Norfolk southern cuts Amtrak trains speeds- Michigan line

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WLNS:Officials Lower Train Speeds on Rail Line Into Jackson

Unread postby Larry G » Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:38 pm

admin edit.... merged this post into the existing thread
http://www.wlns.com/global/story.asp?s=14915488 Story from June 15 6PM Telecast

Highlights/lowlights:

"Norfolk Southern, the company that owns the rail, said it simply can't afford to maintain the tracks for fast trains. So since it'll essentially be doing the bare minimum when it comes to maintenance that means the rails will only handle trains going between 25 and 60 miles per hour.".................."The running times between here and Ann Arbor, formally 35 minutes are now approximately 55 minutes. And from Jackson, to say, Battle Creek, instead of a running time of 50 minutes, they're closing more an hour 20 minutes," said Brian Karhoff, head station manager"...............Amtrack says they hope this will all be settled by a couple ways. One, Amtrack is in the process of negotiating a deal with Norfolk Southern to purchase the tracks so they have complete control. And then Amtrack says the federal money should cover the increased maintenance costs that comes with high-speed rail.
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Re: WLNS:Officials Lower Train Speeds on Rail Line Into Jack

Unread postby J T » Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:12 pm

Amtrack? :lol: Image
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Re: Norfolk southern cuts Amtrak trains speeds- Michigan lin

Unread postby j32885 » Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:49 pm

Saw this a few days ago in the DetNews also. Hopefully all the parties come to the table to agree on what to with the Michigan Line or start seeing lawsuits flying left and right. Amtrak 354 was been getting into Dearborn between 1230AM-1:30PM.
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Re: Norfolk southern cuts Amtrak trains speeds- Michigan lin

Unread postby CSX_CO » Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:48 pm

j32885 wrote:Saw this a few days ago in the DetNews also. Hopefully all the parties come to the table to agree on what to with the Michigan Line or start seeing lawsuits flying left and right. Amtrak 354 was been getting into Dearborn between 1230AM-1:30PM.


Why would there be lawsuits? Is there anything in the AMTRAK agreements that state the freight railroads have to maintain track to passenger train standards? Why should NS be expected to maintain the track to 80mph (or higher) running, when 25mph running fits their needs? Why should NS bear the brunt of the cost of upkeep, when they aren't generating the revenue on the line to justify the increase in costs?

We're treading on dangerous lines here. If the Government mandates that NS keep their track up to 80mph on the Michigan Line that's a dangerous step towards re-regulation. What's stopping them from mandating more at that point? Now, this is a way of NS to force AMTRAK and the State of Michigan's hand. Either one of those entities pony's up the money to maintain the track to 80mph running, buy it, or deal with the 25 mph slow orders. After all, AMTRAK is a TENANT on the host railroads, and while they get paid for on time performance, its a drop in the bucket compared to the revenues the railroad can generate on freight alone.

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Re: Norfolk southern cuts Amtrak trains speeds- Michigan lin

Unread postby Clay320 » Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:59 pm

I heard a while back from someone with Amtrak that NS had made Amtrak an offer on the line but Amtrak wanted a lower price. NS not wanting to sell for less then started lowering the speed limit to try to force Amtrak into buying. It sounded like if they could get it for the right price Amtrak would take it.
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Re: Norfolk southern cuts Amtrak trains speeds- Michigan lin

Unread postby azimmer » Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:22 pm

I can't undestand this lack of interest by NS in the Michigan Line. The upcoming Detroit Intermodal Freight Terminal (DIFT) will be built right on this line and, as far as freight operations, should be able to breath new life into it.

If NS abandons the Michigan Line to Amtrak the DIFT will have essentially a dead end at its western edge since no freight will be using the line.

The DIFT is supposed to stimulate container traffic over the next several decades and the Michigan Line should be a natural part of that growth.
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Re: Norfolk southern cuts Amtrak trains speeds- Michigan lin

Unread postby OwlCaboose2853 » Sat Jun 18, 2011 12:11 pm

azimmer wrote:I can't undestand this lack of interest by NS in the Michigan Line. The upcoming Detroit Intermodal Freight Terminal (DIFT) will be built right on this line and, as far as freight operations, should be able to breath new life into it.

If NS abandons the Michigan Line to Amtrak the DIFT will have essentially a dead end at its western edge since no freight will be using the line.

The DIFT is supposed to stimulate container traffic over the next several decades and the Michigan Line should be a natural part of that growth.

Clay320 wrote:I heard a while back from someone with Amtrak that NS had made Amtrak an offer on the line but Amtrak wanted a lower price. NS not wanting to sell for less then started lowering the speed limit to try to force Amtrak into buying. It sounded like if they could get it for the right price Amtrak would take it.


Remember old article;
STB nixes Norfolk Southern/ Watco transaction http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1215/is_1_209/ai_n24267371/
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Re: Norfolk southern cuts Amtrak trains speeds- Michigan lin

Unread postby railohio » Sat Jun 18, 2011 12:52 pm

azimmer wrote:I can't undestand this lack of interest by NS in the Michigan Line. The upcoming Detroit Intermodal Freight Terminal (DIFT) will be built right on this line and, as far as freight operations, should be able to breath new life into it.


