CSX and Amtrak reach deal on New England passenger service

CSX and Amtrak reach deal on New England passenger service

WASHINGTON – CSX Transportation has reached an 11th hour agreement with Amtrak regarding passenger service in New England in advance of today’s scheduled public hearing on CSX’s proposed acquisition of Pan Am Railways.

Amtrak on Jan. 3 said it would oppose the CSX-Pan Am deal unless the Surface Transportation Board imposed seven conditions on the merger. Yesterday, in a letter to regulators, CSX asked the board to include Amtrak’s conditions.

Among the conditions CSX agreed to:

  • Cooperate with proposed expansion of passenger service between Albany, N.Y., and Boston via CSX’s Boston & Albany main line from the Albany area to Worcester, Mass.
  • Work with Amtrak and the Northern New England Passenger Authority to expand and improve Downeaster service linking Maine and Boston, including the addition of positive train control on trackage in New Hampshire and Maine.
  • Host seasonal Berkshire Flyer trains between Albany and Pittsfield, Mass., this year as special trains, pending construction of a 1,000-foot station track in Pittsfield.
  • Give Amtrak trains priority over freight traffic.
  • Ensure that Norfolk Southern intermodal and automotive trains, which are shifting from Pan Am Southern to new trackage rights over CSX’s B&A, do not interfere with current or proposed Amtrak service between Albany and Worcester.

The deal between CSX and Amtrak leaves only two parties seeking conditions on the merger: Massachusetts Department of Transportation/Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and Canadian Pacific.

Bay State transportation officials want assurances about existing and future commuter and passenger service. CP has raised concerns about the viability of the Pan Am Southern’s former Boston & Maine main line between Mechanicville, N.Y., and Ayer, Mass., after Norfolk Southern’s intermodal and automotive traffic is diverted to new trackage rights over CSX’s faster and fully cleared Boston & Albany main line.

Link to CSX filing:

https://dcms-external.s3.amazonaws.com/DCMS_External_PROD/1642021283474/303509.pdf

 Link to Amtrak filing:

https://dcms-external.s3.amazonaws.com/DCMS_External_PROD/1641303189298/303481.pdf