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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Berkshire & Eastern and NS re-route on the B&A, any updates?


Date: 11/18/22 00:42
Berkshire & Eastern and NS re-route on the B&A, any updates?
Author: Soo715

Last May 31th, in response to a question, JPB provided a good summary of the impending changes with the transition of PAR to CSX ownership and the planned takeover of the ex-B&M between Mechanicville, NY and Ayer, MA by G&W (Berkshire & Eastern), which at the time was projected to happen "Octoberish."  https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?2,5482392,5482395#msg-5482395

Anyone have updates on where things are at?  Is there any date set yet for Berkshire & Eastern to initiate operations?

I understand the ex-D&H Albany main between Delanson and Voorheesville is being rehabbed, in order to provide a way for the NS intermodal trains between Ayer and Chicago to easily get to and from Selkirk and the "B&A." Any word on if this re-route is actually going to happen anytime soon? If so, what happens to the traffic at the intermodal ramp (http://nscorp.com/content/nscorp/en/shipping-options/intermodal/terminals-and-schedules/albany-ny-mechanicville.html) NS has operated at Mechanicsville, now that the intermodal trains that worked there will bypass it?  Maybe the traffic will be added to the 11R/16R to/from Binghamton and picked up/set-off by the intermodals there? Unless that is very well orchestrated it is hard to imagine not losing a day of transit time compared to the direct service now available.

Also, is it likely that the NS crew out of Binghamton will, once the re-route starts, hand off the eastbound to CSX at Selkirk? Or is doing so at Voorheesville (where the actual NS junction with the CSX mainline is located) more likely?  And same issue I guess for the westbound.

Also, what is the status of Mohawk Yard these days? I've heard various reports, from it being phased out to still thriving. I'm unclear whether Mohawk or Mechanicville is the main hand-off point for NS and PanAm/CSX/B&E at present. Or what it's future might be once B&E is up and rollig.

Maybe it is too early for answers to any of these questions and time will tell. But if anyone has any updates (or rumors or speculation) they would be welcome.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 11/18/22 09:58 by Soo715.



Date: 11/18/22 03:02
Re: Berkshire & Eastern and NS re-route on the B&A, any updates?
Author: JPB

Per the various Pan Am discussion forums I follow on-line, not much has happened visibily as of November 2022 with regard to Norfolk Southern / Pan Am Southern / B&E portion of the transaction.
- Re: NS beginning trackage rights over the CSX Boston line for auto/IM traffic to/from Ayer, MA, no work has begun rehabbing the Albany Main between Delanson and Voorheesville. As far as I know, no material (eg ties, ballast, CWR, turnouts)  have been staged in the area. And NS has not posted job openings for operating crews to run between Voorheesville and Ayer over CSX. And there has been no change in the handful of trains that NS operates along the ex-D&H route between Binghamton and Mechanicville NY. 
- Re: B&E, there have been no G&W web site job postings for operating the PAS network of lines given that CSX has not completed union negotiations to convert the Pan Am "Springfield Terminal" labor agreements to CSX agreements. This means Pan Am operating employees don't yet know if they should decide to work for G&W or CSX. My understanding is labor negotiation is the long pole in the tent right now. CSX struggles to fill operating crew job openings with CSX agreement-based crews for CSX terminals at W Springfield and Framingham, MA as well as for Springfield Terminal crews for E Deerfield, MA, Ayer, MA, and Portland ME.
- As far as I know, there have been no track rehab projects performed on Pan Am Southern between Westminster (end of MBTA upgraded/maintained track) and Mechanicville NY. However, any slow orders issued by the passage various track geometry equipment are promptly fixed.

Other stuff re: the potential NS IM/Auto trackage rights train over the B&A: 
- My unscientific eyeball observations at Elkhart of the passage of NS 264 IM train to Ayer (formerly 22K before the big NS re-numbering of its IM fleet) shows that the average Ayer-bound daily container counts are only 60-70 single stacked EMP/Hub/JBHU containers (but the 264 passing through Elkhart on 11/16/22 had no more than 25 single stacked containers presumably heading to Ayer!) suggesting to me that economies of double stacking east of Voorheesville aren't that major (yet).
- NS/PAS seemed to have lost the Davisville RI bound auto business via P&W at Gardner to CSX delivery to P&W at Worcester. NS/PAS auto business to Ayer via 16R manifest seems to average 20ish daily racks these days
- Net: the agreement with CSX allows for a single pair of daily NS trains no longer than 9,000 feet but with today's NS traffic level, these trains would be << than 5,000 feet.

CSX has been busy upgrading Pan Am Railways track (as distinct from Pan Am Southern track) and facilities:
- CSX employed RJ Corman to upgrade 15 miles of decrepit 10mph Worcester Main track that runs through the Wachusetts Reservoir (ie, drinking water) are to class 4: new and relay heavy rail replaced 100 year old stick rail; turouts were replaced, grade crossing track panels were replaced. and ballast is being cleaned/primped.
- Rigby yard tracks are getting a makeover with ties and stone. In particular room is being made to permit yard personnel to drive vehicles between the tracks to improve efficiencies
- CSX has taken over the Pan Am effort to upgrade the line between Waterville and Mattawamkeag ME with stone and ties (the track between Northern Maine Jct and Mattawamkeag is quite bad and has seen little revenue service in the past couple of years). The goal is to cease use of haulage rights over CP between Northern Maine Jct and Brownville Jct for handling of CSX-Irving lines interchange to Saint John and have CSX interchange directly with New Brunswick Southern at Mattawamkeag.

Net: while CSX is investing in the upgrade of its new properties in New England, there is no publicly visible progress in G&W/B&E taking over Pan Am Southern operations yet.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/18/22 03:11 by JPB.



Date: 11/18/22 05:33
Re: Berkshire & Eastern and NS re-route on the B&A, any updates?
Author: cjvrr

I heard the track re-hab work between Delanson and Vorheesville is to begin sometime in May of 2023.   

The change will have a significant effect on the SMS operation at the east end of this line.  Not sure how an interchange between SMS and NS will occur as I don't remember there being a siding where the industrial park wyes into the main.   I would anticipate something will need to be built for them to perform the interchange.



Date: 11/18/22 06:25
Re: Berkshire & Eastern and NS re-route on the B&A, any updates?
Author: JPB

cjvrr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> The change will have a significant effect on the
> SMS operation at the east end of this line.  Not
> sure how an interchange between SMS and NS will
> occur as I don't remember there being a siding
> where the industrial park wyes into the main. 
>  I would anticipate something will need to be
> built for them to perform the interchange.

Re: SMS interchange with NS, in the CSX-NS-PAS transaction fiilings with STB, NS converted SMS agreement from a lease of the Albany Main to a trackage rights agreement so as far as I know, SMS will continue to use the same siding at Delanson that is used today for interchange.



Date: 11/18/22 12:14
Re: Berkshire & Eastern and NS re-route on the B&A, any updates?
Author: Soo715

Thanks for the updates, JPB and all.

I wasn't really aware of the SMS dynamic, thanks also for that info. But as far as the lift at Mechanicville, anyone know what will happen with that traffic? Maybe there isn't all that much but as far as I know it is still a functional facility.



Date: 11/18/22 13:51
Re: Berkshire & Eastern and NS re-route on the B&A, any updates?
Author: halfmoonharold

In my experience watching the NS 22K/264, the Ayer traffic can vary quite a bit. Also, sometimes they get creative and run a train that is all Taylors and Ayers, then the next one is all Mechanicvilles.  As commented above, there is quite a bit of traffic to Mechanicville. It will be interesting to see what happens with that. 



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