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Eastern Railroad Discussion > CSX Cincinnati-Knoxville-Atlanta Line


Date: 12/06/17 06:45
CSX Cincinnati-Knoxville-Atlanta Line
Author: Northern

EHH does not believe in keeping lines for defensive purposes as he stated to trains.com last week. To that end, looking at a map of CSX, would they consider selling outright the former L&N Atlanta to Cincinnati line via Knoxville to possibly include a former B&O line north of the Ohio River as far a Toledo, Columbus or Detroit to make it more of a through route? Who would be interested in buying it if it were offered for sale?



Date: 12/06/17 06:56
Re: CSX Cincinnati-Knoxville-Atlanta Line
Author: NSTopHat

IF he was going sell the K&A and the CC, he may as well sell the EK and CV subs as well. If he sells the K&A and the CC, but keeps the EK & CV subs, he better keep the Clinchfield and the C&O Big Sandy subs, otherwise he will have an isolated island in the coalfields, with no exit points, except for interchange with NS at St. Paul, VA, Big Stone Gap, VA and whomever buys the CC and the Big Sandy Subs.

My Guess is that he would sell to either NS or work a deal with WATCO or the like. CP, CN, BNSF, and UP would have to gain trackage rights access through Cincy and/or Atlanta. A spin-off regional with a name like "Oneida & Western" or "L&N" nice to see happen....

Russ



Date: 12/06/17 09:05
Re: CSX Cincinnati-Knoxville-Atlanta Line
Author: doc1057

Rumors are floating about that CSX does not plan to renew the lease of the W&A when it expires at the end of 2019. North-south through freight will be routed via Birmingham rather than Atlanta. If this actually happens, there will no longer be a Cincinnati-Knoxville-Atlanta main line, since the Cartersvile-Atlanta segment is over the W&A. With the decline of coal, the K&A and CC are virtually bereft of through traffic, and there isn't a huge amount of online business. The CRR is a better engineered route and does have several major online customers, so maybe it will be a keeper, though nothing is guaranteed. The W&A talk could just be a negotiating ploy to keep Georgia from driving a hard bargain. We'll see in the long run.



Date: 12/06/17 09:41
Re: CSX Cincinnati-Knoxville-Atlanta Line
Author: PRR_4859

I thought the W&A lease was renewed. If it is not, then the Chattanooga Sub over Cowan Mountain to the Nissan Smyrna plant will likely be abandoned. This would help NS as it would enable them to take over trackage from Chattanooga to Stevenson, AL, allowing them to control their own route. I just wonder how the plant at Stilesboro will be served if the W&A lease is not renewed.



Date: 12/06/17 10:13
Re: CSX Cincinnati-Knoxville-Atlanta Line
Author: CGTower

The B&O from Cincy north is a vital corridor for CSX. Not only does it serve the midwest auto markets, its also a pretty big producer of on line revenue. Traffic off the B&O line can go three ways at Cincy, so even if the CC were lost, it still has the C&O to the east and the L&N to Louisville.

I'd say if there will be line sale of lines north of the Ohio River in Ohio, the Toledo Branch from Ridgeway to Toledo would be on the block versus the B&O.

CG Tower


Northern Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> EHH does not believe in keeping lines for
> defensive purposes as he stated to trains.com last
> week. To that end, looking at a map of CSX, would
> they consider selling outright the former L&N
> Atlanta to Cincinnati line via Knoxville to
> possibly include a former B&O line north of the
> Ohio River as far a Toledo, Columbus or Detroit to
> make it more of a through route? Who would be
> interested in buying it if it were offered for
> sale?



Date: 12/06/17 10:38
Re: CSX Cincinnati-Knoxville-Atlanta Line
Author: darkcloud

PRR_4859 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I thought the W&A lease was renewed. If it is
> not, then the Chattanooga Sub over Cowan Mountain
> to the Nissan Smyrna plant will likely be
> abandoned.


