CSX Activity in New England

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Re: CSX Activity in New England

Postby Mass Coastal 2010 » Mon May 23, 2016 8:53 pm

Looking for a bit of advice here. What would I be able to catch CSX wise on a Sunday when buffing Framingham and Grafton? What could I get in the same places on a Wednesday? Thanks in advance!
-Mike
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Re: CSX Activity in New England

Postby johnpbarlow » Tue May 24, 2016 4:25 am

Mass Coastal 2010 wrote:Looking for a bit of advice here. What would I be able to catch CSX wise on a Sunday when buffing Framingham and Grafton? What could I get in the same places on a Wednesday? Thanks in advance!
-Mike


In general, there is not much CSX activity in Framingham as there is only a single pair of road freights (Q436/Q437) that terminate/originate there since CSX pulled back its intermodal ops to Worcester. I believe Q437 doubles its train at Nevins Yard alongside what used to be the CSX mainline on the west side of Framingham in the early evening. There is a handful of CSX locals that run SE of Framingham to Walpole and other points, NW to Leominster, W to Westborough/N Grafton/Worcester, and E to Boston/Everett. And then there is a switcher that kicks cars at North Yard Framingham. But there are 40 daily MBTA trains M-F (much fewer on Sundays) plus the eb/wb Lake Shore Limited (Approx 1:20pm wb and 7:15pm or later eb). N Grafton would be a bit quieter from a CSX ops perspective, although you might see some G&U activity. If you have a car or using the T to get to Framingham, a much better place to spend your day would be Worcester.

Edit: Here's some crisper info re: CSX Framingham ops from a retired CSX employee who posts on the CSX B&A forum on Yahoo:

Currently Framingham has a yard switcher working three tricks operating
Sunday thru Thursday. They make up B721 for the NEP in East Boston, B722
for Westborough, B724 for the Fitchburg Sub, B725 for the Attleboro
transfer, and the Readville/Walpole Block for B731 out of Readville. They
also handle RIPs and any problem with the outbound Selkirk cars for Q437.
Inbound traffic comes to Framingham on the Q436.


https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/CSX-Boston-Line/conversations/messages/7791
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Re: CSX Activity in New England

Postby Ryanontherails » Mon Aug 22, 2016 4:51 pm

Sorry if there is a better thread, but I was wondering: what's going on with the CSX Norwood Industrial Line? I know that Certainteed and Hollingsworth and Vose are the only customers on that line but I've heard that activity there has been greatly reduced. I wasn't sure if that meant a gradual pulldown and eventual abandonment or if it was just that the line isn't as active anymore.
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Re: CSX Activity in New England

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sat Aug 27, 2016 7:33 am

We had one guy on the forums who used to spot that line frequently, but ever since he disappeared I don't think anyone's been watching it. CertainTeed is the last active customer and still chugging along; newly refreshed Google imagery from a few months ago spots 4 cars on their siding. Believe that's no more than weekly frequency out of Readville, and there have been some puzzling gaps reported in the past so while steady CertainTeed's regularity isn't set-your-watch pinpoint. The back of Hollingsworth's siding is covered with downed tree branches that haven't moved in years. No idea when they were last served, but it's been a very long time.
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Re: CSX Activity in New England

Postby BostonUrbEx » Sat Aug 27, 2016 3:30 pm

Does the lumber yard in Canton/Stoughton still receive lumber by rail? I keep checking, but every imagery update seems to be void of any cars ever since that runaway car/derailment incident.

Also, where is all the lumber in Readville going?
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Re: CSX Activity in New England

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sat Aug 27, 2016 3:50 pm

All of that Readville lumber is for Home Depot Warehouse on the Westwood Industrial. M/W/F mid-afternoon deliveries on the 5 minutes it takes to scoot from Readville to the Westwood switch.

There's still one customer in Stoughton on Evans Dr. about a mile north of Stoughton station that's served once a week as-needed tacked onto the Home Depot job. There's two back-to-back sidings there; one was for a lumber yard that relocated to Middleboro Yard about 2 years ago, and the other is the still-active one. No idea which of the two is the active one because there's all sorts of small lumber/hardwood/roofing companies sharing those sheds on Evans Dr. Microscopic biz that's probably not long for this world once CSX jacks its rates to clandestinely get rid of them and trim that job back to Westwood.
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Re: CSX Activity in New England

Postby fogg1703 » Sun Aug 28, 2016 10:56 am

Warren Trask (runaway center beam customer closest to Central St) moved to Lakeville and still receives cars from a CSX Middleboro local. Cohenno used to operate the siding with the shed, not sure who uses it now. Like F Line said, a lot of different product comes through that siding, in the past almost exclusively pacific northwest forest products.
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Re: CSX Activity in New England

Postby Ryanontherails » Mon Aug 29, 2016 6:25 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:We had one guy on the forums who used to spot that line frequently, but ever since he disappeared I don't think anyone's been watching it. CertainTeed is the last active customer and still chugging along; newly refreshed Google imagery from a few months ago spots 4 cars on their siding. Believe that's no more than weekly frequency out of Readville, and there have been some puzzling gaps reported in the past so while steady CertainTeed's regularity isn't set-your-watch pinpoint. The back of Hollingsworth's siding is covered with downed tree branches that haven't moved in years. No idea when they were last served, but it's been a very long time.