Norfolk Southern already has two complete Detroit to Chicago routes, via Toledo and via Ft. Wayne, so a third route, even if it is the most direct, is not needed. Also, a lot of container traffic is rubber-tired across Michigan because of the time of the Chicago interchange procedure. If you're going to put a container back on a truck to get it across Chicago why not just drive it 4-5 hours across Michigan instead of waiting 48 hours to get there on another train? I would imagine this new terminal will be more likely to serve traffic coming from the east, southeast, and Texas regions rather than interchange traffic coming through Chicago.
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Re: Norfolk southern cuts Amtrak trains speeds- Michigan lin

Unread postby KenB » Sat Jun 18, 2011 2:36 pm

The MC line is a stub ended branch. If you ran an intermodal train west on the MCRR where would it go? If the DIFT gets built trains going out the west end would go south on the Junction Yard Secondary to River Rouge than south and west.

Intermodal trains for the Wabash just go down to Delray and get on the Wabash than go west. There is really no need for the Michigan Central except for passenger trains and what little local freight there is.
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Re: Norfolk southern cuts Amtrak trains speeds- Michigan lin

Unread postby ns8401 » Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:17 am

KenB wrote:The MC line is a stub ended branch. If you ran an intermodal train west on the MCRR where would it go? If the DIFT gets built trains going out the west end would go south on the Junction Yard Secondary to River Rouge than south and west.

Intermodal trains for the Wabash just go down to Delray and get on the Wabash than go west. There is really no need for the Michigan Central except for passenger trains and what little local freight there is.


Sad to say it but Exactly. If Conrail was still around they might have used this line for that purpose and routed stuff down to Elkhart that way since there were only 2 lines in their hands from Detroit to Chicago (The MC and the LS&MS down to Toledo). It was probably somewhat short sighted to downgrade the western portion of the line west of Kalamazoo and sell it to Amtrak since much of the freight takes a more circuitous routing on the Lake Shore. One issue I know exists on the MC is a lack of qualified crews. NS didnt want to train people to run over the line so the number of personnel for the line is minimal...
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Re: Norfolk southern cuts Amtrak trains speeds- Michigan lin

Unread postby KenB » Sun Jun 19, 2011 7:51 am

Not really. Conrail got rid of the Airline from Jackson to Three Rivers. Conrail single tracked the line from Dearborn west. Conrail at the end did not even run a train the whole way from Detroit To Elkhart via the MCRR.
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Re: Norfolk southern cuts Amtrak trains speeds- Michigan lin

Unread postby ns8401 » Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:30 pm

KenB wrote:Not really. Conrail got rid of the Airline from Jackson to Three Rivers. Conrail single tracked the line from Dearborn west. Conrail at the end did not even run a train the whole way from Detroit To Elkhart via the MCRR.


Right, technically it was Detroit-Wayne MI to Elkhart IN (DWEL). I know Conrail did all the downgrading to the lines on the MC, that's what I was trying to reference, I could have been clearer in expressing that I think Conrail was short sighted selling the west end to Amtrak, NS simply continued the downgrading/selling of the lines (Grand Elk, JAIL etc.), Perhaps someone else knows more, but when the Airline to Three Rivers was abandoned, was this when the traffic began to decline? I know eliminating the CASO definitely helped to render the line a secondary...
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Re: Norfolk southern cuts Amtrak trains speeds- Michigan lin

Unread postby conrail767596 » Sun Jun 19, 2011 1:41 pm

There were actually two pair of Detroit-Elkhart trains via the Michigan Line/Kalamazoo Branch at the end of Conrail.

Conrail ran ML441 until the end from North Yard to Chicago-IHB; a solid multilevel train. Eastbound "counterpart" was IHDL/EJDL/IHDN, for crew purposes.

DWEL did not run that late in the game- it was DREL, from River Rouge, up to and through Livernois, and west to ELkhart, and ELDR.

The Amtrak Line was not given to Amtrak under Conrail. It was downgraded under *Penn Central*- they had no through symbol freights on that section of "Main Line- Suspension Bridge to Chicago," as they called it. Conrail did not want it, so it was handed over to Amtrak on 4/76.
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Re: Norfolk southern cuts Amtrak trains speeds- Michigan lin

Unread postby ns8401 » Sun Jun 19, 2011 3:04 pm

conrail767596 wrote:There were actually two pair of Detroit-Elkhart trains via the Michigan Line/Kalamazoo Branch at the end of Conrail.

Conrail ran ML441 until the end from North Yard to Chicago-IHB; a solid multilevel train. Eastbound "counterpart" was IHDL/EJDL/IHDN, for crew purposes.

DWEL did not run that late in the game- it was DREL, from River Rouge, up to and through Livernois, and west to ELkhart, and ELDR.

The Amtrak Line was not given to Amtrak under Conrail. It was downgraded under *Penn Central*- they had no through symbol freights on that section of "Main Line- Suspension Bridge to Chicago," as they called it. Conrail did not want it, so it was handed over to Amtrak on 4/76.


Ah ok I think some of the blanks are starting to fill in, I had thought something had happened with the west end about 1982, but I guess it didn't even make Conrail, that must mean all the thru trains ran the line down to Three Rivers and went to Elkhart that way then... Do you have any idea when the CASO was sold/abandoned and the traffic really took a dive, maybe that was the 1982 date I'm thinking of?
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Re: Norfolk southern cuts Amtrak trains speeds- Michigan lin

Unread postby redside20 » Sun Jun 19, 2011 7:58 pm

After watching a few Emery Gulash videos on the Michigan line about 10 years ago, i got curious and did some researching. I don't know where i read it, but the entire Michigan line and CASO lines were downgraded starting with the Canadian side about 81 or 82. The Michigan line itself was downgraded about 1985 or 86 after a Conrail strategy to cut duplicate or redundant trackage. I do believe the airline from Jackson to Three Rivers was abandoned in the late 1970s..around 78 or 79.
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