LOL, no. There is plenty of local traffic in Chattanooga and north to Nashville, there is always the possibility of CSX negotiating trackage rights on the W&A if they pass on renewal, one of the shortlines could lease or buy it, the STB won't let it be abandoned, and if nothing else the state of Tennessee will buy it to preserve for a future passenger corridor to Atlanta. (Georgia has already done some of the Atlanta-Chattanooga HSR studies required by the Fed funding process.)

Edited to attempt to clarify, probably fruitlessly. Because this is TO, where the most logical outcomes are ignored, and the least likely jumped on and run with.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/06/17 12:28 by darkcloud.



Date: 12/06/17 11:27
Re: CSX Cincinnati-Knoxville-Atlanta Line
Author: Northern

CGTower Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The B&O from Cincy north is a vital corridor for
> CSX. Not only does it serve the midwest auto
> markets, its also a pretty big producer of on line
> revenue. Traffic off the B&O line can go three
> ways at Cincy, so even if the CC were lost, it
> still has the C&O to the east and the L&N to
> Louisville.
>
> I'd say if there will be line sale of lines north
> of the Ohio River in Ohio, the Toledo Branch from
> Ridgeway to Toledo would be on the block versus
> the B&O.
>
> CG Tower
If the K&A were spun off, the I&O could be a reasonable buyer as they have the old DT&I to Detroit. Too bad the PRR south of Springfield is abandoned as that could have formed a through route between the I&O and the K&A.



Date: 12/06/17 11:48
Re: CSX Cincinnati-Knoxville-Atlanta Line
Author: CGTower

No need for the PRR. The I&O gets to Cincy as is using the former Ohio Division. If anything CSX should consider using the former DT&I north to Detroit to avoid Toledo.

But agsin, no need at this point...

CG Tower



Date: 12/06/17 11:48
Re: CSX Cincinnati-Knoxville-Atlanta Line
Author: doc1057

darkcloud Wrote:
> LOL, no. There is plenty of local traffic, there
> is always the possibility of CSX negotiating
> trackage rights on the W&A if they pass on
> renewal, one of the shortlines could lease or buy
> it, the STB won't let it be abandoned, and if
> nothing else the state will buy it to preserve for
> a future passenger corridor to Atlanta. (Georgia
> has already done some of the Atlanta-Chattanooga
> HSR studies required by the Fed funding process.)

The state of Georgia already owns the W&A. There has been public sector interest in using it for commuter (or possibly, intercity) passenger service around Atlanta, which CSX has declined as the lessee. The terms of a new lease might include the requirement that passenger service be allowed, such as is the case in NC with the state owned NCRR. The threat to not renew the lease could be a logical negotiating approach to get such terms removed. Or, CSX might be looking at slimming the network.



Date: 12/06/17 11:54
Re: CSX Cincinnati-Knoxville-Atlanta Line
Author: PRR_4859

The W&A would never be abandoned, but what I was referring to as an abandonment candidate was North of Chattanooga. CSXT owns that line. Not sure how much local business is there.



Date: 12/06/17 12:02
Re: CSX Cincinnati-Knoxville-Atlanta Line
Author: ctillnc

The State of Georgia solicted sealed bids for a new lease of the W&A starting 1/1/2020. CSX offered 50 years at $12 million per year escalating at 2.5% compounded annually plus 50% of the derivative real estate revenue. The Georgia General Assembly passed a resolution authorizing the State Properties Commission to finalize the deal with CSX. The Governor signed it on May 2, 2017. Apparently the new lease has not been signed yet. One issue has been passenger train rights on the W&A. As to whether EHH wants to renege, I can't say. He might be legally obligated to follow through on the offer... depends on the boilerplate.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/06/17 12:03 by ctillnc.



Date: 12/06/17 12:41
Re: CSX Cincinnati-Knoxville-Atlanta Line
Author: doc1057

PRR_4859 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I just wonder how the plant at Stilesboro
> will be served if the W&A lease is not renewed.

