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Eastern Railroad Discussion > G&U Route Expansion Update 4/12/20


Date: 04/13/20 06:36
G&U Route Expansion Update 4/12/20
Author: JPB

Update of Grafton and Upton route expansion from Hopedale to Milford, MA for April 12, 2020:Upper left corner: taken looking west toward Hopedale St bridge and Hopedale Yard;
Upper right corner: looks in the opposite direction toward the Green St grade crossing that is about a half mile away around the bend (track does not yet reach Green St);
The welded rail being installed is comprised of 1950's era 115lb relay rail from Bethlehem Steel's Steelton and Lackawanna plants. I'm guessing rail might have come from MBTA commuter rail lines. What's also interesting is that the ties being installed by G&U appear to be fair quality ties formerly used by MBTA transit lines. The ties had rail clip tie plates installed years ago (and rusted quite nicely) upon which G&U placed the CWR. Note that the ties are of uneven length and drill holes are visible where selected ties had mounts for 3rd rail as used in the Red, Orange, and Blue lines. Obviously this newly installed track has yet to have new stone dropped, regulated, and tamped.Lower left corner: Stone and ties are being staged along the future RoW at Milford east of Vernon St that G&U will use to connect to the moribund CSX branch line at Depot St.Lower right corner: not relevant to the track expansion but G&U must have recently acquired an 89 foot flat car (seen here at Hopedale) from the Ringling Bros estate (?) #84715 that was apparently built by Bethlehem Steel in 1964 as an open Tri-level autorack (in the days before the freight car tagging scourge). RBBX acquired the car in 1996 and cut it down to a single level car to haul their equipment trailers. Wonder what plans the G&U has for this car - I'm guessing MoW?




Date: 04/13/20 07:04
Re: G&U Route Expansion Update 4/12/20
Author: bluesboyst

Nice to see a line come back to life...



Date: 04/13/20 07:18
Re: G&U Route Expansion Update 4/12/20
Author: Lackawanna484

They had a pretty good propane business, didn't they? Any other revenue sources?

Posted from Android



Date: 04/13/20 07:39
Re: G&U Route Expansion Update 4/12/20
Author: JPB

Here’s roughly what the G&U customer set looks like:
1. Good sized busy LPG transload at N Grafton
2. Washington Mills abrasives (?) at N Grafton - a few cars per month
3. Wood pellet transload at W Upton
4. Transload of various hazardous and non-hazardous liquids at W Upton
5. Sheetrock transload at Hopedale
6. Fly ash transload at Hopedale
7. Occasional handling of outbound dirty dirt containers at Hopedale.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 04/13/20 08:51
Re: G&U Route Expansion Update 4/12/20
Author: nm2320

Since ROW ends at Central Street in Milford, is G&U planning to then operate south towards Forge Park? 



Date: 04/13/20 08:54
Re: G&U Route Expansion Update 4/12/20
Author: Lackawanna484

That's a nice mix of business, thanks for the detail



Date: 04/13/20 09:19
Re: G&U Route Expansion Update 4/12/20
Author: FloridaTrainGuy

nm2320 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Since ROW ends at Central Street in Milford, is
> G&U planning to then operate south towards Forge
> Park?

Yes

Now CSX 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/13/20 09:20 by FloridaTrainGuy.



Date: 04/13/20 09:30
Re: G&U Route Expansion Update 4/12/20
Author: MEKoch

Was this former right-of-way, which was unused, but not abandoned?



Date: 04/13/20 14:57
Re: G&U Route Expansion Update 4/12/20
Author: FloridaTrainGuy

MEKoch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Was this former right-of-way, which was unused,
> but not abandoned?

I do not believe it was officially abandoned but the tracks were removed years ago and the G&U was pretty much dead and barely survived.  This resurrection is pretty amazing especially in my former home state where NIMBYS fight anything especially when it's related to industry and railroads.  Check the timeline maps in Google Earth to see the remarkable rebirth.

The most interesting major change will be a new SW wye at the east end to connect the G&U to the MBTA Franklin line which is now barely served by CSX.



Date: 04/13/20 22:24
Re: G&U Route Expansion Update 4/12/20
Author: pennsy3750

FloridaTrainGuy Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I do not believe it was officially abandoned but
> the tracks were removed years ago
With the exception of a few grade crossings, the track was still in place when the G&U's current owner came into the picture in 2008.  The station and enginehouse in Hopedale survived up to that time too.

> The most interesting major change will be a new SW
> wye at the east end to connect the G&U to the MBTA
Unless you know something I don't, there isn't enough real estate there to build a southwest wye with an acceptable curve radius.



Date: 04/13/20 23:57
Re: G&U Route Expansion Update 4/12/20
Author: pdt

OK...questions....

