CN expanding Tappan Jct.

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CN expanding Tappan Jct.

Unread postby GP30M4216 » Mon May 13, 2019 10:23 pm

CN is preparing to reconfigure and expand the track arrangement at Tappan Jct. on the west side of Port Huron. Due to slight encroachment on adjoining natural land and a drainage ditch, CN is required to file their plan with Michigan DEQ. In summary, several crossovers at Tappan will be reconfigured. Track 1 will be extended west almost to the Griswold Rd. crossing (which will eventually be closed), and the switch off Main 2 will be known as control point "GW". At the north end of the Mt. Clemens sub, the main track will split (new control point "Ash") with one track continuing on its current alignment and another will join Main 4. New signals are also in the works.

See the MDEQ documents here: https://miwaters.deq.state.mi.us/miwaters/external/publicnotice/info/6681619153906371620/documents

The diagrams document shows the future track layout.
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Re: CN expanding Tappan Jct.

Unread postby DaveO » Mon May 13, 2019 11:19 pm

This proposed project is clear that Griswold Rd. is outside the area of the project.

Should CN and MDOT propose closure in the future, I would expect strong opposition. Take a look at the map. How are people supposed to legally get around if they closed Griswold? Should Michigan allow them to close it, then all crossings should be closed because that too would improve safety. That too would also show total disregard for the freedom of movement. It would put the whole MDOT rail crossing closure program solidly into the category of a big joke on the people in favor of businesses.

I think what you will see is Griswold being realigned somewhat. That would maintain legal public access while improving the safety sight lines at the crossing. CN would gain some more room at the new control point.
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Re: CN expanding Tappan Jct.

Unread postby chapmaja » Mon May 13, 2019 11:36 pm

I rarely get to Port Huron, but I don't see a closure of Griswold happening either. I could see some sort of a grade separation completed for the roadway to become clear of the tracks either via lowering the roadway and putting the tracks on a bridge over the road, or the more likely method of putting the road on a bridge over the tracks.
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Re: CN expanding Tappan Jct.

Unread postby DaveO » Tue May 14, 2019 8:54 am

In looking at the plans, I don't see what the benefit CN gets with this project.
Port Huron Yard lead no change to the headroom.
Allowing Mt Clemens Sub to enter and exit Port Huron at the same time still not possible.
More flexibility for trains using the Flint sub really not possible with the land barges CN likes to run.

It looks like CN might gain a few seconds on transit through the interlockings but are they going to really gain that much?
I think extending the 2 main track on the Flint Sub and adding a 2nd main track to the Mt Clemens sub might be more useful.
I had to have missed something about the proposed project.
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Re: CN expanding Tappan Jct.

Unread postby chapmaja » Tue May 14, 2019 10:00 am

I found this nugget of information on one of the pages.

THE ST. CLAIR COUNTY ROAD COMMISSION IS PLANNING ON ELIMINATING THE ROAD CROSSING AT GRISWOLD
ROAD BY CONSTRUCTING A NEW SECTION OF GRISWOLD ROAD NORTH OF THE CN/GTW MAINLINE TO A NEW
CONNECTION AT RANGE ROAD NORTH OF THE CN/GTW ROAD CROSSING. WITH THIS CROSSING ELIMINATED,
"GW" CAN MOVE 1,900 FEET WEST.


The drawings I see for this would indicate GW's location with Griswold Rd. as it is currently situated. If GW were to be moved 1900 feet west after the removal of Griswold Rd, that could open up significant distance of the land barges that CN is running. I suspect that is why this project is being done. Moving these signals and control points increases the distances between signals on the railroad which is likely a problem CN is having in and around Tappan.

How many land barges is CN running on the Mt. Clemens sub?

