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Salamanca Coaling Towers, J'town station siding
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   Salamanca Coaling Towers, J'town station siding
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   Author  Topic: Salamanca Coaling Towers, J'town station siding  (Read 280 times)
roc
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Salamanca Coaling Towers, J'town station siding
 
« on: Aug 22nd, 2017, 1:21am »
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The long-derelict, twin-coaling towers sitting orphaned in what was once the Erie Salamanca Yard are being taken down. Don't know the reason — eyesore? danger?
 
Found this vid on Facebook…
 
https://www.facebook.com/ToddAndDebbie/videos/1619098454801182/
 
FWIW, this isn't exactly fresh news, but the J'town station is getting a siding of its own.
 
http://www.salamancapress.com/news/jamestown-grant-could-spur-rail-plan-through-cattaraugus-county/article_9f74a2ee-46df-11e7-8590-0fe9cf0e1899.html


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pablo
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Re: Salamanca Coaling Towers, J'town station siding
 
« Reply #1 on: Aug 29th, 2017, 8:39am »
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I cannot for the life of me understand what is happening with this project.
 
Dingman is singlehandedly the largest impediment to this project having success, and I know first hand that this problem could have been solved, and no one with the ability to do so has lifted a finger.
 
Separately, I know also that Jamestown (the city) is wandering around without a clue, and myself as well have others have offered to be a part of even the planning for...something. Anything. And this is more constructive thinking than "NS's lease won't let us run excursions," or anything like that. And the city wants no help.
 
A golden opportunity here with the comedy center, and running people, even if they are high-dollar people, back and forth from either Erie or Buffalo, not to mention a long-distance train from points East. With this comedy center here, and now, a known entity whose most recent event was met with positive reviews...all of these people are letting this opportunity, which is a once in a lifetime chance, to slip through their fingers.
 
All we can do is watch with frustration.


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Lfire83
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Re: Salamanca Coaling Towers, J'town station siding
 
« Reply #2 on: Aug 29th, 2017, 11:14pm »
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As much as I have a soft spot for the area as it's where I grew up, this project is a sad pipe dream propping up a dying town. The population of Jamestown has decreased by roughly a third since 1950, while two other cities I've lived in have grown by a third and 5 times their population respectively. Beautiful buildings have decayed after flight from the city to the point of routine arson, meth lab explosions, and collapses. They now have a metro drug task force (for a city of less than 30,000 people), are doing rolling fire station closures, and on nearly every fire volunteers from surrounding communities are brought in to supplement the defunded city forces. How will another taxpayer funded crutch help this town? Have there been any studies done showing that this will somehow be a sustainable revenue source? Unless there is viable and projected rail served industry on this corridor, I see it as a monumental waste of tax dollars, especially if Dingman is left to manage it.  
 
The news article states that only "a couple of miles of track and switches" need to be rebuilt for the track to be serviceable. I believe the track south of Conewango Valley (more than 6 miles to Waterboro) hasn't seen a train in 30 years or more and has several washouts in addition to severe brush overgrowth, correct me if I'm wrong. It doesn't look like the track between Cherry Creek and Conewango Valley has seen any work either, which is another 4+ miles). There's several bridges in this segment as well, if any of them are washed out or in need of repairs, it's major $$$. A basic tie gang with skim surfacing and only spot ballast renewal would set you back 1.5 million; if the ties are in poor condition, along with moderate bridge and culvert repairs, brush cutting, washout repair, ditching, minor switch work, along with the new Waterboro connection, this project would eat up 3 million dollars before you had something to run on. As most crappy shortlines are, it wouldn't surprise me if a large amount of rail had been scavenged from the OOS portion to keep the rest of the line running. After all, there's only so many sidings you can rip up. I've been there and done it, and it's a disgrace yet a common reality. Their website says their line is only rated for 263k, I assume this is due to poor bridge maintenance, since it was an ex-Erie line I assume they have a large rail section throughout. To any new rail served business that's a big deal, as it means not being able to fully load cars.  
 
