• CSX Acquisition of Pan Am Railways

  • Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.
Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.

Moderator: MEC407

  by CPF66
 
Glad to hear from you after a hiatus.
Last edited by MEC407 on Sat Jan 06, 2024 10:01 am, edited 1 time in total. Reason: unnecessary quoting
  by johnpbarlow
 
On 5/31/24, CSX filed its fourth biannual status report re: its acquisition of Pan Am Railways. While the interesting proprietary bits (eg, traffic level changes by commodity post acquisition) are heavily redacted, CSX was more forthcoming about the status of its investments in PAR physical plant including its upgrade goals for the remainder of 2024. Excerpts from the filing:
...CSX expects that the conversion of truck traffic to rail will increase as improvements are made to the PAR System and shippers see that they can rely on an upgraded and more efficient PAR rail network for their transportation needs. The key to this beneficial trend toward increased use of rail will be improvements to PAR physical infrastructure. And physical improvements on the PAR System have accelerated in the last six months and will continue over the next year. CSX has devoted substantial resources in the past six months to upgrading the PAR infrastructure....
...For example, in the last year, CSX has upgraded a portion of the Worcester main line between milepost WOR 1 and milepost WOR 12, increasing the maximum speed limit to 40 mph. CSX has also upgraded the line between Mattawamkeag, ME (WAT 0.4) and Waterville, ME (WAT 113.0), increasing the maximum speed limit to 25 mph. Additionally, CSX has spent roughly $20 million to date on safety and efficiency upgrades within Rigby Yard in South Portland, ME. The Rigby Yard upgrades have included rebuilding the ladder tracks at both ends of the yard, replacing switches and ties, realigning tracks, rehabilitating and modernizing the Yard Office and former Signal Tower, removing unneeded concrete and utility poles, and completing significant drainage work. These improvements have had an immediate impact, as derailments in Rigby Yard have been reduced from an average of 90 to 100 per year to nearly zero. CSX is also completing signal work on the line between Lincoln, ME (WAT 16.0) and Enfield, ME (WAT 28.0) and increasing the maximum speed limit to 40 mph...
...CSX anticipates that it will complete various capital improvement projects on the PAR System by the end of 2024. For instance, the PAR System was awarded a CRISI grant for the Waterville Subdivision. CSX will upgrade the main line between Waterville, ME (WAT 113.0) and Royal Jct., ME (WAT 184.7), increasing the maximum speed limit to 40 mph. Additionally, CSX will upgrade the Hinkley Branch between Waterville, ME (WVL 0.0) and Shawmut, ME (WVL 9.0), increasing the maximum speed limit to 25 mph. On the Portland Subdivision, CSX will upgrade the main line between Andover, MA (Lowell Jct.) (PLD 106.0) and Ayer, MA (Willows) (PLD 126.7), increasing the maximum speed limit to 40 mph. Within the Portland terminal district, CSX will upgrade the second track to a maximum speed limit of 30 mph, with the aid of funds from NNEPRA. CSX will also upgrade the Portsmouth Branch between Rockingham Jct., NH (PMT 0.0) and Portsmouth, NH (PMT 13.0), increasing the maximum speed limit to 25 mph. At Wells, ME, CSX will extend the siding two miles, with the aid of a CRISI grant.

On the Nashua Subdivision, CSX will upgrade the line between North Chelmsford, MA and Nashua Yard, increasing the maximum speed limit to 25 mph...
...Furthermore, beyond 2024, CSX anticipates that it will complete additional capital improvement projects. For example, the Pine Tree CRISI grant will result in upgrades to the line between Mattawamkeag, ME (WAT 0.4) and Waterville, ME (WAT 113.0), which will increase the maximum speed limit to 40 mph. CSX has already completed significant work on this line, including laying new continuous welded rail, installing ties, and resurfacing the entire line, which increased the maximum speed limit to 25 mph, as noted above. Additionally, the PAR System was awarded a federal grant for ties on the Downeaster route between Brunswick, ME and the New Hampshire and Massachusetts state line.

CSX anticipates that the increased reliability resulting from these projects will continue
to encourage new customers to ship via rail rather than truck.
https://dcms-external.s3.amazonaws.com/ ... 308351.pdf
  by newpylong
 
For someone who grew up next to the Fitchburg watching the transition from the B&M to GTI, and then going to work for GTI, all of this is truly hard to take in. I just hope they can grow the carloads to support such a sweeping investment like this.
  by jamoldover
 
We've seen this cycle before, though - especially here in the northeast. Take a look at Penn Central > Conrail and you can see many of the same themes playing out.
  by CPF66
 
It will be interesting to see if the grants they applied for pan out. From what was posted in the comments on the Eastern CP Facebook page, the joint grant between CPKC and EMR to rebuild from Millinocket to Searsport didn't go through. And the grants for the EMR Mattawamkeag Subdivision according to the DOT's workplan, after a year + has yet to be awarded yet.
  by jamoldover
 
