Ohio Rail Plan 2017

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Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby ORDC » Mon Jun 26, 2017 7:36 am

Hello rail fans and train aficionados!

My name is Sean and I am in charge of public outreach for the Ohio Rail Development Commission’s 2017 state rail plan. In case you don’t know who we are, the Ohio Rail Development Commission's mission is to plan, promote, and implement the improved movement of goods and people faster and safer on a rail transportation network connecting Ohio to the nation and the world. The mission is to be accomplished through a coordinated freight and passenger rail system which is an integral part of a seamless, intermodal transportation network contributing to Ohio's quality of life and economic development. ORDC also improves public safety by funding grade crossing safety improvements.

ORDC provides grants, loans, and other assistance to:
• Perform a vital economic development function by assisting businesses locating or expanding in Ohio with rail spurs and other rail infrastructure;
• Help rehabilitate light density branch lines on small short-line and regional railroads;
• Assist in the acquisition and continued operation of branch lines;
• Address special rail problems such as mainline congestion and assisting businesses with rail-related issues; and
• Assist with promotion of the rail-related tourism industry.

In order for Ohio to gain federal funding for projects in our state, it is required that we must create a statewide rail plan. The rail plan provides a framework for rail improvement activities and broadens the understanding of rail issues for all stakeholders.
These stakeholders include the Ohio citizens! Which is why it is important for us at the ORDC to gain the opinions and thoughts of the general public on what they would like to see implemented in their state’s rail network. These topics include but are not limited to:
• Safety at rail crossings
• The impact of the rail industry in local communities
• Thoughts on improving the freight rail network
• General discussion on the implementation of passenger rail in Ohio (intercity, commuter, light-rail)
• Viewpoints on increasing rail based business
• And any other rail considerations
Your thoughts and opinions are extremely valuable to our planning team! If you have any thoughts, questions or concerns, please feel free to comment. Thank you!
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Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby kwh » Mon Jun 26, 2017 7:27 pm

Sean, Thanks for posting here and glad you find this community valuable.

Keith
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Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby GlassCityPhotos » Fri Jun 30, 2017 1:20 am

Sean,

Thanks for taking time to reach out and solicit our input. I'm assuming we are supposed to reply to your post with our comments since there wasn't a link to an email address or webform.

Considering the fiscal realities facing both the state and railroad companies, the most practical improvements that could be made in the short term to rail infrastructure would be the elimination of at-grade crossings on busy lines, such as the NS Chicago Line across northern Ohio. While each grade crossing separation would only be a slight improvement for the railroad individually, bigger flow improvements could be realized if all crossings within longer segments were eliminated. For example, eliminating the few remaining street crossings along that line between NS Airline Yard in Toledo and the western suburb of Holland. Without having to worry about blocking streets, railroads would have greater operating flexibility and would be in a better position to build crossovers, sidings and other track improvements. Eliminating at-grade crossings is also a pre-requisite for high speed rail and may make it easier to accommodate additional passenger trains on these busy lines. Finally, the general public may be more supportive of these investments as they will benefit from not having to wait at crossings.

Unlike previous grade separation projects, which were spread out geographically for political reasons, the state rail plan should identify priority segments that would create the longest segments of separated track possible and then extend those sections outward over time. I use Toledo as an example because it is the area I am most familiar with. The section of the NS Chicago Line that runs pretty much the entire width of the city is already grade separated. Investing in a few more grade separation projects west of the city could extend that by another five miles or more. Doing so could help give NS the flexibility to better divide thru traffic from those trains going to Detroit or stopping in Airline yard. Similar opportunities undoubtedly exist elsewhere in the state.

Ohio has a long railroading history and unfortunately some of that legacy is starting to show its age. The state rail plan should identify critical rail infrastructure (ex: key bridges such as the NS Chicago Line over the Maumee) and formulate specific plans to mitigate the risks and consequences of their failure.

The best way to ensure the vitality of rail transportation in Ohio is to help the state's businesses make better use of existing infrastructure. Therefore, the state plan should identify ways of assisting companies to utilize intermodal transportation. Unfortunately the railroads tend to focus on the biggest customers and smaller manufacturers tend to distribute by truck only. Therefore, someone else may have to bring the two groups together to explore opportunities. While no one wants to see the state directly involved in freight distribution, your agency has a bird's-eye view of all the players and might be able to get them interested in talking to regional development agencies.
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Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby Paw95 » Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:09 am

They should help open the peavine line from Cincy to Portsmouth back up.
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Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby northstar16 » Sat Jul 01, 2017 2:41 pm

State should because there is are major backups in Columbus and the Bellview yard that they can't even get trains off the main line. State of the art yards don't mean anything if they can't even get trains off the main line do to no where to put them in the yard.
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Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby redcrumbox » Sat Jul 01, 2017 11:46 pm

How will the withering peavine relieve major backups in Columbus and Bellevue?
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Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby atrainguy60 » Sun Jul 02, 2017 12:00 am

redcrumbox wrote:How will the withering peavine relieve major backups in Columbus and Bellevue?


