CSX begins operating New England regional Pan Am Railways

CSX begins operating New England regional Pan Am Railways

By Bill Stephens

| June 1, 2022

 

No start date yet set for G&W operation of Pan Am Southern joint venture

 

PanAm_Fs_Hartley

Pan Am Railways’ four-car business train, led by two FP9s, passes Orange, Mass., on Oct. 8, 2020. The New England regional officially became part of CSX Transportation on June 1.
Scott A. Hartley

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Pan Am Railways is now a fallen flag.

The New England regional officially became part of CSX Transportation on Wednesday, six weeks after the Surface Transportation Board approved the acquisition.

“We are excited to welcome Pan Am’s experienced railroaders into the CSX family and look forward to the improvements we will make together to this important rail network in New England, bringing benefits to all users of rail transportation in the Northeast region,” CEO Jim Foote said in a statement. “This acquisition demonstrates CSX’s growth strategy through efficient and reliable freight service and will provide sustainable and competitive transportation solutions to New England and beyond.”

CSX plans to spend more than $100 million over the next three years to improve Pan Am’s main lines and yards.

The deal adds Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and, via haulage rights, Saint John, New Brunswick, to the CSX network while expanding its reach in New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

CSX also steps into Pan Am Railways’ shoes in the Pan Am Southern, the joint venture with Norfolk Southern that includes Pan Am trackage west of Ayer, Mass., including trackage rights routes along the Connecticut River in Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

No date has been set yet for Genesee & Wyoming’s Berkshire & Eastern to begin operating the Pan Am Southern, according to a G&W spokesman. As part of an agreement between CSX and NS, the Berkshire & Eastern will be the designated neutral operator of the Pan Am Southern. For now, Pan Am Southern continues to be operated by Pan Am Railways subsidiary Springfield Terminal. Berkshire & Eastern still must reach agreements with rail labor before it can take over as neutral operator.

NS also will shift its daily Chicago-Ayer intermodal trains to a faster and fully cleared route over new CSX trackage rights from the Albany, N.Y., area to Worcester, Mass., and then to Ayer via a combination of Providence & Worcester, Pan Am Railways, and Pan Am Southern trackage. The trains currently run via the Pan Am Southern route, the former Boston & Maine via Hoosac Tunnel.

But before NS can use its new trackage rights, it must first build a new connection track linking its Voorheesville Running Track with CSX’s Selkirk Subdivision at Voorheesville, N.Y., where the Delaware & Hudson and New York Central once crossed at grade. Several clearance projects also must be completed north of Worcester. The projects are not expected to be completed until the fourth quarter at the earliest.

Pan Am, a privately held company owned by Tim Mellon and other investors, went on the market in 2020. CSX’s bid beat two other suitors who were interested in acquiring the largest regional railroad in North America.

Including haulage rights, Pan Am stretches 1,700 miles from the Albany, N.Y., area to Maine. It includes the former Maine Central, Boston & Maine, Portland Terminal, and Springfield Terminal railroads. Pan Am connects with four Class I railroads — CSX, Norfolk Southern, Canadian National, and Canadian Pacific — and 14 short lines.

CSX connects with Pan Am at Rotterdam Junction, N.Y., on its former New York Central Water Level Route, and outside of Worcester, Mass., via its former Boston & Albany main line, which is far and away the busiest freight route in New England.

Pan Am entered the rail business in 1981 when the company, then known as Guilford Transportation Industries, purchased the Maine Central for $15 million. Two years later, Guilford purchased the bankrupt Boston & Maine for $24.5 million. Guilford acquired the Delaware & Hudson from Norfolk & Western for $500,000 in 1984, but cast it off into bankruptcy in 1988.

Guilford Rail System was rebranded as Pan Am in 2006. Despite the long-term decline of Maine’s paper and forest product industries, as well as manufacturing across New England, Pan Am and Guilford managed to turn a profit every year.

Terms of the CSX-Pan Am deal were not disclosed, although people familiar with the matter said the purchase price was approximately $700 million.

Posted 11/17/2022

Voters in two cities approve MBTA South Coast Rail service

Map of rail lines to Fall River and New Bedford, Mass.

The MBTA’s South Coast Rail extension. Massachusetts DOT

BOSTON — Voters in the communities of New Bedford and Fall River, Mass., have voted to join the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, clearing the way for operation of South Coast Rail commuter service, which is expected to begin in 2023.

Boston.com reports those two communities and Taunton, Mass., are the only major cities within 50 miles of Boston that do not currently have commuter rail access to the city. Work on the South Coast Rail project, which extends the existing Middleborough/Lakeville Line, began in 2019, but state law requires any city or two to receive voter approval by Jan. 1 of the year service is set to begin. In New Bedford, 80.43% of voters were in favor; in Fall River, the figure was 78%.

