Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Anything pertaining to railfanning in Ohio.

Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby Muleskinner » Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:25 pm

Geno wrote:I'm just taking a stab, but losing the Peavine is leaving a big hole in the region as a whole. If left completely intact and upkept to minimal standards could it not be brought back in the future fairly easy? Stretch out the cost and do the upgrades slowly and over time. Work on the closed section that CET isn't running on then go from there. Once it's gone, it's gone. Could it not be used as a bridge route to alleviate congestion on other routes? I'm just curious and hope this isn't a dumb question. With so many routes running at or above capacity and yards clogged like arteries it seems crazy to lose any if they can be utilized. How many rail lines are kicking themselves in the ass for abandoning lines that they'd love to have back now when they could have railbanked them? Just my thoughts. I applaud CET for making the headway they have and wish them many years of good fortune on the Peavine. Hopefully it doesn't end up being just another rail-trail. :cry:


I hate to be the one to say it, but railroads in general are in trouble. Closing so many rail lines in the past 30 years and they are still closing lines. They are limiting there business and choking themselves out. In another 30 years railroads will be gone in this country. It may sound crazy, but that's what you probably thought 30 years ago when railroads ran all over and someone said half will be gone in 30 years. Who would ever think the Milwaukee road would close and be wiped out of existence. Unless the government steps in or they ban trucking and cars, I don't see railroads bouncing back.
As for the Peavine, I hope it opens back up, but I don't see that happening unless someone buys the whole line as a private ownership and rebuilds the line from Cincy to Portsmouth and runs train rides & excursions on the line. Also charges rail companies to run through freight over the line.
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Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby MSchwiebert » Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:57 pm

Not even close to being "in trouble" Here's a nice chart that shows ton miles and overall system mileage from 1960 to 2015.

https://www.bts.gov/content/class-i-rai ... -1970-2015

Hauling more freight than ever on a right sized system, is a good thing.
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Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby SD80MAC » Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:20 am

MSchwiebert wrote:Not even close to being "in trouble" Here's a nice chart that shows ton miles and overall system mileage from 1960 to 2015.

https://www.bts.gov/content/class-i-rai ... -1970-2015

Hauling more freight than ever on a right sized system, is a good thing.

This. Hanging onto old lines that serve no purpose anymore for an imaginary "someday there'll be a need for passenger service" reason is silly.
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Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby northstar16 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:05 pm

Has anyone really look at the Columbus and the Bellview yard of late? The last two years Bellview has an average wait time of 3 hours for trains to get off the main from 8:30 a.m. till 5:30 p.m. Trains line up on the main and cannot get in the yard.

I was up there this summer and nothing has changed. The wait times are down to 2.5 hours of and sometimes more depending on how many lenght of the train. I was railfanning up there this summer and couldn't believe how much congestion is on that rail. They just cannot get the trains in the yard and everything backs up.

It appears they did add an extra track on the main but not helping much. Really if NS would open the Peavine spend some money (and they have plenty of it as NS is doing very well) they could in fact open up this congestive main line. I know the Peavine is in bad shape and the bridge at Vera needs a ton of work alone it would cost a pretty penny but NS left the Peavine in this shape for years without spending much on the line.

The answer years ago was to build a great railyard and Bellview would be the answer to all the problems. Yet back then in may have been the answer but today NS is hauling more freight then every before, longer trains and more of them. Bellview just can't handle all the traffic and nothing moves.

I'm not a train owner or but I do own rail stocks. I know many of the railroads have pulled up rails and wish they had them back. NS had a great idea with Bellview years ago and it took years to build but it isn't working as it was planned. They have changed routes to make it work better but I would say many customers are not very happy as CSX has made a big comeback picking up customers that NS lost because of long wait time. Customers don't want to wait for orders to be shipped. They surely don't want product stuck on a rail line not moving.
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Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby northstar16 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:05 pm

Has anyone really look at the Columbus and the Bellview yard of late? The last two years Bellview has an average wait time of 3 hours for trains to get off the main from 8:30 a.m. till 5:30 p.m. Trains line up on the main and cannot get in the yard.

I was up there this summer and nothing has changed. The wait times are down to 2.5 hours of and sometimes more depending on how many lenght of the train. I was railfanning up there this summer and couldn't believe how much congestion is on that rail. They just cannot get the trains in the yard and everything backs up.

