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From North Dakota to New Brunswick


CRUDE OIL FROM NORTH DAKOTA’S BAKKEN FORMATION may have found a new market in the far East. In far eastern Canada, that is, at the J.D. Irving refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick, the country’s largest. In late May a 104-car test trainload of crude was loaded at Bakken Oil Express in Dickinson, N.D. on BNSF Railway and moved to Chicago, where CSX ES40DC No. 5410 was tacked on ahead of the three BNSF motors for the journey to Rotterdam Junction, N.Y., where the entire train was quickly turned over to Pan Am Railway. PAR moved the heavy consist to Waterville, Maine, where it was broken down into a 68-car unit train with the remainder moving in train POSJ (Portland-Saint John) for the final move via PAR to Mattawamkeag, Maine, and then over Irving’s Eastern Maine Railway and New Brunswick Southern for final delivery. On May 26 the unusual move- ment crossed the former Boston & Maine bridge over the Merrimack


once a day out of Clearfield, and the track will be good for 25 m.p.h. In addition, the project will return the Moshannon Creek Viaduct and Peale Tunnel to service. At press time, no timeline had been specified for the start of con- struction.


SunRail


COMMUTER LINE TRACKWORK BEGINS: Trackwork for Florida’s new SunRail com- muter system started on May 21 as crews tamped and leveled the former CSX main line from the Orlando Amtrak station seven miles east to Maitland, part of the 31-mile first phase which will extend from Orlando to DeBary. The second phase will extend service east of De- Bary to Deland and west of Orlando to Poin- ciana, for a total of 611/2 miles. Service is ex- pected to begin on the first segment in 2014 and the entire line should be open by 2016. In the past year, CSX has been busy upgrad-


ing its single-track former Seaboard “S Line” between Baldwin and Lakeland with longer


River on trackage owned by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Au- thority (above) at Haverhill, Mass.; Pan Am provides freight service on this line. Two other competing routes exist between the Bakken and Saint


John; Canadian Pacific/Montreal, Maine & Atlantic/EMRY/NBSR, which would handle oil that originates on former Soo Line trackage, and Canadian National’s route over the top of Maine through Quebec and New Brunswick. CN serves an oil transloading facility at Willmar on the edge of southern Saskatchewan’s oil fields, which are part of the Bakken formation. MMA planned to begin handling unit oil trains in June, increasing its thrice-weekly runs between Brownville Junction, Maine, and Montreal to accommodate the traffic. The Irving refinery can process over 400 cars’ worth of oil every day and is expanding its rail facilities to unload 100 cars at a time.


sidings and improved signaling to accommo- date the freight traffic which will be diverted from the Orlando route during SunRail’s oper- ating hours. CSX retains an operating ease- ment over the state-owned trackage through - Orlando, and Florida Central retains its trackage rights over a short stretch between downtown Orlando and CSX’s Taft Yard, where the freight roads interchange.


Texas State Railroad


NEW OPERATOR TO PICK UP REINS: Iowa Pacific Holdings has made a bid to take over the operation of the Texas State Railroad from American Heritage Railways, through its Permian Basin Railways subsidiary. In Febru- ary, American Heritage began to experience cash flow problems and asked on-line towns Rusk and Palestine to forgive two $500,000 loans and requested $600,000 in financial as- sistance from the Texas State Railroad Author- ity. The towns agreed to reduce their interest rates, but TSRA declined to provide an influx of


cash. American Heritage said it was committed to to operating through the 2012 season even as it held discussions with Iowa Pacific. Iowa Pacific says the line can’t be financial-


ly viable unless it offers common carrier freight service in addition to the existing steam and diesel passenger excursions. So, the company is negotiating with Union Pacific to establish a freight interchange at Palestine, which would require upgrading three miles of track between the current end of TSR opera- tions and the UP. Iowa Pacific says it could as- sume TSR operations within 30 to 90 days of receiving permission from the Surface Trans- portation Board to provide freight service. Permian Basin owns several short lines and excursion operators including Colorado’s San Luis & Rio Grande and the Saratoga & North Creek in New York. In addition, the company’s Pullman Sleeping Car Co. plans to offer first- class service using its own cars behind Am- trak’s Lake Shore Limited and City of New Or- leans from Chicago to New York and New Orleans beginning this fall.


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KEVIN BURKHOLDER


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