Also in Massachusetts, voters narrowly passed Question 1, the so-called “millionaires tax” ballot initiative to increase funding for transportation and education. The Boston Globe reports the result was not called until Wednesday afternoon, with 52% in favor. It will see a 4% increase in state income tax for those earning $1 million or more per year on top of the current state income tax rate of 5%. The increase is estimated to affect about 20,000 people; the state estimates it will raise an additional $1.2 billion annually.

Former Guilford and Pan Am president Dave Fink dies at 86

Former Guilford and Pan Am president Dave Fink dies at 86

By

| October 14, 2022

David A. Fink

David “Dave” A. Fink, who shaped New England railroading as president of Guilford Transportation Industries, died on Oct. 11 after a period of declining health. 

Fink, 86, began his railroad career as a clerk for the Pennsylvania Railroad and later worked for Penn Central. The fourth-generation railroader teamed up with Timothy Mellon to buy the Maine Central in 1981 and the Boston & Maine in 1983 under the Guilford Transportation banner. Guilford acquired the Delaware & Hudson in 1984, but cast it off into bankruptcy in 1988.

Guilford Rail System was rebranded as Pan Am in 2006. Despite the long-term decline of Maine’s paper and forest product industries, as well as manufacturing across New England, Guilford and Pan Am managed to turn a profit every year. Pan Am was acquired by CSX Transportation this year.

A Philadelphia native, Fink attended the University of Pennsylvania and served in the Marines and in the U.S. Army in France.

Fink co-founded Perma Treat Corp., a railroad tie company based in Connecticut, and served as president of Pan American World Airways, Boston and Maine Airways, and Pan Am Systems.

Fink is survived by his wife of 63 years, Alecia “Ditty” (Carroll) Fink; a son, former Pan Am President David Fink and his wife Linda of North Hampton, N.H.; a daughter, Susan Kingman and her husband Philip of Concord, Mass., and grandchildren Hillary Fink, Andrew Fink, Jackson Kingman and Catherine Kingman.

A memorial service is scheduled for Oct. 21 in Milford, N.H.

Buses to replace trains on Hartford Line for two months

Buses to replace trains on Hartford Line for two months

By train.com

| June 29, 2022

 

Infrastructure projects in Hartford, Windsor lead to changes beginning July 18

 

CTrail_Wallingford_Lassen

A CTrail Hartford Line train passes the former Wallingford, Conn., station in August 2019. Hartford Line trains will be replaced by buses for almost two months beginning July 18. (Trains: David Lassen)

NEWINGTON, Conn. — Most Hartford Line service by CTrail and Amtrak will be replaced by buses for almost two months beginning July 18 to allow the Connecticut Department of Transportation to complete infrastructure projects in Hartford and Windsor, Conn.

At Hartford Union Station, the platform canopy will be replaced, with new roofing and lighting over the passenger platforms, as well as gutter replacement to improve drainage and prevent flooding. A slope stabilization project in Windsor will include track work and maintenance of the Hartford Line communiation and signal system.

As a result, bus service will replace most trains from July 18 through Sept. 11. A detailed bus schedule will be posted by Friday, July 1; bus departures may be earlier than the usual train departure times. Train fares will be in effect for the bus service, which will stop at all Hartford Line stations.

A press release from the Connecticut DOT says the work cannot be done while the rail line is active, and that the service changes will allow the projects to be completed as quickly as possible. More information will be available at websites for the Hartford Line and Amtrak.

 

MBTA restores service on two subway lines

By | June 27, 2022

 

Green, Orange lines had been closed because of structural concerns over parking garage

 

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority logoBOSTON — The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority restored service on two subway lines Sunday evening, ending a shutdown over structural concerns about a downtown Boston parking garage above the subway tunnels.

The agency said in a statement the move to restore full service on the Green and Orange lines followed “a comprehensive inspection of the infrastructure by internal and third-party engineers and safety experts, an intensive assessment of the repair work performed, and subsequent testing of trains in the tunnels,” and that the developer behind work on the Government Center Garage “has installed the necessary supports to uphold the structure.”

The MBTA said structural engineers will continue to monitor the location as trains operate.

Segments of both lines were shut down suddenly on Thursday after the MBTA said support columns for the garage, which pass through the MBTA tunnels, were “severely deteriorated, creating an unsafe environment in the tunnels.” [see “MBTA halts service …,” Trains News Wire, June 24, 2022]. The agency blamed the developer involved in demolition of the garage for the problem, while that company said the column was “compromised from years of water damage” and the problem was unrelated to the demolition.

Streets near the garage that had been closed have also been reopened.

