Discussion relating to the past and present operations of CPR. Official web site can be found here: CPKCR.com. Includes Kansas City Southern. There is also a KCS sub-forum for prior operations: kansas-city-southern-and-affiliates-f153.html

Moderators: Komachi, Ken V

  by NHV 669
 
121 was into Greenville Jct. at 09:36 with 8724, 35 mixed freight, KCS 4687 (DPU), 49 mixed freight. No intermodal.

120 was into Greenville Jct. at 13:49 with 8829/KCSM 4502, 93 wells/153 containers, 24 mixed freight.
Last edited by NHV 669 on Fri Mar 01, 2024 3:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
  by QB 52.32
 
TrainTrackToby wrote: Wed Feb 28, 2024 5:16 pmWhat destinations will these intermodals go to Alanta,New jersey,Chciago,Mexico,Etc?
CSX's potential within the containerized international freight market via Port Saint John is the US Midwest most importantly, with southern New England (Worcester, MA) and upstate New York also possible.

While CSX lacks doublestack overhead clearance down into their network in central Massachusetts , their head-to-head competitor for Port Saint John containerized traffic into the midwestern US, CP, relies upon CSX at this point for unregulated haulage rights to get doublestacks to/from Chicago around their clearance-restricted Detroit River Rail Tunnel with the terms of the agreement out of public sight and the cost to clear the tunnel at least as formidable and no less than CSX's.

I think we might start to see container traffic begin within the next 3 years, but with, as CSX said to the Surface Transportation Board, any full expectations beyond and once their major planned investments to improve the railroad have been completed. My take is that, like CP, the traffic will be handled in train service mixed with carload traffic and tied into CSX's existing northern tier intermodal train network via Worcester, MA and/or Syracuse, NY connecting with their midwestern US intermodal terminals (Chicago, Detroit, Northwest Ohio, Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and E. St.Louis).
  by CN9634
 
CSX isn't in a position to compete with CPKC for some time on the SJ traffic. It'll take considerable more investment in infrastructure and clearance projects. Someday for sure...
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr. CN, I wholly concur with your immediate thought.

Lest we forget, Chessie is now 91yo; so what's another ten years to her (she's immortal) to oversee the rebuilding of the Maine Central so that she can be a competitor at Saint John, which surely represents one day less (maybe even two) Trans-At sailing time over any other East Coast port.
  by QB 52.32
 
As I see it, 3 years out at the completion of their planned infrastructure work, regardless of lacking overhead clearance, CSX enters the ballpark to begin competing for Port Saint John container traffic, including to some degree across CPKC competition into the US Midwest. At that point in the game it becomes less about infrastructure and more about train starts and filling unused capacity on their existing 2nd/3rd-morning intermodal service network in the New England-Midwest lanes.
Last edited by QB 52.32 on Sat Mar 02, 2024 9:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by NHV 669
 
121 was into Greenville Jct. at 08:44 with 8829, 23 mixed freight, 32 wells/60 containers, KCSM 4502 (DPU), 59 wells/123 containers.

120 was into Greenville Jct. at 14:12 with 8786/KCSM 4764, 29 mixed freight (3 loaded autoracks), 28 wells/43 containers.
Last edited by NHV 669 on Sat Mar 02, 2024 2:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by CPF66
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2024 8:35 am
CPF66 wrote: Thu Feb 29, 2024 7:27 pm CSX is years away from being able to effectively move intermodal. ...As for the destinations who knows, originally it was mentioned that CSX was going to try and compete with CP to move intermodal to Chicago. Now the common idea is they are going to use SJ to ship stuff up and down the east coast, which doesn't make much sense when there are ports undercapacity elsewhere on the east coast. At the end of the day, like NHV 669 said, they will move it wherever if they get paid.
Mr. CPF, I'd like to think that Chessie (cats are considerably smarter, but hardly as loyal, as are dogs) did not give up any portion of her Fancy Feast and settle for the stuff at a dollar store, to continue handling the "captive" ten cars a week you note that are interchanged at Northern Maine Junction. She had to know that the MEC was a broken-down road largely comprised of FRA Class 1 (B&M? thank you very much, passenger train agencies, for the Class 4) and that there was high value traffic to be handled. She knew that Searsport was "owned" by CPKC, just as much Portland was largely hers (other guy GT; guess CN again nowadays). So where the high value traffic? Saint John plus maybe convincing the likes of Jeff and Wally World to place some warehouses (whoops, "Distribution Centers") in Maine with rail access.

Of course, we must not lose sight that times have changed for the maritime industry. After the COVID era surge, they are now laying up vessels, and the extra cost, owing to the Middle East hostilities, find that they must now route vessels around the Cape of Good Hope rather than through the Suez Canal hence adding some three weeks of sailing time Asia to NA East Coast. So it's no longer, again as you noted, "get me a berth, any berth" as it was during COVID; the maritime industry has their choice of ports again.