It appears they did add an extra track on the main but not helping much. Really if NS would open the Peavine spend some money (and they have plenty of it as NS is doing very well) they could in fact open up this congestive main line. I know the Peavine is in bad shape and the bridge at Vera needs a ton of work alone it would cost a pretty penny but NS left the Peavine in this shape for years without spending much on the line.

The answer years ago was to build a great railyard and Bellview would be the answer to all the problems. Yet back then in may have been the answer but today NS is hauling more freight then every before, longer trains and more of them. Bellview just can't handle all the traffic and nothing moves.

I'm not a train owner or but I do own rail stocks. I know many of the railroads have pulled up rails and wish they had them back. NS had a great idea with Bellview years ago and it took years to build but it isn't working as it was planned. They have changed routes to make it work better but I would say many customers are not very happy as CSX has made a big comeback picking up customers that NS lost because of long wait time. Customers don't want to wait for orders to be shipped. They surely don't want product stuck on a rail line not moving.
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Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby MSchwiebert » Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:06 pm

I'm trying to figure out how reopening the Peavine would reduce the time it takes trains to get in and out of Bellevue. Think of it like this, if the NS was interested in bypassing Bellevue there's plenty of other options available that would make a lot more sense. For example, they still have trackage rights "slots" they aren't using on the former PRR (now CF&E), so they could easily add a train that goes Chicago to Pittsburgh using the NKP to Fort Wayne, CFE to Bucyrus and NS the rest of the way in. Or, say there's enough to warrant a stand alone Cincinnati-Buffalo train (which I highly doubt) they could run Cincy to Fort Wayne via the New Castle, Fort Wayne to Butler on the Wabash, Butler to Cleveland on the ex Conrail and Cleveland to Buffalo via the NKP. Lots of options (if it were truly an issue) that don't involve the Peavine.
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Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby jallenp7 » Tue Oct 23, 2018 3:08 pm

Upgrade the CFE with more sidings and make a deal or swap for Buckeye Yard with CSX to get control of the CFE, still lease it to CFE but able to run more trains East and West
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Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby MSchwiebert » Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:14 pm

If the original agreement still stands, NS can run 6 trains a day on the CF&E - and they're running two (east of Fort Wayne), so obviously the need isn't there currently. For the 6 trains a day they wouldn't need to do any infrastructure investments either - they used all their slots west of Fort Wayne on a regular basis back in the 1990's and just "fleeted" the moves so meets were not necessary.

Add to it that NS is looking to adopt at least some precision railroading principles, I don't see the CF&E getting any busier any time soon.

jallenp7 wrote:Upgrade the CFE with more sidings and make a deal or swap for Buckeye Yard with CSX to get control of the CFE, still lease it to CFE but able to run more trains East and West
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Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby chapmaja » Sat Oct 27, 2018 12:11 am

Muleskinner wrote:
Geno wrote:I'm just taking a stab, but losing the Peavine is leaving a big hole in the region as a whole. If left completely intact and upkept to minimal standards could it not be brought back in the future fairly easy? Stretch out the cost and do the upgrades slowly and over time. Work on the closed section that CET isn't running on then go from there. Once it's gone, it's gone. Could it not be used as a bridge route to alleviate congestion on other routes? I'm just curious and hope this isn't a dumb question. With so many routes running at or above capacity and yards clogged like arteries it seems crazy to lose any if they can be utilized. How many rail lines are kicking themselves in the ass for abandoning lines that they'd love to have back now when they could have railbanked them? Just my thoughts. I applaud CET for making the headway they have and wish them many years of good fortune on the Peavine. Hopefully it doesn't end up being just another rail-trail. :cry:


I hate to be the one to say it, but railroads in general are in trouble. Closing so many rail lines in the past 30 years and they are still closing lines. They are limiting there business and choking themselves out. In another 30 years railroads will be gone in this country. It may sound crazy, but that's what you probably thought 30 years ago when railroads ran all over and someone said half will be gone in 30 years. Who would ever think the Milwaukee road would close and be wiped out of existence. Unless the government steps in or they ban trucking and cars, I don't see railroads bouncing back.
As for the Peavine, I hope it opens back up, but I don't see that happening unless someone buys the whole line as a private ownership and rebuilds the line from Cincy to Portsmouth and runs train rides & excursions on the line. Also charges rail companies to run through freight over the line.