The line connects Cincinnati and the Bellevue-WV main right? If that's the case, then it could divert VA/WV to Chicago trains away from the Columbus route, taking the Cincinnati-Muncie-Fort Wayne route. HOWEVER, I know nothing about the trains in that area, so I have no clue if there's enough trains to be rerouted to make a difference, or if the Cincinnati way could handle the extra traffic. And if I understand correctly, the Peavine's rather run down right? So it would take a good chunk of change to repair it to good standards. Not that that hasn't happened before. I believe it was Stampede Pass or something like that that was closed in Washington state, but it was reopened a while back by BNSF to relieve congestion on Stevens Pass.
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Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby redside20 » Sun Jul 02, 2017 12:07 am

I think we've been over this more than once about the Peavine, its trashed, filled with storage cars, and totally not relevant at this point.
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Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby heypal6878 » Sun Jul 02, 2017 7:33 am

Redside you need to be a little more optimistic! Atrainguy60 makes a valid point. Currently wait times are very long at Bellview and have been for months. NW is running mostly all trains to Columbus and it is becoming a major issue. Customers deliveries are being held up and this is not sitting will with NS. CSX is in a overhaul and wants to win back customers. NS wants to trim down cut cost but at the same time is losing customers. NS knows about the state of the art issues at Bellview but have not fixed the problems and it has now been over a year.

The point is to get trains off of the main at Bellview in a timely fashion but this isn't being accomplished. I would think down the road NS may spend the money to open up the bridge at Vera and give Columbus some relief. It has happen to other rail lines that have been closed for years when there is too much congestion on the main. Clearly NS has not given up the Peavine on the east side. They have no intention of pulling up rails so never say never in this business.

Tankers sure they are plenty sitting on the Peavine but NS can always work with the CET and take the line back over. Often is to think out of the box instead of putting oneself in a box.
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Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby jrgerber » Sun Jul 02, 2017 9:25 am

You guys do a great job especially with shortlines. Keep working with the Napoleon Defiance and Western, hopefully they can get that road up to Class 2 standards some day.
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Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby northstar16 » Sun Jul 02, 2017 3:07 pm

I really don't think the CET or the Peavine for that matter is in the state that the Napoleon Defiance and Western was. The ORDC funded them as well but the ORDC also is helping the I&O don't forget that as they need some rail repair. I would think as much freight that the I&O hauls in Ohio they can pay for their own work instead of asking for assistance.

While the Peavine is in some need of new ties because the rails up east have been closed for nearly 15 years the ORDC needs to help out the CET on funding. The CET unlike the I&O is known for mostly storage income.
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Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby redside20 » Sun Jul 02, 2017 7:46 pm

Sean, do you have any idea if Bunge is gonna locate their Soybean plant in Ohio next to the i&O?
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Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby kwh » Sun Jul 02, 2017 10:52 pm

The ORDC needs to work with as many smaller manufactures and companies to work through transloads sites or help locate business rail side and maximize potential for rail. Lets maximize Ohio's position as a national distribution center. Pennsylvania's model has been good for infrastructure improvements and many states have started to follow that model.

OFF TOPIC

Bellevue is congested but traffic through Columbus is still not what it was 3-4 years ago. I know we all including me see the Peavine opened up again for through traffic. That wont happen at least not by NS we've been through this exercise before infrastructure and maintenance costs easy to run through Columbus. Now if new business could locate along the Peavine great I'd love to see it prosper as a branch line

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Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby j32885 » Mon Jul 03, 2017 4:12 am

I'll Say "2nd That", for ODOT/NS for Rehabbing the old N&W Peavine Line. Before the line went OOS (Out Of Service), the Ford Batavia Plant was the last large customer that used the line. Autoracks/Automotive Boxcars were common sight. Also was a regular run during the old NS Steam days to see NW 611 & NW 1218 operating. Last NS Steam trip on this portion of the line was back in 1994 with N&W 611. In N&W Era you had: Pocahontas, Powhatan Arrow, & Cavalier(Cincinnati,OH-Norfolk,VA). In the Amtrak Era you had the short lived Mountaineer/Hilltopper (Chicago-Cincinnati-Norfolk)