The challenge for Saint John, in addition to scheduling their sailings so that traversing the Bay of Fundy within, say, an hour of the ebb or flood tides, is that the port is so efficient, and their labor costs are somewhat less than in the States, so that they can command more callings. Reliable, competitive, rail routings are needed to enhance that environment.

Mr. Cowford, are you prepared to step up and comment?
I think you are misinterpreting most of the replies on this thread. CSX is going after container traffic, however at this current point in time, A. The traffic isn't there (yet?). CP who already has the infrastructure in place has struggled to attract and retain customers has had stagnated container traffic levels for well over a year now. According to Irving leadership, there was interest from a few other companies in Saint John, however nothing panned out and they don't expect an increase in container traffic until sometime next year, if not the year after. B. To accommodate double stacks CSX has I believe several hundred clearance issues to resolve between Mattawamkeag and Ayer. Those will take some time to resolve, as well as the weight limits of the bridges will need to be upgraded substantially. As it stands the track speeds will have to be increased to at least 40 MPH, if not higher. I think CP still has a shorter route to Chicago than CSX, so that comes into play. C. CSX needs to build up the amount of train crews they have. This summer due to retirements they had way more conductors than engineers, so trains were being cancelled left and right. They sent a few guys to Waycross (?) for engineers school to even the numbers out, but they are still way behind where they should be. Overall pretty much the only guys left are close to retirement or can't leave for one reason or another. Amtrak and other area railroads have continued to take a good sized grapefruit scoop out of the remaining personnel which limits CSX's capabilities. So in short, yes *if* CSX were able to find a customer, they could start moving containers. However, it wont be very advantageous to ship via CSX vs CP at this current point in time.

Which also to address a prior comment, CN is pulling containers out of Saint John. Actually they are the only Class 1, who I think has had an increase in container traffic lately. https://youtu.be/b3hdRR8mPmQ?feature=shared
It appears that what CN has been moving, is some of the Hapag business CP used to be hauling last year.

At this point I would like to address a few other statements you made.

The 10 cars a week to/from CPKC, is due to the reopening of the line to Mattawamkeag. This is roughly the same amount which was interchanged during MMA and during CMQ when Pan Am was running to Mattawamkeag.

Like I alluded to previously, CSX bought Pan Am as a long term investment. I am sure Jacksonville is closely monitoring CP's problems and traffic levels and are investing in the railroad accordingly. It would be unwise for CSX to just drop a bunch of money into track upgrades, just for the container business to be a major flop. They already have nearly a billion dollars invested into the purchase of Pan Am, let alone the future infrastructure needed to handle container traffic. If that were all for nothing, that would be a painful pill to swallow. So slowly upgrading the network and watching how things are unfolding is a much smarter move. Which appears to be what they are doing.

As for your comment about Searsport, I am not sure why CSX would have any interest in Searsport or what CP is doing there. Searsport is a pretty backwater port unless you want to get chemicals and slurry for Madawaska or Irving Pulp and Paper, along with the occasional cars of diesel for Dead River in Fort Kent or Houlton. CP has let the speeds drop on that line down to 10 MPH. And at this point, although they go down there twice a week, the current traffic levels would probably be enough for one trip a week, if Sprauge could switch their own cars. I know CP is doing some trackwork down there this summer related to windmill blades being moved, however I only imagine that will be a few trains a month like what was done during MMA/CMQ.

Portland is even more of a backwater port. I don't think any slurry is moved out of there anymore and I think the last ship to rail business there is the coal for Rumford.

GT/SLR hasn't been relevant since the G&W takeover. SLR is down to running two days a week on the US side. Less than 5 years ago they were running pretty much Monday-Friday. With the arrival of the SD70MAc's to replace some of the other power, they could probably get away with running one 100 car 393 and 394 a week. They also haven't run down near Portland in 10 years, and I think the swing bridge/connection with MEC/Pan Am was severed in the 70's or 80's.

As for the Walmart warehouses, I don't think the need is there anymore. SLR handled some of that business in the 90's and 2000's and I think the traffic had completely dried up by the 2010's.

Thats just my observations on the subject.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr. CPF, I sincerely respect the sharing of your insightful knowledge of the CSX-PAR transaction (or in my lingo, Chessie and Timmy).

Until you noted it immediately, I was unaware that CN was much of a player with Saint John traffic. I simply presumed with their circuitous route which appears to head East before it heads West, that they could not be much of a player. Besides, I would think that they would want to encourage callings at Halifax where they are the only (rail) game in town.

Again, thank you.

GBN
  by CN9634
 
The CN Traffic out of SJ is largely due to the additional customs headaches with some shipments (refrigerated volume for example dealing with the FDA) and getting a few spot containers to CN only destinations such as Memphis. CMA is using them for the Toronto/Montreal ramped containers.
  by NHV 669
 
121 was into Greenville Jct. at 07:54 with 8786/KCSM 4764, 24 mixed freight, 34 wells/52 containers, 8830 (DPU), 37 wells/74 containers, 27 mixed freight (9 empty autoracks).

