonment was not really of Chessie's doing.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114679589229544605.html

(Journal presently is offering an "open house' freebie)
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Postby JoeBas » Sat May 06, 2006 10:50 am

Gilbert B Norman wrote:Evidently, the Journal's editorialist cannot properly define what is a railroad to nowhere.


More Properly, I believe that the writer is referring to the Distinguished Senator Lott's plan to replace the rebuilt railroad with a "road to nowhere".

But you're correct in identifying this as terrible writing.
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