I feel like I'd seen cars on H&V's siding when I used to drive by the end of it almost every day two years ago, but it's interesting that they aren't served anymore. With a less-than-weekly service out of Readville I wonder whether Certainteed is going to stay too much longer and then maybe CSX will either abandon the line or sell it to the Town of Norwood. It would make for a nice rail trail, and with an easement or (less likely) a sale of the abandoned ROW to the Town of Walpole it would extend from the Norwood Central station to East Walpole and be a hop, skip, and a jump from Bird Park. Also, how does that shipment get there? They don't go Points West-Framingham-Walpole-Readville and then backtrack up the Franklin Line to Norwood and switch onto the Norwood Industrial, do they? That seems a but silly.
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Re: CSX Activity in New England

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Aug 29, 2016 7:19 pm

The job's run out of Readville, but not as an appendage to the daily yard deliveries. Readville is point of origin for 3 locals: Home Depot/Stoughton, Norwood, and the nighttime weekly to the cold storage warehouse at Widett Circle. Those are the only CSX locals in Eastern MA staged from somewhere other than Framingham or Walpole.
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Re: CSX Activity in New England

Postby rr503 » Mon Aug 29, 2016 7:28 pm

From reading this thread, it seems like CSX just HATES small to medium customers in this area. Am I correct in my impression?
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Re: CSX Activity in New England

Postby Ryanontherails » Mon Aug 29, 2016 8:33 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:The job's run out of Readville, but not as an appendage to the daily yard deliveries. Readville is point of origin for 3 locals: Home Depot/Stoughton, Norwood, and the nighttime weekly to the cold storage warehouse at Widett Circle. Those are the only CSX locals in Eastern MA staged from somewhere other than Framingham or Walpole.


I don't know anything about freight traffic, but if the materials being shipped to and/or from Readville are only on the trains between those three places and Readville and (I assume) are on trucks the rest of the way, then what's the advantage of sending them via rail the few miles that they are? Or am I misunderstanding something?

rr503 wrote:From reading this thread, it seems like CSX just HATES small to medium customers in this area. Am I correct in my impression?


From the impression I'm getting, they don't hate them but want to serve long-haul freight and would rather offload them to a shortline than run it themselves.
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Re: CSX Activity in New England

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:39 am

Ryanontherails wrote:
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:The job's run out of Readville, but not as an appendage to the daily yard deliveries. Readville is point of origin for 3 locals: Home Depot/Stoughton, Norwood, and the nighttime weekly to the cold storage warehouse at Widett Circle. Those are the only CSX locals in Eastern MA staged from somewhere other than Framingham or Walpole.


I don't know anything about freight traffic, but if the materials being shipped to and/or from Readville are only on the trains between those three places and Readville and (I assume) are on trucks the rest of the way, then what's the advantage of sending them via rail the few miles that they are? Or am I misunderstanding something?


It's all about where they cluster.

Home Depot's a huge customer. That's the regional lumber distribution warehouse for all of Eastern MA; definitely a Top Five on-line customer for any Eastern MA local of theirs. Enormous facility with a 9-car/3-track main loading pad, overflow loading pad, and their own runaround/yard. And it's literally 1.5 miles from the Readville Yard switch to the Westwood Ind. switch, so serving them is little more than a glorified 'working lunch' in crew commitments...like a yard switcher that just so happens to leave the property for a couple hours. The same industrial track has 2 huge warehouses right next door, currently devoid of rail customers, and couple smaller sidings next to the NEC that haven't yet been claimed by all the mixed-use redevelopment up University Rd. at Westwood Landing. Because Home Depot is such a week-in/week-out profitable run for them they'd be happy to chase new carloads at any one of those Westwood Ind. sidings if a new customer came calling, especially those warehouses adjacent to Home Depot. We have no idea if any customers will come calling, but they'd be easy as all hell to switch wrapped up in a bow with a very profitable anchor next door.

The others are just legacy customers on locals that used to be much bigger but have simply atrophied. The customers have legacy contracts that must be honored; CSX can't refuse them service. But it's not profitable anymore for CSX to serve them because the locals are just too tiny, too irregular, and with too few carloads.

-- Stoughton had a cluster of rail-captive building materials vendors at that industrial park, as well as a slew of sidings up the line in Canton which died out during the late-Conrail era. As described a few posts up, the business is so small we can't even tell who is getting switched anymore at Evans Dr. because it's so intermittent and the companies sharing buildings there are so small. The rest of the industrial biz on that branch is simply gone and been overchurned for bland suburbia like so much New England on-line biz of old that's never ever coming back. CSX has to serve them under time-pressure by Amtrak dispatch to keep to its NEC window, and the running distance makes those couple of mystery cars they drop off down there a decent-size commitment of crew time.

