Venango era questions

Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Moderators: JamesT4, metraRI

Venango era questions

Postby Tadman » Fri Dec 18, 2015 10:08 pm

A recent issue of First and Fastest noted that the state and Venango argued constantly about costs and reimbursement. I'm curious how much of that relates to the state never running a railroad and how much relates to the eccentricity of the senior managers at Venango.

Some good cases have been cited in favor of both concepts. The state clearly had no concept of what it took to clean coaches and the remedies of funding new coach cleaning facilities were interesting. On the other hand, you have examples like John Darling running something like an 8 car train for his daughter's sweet sixteen and of course the CM&W buyout, where they grossly overpaid for the ex-Alton and then rostered it with power that was evidently returning to its base carbon form.

THoughts?
Tadman
 
Posts: 8443
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 10:21 am
Location: Michigan

Re: Venango era questions

Postby doepack » Sat Dec 19, 2015 2:32 pm

I recall reading awhile back about Venago's purchase of the South Shore in 1984 (?) from the Chessie system and how they inherited a significantly upgraded railroad, thanks to efforts of NICTD. But creating the CM&W a few years later after the South Shore acquisition by overpaying for ICG's spinoff of the ex-Alton route was a boondoggle that doomed the line from the start. And if memory serves, I believe the CM&W also owned a line from Springfield MO to Kansas City, which means that railroad still failed despite having access to the three largest railroad hubs in the midwest; with Chicago access via a Joliet connection with IC. A wasted opportunity, to say the least.

SP eventually bought CM&W's Joliet-St. Louis segment, and ownership would of course transfer to UP within a decade. Never did find out how much SP bought the line for at auction, but you can bet it was a LOT less than what Venago paid for it...
--Dorian--
User avatar
doepack
 
Posts: 2290
Joined: Sat May 07, 2005 5:20 am
Location: UP Geneva Subdivision, MP 25.0

Re: Venango era questions

Postby dinwitty » Fri Jan 01, 2016 1:46 am

makes me wonder what the Venango boys are doing today...not going to argue why they ran an 8 car train for their daughter since they owned the show...

But today Indiana state reps sit in the NICTD meetings and help make decisions instead of sitting on their arses in Indianapolis not knowing what da heck makes a train run...they're getting a daily dose whats up...and why its important.
dinwitty
 
Posts: 609
Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2005 10:35 pm

Re: Venango era questions

Postby justalurker66 » Fri Jan 01, 2016 3:53 pm

dinwitty wrote:makes me wonder what the Venango boys are doing today...not going to argue why they ran an 8 car train for their daughter since they owned the show...


Jon Darling hasn't done anything since he died in 2010 ...
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cg ... d=54932511


dinwitty wrote:But today Indiana state reps sit in the NICTD meetings and help make decisions instead of sitting on their arses in Indianapolis not knowing what da heck makes a train run...they're getting a daily dose whats up...and why its important.


The board makeup has not changed ... four county commissioners (one from each county), four county council members (one from each county) and two governor's appointments. The meeting minutes show an occasional appearance by a representative from some politician's office. I do not see state reps sitting in on the meetings and anyone who does would be more of an observer than helping to make a decision. (An attendee may be called on to provide the board information but they would not speak freely throughout the board meeting the way the board members would participate.)
User avatar
justalurker66
 
Posts: 2086
Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 11:20 pm

Re: Venango era questions

Postby Tadman » Tue Jan 05, 2016 10:45 am

dinwitty wrote:makes me wonder what the Venango boys are doing today...not going to argue why they ran an 8 car train for their daughter since they owned the show...

But today Indiana state reps sit in the NICTD meetings and help make decisions instead of sitting on their arses in Indianapolis not knowing what da heck makes a train run...they're getting a daily dose whats up...and why its important.


He actually posted on here a few times under an assumed name. I figured it might be him on account what he posted and privately asked him. He quickly confirmed and I promised to keep it quiet. Now that he's five years gone, I don't see any harm in mentioning this.

doepack wrote: by overpaying for ICG's spinoff of the ex-Alton route was a boondoggle that doomed the line from the start


That is my understanding - they significantly overpaid for the route. I'm curious what caused them to value it so high. The group was known for non-conventional approach, so perhaps they had some significant traffic growth in mind. I'm curious who they were bidding against. If it was a major like SP, they SP could afford to bid it up and support it with interline traffic from all over the west, while CSS/CMW couldn't. I also understand they bought a locomotive fleet that was way past its prime and that could eventually be a cash drain, too.

doepack wrote: And if memory serves, I believe the CM&W also owned a line from Springfield MO to Kansas City, which means that railroad still failed despite having access to the three largest railroad hubs in the midwest; with Chicago access via a Joliet connection with IC. A wasted opportunity, to say the least.


That's the other leg of the former Alton and it was part of the deal. Unless it had a lot of online traffic (I have no idea if it did), I can't see it being a particularly valuable route. If you count on bridge traffic, how are you going to get it? By short-hauling a bunch of class I's to Chicago. That's not much of a strategy given that many class I's already serve all three markets.
Tadman
 
Posts: 8443
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 10:21 am
Location: Michigan

Re: Venango era questions

Postby doepack » Thu Jan 07, 2016 8:26 am

Tadman wrote:
doepack wrote: by overpaying for ICG's spinoff of the ex-Alton route was a boondoggle that doomed the line from the start


That is my understanding - they significantly overpaid for the route. I'm curious what caused them to value it so high. The group was known for non-conventional approach, so perhaps they had some significant traffic growth in mind. I'm curious who they were bidding against. If it was a major like SP, they SP could afford to bid it up and support it with interline traffic from all over the west, while CSS/CMW couldn't. I also understand they bought a locomotive fleet that was way past its prime and that could eventually be a cash drain, too.


SP had been trying for years to get its own route into Chicago, and I have a hunch that's who CM&W was bidding against, though that's just a guess. Before eventually acquiring the line, SP had trackage rights over BN between Chicago & Kansas City (as condition of the 1970 BN merger? Or independently negotiated?)

Never found out for sure...
--Dorian--
User avatar
doepack
 
Posts: 2290
Joined: Sat May 07, 2005 5:20 am
Location: UP Geneva Subdivision, MP 25.0

Re: Venango era questions

Postby Tadman » Thu Jan 07, 2016 11:50 am

Holy s*** never bring a knife to a gun fight... SP probably bid up the price knowing full well that CM&W had fat chance of making it, then they could buy it cheap at auction.

I heard the track got so bad that Amtrak seriously considered moving Lincoln Service to a different line.

Too bad this didn't happen 15 years later, Illinois would've bought the line for passenger service.
Tadman
 
Posts: 8443
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 10:21 am
Location: Michigan

Re: Venango era questions

Postby Engineer Spike » Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:51 pm

Why didn't SP go after the KC part? Who has that piece now? I'm asking because in my tenure at BNSF, they had the SP, and later UP KC bound trains. In my time they were switched to the Santa Fe side, instead of the Burlington.
"Welcome all ye who enter; the show that never ends. Tingfield Sperminal Railway." (Graffiti on the entry to Mohawk Yard Office)
Engineer Spike
 
Posts: 1654
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 3:24 pm


Return to Chicagoland Commuter & Transit

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests