Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

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Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Postby pumpers » Tue Oct 23, 2018 1:39 pm

johnpbarlow wrote:From Ithaca.com of July 2018: "Lansing power plant to re-power with natural gas"

https://www.ithaca.com/news/tompkins_county/lansing-power-plant-to-re-power-with-natural-gas/article_a119c6e6-7e0c-11e8-8e81-9b84140f4ca3.html

If I am reading it right, it says 1 of the 2 units is switching to gas, and one remaining coal for the time being. So where is the coal coming from if the salt place is the only RR customer, mentioned above by Matt L? Do they just have a big stockpile, maybe only running intermittently when the price is right?

The articles goes on to say all coal plants in NY will be shutdown by 2020. Don't know if that is a real plan or just wishful thinking.
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Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Postby nydepot » Tue Oct 23, 2018 1:47 pm

Google maps shows a large pile of coal and no hoppers. Maybe they stockpiled.
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Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Postby TrainDetainer » Tue Oct 23, 2018 4:40 pm

IIRC, if Miliken had a full coal pile, it was enough for both units run at full power for about a month. So by extension, with one unit shut down the most the other could go would be about two months without replenishment, so there would have to be trains to feed the other unit. IIRC the normal train size was 98 cars (that's all you can stuff in the yard) and about 10k tons of coal. It takes several trainloads to build up the pile. Last time I asked they were getting about a week's burn per trainload, but I don't recall what percentage of output that was.

As information, any Google satellite view is usually from one to three years old, unless you're lucky enough to catch it at update time. The 'image date' they post at the bottom is almost always wrong. There are many images that currently show a 2017 or 2018 date that I know as absolute fact are at least three years old. I don't even bother looking at them anymore unless it's to try some ballpark-style dating. Any view of coal in their satellite view is more than likely long burned and replaced many times over.
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Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Postby nydepot » Tue Oct 23, 2018 5:47 pm

TrainDetainer wrote:As information, any Google satellite view is usually from one to three years old, unless you're lucky enough to catch it at update time. The 'image date' they post at the bottom is almost always wrong. There are many images that currently show a 2017 or 2018 date that I know as absolute fact are at least three years old. I don't even bother looking at them anymore unless it's to try some ballpark-style dating. Any view of coal in their satellite view is more than likely long burned and replaced many times over.


I said it as a point of reference.
Last edited by nydepot on Wed Oct 24, 2018 8:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Postby lvrr325 » Wed Oct 24, 2018 2:28 am

A dinner train from Ithaca to Ludlowville would do well.
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Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Postby johnpbarlow » Wed Oct 24, 2018 7:41 am

The impression I have about Milliken operation (maybe incorrect) is that it's a peaking plant so it's not generating full power continuously. I participate in mulitple NS Southern Tier Facebook pages where daily train operations are relentlessly posted and the Milliken bound coal trains (symbol 524) have not been seen or heard from in several months (May 2018?).
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Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Postby sd80mac » Wed Oct 24, 2018 7:51 am

nydepot wrote:Google maps shows a large pile of coal and no hoppers. Maybe they stockpiled.


When was picture taken?
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Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Postby Matt Langworthy » Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:09 am

pumpers wrote:
johnpbarlow wrote:From Ithaca.com of July 2018: "Lansing power plant to re-power with natural gas"

https://www.ithaca.com/news/tompkins_county/lansing-power-plant-to-re-power-with-natural-gas/article_a119c6e6-7e0c-11e8-8e81-9b84140f4ca3.html

If I am reading it right, it says 1 of the 2 units is switching to gas, and one remaining coal for the time being. So where is the coal coming from if the salt place is the only RR customer, mentioned above by Matt L? Do they just have a big stockpile, maybe only running intermittently when the price is right?

The articles goes on to say all coal plants in NY will be shutdown by 2020. Don't know if that is a real plan or just wishful thinking.


As John stated, there have been no coal trains for Milliken since the spring. As I understand the situation, this plant will convert to natural gas for both units, so little (if any) coal will be shipped there in the future. Hence my comment about the traffic being only salt at this time.
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Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Postby Matt Langworthy » Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:16 am

lvrr325 wrote:A dinner train from Ithaca to Ludlowville would do well.


A dinner train would be scenic, but unlikely to happen. The same LHRY employee referenced earlier informed me that NS tends to discourage excursion operations on the routes they lease to shortlines. Given NS's track record of leasing instead of selling spin-offs (in most cases), the Ithaca Secondary will most likely be leased to Watco.
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Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Postby johnpbarlow » Wed Oct 24, 2018 11:37 am

I am curious though why the article about the coal to gas conversion says the shipment of compressed natural gas must be by truck (and not by pipeline)- couldn't CNG be shipped by rail similar to LPG?
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Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Postby lvrr325 » Wed Oct 24, 2018 11:15 pm

Can you imagine what happens when a train of those cars derails?

The cars would have to be so heavily constructed capacity could be an issue relative to their economy to use.

When I look at used vehicles for sale, the ones that have CNG tanks for natural gas, the tank has a certification and expires after a certain date. I would expect a rail car would have to have a similar cert and similar lifespan, which is relatively short compared to a typical rail car.
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Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Postby Matt Langworthy » Thu Oct 25, 2018 10:45 am

Road vehicles encounter salt, so it is possible that CNG tanks would have more stringent regulations for road vehicles than trains.

Given the history of NIMBYs in the Finger Lakes, they may have forced the Ludlowville plant to ship by truck with the mistaken belief trucks have a better safety record.
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Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Postby TrainDetainer » Thu Oct 25, 2018 5:20 pm

Both LNG and CNG are currently prohibited for rail transportation (49CFR102.101). FRA has authorized testing of LNG rail transportation in a few instances (at least one fairly recently), but the general prohibition still stands. Also, 49CFR 173.319 provides for cryogenic gas transportation, which would include LNG (not CNG), but apparently it needs some revision to accommodate LNG characteristics.
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Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Postby Matt Langworthy » Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:47 pm

Official notice has been filed with the STB for Watco to lease the Ithaca Secondary from MP 272 (Sayre, PA) to MP 321 (Lansing, NY), as per: https://www.stb.gov/filings/all.nsf/ba7 ... enDocument

The new operation will be called the Ithaca Central RR. I couldn't find an exact date for ICR to begin operations, although the filing indicates it will happen soon.
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Re: Ithaca Secondary to get a new operator soon

Postby Matt Langworthy » Wed Nov 14, 2018 11:53 am

More information on the Ithaca Central RR from: http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2018/:

Pittsburg, Kan.-based Watco wants to lease NS track running from Sayre, Pa., to Lansing, N.Y., about 48.8 miles.

<snipped>

There are currently four customers, shipping salt, coal, plastics, and magnesium chloride, she says. The Class 2 track will initially be served by two SD40 locomotives.


She (in the quote) refers to Watco rep Tracie VanBecelaere. NS has stated they are working with Watco because of the latter's focus on serving local customers. Both RRs are waiting for a response from the STB. The lease has been completed, so I would be surprised if STB denies Watco's application to operate the line
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