Where will the money come from to maintain this segment? Perpetual taxpayer funded grants as there are with the rest of the line up to Gowanda? For a line with no real base as a passenger corridor, hemorrhaging millions of dollars into a part time tourist line dragging nonexistent passengers to a "comedy center" hosting a few headline events a year seems like a horrible idea.  
 


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roc
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Re: Salamanca Coaling Towers, J'town station siding
 
« Reply #3 on: Aug 30th, 2017, 10:41pm »
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How about direct access to Buffalo for the WNYP? That's probably, kind of, sort of worth some millions of dollars. If you have to call it "excursions to a museum for a comedian that's been dead nearly 30 years" to get it funded, I'm OK with that.

« Last Edit: Aug 31st, 2017, 11:18am by roc » Logged

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railwatcher
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Re: Salamanca Coaling Towers, J'town station siding
 
« Reply #4 on: Aug 30th, 2017, 11:27pm »
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It seems such an impossibility.   The lease with NS said no to excursion trains, has that changed?   PAs on the WNYP?  The quality of shows brought into the comedy blocks of Jamestown is not that great.   They appeal to the older MotorCoach crowd, but lack any true depth of acting and comedy talent.  Put in a siding there, it'll get a couple of uses and then sit rusty. There's not a strong enough drawing card. Sorry, I don't see it working.  
   As for opening a Buffalo thru route, remember the  under utilized Buffalo Line?  NY&LE is dreaming.  B&P pulled its line northbound north of the cascade viaduct opting  to use the Buffalo line and save cost of the bridge replacement.  
 
Greg


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Live from Avon, NY. Rail serviced by the LA&L.
roc
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Re: Salamanca Coaling Towers, J'town station siding
 
« Reply #5 on: Aug 31st, 2017, 12:01pm »
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I get your skepticism. That said, neither NYLE nor BS actually owns the lines they operate over. So, yes, there's a big hill, but there's also an opportunity for aggressive (WNYP) management to work its magic.
 
Also, and this is pure speculation, but BS interchanges with CSX and Canadian Pacific — couldn't that be a potential boon for the WNYP?
 
Lastly, WNYP could pick up a whole bunch of operating Alcos as well as hulks with parts.


« Last Edit: Aug 31st, 2017, 10:33pm by roc » Logged

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Lfire83
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Re: Salamanca Coaling Towers, J'town station siding
 
« Reply #6 on: Aug 31st, 2017, 8:28pm »
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As it currently stands, I can't see any interchange traffic coming out of Buffalo being even remotely profitable, except in a unit train to a nonexistent customer, likely needing to be doubled over the hill at Gowanda. Imagine a car interchanging onto the BSOR, getting picked up the next day, ran to Gowanda, picked up the next day, ran to Waterboro / Falconer, and picked up the next day to go either direction, likely getting spotted the following day. 4 days across 3 shortlines, and that's if interchange is made daily, which is a rarity on a small shortline. It would likely be more than a week for a car to get spotted, and they're only 263k cars... not too many customers would be satisfied with that service, and it won't make money.
 
Even if WNYP were to to take over which would be a huge improvement over the current operation, where would the revenue be to justify all those added route miles? If there were a solid plan with the county IDA's to develop the corridor and bring rail served business it may pan out as revenue neutral. I can't see it being profitable without a major surge of traffic. There just aren't the customers, not even on the existing WNYP.


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roc
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Re: Salamanca Coaling Towers, J'town station siding
 
« Reply #7 on: Sep 1st, 2017, 4:19am »
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Pretty sure any unit trains would be heading south when loaded and north on the MT — ie lumber, paper (in blocks), grain, frack sand, tar sands oils, ND crude, etc.
 
Dingman used to say his line would make a great gateway for Canadian lumber coming South. Not sure how valid that was or might now be.


