Archive for December, 2021

Gotta Fix That Headlight

December 31, 2021

It is early in the CSX era on the former Baltimore & Ohio Chicago-Pittsburgh mainline at Warwick Yard in Clinton. The train has stopped and a crew member has gotten out to repair and/or clean the headlight.

No. 6164 is a GP40-2 that was built for the Chesapeake & Ohio in 1978 where it carried roster number 4265.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

No Passenger Trains to Pull

December 30, 2021

We’re looking around the yard in Lafayette, Indiana, that once was used by the Monon Railroad. Something out of the ordinary to see today is EMD E7A No. 790, which is being stored here. In case you’re wondering how Louisville & Nashville passenger varnish wound up here, the L&N at this time owned the former Monon.

In its early years, Amtrak assigned former L&N E units to its Chicago-Florida South Wind and it passed through Lafayette on the former New York Central for several months until being rerouted in January 1972.

Interestingly, that train, renamed the Floridian in November 1971, would stop in Lafayette on the former Monon between March 1975 and its discontinuance in early October 1979.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

CSX 52 Leading in Barberton

December 30, 2021

CSX AC44CW No. 52 leads a container train on the single track segment of the New Castle Subdivision through Barberton on May 29, 2014. The unit was built by GE in February 1995. The cars on the left are on the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Can You Wash Locomotives, too?

December 30, 2021

I was driving in Clifton, Illinois, a small town located on the Chicago Subdivision of Canadian National, when I spotted this car wash located right next to a spur leading to a grain elevator complex. I was a little surprised at how close the business was to the track even if this line may be used sparingly. It also led me to wonder if a crew could wash its locomotive here. Probably not but it’s fun to think of the possibilities. A bay for locomotives could easily be added on to the building.

STB Denies Bid to Delay Arbitration Rulemaking

December 30, 2021

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board said this week it will continue a proceeding focused on using voluntary arbitration to resolve small rate cases.

The decision was made in denying a request from various shipper trade groups to delay the rule-making process in the case.

The shipper groups sought to delay the rule-making process until Class 1 railroads “state whether they would participate in the proposed program if arbitrators are permitted to consider revenue adequacy, as has been proposed by the Board.”

The STB said what the shippers are seeking is premature because it seeks to require rail carriers to pledge to participate in the proposed arbitration program based solely on the single issue of revenue adequacy before the record has been fully developed.

The rulemaking process regarding voluntary arbitration was launched in 2020 upon the request of five Class 1 railroads: Canadian National, CSX, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific.

The shippers groups seeking to delay the rule-making process included the American Chemistry Council, Corn Refiners Association, National Industrial Transportation League, The Chlorine Institute, and The Fertilizer Institute.

The STB said it will continue seeking public comment on the proposed rule through Jan. 14, 2022. It expects railroads to state their position on the revenue adequacy issue in their comments to the Board.

Reply comments will be accepted through April 15, 2022, while ex parte communications regarding the proposed rule will be are allowed until March 28, 2022.

B&O’s Diplomat in Kent

December 29, 2021

Baltimore & Ohio E8A No 1444 and its train, the westbound Diplomat, is pulling into the passenger station in Kent in the late 1960s or early 1970. This train had once been named the Shenadoah and was renamed Shenandoah in 1964

Because it was one of the few B&O passenger trains to serve Northeast Ohio in daylight it was often photographed in Kent and Akron.

On Jan. 6, 1970, the Interstate Commerce Commission decided not to block B&O’s plans to discontinue the Shenandoah and its eastbound counterpart — the Gateway — between Akron and Chicago.

The surviving trains were renamed Shenandoah and operated between Akron and Washington until the coming of Amtrak on May 1, 1971.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Port of Cleveland Wins $3M USDOT Grant

December 29, 2021

The Port of Cleveland will receive a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

A USDOT fact sheet said the port will use the funding to conduct a comprehensive planning study that will address cargo handling, environmental, and economic development needs, in addition to regional-level planning goals.