120 was into Greenville Jct. at 13:12 with 8952/7034, 45 mixed freight (17 loaded autoracks), 48 wells/83 containers.
Last edited by NHV 669 on Sun Mar 03, 2024 7:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
CN9634 wrote: Sat Mar 02, 2024 8:15 pm The CN Traffic out of SJ is largely due to the additional customs headaches with some shipments (refrigerated volume for example dealing with the FDA) and getting a few spot containers to CN only destinations such as Memphis. CMA is using them for the Toronto/Montreal ramped containers.
First, quoted in its entirety as necessary to have the following question clear.

Mr. CN, how does your namesake road get preferential treatment from US Customs over CPKC - and possibly Chessie once she is ready to compete at SJ?

But "I get it" regarding a shipment, carload or container, consigned to a point only CN serves in the States. Absent a Shipper's Routing, the Agent is not about to short haul the road that signs his paycheck.

On the road when I was with the MILW doing station inspections, if I noted a short haul reviewing Waybills, I was quick to ask "Why"? If it were a Shipper's routing, I'd ask if Traffic was aware and are they doing something to get us a better haul?
  by QB 52.32
 
CN's participation in SJ points to how in the intervening years between completion of their first phase of infrastructure improvements ~3 years out and fully clearing or speeding up their railroad, CSX could begin competing and participating as well.

To their extent of willingness and ability in getting containers between Port Saint John and Worcester, MA in 2-3 days, tying into their fast intermodal service with available unused capacity, CSX could at the least start offering a service- and price-competitive product even if conservatively targeted narrowly and to lower marketshare without waiting to jump the highest hurdles.

In those intervening years starting 3 years out, the question at least becomes "why wait?" to offer something in the marketplace with the focus probably on train starts on the one hand and that unused existing Worcester intermodal train service capacity on the other.

Then, too, there is also that wildcard out there in CPKC's unregulated haulage rights agreement over CSX's high-capacity railroad between Buffalo and Chicago providing their doublestack capability to/from Chicago....
Gilbert B Norman wrote:On the road when I was with the MILW doing station inspections, if I noted a short haul reviewing Waybills, I was quick to ask "Why"? If it were a Shipper's routing, I'd ask if Traffic was aware and are they doing something to get us a better haul?
Mr. Norman, deregulation has dramatically reduced "shipper's routing" with carriers now using market freedoms in negotiating, differentiating, and privately contracting price and terms, ergo routings.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr QB, I left the MILW - and the industry - December '81. At that time, only a year after Staggers enactment, the industry was still "on the learning curve".

But let us not lose sight that under Staggers, the industry can negotiate rates, including incentive rates (you ship so much and you get this rate. Otherwise you don't), but they must submit that rate as information to the Surfboard (think the term Tariff is still used). This is because there is still regulation with regards to discrimination (you gave that rate to that guy, you will also give it to me).

Finally, to close with a thought on topic, Chessie thinks she can be competitive needing 2-3 days to get a shipment from SJ to an "interchange" with the B&A at presumably Worcester?
Last edited by Gilbert B Norman on Sun Mar 03, 2024 11:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by CN9634
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Sun Mar 03, 2024 10:52 am
CN9634 wrote: Sat Mar 02, 2024 8:15 pm The CN Traffic out of SJ is largely due to the additional customs headaches with some shipments (refrigerated volume for example dealing with the FDA) and getting a few spot containers to CN only destinations such as Memphis. CMA is using them for the Toronto/Montreal ramped containers.
First, quoted in its entirety as necessary to have the following question clear.

Mr. CN, how does your namesake road get preferential treatment from US Customs over CPKC - and possibly Chessie once she is ready to compete at SJ?

But "I get it" regarding a shipment, carload or container, consigned to a point only CN serves in the States. Absent a Shipper's Routing, the Agent is not about to short haul the road that signs his paycheck.

On the road when I was with the MILW doing station inspections, if I noted a short haul reviewing Waybills, I was quick to ask "Why"? If it were a Shipper's routing, I'd ask if Traffic was aware and are they doing something to get us a better haul?
CN gets customs preference because their route intra-Canada doesn't cross the US border whatsoever-- thus its not a problem. The CPKC route is 200 miles less by taking the "Short Line" across Maine, but is subject to US CBP requirements. Note I reference this only in Canadian ramped traffic in the East.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr. CN, I wholly agree with you regarding intra-Canada, but, within your captioned quote, you note Memphis - and last time I checked that's down here in the States!!

But please do not lose sight of how much you, and Mr. QB, have helped me in understanding the CSX-PAR transaction that, considering I'm in Chicago and no longer all that much of a railfan (still an investor and having spent eleven of my fifty plus year working life within the industry), occurred "in a galaxy far far away".
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