How many miles of track being brought back to life.?  

Original owner of the track/ history of the line

Reason this is being done?

Thank you.



Date: 04/14/20 02:06
Re: G&U Route Expansion Update 4/12/20
Author: JPB

pdt Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> OK...questions....
>
> How many miles of track being brought back to
> life.?  
>
> Original owner of the track/ history of the line
>
> Reason this is being done?
>
> Thank you.

About 1.5 miles of abandoned G&U track are being re-laid between the rte 16 grade crossing at Hopedale to a connection with a CSX branch at Milford. This CSX branch runs about 7 miles SSE from Milford to Forge Park where the track becomes MBTA's busy Franklin commuter rail line (it's currently being double-tracked). The only 2 actively served customers on the CSX Milford branch that I know of are within a mile of the MBTA tracks at Forge Park: Blue Linx building supplies and Garelick Farms dairy supplier. There are no other active customers north of Forge Park on the branch, AFAIK. CSX serves these two customers via a combination of locals out of Framingham and Walpole MA. Perhaps it's G&U's intent to serve these two captive rail customers.

However more intriguing speculation which I heard from a knowledgeable person is that once G&U connects to MBTA track at Forge Park, G&U wants to get to access rail shippers in SE Mass via MBTA or MassDOT owned track to Walpole, Mansfield, MIddleboro, the Cape, New Bedford, etc. (see attached ownership map), presumably with CSX agreement assuming it wants to exit this branch line network.

Note: that G&U is in heated discussion with Hopedale citizenry wrt to building a new 10 track transload yard just north of the current Draper property. G&U is trying to buy 135 acres of undeveloped land from an owner via eminent domain and the citizens of this bucolic community are anxious: https://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20190812/grafton-amp-upton-railroad-releases-additional-plans-for-proposed-land-take-in-hopedale

Here's a link to an overview history of G&U as posted on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grafton_and_Upton_Railroad
And here's a link to an excellent much more detailed, illustrated G&U history up to contemporary times: http://www.hope1842.com/gumenu.html




Date: 04/14/20 16:22
Re: G&U Route Expansion Update 4/12/20
Author: ST214

Unless the attitude at CSX has changed since I moved in 2016 (I doubt it has), CSX wants to divest of anything east and south of Framingham. East is done, if the G&U connects to the rest of the CSX branches down that way via Milford, they can take over all of it. That was, and mostlikely still is, the plan at G&U. 

JPB Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> pdt Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > OK...questions....
> >
> > How many miles of track being brought back to
> > life.?  
> >
> > Original owner of the track/ history of the
> line
> >
> > Reason this is being done?
> >
> > Thank you.
>
> About 1.5 miles of abandoned G&U track are being
> re-laid between the rte 16 grade crossing at
> Hopedale to a connection with a CSX branch at
> Milford. This CSX branch runs about 7 miles SSE
> from Milford to Forge Park where the track becomes
> MBTA's busy Franklin commuter rail line (it's
> currently being double-tracked). The only 2
> actively served customers on the CSX Milford
> branch that I know of are within a mile of the
> MBTA tracks at Forge Park: Blue Linx building
> supplies and Garelick Farms dairy supplier. There
> are no other active customers north of Forge Park
> on the branch, AFAIK. CSX serves these two
> customers via a combination of locals out of
> Framingham and Walpole MA. Perhaps it's G&U's
> intent to serve these two captive rail customers.
>
> However more intriguing speculation which I heard
> from a knowledgeable person is that once G&U
> connects to MBTA track at Forge Park, G&U wants to
> get to access rail shippers in SE Mass via MBTA or
> MassDOT owned track to Walpole, Mansfield,
> MIddleboro, the Cape, New Bedford, etc. (see
> attached ownership map), presumably with CSX
> agreement assuming it wants to exit this branch
> line network.
>
> Note: that G&U is in heated discussion with
> Hopedale citizenry wrt to building a new 10 track
> transload yard just north of the current Draper
> property. G&U is trying to buy 135 acres of
> undeveloped land from an owner via eminent domain
> and the citizens of this bucolic community are
> anxious: https://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20
> 190812/grafton-amp-upton-railroad-releases-additio
> nal-plans-for-proposed-land-take-in-hopedale
>
> Here's a link to an overview history of G&U as
> posted on
> Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grafton_
> and_Upton_Railroad
> And here's a link to an excellent much more
> detailed, illustrated G&U history up to
> contemporary
> times: http://www.hope1842.com/gumenu.html



Date: 04/14/20 19:25
Re: G&U Route Expansion Update 4/12/20
Author: TrackGuy

Yes, the plan is to connect to the Franklin Branch with a SW-erly connection so no back up move would be required.

TrackGuy



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