I believe all of the ones that they mentioned have already been awarded. They just haven't been spent yet.
  by bostontrainguy
 
No mention of the land acquisition and siding extensions at Mattawamkeag which is underway.
  by neman2
 
That's quite an investment. I can't believe that Pan Am considered a derailment in Rigby Yard every four days as acceptable. I know they were most likely minor, but the time lost would have been huge.
  by MEC407
 
When you're happy to run a 10 MPH railroad, time lost is of little concern :wink:
  by CPF66
 
jamoldover wrote: Tue Jun 04, 2024 8:01 am I believe all of the ones that they mentioned have already been awarded. They just haven't been spent yet.
I know the Pan Am era ones have already been awarded, but I think it was mentioned elsewhere that they have another round of federal money to conduct clearance work. As for the Pan Am era ones, I thought those had expired and in the process of the Pan Am-CSX transition the deadline for an extension lapsed, which caused the delay in the track work on the back road.
  by mrj1981
 
Very interesting, thanks for posting the excerpts of CSX's report!

It seems that the CSX philosophy comes down to: Mainlines (through-routes) at 40 MPH; branchlines at 25 MPH; RIgby is the hinge on which everything turns and needs to have 100% uptime. Fair enough.

I was surprised to see the inclusion of the Hinckley Branch as being upgraded to 25 mph (it's so short, you're not going to save many hours!), and was even more surprised to see no mention of improvements on the Rumford branch? (I went to the PDF itself and word-searched Rumford and got zero hits.) Surely that line would warrant improvement as much as Hinckley would?
  by newpylong
 
The length of the Hinkley branch may be the reason why it is getting done first vs the far longer Rumford Branch. Also SAPPI must be telling them if you can give us x amount of switches, and get the cars over the road in y amount of time, we will move z number of carloads with you. The math must add up for them to do it. Same for the customers in Portsmouth.

I suspect Rumford is on the docket, just not for the next two construction seasons. Seems like a pretty full plate.

The comparison to Conrail is not a bad thing IMO. The ex-PAR system has no real fat left to cut unlike the Conrail predecessor roads. It however has potential both online and bridge that was not taken advantage of because it's previous owner was undercapitalized. Well, they chose to be that way, Mellon had plenty of coin.
  by CPF66
 
I am guessing the 136 that was dumped around Orono will free up the existing CWR for use on the Hinkley Branch. The move to upgrade the Hinkley Branch to 25, is more due to the lack of serviceable track components for 85 LBS rail. Another possibility is that Sappi-3/4 might be able to run to Rigby with the increased speeds, and grab the other Waterville traffic on those jobs, which could eliminate road jobs from having to stop there. Which in theory, would allow the road jobs to do the Rigby-Mattawamkeag jobs they have been testing out in one shift without issue. Or it could just be done to free up enough time so Sappi can handle WA-R's work, since that job rarely has enough work for a full day anymore.

As for the Rumford Branch, they might just be stepping back to see how things play out. Keep in mind Clarks will no longer be shipping soon, and that leaves the egg farm and ND as the only main customers on the line. Which ARC uses the siding at Dixfield to transload, but I have heard they are looking at moving elsewhere. It might just be worth it to CSX to keep the Rumford Branch at 10 MPH while upgrading the track so they aren't risking a derailment.

The storms last year caused a lot of damage as well, which it seemed like every time it rained they had multiple washouts. Then the storm in December I think wiped the branch out for a few weeks. That being said, the focus for the Rumford Branch in the meantime is likely to prevent future washouts and continue to repair the damage from last year.

But unlike the Portsmouth or Hinkley Branches, there really aren't any untapped customers, or customers doing a major expansion. You have the egg farm which has decreased in size in the last decade, and ND which has idled one of the machines at Rumford, shut down 2/4 mills it owns, and layed off a large number of employees at its other remaining facility. If anything, CSX could just be waiting to see how things fall, since investing millions into a branch which the largest customer is either cutting back or closing the other mills they own, is probably not the best idea. Especially when there are no other possible customers (I am not including the OSB mill since so far there hasn't been a shovel of dirt moved) on the line.
  by BowdoinStation
 
I can't believe CSX's most important work didn't even make that update.... The serious home improvement done on the Hillsboro Branch !! Got to give credit, where credit is due !! :-D
  by newpylong
 
Keolis received a letter from CSX this week requesting 60 MPH and 12,000 foot train capacity on all MBTA trackage. Read, PTC changes required.

They want to run 60 from LJ to Rigby because the track is already good for it. Their ultimate goal is single crew between Selkirk to Rigby. Seems crazy especially with the aforementioned P&W slowdown.
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