CSX, NS say Gulf Coast passenger service would ‘devastate’ freight operations

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merkelman06

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Freight railroads say Amtrak needs to build more than 23 miles of new track; Alabama port filing also opposes passenger proposal

 

Just-Thinking-51

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Powerful language there. They then have a high set of demand, follow by a much smaller set of demands. So which solution is required? Or are they going big so the little improvement will be acceptable to the STB.

If the route is so stress with traffic that a additional two trains a day will cause it to become parking lot, maybe it time for the freight railroad to spend some it’s own money to build that capacity need here.
 

GoAmtrak

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The Big Engines That Can't say two Amtrak round-trips a day will "devastate" their oh-so-precision freight service. :rolleyes: Railroads are supposed to serve extractive industries, not be an extractive industry (from taxpayers). The Port Authority is almost worse, demanding that Amtrak's "Mobile" station be miles short of downtown.
I go with you! Hopefully the Port Authority doesn't win a possible legal proceeding (if it comes to it).

Personally, I would re-acquire the old passenger terminal in Mobile which stands vacant as far as I know. With the tracks I'm not sure but my geo portal says numerous lines still go close to this station. Perhaps a short direct link should be built to connect it, I don't know exactly.

To re-acquire the old station sounds like nostalgia, but it would perhaps even save tax dollars which are that holy in fiscally conservative states like Alabama. Because you don't have to build a new station then and can re-use an out-of-use building. Additionally, I see the benefit to have a station in downtown because then it's really walkable if you want to visit the city. Would be an advantage against airplanes. That's why I would try to stop in downtown (I would try that in general).

By the way, support (for passenger railway) of some politicians from Mississippi could be bigger than it is the case in Alabama. Not sure why.
 
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sttom

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Didn't they brag in a shareholder meeting that they could double the number of trains and it wouldn't effect them? I vaguely remember that coming up last time they threw a fit.
 

John Bredin

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Personally, I would re-acquire the old passenger terminal in Mobile which stands vacant as far as I know. With the tracks I'm not sure but my geo portal says numerous lines still go close to this station. Perhaps a short direct link should be built to connect it, I don't know exactly.

To re-acquire the old station sounds like nostalgia, but it would perhaps even save tax dollars which are that holly in fiscally conservative states like Alabama. Because you don't have to build a new station then and can re-use an out-of-use building. Additionally, I see the benefit to have a station in downtown because then it's really walkable if you want to visit the city. Would be an advantage against airplanes. That's why I would try to stop in downtown (I would try that in general).
Alas, I don't think the old station is appropriate for this service. The old GM&O station still exists but by the Wikipedia description and Google Maps served lines coming in from the north. For Amtrak from New Orleans to access that station, it looks like a restored track across Dekle Street would have to be built, only for the trains to then have to go through, and then back up through, much of the yards.

The station that served trains from New Orleans, originally the L&N station, is gone. As I recall, the plan for a downtown Mobile station for the new service is to build something near where the L&N/Amtrak station was.
 

neroden

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Didn't they brag in a shareholder meeting that they could double the number of trains and it wouldn't effect them? I vaguely remember that coming up last time they threw a fit.
Find me the meeting and the citation. If CSX did say this about the Gulf Coast line, I can get RPA to cite it to the STB as an intervenor and really make CSX look even worse than they already look.
 

sttom

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Find me the meeting and the citation. If CSX did say this about the Gulf Coast line, I can get RPA to cite it to the STB as an intervenor and really make CSX look even worse than they already look.
Found the article. Apparently they can only handle a 30% increase. But if you want more, your have to get a hold of the author.

 

DonNewcomb

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There's really not all that much rail traffic on the CSX line between New Orleans and Mobile. One big problem is that every time CSX does roadbed maintenance they add about 2" of ballast. Do that for 100 years and eventually you get grade-level crossings that no lowboy semi can cross. Most semis have to detour miles out of the way to cross CSX's embankment.
 

Acela150

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Oh, if we only had railroad management and operations as competent as they were in 1941....
THIS IS THE ANSWER!!!!

Everyday on the NS Pittsburgh Line (Horseshoe Curve area) NS has some kind of meltdown. And it always the same issue. Extremely heavy trains that are underpowered. They'll send 20,000 ton trains up the grades of the Alleghanies with 5 4400 HP engines and 2 of them "online". They then stall out and need to get permission to use the other 3 units and get a helper to push them up the grades. NOT ONE Dispatcher or Atlanta RFE has touched the RR that they dispatch over. They have no freggin' clue about the physical characteristics of any of the railroad. Listen to the radio feed for that section of railroad and you'll hear the absolute joke of PSR.