Another reason for including a line like this into the Ohio Rail Plan is adding more passenger trains. Ohio only has 3 Amtrak Trains:
- The Lakeshore (Chicago-Toledo-Cleveland-Buffalo-Albany-New York City/Boston)
- Capitol Limited (Chicago-Toledo-Cleveland-Pittsburgh-Washington DC)
- The Cardinal (Chicago-Indianapolis-Cincinnati-Charleston-Charlottesville)

Columbus the State Capitol gets shafted being only major Ohio city without passenger rail service. The last passenger train to Columbus was Amtrak's National Limited.

As far getting more long distance passenger trains here is what I would like to see:

Regular Intercity

- Mercury Services:
+(Pontiac/Detroit-Toledo-Cleveland) +[Erie...Buffalo] Maybe
+(Pontiac/Detroit-Toledo-Cleveland-Pittsburgh) [This Is Being Pushed By All Aboard Ohio Group]
+(Cincinnati-Columbus-Cleveland)

- James Whitcomb Riley (Chicago-Indianapolis-Cincinnati)

- The Cincinnatian (Pontiac/Detroit-Toledo-Dayton-Cincinnati)

- Powhatan Arrow (Chicago-Indianapolis-Cincinnati-Roanoke-Washington DC/Norfolk) [Cardinal Reroute IF Needed, Also Train Splits At 2 Different End Points]

- Knickerbocker (St. Louis-Indianapolis-Cleveland-Buffalo-New York)

- Ohio State Limited (Cincinnati-Columbus-Cleveland-Buffalo-New York)

- Broadway Limited (Chicago-Fort Wayne-Columbus-Pittsburgh-Harrisburg-Philadelphia-New York)

- Royal Palm (Cincinnati-Lexington-Chattanooga-Atlanta-Jacksonville-Miami)

- Humming Bird (Cincinnati-Louisville-Nashville-Birmingham-Montgomery-New Orleans)

Seasonal Services

- Snowbird (Pontiac/Detroit-Toledo-Dayton-Cincinnati-Lexington-Chattanooga-Atlanta-Jacksonville-Miami)

- Northern Arrow (Traverse City-Mt. Pleasant-Durand-Pontiac-Detroit-Toledo-Dayton-Cincinnati)

Basically Above were passenger trains important to Ohio. Many them were killed off before or during Amtrak's creation.

Enjoy! ^_^
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Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby redside20 » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:58 am

What about the Indiana Eastern Railroad between Fernald and Richmond Indiana? Right now the only thing keeping the railroad in business is a chemical plant in Fernald and a transload near the CSX diamond at Cottage Grove. What is your outlook on any customers like maybe another chemical plant or a super grain elevator locating along the line between Cottage Grove and Richmond because their isn't a single customer. What about track improvements to the I&O Springfield cluster and whats the status on the proposed expansion of the staging area for automotive parts for NS bringing in shipments of boxcars? And you never answered my question on Bunge?
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Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby ORDC » Mon Jul 03, 2017 3:01 pm

Thank you all for your input into Ohio's State Rail Plan update!

In regards to GlassCityPhotos’ comment:
• ORDC is always looking for the opportunity to eliminate redundant at-grade crossings along any rail lines for safety considerations. We consistently work with local communities and railroads to find safer alternatives for at-grade crossings. Eliminating the at-grade portion is always the preferred alternative, yet due to the large cost of building an above or below grade crossing as well as the potential negative impacts to the communities, this option is not always fiscally or practically feasible. Yet, outlining the key segments in the state which need this effort the most is an excellent idea in expediting this process.
• You make a great point, the state of Ohio’s rail infrastructure is absolutely a top issue. This will be increasingly important as most of the infrastructure nears the century mark in age. Yet, due to the nature of private ownership of railroads, we cannot prioritize infrastructure projects without the railroads applying to us first. In the past year, we have had asked railroads for the projects which they feel will be a pressing issue within the next 5 to 10 years and we are prioritizing the projects as such.
• ORDC has put a heavy focus in the last few years on funding/promoting intermodal and transload projects throughout the state. We will continue to promote this growing field especially as it helps smaller industries and smaller railroads compete with other transportation industries.

Thank you for the response GlassCityPhotos!