Work on the same parking garage led to a suspension of service on the two lines in March and April, after part of the structure collapsed, killing a worker [see “Service disrupted on two MBTA transit lines,” News Wire, March 28, 2022].

 

MBTA halts service on two subway lines over structural concerns

By

| June 24, 2022

 

‘Severely deteriorated’ column supporting parking garage disrupts Orange, Green lines

 

Diagram showing closed subway stations in downtown Boston

Portions of the MBTA’s Green and Orange lines have been shut down because of structural concerns about a parking garage above the rail tunnels. (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority)

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has suspended some service on its Orange and Green Line subway lines in downtown Boston after the discovery of what the agency termed “a structural issue” with a parking garage being demolished.

The MBTA said in a Thursday press release that the company demolishing the Government Center Parking Garage had advised the agency that garage support columns that pass through MBTA tunnels near the Haymarket station are “severely deteriorated, creating an unsafe environment in the tunnel.” MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said the issue is a result of the construction work “and the MBTA will seek to hold HYM Construction accountable for all costs associated with this event. … as a result of this private party’s project, we must divert trains until the tunnels can be inspected and cleared by independent experts.”

Service will not resume until structural engineers conduct examinations and any necessary repairs are completed. In the interim, bus bridges will operate on the Green Line between the Lechmere and Government Center stations; the Haymarket station  is closed and will not be served by buses. Orange Line service is suspended between Bay Back and North Station. More information on closures and options is available here.

WCVB-TV reports that HYM Investment Group, which is part of the Government Center garage ownership, had earlier contended that the problem was not related to the garage demolition, saying that a column near the rail lines “was identified as compromised from years of water damage.”

The city of Boston said it had closed some streets in the area as a precautionary measure while the column underwent further analysis.

MBTA service in the same area was suspended earlier this year after a partial collapse of the Government Center garage during demolition, an accident which killed a construction worker [see “Service disrupted on two MBTA transit lines,” Trains News Wire, March 28, 2022].

MBTA pulls newest cars from service over battery issue

By

| June 22, 2022

 

Troubled agency also deals with report of runaway incident, plans for legislative hearing

 

Rapid transit trainset in factory

The pilot car in CRRC’s order for the MBTA Red Line is shown at the CRRC MA factory in September 2019. New Red and Orange Line cars have been pulled from service because of a battery issue, the third time they have been sidelined in about year . (CRRC MA, via Twitter)

BOSTON — In the latest setback for its newest rapid-transit equipment, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has pulled its new Orange and Red Line cars from service after what officials called a “battery failure” on one of the cars.

Meanwhile, the agency — hit last week by a series of directives from the Federal Transit Administration to address safety issues — is also dealing with reports of a recent runaway-equipment incident, and is facing an oversight hearing by state legislators.

WCVB-TV reports the incident occurred on an out-of-service train at the MBTA’s Wellington Yard early Monday morning, with an agency spokesman saying the cars will remain out of service “while vehicle engineers and technicians work to determine the root cause of the failure and implement whatever corrective actions may be necessary.”

It is the latest issue for the cars built in Springfield, Mass., by a subsidiary of Chinese manufacturer CRRC. In May, the cars were removed from service after a braking issue led to the discovery of improperly installed bolts on a number of cars [see “More bolt issues found …,” Trains News Wire, May 27, 2022]. Last year, the cars were sidelined after a derailment partially blamed on problems with the cars’ trucks [see “MBTA says issues with wheelsets led to Orange Line derailment,” News Wire, June 7 2021].

Also on Monday, NBC Boston reported it had obtained video showing four cars of a Red Line train rolling through a station in Braintree, Mass., with no operator or passengers on board. In the May 30 incident, the last four cars detached from a train heading to the yard from the Braintree station, rolling back through the station before eventually stopping.

In one of a series of safety directives issued last week, the Federal Transit Administration ordered the MBTA to change its procedures for moving defective equipment, citing five runaway incidents in yards or maintenance facilities [see “Federal directives order MBTA to address safety issues,” News Wire, June 15, 2022].

Also, the Boston Globe reports the long list of MBTA issues have led Massachusetts Senate President Karen E. Spilka and House Speaker Ronald Mariano to announce the legislature’s transportation committee will hold a hearing on the agency’s problems.

“Given the FTA’s interim findings and alarming directives, there is an increased need to better understand the agency’s shortcomings and help restore public confidence,” the legislators said in a statement.

A date for the hearing has not been set.

CSX releases Environmental, Social, and Governance report

CSX releases Environmental, Social, and Governance report

By trains .com

| July 12, 2022

 

Document addresses railroad efforts on sustainability, inclusiveness

 

CSX logoJACKSONVILLE, Fla. — CSX Transportation has released its 2021 Environmental, Social, and Governance Report, outlining its efforts to workforce, sustainability, social, and governance issues as well as its economic performance.