-- Norwood used to have more than just CertainTeed. And CertainTeed, which has a very large siding with track machine, used to be a much larger and less flaky customer than it currently is. That plant must not be running at anywhere near top capacity for how overbuilt its rail infrastructure is compared to current carloads received, and things haven't been the same there since a big worker strike a few years ago. CSX probably does still pocket enough profit from that contract to make it worth their while, but only if CT is getting a steady 4 or 5 cars per week and not going dark for inexplicable reasons. Definitely Hollingsworth going dark has hurt the branch, since things would've looked much more long-term stable with 2 steady customers instead of 1 unreliable one. But Hollingsworth isn't that big and the former siding further up Pleasant St. to gaggle of masonry businesses is long gone, so CertainTeed is holding down the fort. It they go the branch goes; there's no other siding current or former that can replace them as customer justifying the branch's existence.

-- AmeriCold Logistics is the very last of what used to be a much bigger overnight local to South Boston, serving Track 61 (last customer: a small transload on Cypher St. that left town about 6-7 years ago), some industrial crud along Dorchester Ave., a bunch of the food warehouses at Widett Circle and Newmarket, and one long-gone customer in Savin Hill. AmeriCold's owners want to blow up their building to build a recycling center, the City wanted to eminent domain their land for an Olympic stadium back when the Boston 2024 bid was still active, and MassDOT has long coveted that property for MBTA train storage. So nobody...not CSX, not the customer itself, expects to be around in a few years.


Now, the AmeriCold job does have a bigger long-term future in it as Massport is planning to build a rail spur off Track 61 to serve new tenants at redeveloped Marine Terminal once it's finished re-dredging the Harbor for deeper shipping channel. It's a state deal, but CSX has already said it'll serve Marine Terminal nightly out of Readville if the powers that be can produce the customers. Being a port-centric 'cluster' of customers on a common spur fewer than 10 miles from Readville does constitute higher-return business for the effort. Even at modest carloads it helps them much like the short-distance Home Depot job helps them as a short-distance de facto appendage to Readville. So they aren't unilaterally hostile. It's just that inside of I-495 you literally can't count more than Home Depot, Marine T, and anybody small who happens by pure luck to set up next door to Home Depot and Marine T as sites that cluster enough potential together in a bow to keep steady revenue at the decade level.

Everybody else...with possible exception of the industrial park-centric Mansfield-Attleboro NEC mid-afternooner...is just atrophied legacy contracts hitting their evolutionary dead-end. To borrow the famous PAR quote, "chase every carload!", the southside just doesn't have the potential on-line properties even if CSX were gung-ho to "chase every carload". They don't exist anymore. The northside does have some modest on-line opportunities with all the dormant sidings on the NH Main north of Winchester and scattered along the PAR freight main. PAR can say "chase every carload" like there's factual net-gain revenue behind the sentiment. Even if CSX wanted to (and they don't)...their on-line situation is a matter of existence vs. non-existence, not will or enthusiasm. The customers, and the sites for customers, no longer exist down south.
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Re: CSX Activity in New England

Postby boatsmate » Thu Sep 01, 2016 8:35 am

Everyone seems to forget the CSX jobs out of Middleboro, that seem to be doing good business. I know the Fore River RR is serviced regularly as they switch out what ever its being called this week (old Proctor and Gamble Plant) they are switching out at least 10 cars a day in and out of the plant. and there is also the recycling plant in Brockton that is getting cars. not sure what else is active on the line.
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Re: CSX Activity in New England

Postby Ryanontherails » Thu Sep 01, 2016 4:16 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:The job's run out of Readville, but not as an appendage to the daily yard deliveries.


Okay, maybe I didn't understand what you meant by "appendage" at first. Like I said, I know next to nothing about freight trains. I understood you to mean that CertainTeed was sending materials to Readville where they were being put on trucks the rest of the way to their final destination (or the other way around).

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:The others are just legacy customers on locals that used to be much bigger but have simply atrophied. The customers have legacy contracts that must be honored; CSX can't refuse them service. But it's not profitable anymore for CSX to serve them because the locals are just too tiny, too irregular, and with too few carloads.


Do these legacy contracts expire?
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Re: CSX Activity in New England

Postby ButtersROW » Sun Sep 04, 2016 9:20 pm

A few corrections about CSX in Readville,

B710 Mon-Fri O/D 0700hrs
-American Beverage (old Stop and Shop) is the first customer serviced in the morning
-Coheno on the Stoughton Branch is serviced Tuesdays and Thursdays depending on if cars are available (around noontime)
-CertainTeed (aka "Bird") on the East Walpole IT is serviced M-W-F and receives boxcars and covered hoppers of abrasives (around noontime)
-Home Depot is serviced Mon-Fri afternoons (they leave Readville anytime after 2pm)

Americold is NOT serived via Readville anymore. The evening job in Walpole, B735, services Americold in South Boston on Monday and Wednesday nights. After they return from switching Foxboro Terminals, they head to town. On Sun-Tue-Thu, they head up to Forge Park to service Garelick in Franklin, BlueLinx in Bellingham, and Ardargh Glass (Saint-Gobain) in Milford.
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