American Railroads

News each weekday of American railroads. Our focus is on freight rail, but Amtrak and commuter rail are also essential ingredients. Nothing published on holidays.

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Location: Middleburg (Jacksonville), Florida, United States

Published in Trains magazine, Railfan & Railroad, Passenger Train Journal

Monday, October 02, 2006

Railroad leaves mess after cleaning up

For weeks, Gerald R. Chudy watched workers clean up the New England Central Railroad line that runs next door to his Three Rivers business, Chudy Oil in Palmer, Mass. – but when they left almost two weeks ago and didn’t take their mess with them, he contacted the Board of Health.

There were a load of steel, a broken telephone pole, a heap of garbage bags and empty buckets of hydraulic fluid, along with railroad ties, and piles of brush, the Springfield Republican reported last week.

“The garbage was starting to smell, that’s why I called the Board of Health,” Chudy told the Springfield Republican on Friday.

Chudy is also concerned about oil spills – dark spots were seen on the ground, and containers of Rotella motor oil are mixed with the trash. Chudy is concerned because he said spills should be reported to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

“I’m actually surprised the environmental people haven’t showed up here,” he said.

Chudy contacted Board of Health member John Lukaskiewicz, who visited the site and took photographs.

Charles D. Hunter, general manager of New England Central Railroad, told reporter Lori Stabile that this was the first he was hearing about a problem.

“If there’s garbage and it’s our property, we would pick it up,” Hunter said. “We haven’t heard from anybody about any problem.”

Hunter said workers have been cleaning the entire 350-mile freight railroad, which runs from the Canadian border to New London, Conn.

Lukaskiewicz said he had trouble initially getting in touch with a railroad representative, but said when he talked to Hunter on Friday, Hunter told him a crew would clean up the mess next week.

Lukaskiewicz noted that the town owns the land in back of Chudy’s, which is at the corner of Main and Bridge streets, so some of the debris is on town property. Lukaskiewicz said he has also contacted an environmental protection department representative about the spilled oil.

Boston ski trains returning

In the early days of North American skiing, trains carried eager skiers to the slopes of New England and New York, but the proliferation of automobiles led to the demise of the ski trains.

Now, however, as gasoline prices remain high, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail Company (MBCR) are reviving ski trains by introducing commuter rail service to Wachusett Mountain this winter, according to Online Ski Magazine of September 28.

Skiers and snowboarders will be able to take the commuter rail from Boston’s North Station to nearby Fitchburg, Mass. on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the ski and snowboard season. The current scheduled weekend ski train service will leave North Station at 8:35 a.m. and arrive at the Fitchburg commuter rail station at 10:06 a.m. Wachusett will then arrange to have customers picked up and shuttled directly to the mountain, approximately 10 minutes away. Wachusett will then arrange to shuttle customers back to the Fitchburg station for a 5:35 p.m. departure back to Boston, arriving at North Station at 7:00 p.m.

“In this day of high gasoline prices, the ski train provides our Boston-area customers with an incredible option for public transportation to the mountain,” said David Crowley, Wachusett General Manager.

“There hasn’t been a transportation option available like this since the era of the gasoline shortages.”

FEC double-tracking grows

Florida East Coast has added some three miles of double tracking on its mainline between Indian River City and Frontenac. The route was tied together on Saturday. Power crossover switches at milepost 158.5 were put in service and named CP 158.5. The double-tracking ends near MP 162, for now. Eventually it will connect southward to an existing siding between MP 162.2 to166.8.On the north end, it will connect at MP 158 to another existing siding ending at MP 154.7. Upon completion, the double-track will be about 12 miles long.


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