« Last Edit: Sep 2nd, 2017, 10:00pm by roc » Logged

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pablo
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Re: Salamanca Coaling Towers, J'town station siding
 
« Reply #8 on: Sep 1st, 2017, 8:08am »
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Sorry I missed a couple of days here.
 
RE: Lfire’s first post…
 
Yes, Jamestown is almost a complete dumpster fire. However, big money has been, and will continue to be, available for this project. There are large plans afoot for the comedy center, and now that they are sinking a fair amount of money into the ice arena (no insignificant thing on its own), Jamestown will be a destination for people that would never come here otherwise. The time is now to take advantage of it.
 
The line from Conewango Valley to Waterboro is going to take a lot of work. Never mind that whatever rail is there will need to basically be scrapped and relaid, the washout just north of Cowens Corners Road (Google Maps shows rails still there, albeit in the air over the Twenty-Eighth Creek) will be a big deal. I physically walked to that washout years back for a work project and it’s fair to say that the washout has not gotten better in the decade since.
 
Ignore what the P-J says, as they don’t know much about railroad (not blaming them for this, just saying) and they continue to get fed nonsense to report.
 
RE: roc’s next post…
 
I don’t know if the interchange in Buffalo matters as much to the WNYP anymore now that they have the Buffalo line north of Olean, especially as that interchange now leads straight to the WNYP’s headquarters/main yard.
 
RE: railwatcher’s post…
 
I won’t disagree overall with what you’re saying.
 
However, if they’re already thinking outside the box (don’t forget the regular hockey and ice-skating tourneys at Jamestown, which are real and exist) and LucyFest, if they get smart and split the weekend for two weeks where people come in, maybe on back-to-back weekends, perhaps an additional weekend or two using Jamestown as a hub for a rail weekend? You’re going to have to work to get something out of any money spent on rail, at least for the public to see.
 
RE: roc’s second post…
 
And here’s where roc gets it right, as always.  
 
The line isn’t owned by the BS or by the NYLE (more on that in a second). The interchanges that he mentions might mean something for the WNYP. I expect that they would mean a lot more for the BS, who would now have access to the heart of Pennsylvania, direct, for traffic on the CSX and from the Canadians.
 
The IDAs own the rails. For some reason, the IDAs responsible for this line have seen the traffic dwindle on the line to nothing. I know why I think this traffic was cut to nothing, but I’m not going to put it in a public forum (I’m right, by the way). However, the taxpayers of the region are spending money to get zero benefit. There are two obvious, real rail options to take over the line and manage it if you wanted rails to get traffic again. You would have to ask the IDA why they think it’s OK that someone is using the line for a 1:1 model train layout instead of supporting what little customer base there is left.
 
I believe that the two railroads own their own locomotives, and I am pretty sure that Pat on the BS and Mr. Dingman on the NYLE would keep their units. From what I remember, the BS locomotives are well-cared for, as is the line: the BS was even used for a “major” film from a race-car driver some time ago, and no one would take that chance with poorly-maintained equipment. No clue as to the status of NYLE materiel.
 
RE: LFire’s second post…
 
Correct. If this were to work, and let’s pretend that the BS ran the whole line, Buffalo to Waterboro, perhaps even to interchange in Jamestown (like the old B&SW did, many years ago), they would have to be able to get down and back in a day. Think about what that would mean for speeds on the line. Think about what that would mean for motive power (six axles) and then think about what the line would need to be upgraded to handle that. If it’s for a boutique, where we’re just proving the line is open, ok…but speed’s going to matter at some point.
 
Now think about a passenger excursion from (near) the Buffalo airport to Jamestown for Lucy Fest/Comedy weekend. Are those people going to be fine with a two-day trip?
 
Speed kills. It might be what kills the whole idea.
 
RE: roc’s third post…
 
This was the crux of Dingman’s argument to buy/lease/manage/operate the line from Gowanda to Meadville, a long time ago, essentially connecting his two railroads. I can’t say that the traffic exists for it, because it never materialized over the entire time of the WNYP.  


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