In regards to comments about the Peavine and work with short lines:
• We believe the Peavine is an important part of the freight transportation infrastructure for the future economic development of southwest Ohio. ORDC has worked with the Cincinnati East Terminal Railway, Norfolk Southern, local industries, and economic development groups over the last few years to further the vitality of this rail line.
• ORDC is also constantly committed to providing assistance in the development and upgrading of the rail system throughout Ohio. We provide funding and assistance to all railroads (class I’s, regionals, and short lines) in the state in order to protect rail access for Ohio industries and communities. Unfortunately due to a limited budget, we can only prioritize our projects to the ones we feel will have the biggest impact for its cost. Yet, that will not stop us from promoting and trying to find alternative sources to solve Ohio’s diverse rail needs.

Thank you all for your responses and it is good to see such public concern for the future of the Peavine!

In regards to j32885’s comment about passenger rail corridors:
• Ohio state law says that an initial passenger rail route must connect the “3C Corridor” of Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati.
• Currently there are no passenger rail programs at the ORDC. The FRA Midwest passenger rail study is looking at all routes in the Midwest including Ohio. Some of the routes you have described are included in that study! Information regarding this plan can be found at www.midwestrailplan.org
• Your suggestions for routes will definitely be added into our public outreach database for passenger rail.

Thank you for your input j32885!

In regards to redside20’s comments:
• It is not appropriate for ORDC to discuss or speculate on any specific project. However there are briefings available on our website for any projects considered for financial assistance by the ORDC.
• For the Indiana Eastern Railroad, we understand that the majority of traffic is generated on the Ohio side of the line while a large amount of track is on the Indiana side. In such circumstances we would work with our counterparts in the Indiana DOT on any potential project.

Again thanks to everyone who responded!

Also, if you would like to make a comment through email: please feel free to email me anytime at sean.neef@dot.ohio.gov and I will try and get back to you as soon as I can.

Have a great 4th of July!

Sean
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Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby heypal6878 » Tue Jul 04, 2017 9:02 am

Sean did a great job explaining in detail all the events that are going on with the railroad. Very informative indeed and a good detail of what is going on with the Peavine as many people are interested in this line. Clearly noted in the Peavine posts. That line is far from dead but as stated it may never opened up all the way again to Vera and beyond. Unless a major company decides to open up out that way and run rail transport the line then may be valuable enough to open up all the way again but until then one way in and one way out.

The CET is doing a great job on storage and I understand there is a possibility (or more talk) of either going more to the east if the storage business continues to thrive. The CET may want more line opened. So more good news on the Peavine if this all comes together.
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Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby MSchwiebert » Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:13 pm

For the passenger train side of things, I'd be getting rid of that language that mandates "3C" be first - pronto. You'll never get the rest of Ohio on board if you keep pushing that albatross first.
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Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby northstar16 » Tue Jul 04, 2017 5:43 pm

I agree with Heypal on the point that this Ohio Rail Plan by ORDC is by far the best information on this site Ohio site. Finally we have someone that knows exactly what is going on and not some BS that some people post here that isn't true. I for one give the CET some credit as they stepped in and took over the Peavine when NS bailed out when they couldn't make any more money on it. Sure the CET is just running storage and doing a pretty darn good job of it. I took at ride today and noticed the Peavine is loaded with tankers on the sidings and rumor has it more are coming next week. Tank storage is good money when there is little to no business on the line as far a rail transport. Hopefully some company will build along the Peavine that is what the State of Ohio is waiting for as well.

As far as the I&O they have plenty of business on their line on the Midland Sub their yard is full all of the time. Good for them but running trains day after day takes a toll on the rails and they to will need to do some repair on the lines.

AS far as passenger trains I agree the "3C" needs to go away. There are plenty of other routs that should be considered.

That is my two cents worth on this fourth of July.
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Re: Ohio Rail Plan 2017

Unread postby Geno » Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:47 pm

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:







heypal6878 wrote:Sean did a great job explaining in detail all the events that are going on with the railroad. Very informative indeed and a good detail of what is going on with the Peavine as many people are interested in this line. Clearly noted in the Peavine posts. That line is far from dead but as stated it may never opened up all the way again to Vera and beyond. Unless a major company decides to open up out that way and run rail transport the line then may be valuable enough to open up all the way again but until then one way in and one way out.

The CET is doing a great job on storage and I understand there is a possibility (or more talk) of either going more to the east if the storage business continues to thrive. The CET may want more line opened. So more good news on the Peavine if this all comes together.
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