Plant Bowen is on the Cartersville Sub, which is a former SAL branch. Most of the plant's coal has historically been sourced in eastern KY and came down the K&A. Movement at Cartersville from the Etowah Sub (K&A) to the Cartersvlle Sub is via a short length of the W&A, though the Etowah and Cartersville Subs intersect the W&A directly across from each other at Junta. The SAL main at Cedartown is severed now, but the Cartersville Sub has a physical connection with the NS Atlanta-Chattanooga mainline near Rockmart, so that might be a second option. The units at Plant Bowen date from the early-mid 1970s, so they are getting a bit long in the tooth. With the current move away from coal, one has to wonder how much longer they will remain active.



Date: 12/06/17 12:45
Re: CSX Cincinnati-Knoxville-Atlanta Line
Author: doc1057

ctillnc Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> As to whether EHH wants to renege

There is a track record being established. If I were a betting man...



Date: 12/06/17 12:46
Re: CSX Cincinnati-Knoxville-Atlanta Line
Author: darkcloud

Stilesboro/Bowen was recently upgraded with some pretty expensive pollution controls. Absent draconian EPA or congressional action after 2020, it will be around for a long time. Coal for it and others has shifted a lot from E. KY area sources to W. KY/IN/IL.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/06/17 12:48 by darkcloud.



Date: 12/06/17 12:58
Re: CSX Cincinnati-Knoxville-Atlanta Line
Author: doc1057

darkcloud Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Stilesboro/Bowen was recently upgraded with some
> pretty expensive pollution controls. Absent
> draconian EPA or congressional action after 2020,
> it will be around for a long time. Coal for it
> and others has shifted a lot from E. KY area
> sources to W. KY/IN/IL.


Let's hope that's the case! IL Basin coal has quite a bit more sulfur than App Coal, so burning it and staying in compliance requires flue gas desulfurization. In the past, the cost of this made it unattractive. However, the present day lower cost of IL Basin coal offsets the cost of the scrubbing equipment to a large degree, and the BTU content is quite good, especially compared with PRB coal.



Date: 12/06/17 20:30
Re: CSX Cincinnati-Knoxville-Atlanta Line
Author: JLinDE

This may be an over simplification, but what I think is in the EHH mind CSX is a big triangular of main core routes, with high capacity so circuity may not matter, at least within CSX internal cost models. This was even suggested by CX just before EHH got to take over. They would be Chicago-Selkirk; Selkirk to Jacksonville, and Selkirk to Jacksonville. His de-emphasis of the ex-B&O route via Cumberland drives my opinion; because it is an excellent route in good shape and with recent vast expensive improvements, but he is taking traffic away from it over very circuitous routes. Chicago-Selkirk can handle a lot of big trains. Selkirk to Jax just so-so with weak points en-route. Chicago to Jax is the problem. It is almost all single track, and south of Nashville to Jax I cannot see how one of those routes could handle remaining traffic much less any growth, which the Kingpin rarely talks about. On his plate, I think all other through routes will fight for their existence as CSX, and if a Regional Railroad can find business growth, it will go to them.

NS has a better route structure in the Southeast except for the Florida to NE market, but I think they could compete with double stack intermodal there because CSX per EHH will not clear Balto tunnels, even tho NS is at a 350 mile disadvantage. In some areas they could still beat CSX with EHH's philosophy that intermodal is less important and and combining services.



Date: 12/10/17 21:31
Re: CSX Cincinnati-Knoxville-Atlanta Line
Author: ts1457

ctillnc Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The State of Georgia solicted sealed bids for a
> new lease of the W&A starting 1/1/2020....

I'm getting old. I remember the last go round fifty years ago when Southern Railway's Brosnan went after the W&A lease. If CSX were to walk away, I wonder if NS would have any use for the W&A? Of course, Georgia could use its W&A for the Chattanooga-Atlanta HSR (with a lot of curve straightening). However if the old Nashville & Chattanooga became available for passenger along with the W&A that would be something. Atlanta-Chattanooga HSR only makes sense if it is part of an Atlanta-Nashville route.



Date: 12/11/17 08:24
Re: CSX Cincinnati-Knoxville-Atlanta Line
Author: ctillnc

I doubt HSR is on anyone's mind... just commuter service from Cartersville south. NS Chattanooga-Atlanta is quite busy, but committing to 50 years at $12M+ per annum is questionable... for that kind of money they could make incremental improvements as needed.



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