One other thing I notice looking at the this plan extends main 4 to a connection with the Mt. Clemens Sub. Under the current layout, trains from Sarnia down the Mt. Clemens sub have to move onto main 3 before taking the switch for the Mt. Clemens. The new alignment will allow direct access from Main 4 to the Mt. Clemens eliminating the need to cross over and expanding the length of track available on main 3. The current alignment of the Mt. Clemens will be maintained/modified as it provides yard access to locals out of Port Huron Yard
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Re: CN expanding Tappan Jct.

Unread postby chapmaja » Tue May 14, 2019 10:23 am

DaveO wrote:In looking at the plans, I don't see what the benefit CN gets with this project.
Port Huron Yard lead no change to the headroom.
Allowing Mt Clemens Sub to enter and exit Port Huron at the same time still not possible.
More flexibility for trains using the Flint sub really not possible with the land barges CN likes to run.

It looks like CN might gain a few seconds on transit through the interlockings but are they going to really gain that much?
I think extending the 2 main track on the Flint Sub and adding a 2nd main track to the Mt Clemens sub might be more useful.
I had to have missed something about the proposed project.



I think they do have the ability to enter and exit Port Huron at the same time now, with the extension of Main 4 to Ash. They can't access the Port Huron Yard, but how many trains down the Mt. Clemens sub are coming from the yard and how many or coming from Sarnia?

Will there be any upcoming changes in operations for CN that might be related to this project?
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Re: CN expanding Tappan Jct.

Unread postby Man o' War » Tue May 14, 2019 6:26 pm

Interesting project, and I can see how this might be a bit baffling and confusing at first blush. It does, however, make sense if the idea is to create more headroom for longer and longer trains. We often see trains from Sarnia seeking more headroom by heading a little ways down the MTC sub, and it seems that this new configuration will allow that to still happen while alleviating the need to hold out NB MTC trains at Pine River or Ash by having them continue on at the new ASH interlocking. Could be a money issue, but maybe would have made sense to have that new switch at the current ASH (54.57) rather than moving it considerably more toward Tappan. Relocating Griswold has been a thought in the back of the CN brain-trust heads I think for a very long time - read new tunnel opening in 1995. That will grant them quite a bit of unfouled main. The project may expedite the movement of trains through Tappan a bit, but me thinks there may also be some long range operational changes being considered, as well. CN has a little money to burn at the moment, and this endeavor will surely eat some of that up. With PTC implementation across the state, CTC on the Mount Clemens sub, and interlocking projects in Durand and Tappan, CN has been aggressively streamlining operations in Michigan as of late. Git er done before the next great market correction...

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Re: CN expanding Tappan Jct.

Unread postby GTW6401 » Tue May 14, 2019 10:25 pm

What happens to the roundabout at Range and Griswold? Its only been there a few years.
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Re: CN expanding Tappan Jct.

Unread postby Man o' War » Tue May 14, 2019 11:54 pm

GTW6401 wrote:What happens to the roundabout at Range and Griswold? Its only been there a few years.


Probably removed, as it would no longer be necessary.

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Re: CN expanding Tappan Jct.

Unread postby chapmaja » Wed May 15, 2019 12:33 am

Man o' War wrote:
GTW6401 wrote:What happens to the roundabout at Range and Griswold? Its only been there a few years.


Probably removed, as it would no longer be necessary.

Man o' War


Disagree - It would remain in place. There is at least one property, Blue Water Kennels, that is located on the second of Griswold between Range Road and the CN tracks. Access would still need to be maintained to this property.
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Re: CN expanding Tappan Jct.

Unread postby DaveO » Wed May 15, 2019 10:40 am

Man o' War wrote:CN has a little money to burn at the moment, and this endeavor will surely eat some of that up.


It's not unheard of that companies with lots of cash on hand become targets of activist investors (greenmail).
So putting some of that cash into stuff that can't be readily converted back to cash isn't a bad idea.
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Re: CN expanding Tappan Jct.

Unread postby chapmaja » Wed May 15, 2019 11:15 am

DaveO wrote:
Man o' War wrote:CN has a little money to burn at the moment, and this endeavor will surely eat some of that up.


