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 CN9634
 
A 121 did run in the wee hours with an extra crew.
  by CPF66
 
CN9634 wrote:A whole lot of the sky-is-falling in the "quality" reporting and yet the trains are still running, improvements are still being made, and there is no plan for CPKC to re-divest on this line.
You are right, clearly I am wrong here. Things must be doing great considering that they are still struggling to fill open positions 4 years later, are loosing traffic to CSX, and are doing so well that they had to scale back to operating 4 days a week to handle it all. Clearly things have never been better!

I am curious, aside from routine trackwork and replacing a few miles of worn out rail they installed in 2020-2021, could you please tell the class what improvements are being made? Because unless they are only doing work in the boonies, there isn't a whole lot going on right now. Excluding the small tie gang EMR has going, there isn't a whole lot of work going on, on either side of the railroad.
  by NHV 669
 
121 was into Greenville Jct. at 10:29 with 9361, 76 wells/124 containers, KCSM 4878 (DPU), 75 wells/113 containers. A true "Saint John Express" with no mixed freight.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Messrs. CN and CP, this is "sport". Each of you praising the "other guy's road" and taking a snipe at your own :( :(

But to point; I'm surprised to learn that Chessie is yet in position to snitch any business from anyone - rail or highway!!!

From what I gather by keeping up with this "epic", the MEC is still by and large FRA Class 1.(10mph) although efforts are being to get some segments up to Class 2 (25mph). But this I would think is not sufficient to entrust high value traffic such as autos to Chessie's MEC rails.
  by NHV 669
 
121 was into Greenville Jct. at 10:29 with 9361, 76 wells/124 containers, KCSM 4878 (DPU), 75 wells/113 containers. A true "Saint John Express" with no mixed freight.
  by CN9634
 
CPF66 wrote: Mon Jun 24, 2024 8:10 am
CN9634 wrote:A whole lot of the sky-is-falling in the "quality" reporting and yet the trains are still running, improvements are still being made, and there is no plan for CPKC to re-divest on this line.
You are right, clearly I am wrong here. Things must be doing great considering that they are still struggling to fill open positions 4 years later, are loosing traffic to CSX, and are doing so well that they had to scale back to operating 4 days a week to handle it all. Clearly things have never been better!

I am curious, aside from routine trackwork and replacing a few miles of worn out rail they installed in 2020-2021, could you please tell the class what improvements are being made? Because unless they are only doing work in the boonies, there isn't a whole lot going on right now. Excluding the small tie gang EMR has going, there isn't a whole lot of work going on, on either side of the railroad.
They've been doing trackwork in Quebec-- you know that whole 150 or so miles of track across the border.

Success isn't measured in crew starts, it's measured in dollars.

Dead River has a large scale project coming online in the coming months and traffic is generally fairly stable and/or on the uptick again.

Just saying you paint the picture that it's doom and gloom which isn't the case. Also remember this is the livelihood of people who have real lives... I'm sure they don't enjoy being told everything is shit and the railroad is dying (which it is not)
  by F74265A
 
"But to point; I'm surprised to learn that Chessie is yet in position to snitch any business from anyone - rail or highway!!!

From what I gather by keeping up with this "epic", the MEC is still by and large FRA Class 1.(10mph) although efforts are being to get some segments up to Class 2 (25mph). But this I would think is not sufficient to entrust high value traffic such as autos to Chessie's MEC rails.
[/quote]"

See the below very recent video for the state of CSX east of waterville and the very healthy traffic they are moving off of Irving. Tons of lumber, paper and some chemicals. Everything that goes CSX off of Irving is not moving on CP or CN.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nc0axWb8nEc
  by F74265A
 
relevant to this discussion and the near term prospects for port SJ, I was reading today in the Wall Street Journal that logistics chains are all messed up again with high freight rates and services issues by the shipping companies. The problem is that the Red Sea/suez canal situation has not improved - another cargo ship was sunk off Yemen a couple days ago. This has lead to most cargo taking the long route around africa, which adversely affects, among many other things, the competitiveness of Asian cargo moving to US east coast ports since that service really needed the Suez to work. I think the article said container volume via suez is down about 80% due to the conflict situation
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr. F7, regarding your address of the state of the MEC's repair, it certainly appears Chessie has been pouring in her Fancy Feast to the road - at least in the locations where the video was shot.