Railroads are not in trouble. Overall the railroad industry is doing just fine and will continue to do just fine and will continue to grow in the future. The problem isn't how railroads are doing, it is how they are doing it when it comes to shortline railroads and branch lines. Yes, many shortlines are struggling for customers and many railroads have pulled up tracks over the previous 30 to 40 years.
We need to ask ourselves why this is.

Let's look at the landscape in Ohio for an example. Three things happened which changed the history of the railroads in Ohio.

In 1978 you had the Southern Railway who reached as far north as Northern Kentucky and transferred cars as far as Cincy. From Cincy those cars needed to be transferred to a different railroad to go North. At the same time, you had the Seaboard system which also ran to the same place and had to do the same transferring of cars to a "northern" railroad. This also allowed the DT&I a piece of the pie of cars going to and from "down south" to Detroit. In the early 1980's the Seaboard system and Chessie system merged into CSX and Southern and Norfolk and Western merged into Norfolk Southern. This created a direct link between down south and up north without having to interchange cars. This wasn't the first time something like this happened. East-west across the state saw the Erie and Lackawanna merger, the creation of the Penn Central and later Conrail. All of this consolidation changed the traffic flow and consolidated it onto fewer and fewer lines that became busier.

The second big change was in the industries railroads served. Industries changed how they received their product. Gone were the days where auto parts were loaded into boxcars and kept in the box cars until they were needed. The auto industry went to just in time delivery. This eliminate the use of rail for a significant number of plants in the auto industry and lead to the decline of many rail lines.

The third change goes along with the second. As industries expanded or relocated they found it easier and cheaper to build truck loading docks than rail sidings. This meant for shorter hauls the materials now moved by truck rather than train. This meant the significant decline for short line and branch lines. For longer haul traffic the industries found it cheaper to use intermodal. The Lake State predecessor used to serve Cheboygan, Mi when Proctor and Gamble had a diaper plant in town. When that plant closed, the railroad was pretty quick to pull up the "dead line". A new company came in that papers paper towels and toilet paper. The product still goes by rail, but it is trucked to Chicago from Cheboygan before getting loaded onto rail.

The point is the transportation industry has changed and railroad has adapted to the changes. Are all railroads in trouble? Absolutely not, but smaller lines depending on a single or a few customers are not in great shape.


Other lines became unneeded when the major industry they served closed up shop, often due to international competition. The paper industry was hammered by international completion and still is witnessing plant closures which are leading to the reduction or elimination of rail lines (E&LS in Ontonagon, Michigan, Sappi Paper lead in Muskegon, Mi).
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Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby chapmaja » Sat Oct 27, 2018 12:20 am

Geno wrote:I'm just taking a stab, but losing the Peavine is leaving a big hole in the region as a whole. If left completely intact and upkept to minimal standards could it not be brought back in the future fairly easy? Stretch out the cost and do the upgrades slowly and over time. Work on the closed section that CET isn't running on then go from there. Once it's gone, it's gone. Could it not be used as a bridge route to alleviate congestion on other routes? I'm just curious and hope this isn't a dumb question. With so many routes running at or above capacity and yards clogged like arteries it seems crazy to lose any if they can be utilized. How many rail lines are kicking themselves in the ass for abandoning lines that they'd love to have back now when they could have railbanked them? Just my thoughts. I applaud CET for making the headway they have and wish them many years of good fortune on the Peavine. Hopefully it doesn't end up being just another rail-trail. :cry:



The issue is that it would be much cheaper to expand existing capacity on other lines than fix the Peavine to allow it to be used as a route for alleviating congestion elsewhere on the system. Considering the costs that would be associated with fixing the Peavine to current standards, the simple fact is the Peavine won't be coming back without a major economic shift. What type of shift? If some business that was going to be dealing in trainloads of product per day were to location the Peavine NS would have to look at reactivation of the line. Unless this happens, the simple fact is the economics don't support reopening of the entire line.

Will things eventually change? Possibly, but I would not be betting much on it happening.
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