It's not unheard of that companies with lots of cash on hand become targets of activist investors (greenmail).
So putting some of that cash into stuff that can't be readily converted back to cash isn't a bad idea.



Agreed. Also, the building of the rail infrastructure in the region keeps the money within the company, just in a different form (a fixed asset rather than free cash).

It will be interesting to see if they are going to be doing any other projects of substantial scope around the system.
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Re: CN expanding Tappan Jct.

Unread postby Man o' War » Wed May 15, 2019 12:57 pm

Yep, forgot all about Blue Water Kennels. I'd still say that the roundabout would be removed however, in favor of a less confusing driveway from Range Road directly to the kennel along the former Griswold RoW perhaps. Just guessing. I didn't read the documents in their entirety - is it mentioned anywhere when this project might commence ?

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Re: CN expanding Tappan Jct.

Unread postby Steve B » Wed May 15, 2019 5:43 pm

It's nice to see cash going to something truly useful, instead of just stock buybacks.

There is room to build some additional businesses or houses west of the kennels on the south side of Range Rd., so that's one reason to keep the traffic circle in place.
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Re: CN expanding Tappan Jct.

Unread postby Standard Railfan » Wed May 15, 2019 6:24 pm

chapmaja wrote:Agreed. Also, the building of the rail infrastructure in the region keeps the money within the company, just in a different form (a fixed asset rather than free cash). .


Arguably, outside the accounting world, CN is turning an asset (cash) into a liability (railroad track). The new “fixed asset “ now has to be depreciated,insured, inspected, maintained, and taxed all with scrupulous oversight from the accountants of course. :lol:
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Re: CN expanding Tappan Jct.

Unread postby chapmaja » Wed May 15, 2019 10:06 pm

Standard Railfan wrote:
chapmaja wrote:Agreed. Also, the building of the rail infrastructure in the region keeps the money within the company, just in a different form (a fixed asset rather than free cash). .


Arguably, outside the accounting world, CN is turning an asset (cash) into a liability (railroad track). The new “fixed asset “ now has to be depreciated,insured, inspected, maintained, and taxed all with scrupulous oversight from the accountants of course. :lol:



All of those things which in one way, shape or form are expenses which lower the amount of tax the business has to pay. Business accounting is as complex as understanding quantum physics. The big businesses hire the best people to turn a profit into a loss for tax purposes.
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Re: CN expanding Tappan Jct.

Unread postby GreatLakesRailfan » Fri May 17, 2019 10:02 pm

GTW6401 wrote:What happens to the roundabout at Range and Griswold? Its only been there a few years.


That was phase 1 of the overpass project. The county purchased and cleared much of the real estate between Range and BW Kennels since the roundabout was completed, and I believe the utility relocation has been completed as well. The final phase of the county's plan is to combine Range and Griswold into a single overpass. There was quite a write up about it when it was first announced in the Times Herald several years ago, including a diagram of the completed project. My understanding is that they're waiting for funding to build the overpass.



It's pretty common to see trains tie down just east of the Griswold crossing for crew changes. It's also pretty common for Griswold to be blocked for significant periods of time during normal railroad operations. The overpass is a badly needed infrastructure improvement in that area. It's good to see CN is improving their infrastructure as well, beyond utilizing the extra headroom that opened up when the Michigan Road overpass was completed.
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Re: CN expanding Tappan Jct.

Unread postby Jim_c » Fri May 17, 2019 10:42 pm

Anyone notice that the map says "Saint Clair County, Ohio"?
Trails to Rails. Put the track back.
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Re: CN expanding Tappan Jct.

Unread postby DaveO » Sat May 18, 2019 9:14 am

Jim_c wrote:Anyone notice that the map says "Saint Clair County, Ohio"?


Or the spelling on one of the drawings "Grand Trunk Weststern"?
Hopefully the people that do the actual work are more thorough than those that did the application work.
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