That train certainly had a healthy load of finished Lumber and I like to think that many of the Boxcars had loads. It also appeared to be moving at about 25mph suggesting that Chessie has herself a Class 2 railroad.

Naturally, it would be nice to see some intermodal traffic as well - and not traffic stolen from the CP-M.

But your immediate post regarding shipping conditions around the Suez Canal are foreboding for all East Coast maritime ports. The days of the maritime operators bellowing "find me a berth - any berth" vanished along with the COVID pandemic.
  by F74265A
 
My understanding is the moosehead is generally a 25-40 mph railroad
Csx is now the same. Csx has, on its own tracks not in passenger territory, chunks of 40mph mixed in with 25 generally otherwise. So csx infrastructure, other than DS clearance, is roughly equal between cp and csx.
  by CPF66
 
CN9634 wrote: Mon Jun 24, 2024 12:15 pm They've been doing trackwork in Quebec-- you know that whole 150 or so miles of track across the border.

Success isn't measured in crew starts, it's measured in dollars.

Dead River has a large scale project coming online in the coming months and traffic is generally fairly stable and/or on the uptick again.

Just saying you paint the picture that it's doom and gloom which isn't the case. Also remember this is the livelihood of people who have real lives... I'm sure they don't enjoy being told everything is shit and the railroad is dying (which it is not)
Like I said, other than routine maintenance there isn't a whole lot of work going on. Which said trackwork in Quebec is being done to bring spots back up to 25-40 after several months of slow orders.

I am aware success is measured in dollars not crew starts, however the two are closely associated. When your car counts slide enough to reduce the number of crew starts, things aren't doing so hot.

As for Dead River, unless that LPG traffic is going to be traveling via the Moosehead, I don't see how that pertains to the topic at hand. Which yes, they are building a larger terminal at the former Maine Energy site in Hermon, which will allow Hampden to be closed since the yard is too small to turn the larger propane trailers they have been buying. Last I knew, following several close calls with backing those trucks into that terminal, they were either buying propane or leasing space off of Pine Tree since they could get trucks in there easier. Which unless they ramp up distribution at the new terminal, its going to be the same volume they were getting at Hampden and Maine Energy, as well as what they were pulling from the Pine Tree terminal, but just at one centralized location.

While it may be your opinion, that I am painting a dark picture, I am just stating the facts. I appreciate your level of never-ending positivity (I think it was you who coined the phrase "Seasonal Slump" after CP blew the last major contract, which that still makes me laugh), but its hard to sell the idea that traffic is on the uptick when CSX is taking more and more traffic away from CPKC. And as a counterpoint to your last remark, I doubt they like being told everything is fine and that things are the best they have ever been, when the railroad is actively cutting back days of operation for both the Moosehead and the Bangor Subdivisions. The railroad is still profitable, and it was never implied that it wasn't, which the Moosehead will always turn a profit. However you can't predict the future, in 5 years CPKC might be unhappy with the amount of profit they are making and might re-spin it off again.

As a side note last time I went through Brownville Jct, PRL had packed up all the lumber and equipment they had there to load cars, which it appears they decided to stop using CPKC again. I dont think Moose River has shipped a car in sometime and recently has been trucking lumber to Scott, Quebec and Saint-Lambert-de-Lauzon, Quebec on Sartigan albeit in much smaller quantities than what we saw in the past.
F74265A wrote:"But to point; I'm surprised to learn that Chessie is yet in position to snitch any business from anyone - rail or highway!!!

