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Posts posted by skymiler

  1. You have to keep in mind that Monroe is ALREADY a total logjam pretty much every day and that was BEFORE they cut off the Utility Conductor job there a week or so back.  So for example if someone needs to run around their train or go through the Steen Crossover, both will require the Conductor to walk the full length of the train at least once.  Q469 was a good 12 hours late yesterday because they sat in Monroe for HOURS waiting to get out.  I believe our last line-of-road Trainmaster put it best... "Monroe?  What are you talking about, trains don't move in Monroe.  They just sit there and wave at each other."

    Very aware of how things work in Monroe. Worked there for several years coming out of Charlotte and Hamlet. Have also worked on the Florence Division in the past as a manager. Everything you mentioned above still doesn't justify the cost it would take to build a more efficient route to Atlanta.

    With PTC coming and the big bill that's following it you will see a lot of changes. A new yard in Marshville? No way, not any time in your career. With the intermodal terminal recently expanded in Charlotte, CSX would not invest that kind of capital 40 miles down the road.

  2. CSX's freight route to Atlanta right now is... more than a little silly.


    Charlotte -> Monroe.  Go past Monroe Yard to run around your train.  Go back the other direction to Greenwood, then Greenwood to Atlanta.

    Not really.....As I'm sure you know, CSX doesn't run that many trains a day from Charlotte to Atlanta via Monroe. The cost of buying land and placing rail to put a turnout in from the Charlotte Sub to the Monroe sub (southbound) for a couple of trains a day doesn't even come close to being justified.

  3. True enough, rail makes money, in particular intermodal, on the longer routes.  However, if you can ship thousands of containers between Charlotte and Charleston or Savannah, then the profit margins increase.....the intermodal becomes more competitive.  Charlotte is the logistical hub for NE South Carolina, western NC, and potentially, eastern Tennessee.  If more freight from Asia begins to use the Panama Canal, then the quickest  access to the Charlotte intermodal yard is Charleston or Savannah.  If it continues to flow through the West Coast, the Crescent Corridor via the NS Memphis Gateway is the route the Charlotte.

    Does Asian traffic using the newly widened Panama Canal coming to southern ports just to go back to the west coast make sense? Time wise, no. I think there will be a bump in traffic but most likely nothing like what people are predicting.

    The advantage to using the Panama Canal from Asia is to get the east coast containers to the east coast quicker. With the west coast ports at capacity this keeps the east coast traffic flowing better. I don't see the NS Gateway in Memphis being a player with this. Most likely, with the reduction of east coast goods coming into west coast ports, this frees up space for west coast goods there and eliminates the need for that traffic to use the Panama Canal.

    It still doesn't make much sense for containers out of the ports of Charleston or Savannah to come to Charlotte via rail. They will most likely be broken up in Charlotte and switched to different trains/routes once in Charlotte. I see most being done by truck from the ports into Charlotte and Atlanta, then placed on rail out of Charlotte and Atlanta. CSX has intermodal yards in both cities and this is their model.

  4. Here is the NCDOT project page for the CSX/NS grade separation, if it hasn't already been posted. It says construction will start in Fall 2013, but who knows.



    Norfolk Southern is investing heavily in intermodal. In addition to the new intermodal yard at CLT, the South Carolina Ports Authority is constructing an inland port at GSP on the ATL-DC mainline with a daily service to the Port of Charleston. The land has been sitting for 30 years, but NS made the push for it in January 2012. It may be short haul and low revenue, but low revenue is better than no revenue. Coal has been the breadwinner for NS, and shipments are way down and will continue to decrease. That said, I think they're trying to get ahead of CSX for intermodal shipments on the east coast by getting all this infrastructure in place before the completion of the Panama Canal expansion and Charleston harbor dredging to accommodate post-Panamax ships.

    The problem with this is there's no guarantee that the Panama Canal expansion will bring more traffic to east coast ports. CSX too is investing heavily in intermodal and has been doing so for the last several years. Look up the new state of the art intermodal facility built in NW Ohio. This was done to get around the congestion in Chicago. CSX has a program called the National Gateway. It's all centered around Intermodal traffic. Both railroads have suffered with domesti coal regulations.

  5. CSX moves most of the UPS rail shipments on East coast. NS is not a big player with UPS.

    Regarding intermodal moves via rail from airport, moves from Charlotte to Charleston and Savannah are considered short haul. This is not good revenue business for railroads. Most intermodal movements for rail need to travel 500+ miles to make sense. Most likely these short haul moves would be made by truck.

  6. I can't speak for the authority, but having spent lots of time in ATL, it can hardly be a bad thing to be a vast and very busy airport that is bright and cheery and that can be circumnavigated in mere minutes.


    I was at LAX, a few weeks ago, and it was third-worldish by comparison.

    Agreed. I travel through ATL a lot. To be so big, it's very easy to navigate and get from one end to another very quickly.

  7. No?


    I was told by uhhh... I think my MCT (Manager of Conductor Training) that they had built and/or overhauled this big new yard in Wilmington in anticipation of a bunch of new customer traffic, but it was sitting mostly unused because the traffic never materialized.  I distinctly remember him saying there's a Yardmaster's Tower in the yard, but it's never used and the Yardmaster just works out of the crew room because the yard is so empty.

    You are correct about the Yardmaster Tower. It's been there since the yard was built back in the 70's. Davis Yard is bigger than Pinoca, but a lot of the tracks there are out of service. There's still quite a bit of traffic that comes into the yard, so no it's not empty. It may appear that way because the yard use to support 5 main lines in and out of the area and now a lot of those tracks are not needed. Now it only has the one to Hamlet.

    Regarding the yardmasters use of the tower. They were moved out of the tower years ago because the trainmaster made it his office. Now the tower is really in bad shape and therefore not used anymore. CSX has gone away from using a lot of these towers now because of technology. With cameras everywhere there's really no need for them anymore. Hamlet's Yard B tower has been vacant for several years. That yard is definitely not empty.

  8. ahh, it all makes perfect sense now. Panama Canal widening plus, the emphasis on fast service to CLT from every major Southern port combined with (what appears to be) very limited intermodal capacity for CSX in Atlanta really does translate into heavy increases in intermodal traffic in Charlotte. The presence of two major intermodal hubs here is really going to kickstart manufacturing in the region.


    RE Commuter Rail: I suspect that commuter rail is not on CSX's radar. If it was they certainly would have approached CATS / the state for passenger rail funds to pay for the double tracking. Perhaps the NCDOT rail division still has the wherewithall to get CSX to align its new track such that station turnouts can be accomdated in the future.


    While there is a conneciton between CSX and NCRR / NS near Tryon street it does not allow for commuter trains from Monroe to get to Gateway station (they would need to reverse nearly a mile through the NS yards to the current Amtrak station and then head towards Gateway). From what I have seen of the grade seperation, building a new connection to Gateway from the CSX is highly unlikely. If commuter rail ever staarted on the route I suspect that the Charlotte terminal would need to be built behind the  Alpha Mill at the BLE. If you really get carried away I suspose you could build new tracks from the CSX along the BLE row, under 277 and build a terminal in the Levine town (beside the Hal Marshal annex). This could allow for commuters to walk to the north half of town or get the blue line at 9th street.

    CSX is not interested in running passenger service on its right of way. There's no money in it for the Class 1 RR's. Passenger service gets in the way of the revenue service (freight). The only reason Amtrack runs over these rails now is because of prior rights/agreements with the goverment.

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