The six components of the study will include a market analysis, a terminal capacity analysis, an intermodal connection assessment, a plan for port de-carbonization, a coastal resilience plan, and a regional-level cargo capability study.

The port is overseen by the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority.

The Cleveland port is one of 25 receiving grants from the Maritime Administration’s Port Infrastructure Development Program

A USDOT news release said the ports are sharing $241 million in grant funding for fiscal year 2021.

The three-year-old PIDP program providing grants to port facility for freight infrastructure improvements that boost capacity and efficiency.

Other ports receiving grants are located in Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan.

Tell City, Indiana, will receive $1.6 million for the Ohio River Pier Project to fund fund construction of a 40-foot diameter pier for a crane that will be used for direct barge-to-truck unloading of cargo. The pier design will allow the crane to operate regardless of water levels.

In Paducah, Kentucky, the Bulk Yard Infrastructure Revitalization and Expansion Project will receive $3,3 million for several related infrastructure improvements at the port.

The improvements modernize the port’s material handling equipment, repair damaged facilities, and upgrade site conditions in the port’s Bulk Yard.

In Alpena, Michigan, $3.7 million was awarded to the city which is partnering with Lafarge Alpena to upgrade and modernize that company’s port and landside shipping facilities to meet the increasing demand for the plant’s construction products.

Project improvements include berth dredging to increase the water depths within the port basin to satisfy larger vessels, stone dock demolition to increase the overall area for vessels to access the site, new mooring dolphins, the addition of a roof for a storage building, demolition of a storage building, and maritime security upgrades.

In Marquette, Michigan, $1.6 million was awarded for a project to improve  port infrastructure, dredge encroaching sediment to protect port infrastructure, and deposit dredge materials on shore to enhance coastal restoration and protect road infrastructure at the Port of Marquette.

P&L Names New CEO

December 29, 2021

P&L Transportation, which operates regional and short line railroads in Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia, has named a new CEO.

Tom Garrett will replace the retiring Tony Reck on Jan. 1, 2022. Reck will continue to serve as chairman of the company and its subsidiaries.

Garrett is currently P&L’s president, a role he will continue to serve, the company said in a news release.

Reck joined P&L in 1986 as vice president of marketing and sales. He became its president and CEO in 1988.

Garrett has been with P&L since 1987 and held a number of management positions. He was named president in 2010.

P&L’s subsidiary railroads are the Paducah & Louisville; Evansville Western Railway; Appalachian & Ohio Railroad; and Midway Southern.

CSX Named to Forbes Magazine List

December 29, 2021

CSX said it has been named to the inaugural Forbes Green Growth 50 list of companies that are reducing greenhouse gas emissions while growing profits.

The Class 1 railroad system based in Jacksonville, Florida, tied for the 39th spot on thme list with Best Buy, Flowserve and JPMorgan Chase.

In a news release, CSX said it was the only railroad and only transportation company on the list.

Forbes said it created the list in cooperation with Morningstar division Sustainalytics “to screen American public companies according to their emissions reductions.”

The business magazine said CSX had 13 percent earnings growth and a 9 percent in GHG reduction during the period.

STB Sets Hearings on Reciprocal Switching

December 29, 2021

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board will hold public hearings on March 15-16 on proposed reciprocal switching regulations.

The hearings will be held in Washington at STB headquarters and streamed live online on the agency’s website.

The proposed regulations were first announced in July 2016 and would require railroads to establish switching arrangements by competing companies for certain shippers.

Those competing companies do not physically reach a shipper(s) and would be required to pay the host railroad a switching fee.

The proposed regulations have already received extensive comments from shippers, railroads and others but the STB said in a news release that “there have been significant changes in and affecting the freight rail industry” and therefore hearings are being held.

Those wishing to address the Board must notify it by Jan. 27, 2022. Written comments should be submitted by Feb. 14, 2022.

More information about the hearings can be found at