From what I gather by keeping up with this "epic", the MEC is still by and large FRA Class 1.(10mph) although efforts are being to get some segments up to Class 2 (25mph). But this I would think is not sufficient to entrust high value traffic such as autos to Chessie's MEC rails.
CSX is primarily 25 and 40 now, with a large chunk being brought up to 40 by the end of summer between Royal and Waterville. Even if the CSX route is longer, CPKC isn't helping themselves by letting existing traffic sit for days at Brownville Jct with the reduced schedule (odd considering it was discussed a few pages back about how CPKC wasn't cutting back). I am not sure if CSX is still charging Pan Am era rates, but those would be significantly lower than the CMQ era ones. Which I think a few years ago CP upped the rates quite a bit on their end.
  by KuBand12
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Mon Jun 24, 2024 6:13 pm Mr. F7, regarding your address of the state of the MEC's repair, it certainly appears Chessie has been pouring in her Fancy Feast to the road - at least in the locations where the video was shot.
CSX most certainly appears to be investing in it's eastern extremity with a lot of prep work having been accomplished earlier this spring. I think this is expansion work that wasn't in the original plan and therefore might not be proceeding further until 2025. CSX has stated that they will be fulfilling their obligation to have 'fast' trains coming out of Maine in 2024. Our man in Mattawamkeag appears to be offline from youtube - hopefully not permanently. He had posted a video earlier in the spring showing a LARGE area cleared of trees and brush from the southern end of the refurbished yard (and beyond) that opened in December '23. If he comes back online, have a look at that. I believe that will be getting worked on in 2025, but it will be hard to tell if we don't get our eyes back on the ground there.
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Mon Jun 24, 2024 6:13 pm That train certainly had a healthy load of finished Lumber and I like to think that many of the Boxcars had loads. It also appeared to be moving at about 25mph suggesting that Chessie has herself a Class 2 railroad.
It is widely believed that a lot of that lumber is coming from NB. I think it is way more likely to be coming from Irving's large sawmill operation in Ashland, Maine. Irving controls a large amount of land in northern Maine as well as their mill located in Ashland. It only makes sense that the vast majority of the "Irving" labelled lumber comes from that operation. The "Lebel" labelled lumber probably comes from the Lebel mill, also just north of Ashland. The only lumber that definitely comes from Canada is the "Freeman" labelled loads. They come from Nova Scotia.
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Mon Jun 24, 2024 6:13 pm Naturally, it would be nice to see some intermodal traffic as well - and not traffic stolen from the CP-M.
The dual stack problem is one that CSX has stated will not be addressed until their status in New England is comparable to the remainder of their network. I certainly understand that. I don't think they want any intermodal traffic until they have DS capability end to end. I think they believe it would only add extra problems which they would be stressed to resolve immediately. CSX has stated, and I believe, they will address it once they have completed their initial upgrades/refurbs.

You don't fix decades of neglect overnight.
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Mon Jun 24, 2024 6:13 pm But your immediate post regarding shipping conditions around the Suez Canal are foreboding for all East Coast maritime ports. The days of the maritime operators bellowing "find me a berth - any berth" vanished along with the COVID pandemic.
The solution for the Suez introduced extra shipping miles/days that single handedly resolved the 2023 year of hurt. The bellowing is now "find me a ship - any ship". The 'steamship' companies immediately stopped all scrapping and started taking delivery of, or ordering, new ships and containers to fill those ships. Unfortunately, 2023 was so down for business that way too few ships were on order.

Whatever the 'temporary' fix for this situation is, the end result is likely going to mean the 'steamship' companies will be left with a lot of over capacity when the Suez becomes available again. It shouldn't mean any permanent problems for ports, but who knows? There are always unintended consequences. Anyway, until further notice, it is a temporary situation. Don't make permanent decisions regarding temporary circumstances.

In the meantime, Saint John intermodal had a close to 100% increase in 2022. In 2023, it had the only increase in Canada among intermodal ports, and it was likely the only port on the east coast of North America to have any increase at all. As of today, my unofficial tally of intermodal business gives me a good indication that Saint John intermodal is around 11% above 2023 numbers, YTD. All of that increase has happened since mid March. Coming into the busier part of the year, I feel confident that we are going to see excellent growth.

The port looks like it is about to make use of the extra 28 acres of lay down space which has been created, but unusable, while it sat getting compressed to it's specified capacity of 2000 lbs/sq ft. The older southern part of Rodney Terminal is only spec'd at 250 lbs/sq ft. That is a lot of increased capacity that is soon going to be available.

