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CN - CSX Interchange

Unread postPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 6:24 pm
by AARR
From MichiganRailroads.com https://members4.boardhost.com/OtherMichRRs/msg/1589802967.html
Posted by Bill on 5/18/2020, 7:56 am, in reply to "CN/JAIL interchange"

The wye at Trowbridge was in the NE quadrant. Still did a bit of interchange in the early 90's, but was taken out in the late 90's. Can't remember if that interchange traffic moved to Flint, or somewhere else. Not sure.

Bill

Did the interchange between CN and CSX from Lansing shift to Toledo?

Re: CN - CSX Interchange

Unread postPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 8:51 pm
by Steve B
It was used until very early 1997, IIRC. Disconnected by August '97 at the latest. At the end it seemed to be mainly grain traffic. There was CSX-CN interchange before then and afterwards in Flint but I don't know if the Trowbridge traffic shifted to there. Seems doubtful.

Re: CN - CSX Interchange

Unread postPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 10:35 pm
by Saturnalia
I would imagine most CSX-CN interchange takes place in Chicago or perhaps Toledo. No reason to interchange at every possible point when traffic needs to hit a classification yard first anyway. Do it where both have yards or trains already.

Re: CN - CSX Interchange

Unread postPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 10:51 pm
by SD80MAC
CN and CSX do not interchange any traffic in Michigan, it’s all done in Chicago and Toledo.

Re: CN - CSX Interchange

Unread postPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 11:00 am
by MQT1223
Speaking of CSX/CN interchange, when did they stop using the Interchange in Holly? I still remember it being in place as a kid. I'm guessing that its less locals to run if you don't have so many interchange locations?

Re: CN - CSX Interchange

Unread postPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 11:15 am
by SD80MAC
MQT1223 wrote:Speaking of CSX/CN interchange, when did they stop using the Interchange in Holly? I still remember it being in place as a kid. I'm guessing that its less locals to run if you don't have so many interchange locations?

Many factors, but most importantly: cost. Much cheaper to interchange cars at one location between 2 railroads rather than having multiple points and having to figure out and switch them based on what goes where.

Re: CN - CSX Interchange

Unread postPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 7:08 pm
by Steve B
I was talking about interchange done in Flint years ago; I didn't imply that it's still done there.

Re: CN - CSX Interchange

Unread postPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 7:23 pm
by Saturnalia
Steve B wrote:I was talking about interchange done in Flint years ago; I didn't imply that it's still done there.

I don’t think we were implying that Steve, at least I know I wasn’t. Mostly just talking about why it isn’t done that way anymore. :)

Re: CN - CSX Interchange

Unread postPosted: Thu May 21, 2020 12:21 am
by chapmaja
Saturnalia wrote:I would imagine most CSX-CN interchange takes place in Chicago or perhaps Toledo. No reason to interchange at every possible point when traffic needs to hit a classification yard first anyway. Do it where both have yards or trains already.


I think the way traffic is billed likely plays a significant part in why the interchange location moved from Holly, or Trowbridge, to Chicago or Toledo.

I also think the use of trains makes sense. As the number of carload cars decreased, the impact of locals was lessened. A car could take two routings from Montreal to Wixom. The first routing would be a train that runs Montreal to Toronto. A train from Toronto to Flint would then get the car. The car would then be placed on a local to be taken to the interchange track in Holly. A CSX train would then need to pick the car up, take it to Plymouth. A local from Plymouth would then need to take it from Plymouth to Wixom.

A second routing would be a train from Montreal to Toledo. A transfer train would take the car from CN to CSX. CSX would then take the car north to Plymouth. An a local would take it to Wixom.

The car could be on 1 more train being interchanged in Holly, and likely would spend at least two extra days on the rails due to switching times.

One more thing to consider is the volume of interchange traffic. Back when the interchange would be 10 or more cars, it might have made sense to interchange cars in out of the way locations, to avoid having to send them through classification cards. As the volume of carload traffic decreased, the percentage of capacity at the classification yards decreases. Now the yards are better able to handle having those extra 10 or less cars.

I think one final thing about this is the idea of railroads shifting from doing what's right for the customers to doing what's right for the shareholders. Running those extra interchanges took extra man hours and cost more money. At one time railroads couldn't really turn down cars or charge what they actually cost to run. As the laws changed, and the railroads become more cost aware, the movement was to running as many crew starts as possible to make the company look better to shareholders.

Re: CN - CSX Interchange

Unread postPosted: Thu May 21, 2020 12:40 am
by Saturnalia
chapmaja wrote:I think one final thing about this is the idea of railroads shifting from doing what's right for the customers to doing what's right for the shareholders. Running those extra interchanges took extra man hours and cost more money. At one time railroads couldn't really turn down cars or charge what they actually cost to run. As the laws changed, and the railroads become more cost aware, the movement was to running as many crew starts as possible to make the company look better to shareholders.

Turning a profit is part of "doing the right thing" for the railroads. Running as much volume as possible will not and has not historically benefited the railroad's bottom lines directly. It has been tried before, even Pre-Staggers. Railroads figured out that they could drown themselves with every car that made any profit, and over the years have shifted their focus to running the traffic that makes the most money and leaving the marginal traffic to other modes.

Literally every business and industry does this. GM/Ford/Chrysler are cutting compact cars from their lineup because while those segments do turn profits, they can instead run with a smaller footprint and make almost the same amount of money focusing on the higher-margin trucks and SUVs.

Add to it that the railroads work in a marketplace shared with trucks, which are by their nature more nimble. Railroads have figured out, perhaps implicitly (not explicitly) that marginal traffic tends to come and go based on the condition of the trucking market. When trucks are tight, the stuff moves on rail, and when trucks are loose, they take the volume. Since railroads are much less nimble by their very nature, that could cause huge swings in traffic locally and systemwide, which yo-yo'd to huge spikes in train crews required, track maintenance, railcars and locomotives. Better to not really go after it at all, if it is transient.

There is plenty of money to be made shipping modest volumes of the highest margin traffic.

As a final note, I'll add that I'd bet money that your retirement fund, pension fund and insurance companies are backed with railroad shares in part. So those evil "shareholders" really either are you, or represent you. Everybody likes the good stock returns but then turns around and harps that the railroads should be less focused on the shareholders. We can't really have it both ways.

Re: CN - CSX Interchange

Unread postPosted: Thu May 21, 2020 2:17 am
by MiddleMI
Something something Atlas Shrugged something something "rational self-interest" argle bargle.

So did Lansing's traffic go to Toledo, Chicago, or both? Probably not an easy way to figure this out aside from knowing it happened.