• Online Customers between Selkirk and Buffalo

  • Discussion of the operations of CSX Transportation, from 1980 to the present. Official site can be found here: CSXT.COM.
Discussion of the operations of CSX Transportation, from 1980 to the present. Official site can be found here: CSXT.COM.

Moderator: MBTA F40PH-2C 1050

  by NIMBYkiller
Where does CSX have customers between Selkirk and Buffalo? I'm asking because everyone talks about improving passenger rail service in this country but loves to forget the importance of our freight network. NYC to Toronto, to me, is ripe for far more frequent service in addition to operating over a ROW that is largely straight enough (read: gentle curves) that it would be easier to bring up to higher speeds than many other potential corridors. We all know CSX has been fighting any of these improvements, so I'm looking outside the box. If an agreement could be made where the government (state, federal, whichever) were to rebuild the ROW that parallels the line on the south side of the Mohawk River, could CSX be re-directed over that? Are there too many customers being served on the existing ROW, or is it mostly just a through route?

The only other way I could see passenger rail improving upstate would be if the ROW were expanded, and CSX has stated their demands regarding that.
  by ExCon90
The critical element there would be whether the alternate route (former West Shore?), if suitably upgraded, would be faster for through freights than the present one. Presumably not, since the New York Central concentrated on improving the present one; and if not, CSX wouldn't even consider it--nor should they.
  by NIMBYkiller
Faster than or equal to should be the goal. Fuel consumption comparisons and overall track miles that need to be maintained would also need to be factored in as well. Still, I wonder if they've ever even looked at that option. Without a doubt, the optimal passenger rail route is the current CSX line. It's worth looking into which would cost less and be acceptable, shifting freight to the adjacent ROW or building dedicated passenger tracks along the current ROW to CSX standards (or whatever upgrades would get CSX to agree to faster and more passenger service on the line).
  by ExCon90
I don't see CSX agreeing to spend anything on another route that would be no faster than the present one. Some big bucks would have to be found, and the politicians would have a field day if it were proposed to use public funds to rehab (effectively from the subgrade up) a new route exclusively for freight trains, and for a for-profit company at that. Of course the purpose would be to free up the present route for passenger service, but a lot of people wouldn't grasp that, or wouldn't want to.
  by ExCon90
Follow-up question: how was the West Shore row for curves, grade crossings, etc.? I never thought much about it.
  by shlustig
The WS was never a high-speed route.

Leaving ALB on the present mainline route, the only existing connection to the WS is the Carman Branch which has always had a 30 mph speed limit. It connects with the WS at S. Schenectady.

Going west on the WS, the ROW is generally narrow, has numerous curves, and goes directly through several towns. There was a double connection to the mainline just east of Utica (Harbor Connection), but both parts were removed years ago. The WS was 10mph through Utica as it generally ran diagonal to the city street pattern and all street xgs were at grade.

The Mohawk Division ROW was 4-tracks + in width and could easily accommodate an additional track. Back in the 1980's, CR petitioned to allow the MAS to be raised to 90 mph west of Utica. Sight distance tests showed that only a couple of signals west of Oneida would have to be re-positioned to allow for improved sight distances. The FRA refused permission to raise the speed limit without the installation of cab signals & speed control.