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Old 11-07-2023, 06:25 AM
 
31,904 posts, read 26,961,756 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Higherho View Post
Thank you for the insight, I was not aware of the contrail part. Oh don’t remind me of that route 15 bypass. Went to college up in Williamsport and when I heard of that (when it first was announced), I was like “seriously, put that money towards rail instead plate”.
Conrail once formed and given basically entire huge swaths of RR ROW in northeast made some horrible decisions based largely on their own interests. Many of those decisions are still having negative reverberations today.

https://railroad.net/conrail-route-a...s-t158695.html

Federal government, New Jersey and Pennsylvania are spending tens of millions to put back a small portion of Lackawanna Cutoff that Contrail tore up/down.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lackaw...1979–present)
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Old 11-07-2023, 04:30 PM
 
Location: Western PA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BugsyPal View Post
Conrail once formed and given basically entire huge swaths of RR ROW in northeast made some horrible decisions based largely on their own interests. Many of those decisions are still having negative reverberations today.

https://railroad.net/conrail-route-a...s-t158695.html

Federal government, New Jersey and Pennsylvania are spending tens of millions to put back a small portion of Lackawanna Cutoff that Contrail tore up/down.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lackaw...1979–present)

conrail had no interests, it was not a corporation to make money...it was a GSE to stop bleeding and be sold off. It was in its charter.


given the <500mile drayage standard for intermodal, double stack yards in central, eastern pa and NJ, feed the northeast of the US with no lines needed - the population will NOT tolerate trains.


and that cutoff...there are exactly no reasons to run intermodal up there and coal is dead and all steel making and foundries are dead and passenger will not come back. its a boon doggle.
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Old 11-09-2023, 08:21 AM
 
Location: Minneapolis, MN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BugsyPal View Post
Very long story short Penn-Central was insolvent and looking to raise capital by selling off assets. Pittsburg's Union Station was one such asset.

By early 1970's Penn-Central was a hot mess. Merger of two railroads that once had been at each others throats and major competitors (PRR and New York Central) was not going well. Penn-Central needed cash and like nearly every other RR in USA at that time began shedding assets or doing whatever else to save or bring in money.
Interesting history and turn of events! -Thanks for taking the time to share it.
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Old 11-09-2023, 10:35 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Camden Northsider View Post
Interesting history and turn of events! -Thanks for taking the time to share it.
YW! Anytime.....

One thing to keep in mind is that railroads were (and still are) taxed on virtually all property they own. This includes ROW (tracks, sidings, extensions...) terminals, stations, yards and so forth. When a RR is (or was) making money such taxes could be seen as cost of doing business. But when things start going south and bean counters start looking for ways to save money and or bring in revenue getting rid of stations, terminals and other real estate are often top of list.

PRR's Penn Station in NYC is poster child for "lost" RR stations or terminals, but there are plenty more across the country.

By 1950's into 1960's and beyond passenger rail travel was falling off a cliff. RR's themselves for host of reasons were in bad financial shape as well. Those huge barns of stations and terminals by this time were not only often underused (due to declining passenger rail passenger traffic), but many were getting on and required heavy maintenance and or repair work if not updating. All that required money which RRs just didn't have. It also wasn't helping by that time nation's RRs were doing all they could to ditch passenger service fast as ICC would let them.

Quite honestly repurposing much of Pittsburg Union Station into housing and hospitality is best thing that could have happened IMHO.

Union Station was never no more going to see passenger rail traffic like it did in it's heyday. Finding new use for building brings in money which allowed the station to be renovated and maintained.

https://www.wpxi.com/archive/this-da...KJDWABZROJXQI/

After sitting derelict and going to rack and ruin with > 34 years of various private owners doing nothing, Ford got their mitts on Detroit's Central Station and is finally doing the place some good.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppGNw8kEwOI
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Old 11-10-2023, 11:52 AM
 
Location: Minneapolis, MN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BugsyPal View Post
Quite honestly repurposing much of Pittsburg Union Station into housing and hospitality is best thing that could have happened IMHO.

Union Station was never no more going to see passenger rail traffic like it did in it's heyday. Finding new use for building brings in money which allowed the station to be renovated and maintained.
You're probably right- I just hate to see historic sites initially intended for public use become exclusive via private ownership (albeit I suppose it was already private under RR ownership). I've had the fortune of getting to work on projects in Mpls that rehab formerly public-owned, historic buildings and bring them back into public use via 501c3 ownership/community development initiatives (so privately-owned but with a public purpose & open to the public).

To your second point: as a card-carrying Amtrak traveler, it feels like rail travel is seeing a bit of a resurgence that I'm curious to see play out in coming years. Pre-pandemic, it felt like trains were pretty rarely booked to capacity (midwest to east coast and back), but all my trips since 2020 have been pretty close to or actually sold out. This might not be the case were it not for Amtrak being the Amish's chosen mode of long-distance transport, but I know a number of folks who are intentionally avoiding flights whenever possible due to environmental concerns.