NS & CSX don't have much in the way of T&E crews these days.. Why? PSR... Employees are fed up with how they are treated under this **** poor style of railroading. They can't even more their own trains!
 

neroden

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Found the article. Apparently they can only handle a 30% increase. But if you want more, your have to get a hold of the author.

Two trains each way per day (Amtrak's proposal) is, technically, more than a 30% increase (if they are currently running only 8 movements per day across that line). However, 1 train each way per day would NOT be, so CSX should agree to that immediately, right?

I'm distracted this weekend but I'll try to forward it to the right parties.
 

neroden

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There's really not all that much rail traffic on the CSX line between New Orleans and Mobile. One big problem is that every time CSX does roadbed maintenance they add about 2" of ballast. Do that for 100 years and eventually you get grade-level crossings that no lowboy semi can cross. Most semis have to detour miles out of the way to cross CSX's embankment.
Well, at least it's elevated above sea level rise levels, I guess?
 

JWM

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Those of us who are old enough remember this "line of malarkey" for years. If only, if only the passenger trains would go away. Yada, yada, yada. There needs to be a thorough revision of the operating agreements with the contracting railroads with penalties for sideling passenger trains for freight. Travel times would be reduced, on time performance would increase and passenger numbers would rise.
 

DonNewcomb

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..... If only, if only the passenger trains would go away. Yada, yada, yada. There needs to be a thorough revision of the operating agreements......
They just don't accept that they have a responsibility to serve the passengers. A responsibility for which Amtrak was formed and operates. Amtrak is not the enemy. It's how the RRs fulfill their responsibilities to the public.
 

dlagrua

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I don't want to sound negative here but the fact of the matter is that the freight railroads do not want Amtrak running on their tracks. That's why I predicted that new routes for Amtrak would be few and far between. It will be a fight every inch of the way. There are some routes that might have capacity like the old Broadway Ltd route through Ohio and Indiana but where will most of these new routes come from? Every route that we have been on is either loaded with intermodal freight, oil/chemical tank cars or grain hoppers. Some routes like the SW Chief (BNSF) has train a movement about every eight minutes. IMO the only way to new routes is to rebuild and reactivate abandoned routes. There are loads of them out there like the Tennessee pass line that can be used to alleviate the logjam going west through the Moffet tunnel. Many parts of the old Milwaukee Road Olympic Hiawatha ROW are still passable but these are LD Routes and Amtrak probably won't consider them.
 

George Harris

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To "devastate" freight service should get some award for dramatization. The line is about as near straight and flat as any railroad line in the US. For the sake of reliability, add a couple long sidings, lengthen the ones there, install higher speed turnouts at both ends of all sidings, and that should be enough. You do have several drawbridges, but the volume of shipping I don't know. Given the near flat profile, once a freight is up to speed, it will not be slowed by grades. Higher speeds into and out of sidings benefits everybody. You do have a gazillion road crossings, however particularly in the Bay St. Louis to Pascagoula area. However, once clear of the city, much of the Louisiana side is swamp without human habitation. The line does have several intermediate cities in Mississippi, so it would have a beads on a chain operation. My only question about the service is, given the relatively low population will the demand be sufficient?

The drawbridge problem could definitely affect reliability. Given that water traffic came before rail traffic, as a general rule water traffic has the right of way.

At one point there was a relocation study for this line. Having read it, it looked more like a response to some political pressure to look like "we are going to do something". Best I recall it moved the line to somewhere north of I-10 and created more problems than it solved. If they ever get serious about road crossing issues the most desirable relocation solution from my perspective would be to move the line about 25 feet, straight up. That makes right of way issues disappear. While we are at it, double tracking the thing would make most of the train interference issues disappear. Remember straight and level? If a freight once gets up to a 50 to 60 mph speed range it is able to stay there. Also, if doing this vertical shift, add some bumps in the profile at the various navigation channels to eliminate the need for drawbridges. If you question the practicality of this, look at the Escambia Bay bridge east of Pensacola. This was a low level timber bridge with a draw span. It was replaced with a multi-span concrete bridge with a profile enabling a fixed span over the designated navigation channel. The new clearance, I don't know, but I would suspect 50 feet or thereabouts.
 

cassie225

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We here in Baton Rouge are hoping that if the train runs from Mobile to NO the next logical step is NO to Baton Rouge, it would increase our tourism and we here in BR always go to NO, a lot of people commute from here and then we always go there to party and that drive on I-10, gets vicious sometimes, they turned it down at first but we might have a chance now.When I lived in Lakeland Fla long ago we used to take the train to Orlando, just because we could.Just think school trips for kids on the train . Wow what a treat
 

NES28

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Yes, the Class 1s will fight having passenger trains, especially on strategic routes. Best bet is to build parallel high-speed routes. Obviously, this will only be feasible on the routes with the most potential; I estimate about 6500 miles in the U.S.
 
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