There is a very good chance that Americold will be building a large cold storage warehouse at the south end of the harbor, specified as Lot X. That will be an incentive for various businesses related to the intermodal port. That has been discussed at least publicly for about a year. Dependent upon some public money input, I am hopeful further news will be forthcoming in July.

DP World is the fourth largest port management corporation in the world. They have signed up for a 30 year+ commitment at Port Saint John. They also signed a 5 year contract with Canpotex to manage their potash export facility last August. They are undoubtedly the best management group in my lifetime running the intermodal and now the potash terminal. I heard just recently that they are looking at integrating a container approach to shipping potash by rail/ship. The first thing I thought about when I heard they signed the contract with Canpotex was something along that line. They have already been doing this in Russia. That kind of thinking solidifies Canpotex's and DP World's position at the port.

I am going to make one other idea public here. DP World will eventually make some sort of financial investment in the port, possibly with 'steamship' partners and/or other well established interested parties. I have not heard anything along these lines discussed publicly, but I would not expect that either. As far as timing on something like that, I would expect to see the port development move along as it has been. Maybe after a few years when early goals (800K+) are being achieved, and we're over the hump of rebuilding the port after decades of neglect.
  by CN9634
 
Thanks for the update with factual reporting.

Also in one of the last market updates Kreel was asked about Saint John and he mentioned the Gemini Cooperation with Maersk/Hapag. Let's see how it plays out but that could be a big growth factor in Feb 2025.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
May I "second" Mr. CN's accolade, Mr. Kuband.

Interesting, and I guess understandable, that Chessie will defer making rates on intermodal (and I'd presume autos as well) until she can address the apparent clearance issues on the Maine Central. While, from reviewing Mr. NHV's reports including the screenshots of Trains 120-121, it would appear that CPKC has the intermodal business to themselves. While CPKC goes anywhere in Canada, and have interchanges with "the two Uncles" (Pete and Warren), Chessie can better handle traffic consigned to the Eastern half of the US.

Finally, when Chessie does attain intermodal capacity over the MEC, that the maritime companies will make Saint John a call with enough intermodal so that both roads will have their share without engaging in a ruinous rate war. That was never an issue when I was in the rate regulated industry, but "things a little different today".
  by KuBand12
 
CN9634 wrote: Tue Jun 25, 2024 6:58 pm Thanks for the update with factual reporting.

Also in one of the last market updates Kreel was asked about Saint John and he mentioned the Gemini Cooperation with Maersk/Hapag. Let's see how it plays out but that could be a big growth factor in Feb 2025.
I agree. If you've got Kreel on board publicly supporting this big change, you know they're plugged in and fully aware of what the whole thing encompasses. It probably means DP World is satisfied as well.

Here is a link to a government website that has some information on the Americold project I was mentioning. Americold has hired a government lobbyist to help grease the skids...

https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/app/secure/oc ... 0#regStart

It just gives the guys name, some background, and states that he is arranging meetings to get some government funding. Excellent. This is a worthwhile endeavor.

Here is another website that shows a "start date" of July 1, and states that they want to get going "in the coming months". I don't know how old this website is, but I have been aware of it for about 6 weeks.

https://iaac-aeic.gc.ca/050/evaluations/proj/88503

This is also a government website. I think their webserver is on dial up so be patient.

CPKC and DP World both have strong ties with Americold also. They have both been involved with bringing that facility in. The first time I heard about what CPKC and DP World were doing with Americold was during CPKC's meeting in late June of 2023. I figured it was just a matter of time when they actually mentioned wanting to have a facility on the east coast. Saint John is the only place on the east coast of North America that has both CPKC and DP World ties. Everybody has been extremely quiet since then, except for very occasional statements from key players that it was being worked on. If they're still waiting on a decision about public money, that is most likely the only thing they're waiting on.

I get the impression that DP World doesn't do much that is not in their plan and they seem to have a plan developed by a lot of experience. You never hear about their day to day activities. They rarely say anything in public but they quietly achieve what they set out to do. That never happened before they took over the management role.
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