Last edited by Camden Northsider; 11-10-2023 at 12:01 PM..
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Old 11-10-2023, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
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How do you get a card? I'm a rewards member, but nobody sent me a card.
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Old 11-11-2023, 09:13 AM
 
31,904 posts, read 26,961,756 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Camden Northsider View Post
You're probably right- I just hate to see historic sites initially intended for public use become exclusive via private ownership (albeit I suppose it was already private under RR ownership). I've had the fortune of getting to work on projects in Mpls that rehab formerly public-owned, historic buildings and bring them back into public use via 501c3 ownership/community development initiatives (so privately-owned but with a public purpose & open to the public).

To your second point: as a card-carrying Amtrak traveler, it feels like rail travel is seeing a bit of a resurgence that I'm curious to see play out in coming years. Pre-pandemic, it felt like trains were pretty rarely booked to capacity (midwest to east coast and back), but all my trips since 2020 have been pretty close to or actually sold out. This might not be the case were it not for Amtrak being the Amish's chosen mode of long-distance transport, but I know a number of folks who are intentionally avoiding flights whenever possible due to environmental concerns.
Passenger rail travel may see an uptick in USA but understand one thing; the service historically never is or was profitable on its own.

Maybe early in days of rail things may have been different but by and large freight is what paid a railroad's bills. Passenger rail cannot and does not exist without some sort of subsidy. in Europe, Asia and elsewhere passenger rail receives direct or indirect government assistance. Amtrak is the only Class I RR in USA that offers passenger service. https://public.railinc.com/about-rai...0a%20Class%20I.

Freight RRs in this country abandoned money losing passenger service fast as ICC would allow. Amtrak was created to mop up long distance/interstate passenger rail service, but by federal charter is prohibited from carrying freight. So Amtrak like passenger RRs world over receives government money either directly or indirectly. Farebox recover rates for passenger service then nor now cover costs entirely.

As it relates to this thread PRR, New York Central, Erie Lackawanna and rest of great railroads that served north east began having issues when coal was largely replaced by oil, natural gas and diesel for heating, motive power, raising steam, etc.... Other shoe fell when manufacturing began to decline and or just fleeing north east and mid-west for places elsewhere. RRs simply lost huge amounts of customer base and there often just wasn't enough traffic left that warranted two or more RRs duking it out.

Pennsylvania was once big coal and steel country. RR's out of that state made their money hauling coal and coke from mines to points east or west. This included docks along New Jersey and PA where coal was exported to world markets.

Amtrak only has a handful of profitable routes. Northeast Corridor is the largest followed by a few others. Otherwise Amtrak is in same boat as railroads of old; it runs long distance passenger service at a loss in many instances. It would be wise financially to cut those routes, but each time Amtrak raises that issue someone's grandmother who rides a train once a year gets upset. Letters are written to congress persons who call out Amtrak receives federal money so they better think on.
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Old 11-11-2023, 09:33 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
6,782 posts, read 9,592,707 times
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Roads are subsidized, airlines are subsidized, airports are subsidized. The question isn't is passenger rail profitable. The question is whether or not the subsidies to rail enable the economic and social benefits that make the subsidies worth it.
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Old 11-11-2023, 09:56 AM
 
31,904 posts, read 26,961,756 times
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Originally Posted by Moby Hick View Post
Roads are subsidized, airlines are subsidized, airports are subsidized. The question isn't is passenger rail profitable. The question is whether or not the subsidies to rail enable the economic and social benefits that make the subsidies worth it.
Says you. Try telling that to those fighting for those various pots of federal and or state infrastructure money. Air, and road nearly always win out over passenger rail.

Right now thanks to Biden and democrats in Congress who shoved that huge infrastructure bill through Congress Amtrak and other rail are seeing vast infusions of federal funds. That money however is largely going to playing catch up in doing repair, replacement and so forth of RR ROW that is basically falling apart.

Big fights are to come in future over investment in new RR ROW and other improvements such as HSR plans for Texas and California much less just better passenger service overall.

Getting back to subject as it relates to this thread freight railroads own virtually all rail ROW in USA. Amtrak only owns a small portion of its ROW (largely NEC). As we've seem with announcement in OP any efforts to get better service for Amtrak usually involve paying (or paying off) freight railroad that owns track.

Of course there are ways around this, same as back in day a new ROW could be built, good luck with that. California is trying to build a new HSR line and it's costing billions for a relatively small bit of track and other infrastructure.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q79BHfxfaSI


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQTjLWIHN74
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Old 11-11-2023, 10:22 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
6,782 posts, read 9,592,707 times
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Big fights over budgets continue, yes. There's no reason to think the results will be the same as in the past. Flying is worse every year and drivers seem more intent on getting six feet ahead of some other car than not dying. I'm not the only one looking for changes.
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