The report documents the railroad’s progress against its 2030 environmental goals, efforts to build an inclusive workforce, and address its social and governance priorities.

“By continuing to invest in our people and communities, innovating to introduce new environmental solutions, and expanding our network capacity and service offerings,” CSX CEO Jim Foote said in a press release, “we have positioned CSX to accelerate highway-to-rail freight conversion while adding to a solid operating foundation that will support CSX’s future growth and our ability to create lasting value for our stakeholders.”

The report is available here. It has been prepared in accordance with sustainability frameworks including Global Reporting Initiative standards; the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board; and the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.

U.S. rail traffic remains below 2021 figures

U.S. rail traffic remains below 2021 figures

Byt rains.com | July 14, 2022

 

Weekly stats include 3.1% decline; figures for year to date down 3.5%.

(Association of American Railroads)

WASHINGTON — Weekly U.S. rail traffic remains below 2021 figures in the latest statistics from the Association of American Railroads.

Both carload and intermodal traffic were down for the week ending July 9, with 207,450 carloads, a 1.3% decline from the corresponding week in 2021, and 230,150 containers and trailers, a 4.7% drop. The combined total of 437,600 carloads and intermodal units represents a 3.1% decline.

Year-to-date totals, through 27 weeks, show carloads down 0.2%, intermodal volume down 6.1%, and combined traffic of 3.5%.

North American traffic for the week, for 12 U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads, included 302,763 carloads, up 1.9%, and 311,439 intermodal units, up 0.3%. The total of 614,202 carloads and intermodal units represents a 1.1% increase. Overall traffic for the year to date is down 3.4% compared to 2021.

Donation of $1 million will fund new building at Maine trolley museum

By Trains Magazine| March 18, 2022

 

Seashore Trolley Museum will replace 66-year-old car house

 

Logo of Seashore Trolley MuseumKENNEBUNKPORT, Maine — The Seashore Trolley Museum will use a $1 million donation — the second largest in its history — to replace an aging building providing covered storage for its cars.

The Portland Press-Herald reports the anonymous gift will allow replacement of the 66-year-old Burton B. Shaw South Boston Car House, which is leaning and must be replaced. The current structure, which stores six cars, is open at the front, leaving the first car on each of its three tracks exposed to the elements.

Its replacement will have a nine-car capacity, and will have roll-up doors and insulation allowing more complete protection for the trolleys. It will primarily be used for the cars the museum currently operates.

Alan G. Dustin, last president of independent Boston & Maine, dies at 93

Alan G. Dustin, last president of independent Boston & Maine, dies at 93

By Trains.com| March 7, 2022

 

Career railroader also worked for Delaware & Hudson, Bangor & Aroostook, NJ Transit

 

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Alan G. “Dusty” Dustin, the last president of the Boston & Maine as an independent entity prior to its purchase by Guilford Industries in 1983, has died. Dustin, who suffered from Parkinson’s Disease, died at age 93 on Feb. 27.

A career railroader who began his career as a baggage clerk at age 16, he worked for the Delaware & Hudson before moving to the Bangor & Aroostook as vice president and CEO in 1970, then became Boston & Maine’s president in 1974. He led the railroad’s recovery from a 1970 bankruptcy, repairing infrastructure, acquiring new locomotives (18 GP40-2s), and improving service. Following the purchase of the B&M, he became NJ Transit vice president from 1984 until his retirement in 1988. As a consultant, he worked with rail businesses in Alaska, Africa, Argentina, and Czechoslovakia, as well as the Channel Tunnel project between England and France.

Elsie, his wife of 63 years, had previously passed away. He is survived by his sister, Hellen Philips, a son, two daughters, two sons-in-law, a daughter-in-law, and four grandchildren.

Services will be held at a date to be determined in May or June. More information is available in this obituary.

Donation of $1 million will fund new building at Maine trolley museum

Donation of $1 million will fund new building at Maine trolley museum

By Trains.com  | March 18, 2022

 

Seashore Trolley Museum will replace 66-year-old car house

 

Logo of Seashore Trolley MuseumKENNEBUNKPORT, Maine — The Seashore Trolley Museum will use a $1 million donation — the second largest in its history — to replace an aging building providing covered storage for its cars.

The Portland Press-Herald reports the anonymous gift will allow replacement of the 66-year-old Burton B. Shaw South Boston Car House, which is leaning and must be replaced. The current structure, which stores six cars, is open at the front, leaving the first car on each of its three tracks exposed to the elements.

Its replacement will have a nine-car capacity, and will have roll-up doors and insulation allowing more complete protection for the trolleys. It will primarily be used for the cars the museum currently operates.