The long dormant plan to connect the US and Canada to Alaska by Rail.

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 10:39 PM

CMStPnP

 

 
Murphy Siding
What is the traffic going to be from Russia and Alaska that is going to be growing?

 

It would be cheaper to ship from CONUS and Alaska supplies for Oil Drilling and Pipelines to the Russian Far East than it would to ship from Europe.    Russia to U.S. depends on what Russia develops but I would imagine Korea which is not unified now but probably will be in the next 10-20 years, would ship autos and China consumer goods via Russia.

 

Is Russia drilling for oil in Siberia? If they found oil, they would simply run a pipeline to the coast and send it by ship.

     I would suggest that any major amounts of supplies for oil drilling or pipelines to the Russian Far East would most likely be produced in China.

      What clues do you have that Korea would probably be reunited in 10-20 years? In the unlikely event that did happen, why wouldn't autos ship from the Port of Seoul to the Port of Los Angeles by sea?

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Posted by wanswheel on Wednesday, October 11, 2017 11:13 AM

Speaking of Russia, next week we can celebrate the 150th anniversary of the formal transfer of Alaska to the United States.

 https://archive.org/stream/historyofalaska100banc#page/590/mode/2up

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Posted by CMStPnP on Thursday, October 12, 2017 10:49 PM

Murphy Siding
why wouldn't autos ship from the Port of Seoul to the Port of Los Angeles by sea?

By sea it is a much longer distance, that was the whole motivation for the Russians building the Tunnel across the Bering Strait in the first place.    To collect tarriffs from the Asian countries.

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Thursday, October 12, 2017 10:58 PM

CMStPnP
 

 

 
Murphy Siding
why wouldn't autos ship from the Port of Seoul to the Port of Los Angeles by sea?

 

By sea it is a much longer distance, that was the whole motivation for the Russians building the Tunnel across the Bering Strait in the first place.    To collect tarriffs from the Asian countries.

 

Longer perhaps, but is it cheaper by all rail?  If you play with Google Maps, it doesn't look a lot longer to go from Seoul to Chicago by ship through Seattle, then rail to Chicago than it is to go rail through South Korea, North Korea, China, Russia, USA, Canada, USA.

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Posted by Fred M Cain on Friday, October 13, 2017 7:01 AM

Murphy Siding

Longer perhaps, but is it cheaper by all rail?  If you play with Google Maps, it doesn't look a lot longer to go from Seoul to Chicago by ship through Seattle, then rail to Chicago than it is to go rail through South Korea, North Korea, China, Russia, USA, Canada, USA.

I don't know who CMStPnP is but I'm with him on this one.  There are a lot of reasons to build such a line and, as I said before, some of those reasons are provided on this website: http://www.interbering.com/

The cost would be huge but would probably pay for itself over time. The issue is how does one come up with the funding to begin with?  There are a lot of other problems that would need to be overcome but possibly could be overcome in time.

I do not expect to see this ever happen in my lifetime but that doesn't mean it will never happen at all.  After all, there were a lot of people that didn't believe they'd ever build the tunnel under the English Channel but it finally happened after all.

There are probably a lot of people who are now glad it was built.

Regards,

Fred M. Cain

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Posted by CMStPnP on Friday, October 13, 2017 11:58 AM

Fred M Cain
I don't know who CMStPnP is

Just call me the conscience of trains.com.......lol.   

Seriously, would love to post my real name and occupation.    There are a few people on here who I think have anger management issues that I fear would call in that I do not want to burden my employer with.   :)

Additionally, my employer wants me to maintain secrecy on what I do during the day for security reasons of not becomming a target.    They like to keep a low profile for reasons that are well beyond my comprehension.

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Posted by 54light15 on Friday, October 13, 2017 12:02 PM

Regarding Alaska- "Loafers, Harlots, who else? 

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Posted by Fred M Cain on Friday, October 13, 2017 12:25 PM

Dear "CMStPnP",

That's fine, I'm with you on that, too!

Now, here's something REALLY crazy.  In addition to a rail connection to Alaska, another one of my dream projects would be Rebuild the Milwaukee's Pacific Coast extension.  Crazy?  Sure, but, it would:

1. Reintroduce and invigorate rail-to-rail competition in much of the Northwest.

2. Bring back rail-freight service to many communitites in Montana, Idaho and Washington resulting in a huge economic boost to those communities. (Many of those places suffered severe economic hardship when the line was abandoned.)

3. Reduce congestion on the parallel BNSF lines.

 

I also believe that the abandonment of the Milwaukee was one of the most stupid, short-sighted transportation decisions that has ever been perpetrated in our country.  Railroad management, the president and Congress all really dropped the ball.

Regards,

Fred M. Cain

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Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Friday, October 13, 2017 1:29 PM

Straigic minerals like lithium polymomdium, ubobtainium, or what ever did Marvin The Martion had

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvjR9n5EQHc

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Posted by CMStPnP on Saturday, October 14, 2017 12:47 PM

Fred M Cain
I also believe that the abandonment of the Milwaukee was one of the most stupid, short-sighted transportation decisions that has ever been perpetrated in our country.  Railroad management, the president and Congress all really dropped the ball.

I actually think that the Milwaukee Road bankruptcy and ceasing operations on the Milwaukee Road West probably saved the BN merger from eventual financial hardship in the mid-1970's to early-1980's.............that and Powder River Basin Coal contracts.

I think they should have cleaned the debt off the Milwaukee's books from the PCE and let it try once more with a financial package like they gave Conrail to rehab the tracks and rail banked the PCE or rehabbed it for a designated operator.    Milwaukee should have been allowed to continue as a Midwestern Road with the debt of the PCE cleaned from it's books and a complete track rehab plan.   Also, given the future FIRST option of buying the PCE back from the government, if it wanted it back.

However, lets face it.   Allowing the Milwaukee to continue, it probably would have attempted to build into the PRB for the coal contracts and incurred more debt which would be causing it problems now.    Either that or Milwaukee would have attempted a closer marketing association with NS and KCS.    Who knows what futher trouble they would have got into OR if they would have been a success.

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, October 14, 2017 12:50 PM

I also believe that the abandonment of the Milwaukee was one of the most stupid, short-sighted transportation decisions that has ever been perpetrated in our country.  Railroad management, the president and Congress all really dropped the ball.

Regards,

Fred M. Cain

Agreed. It was greed and corporate theft and shenanigans...took a page right out of Stuart Saunders and Penn Central ...used it up and ran it into the ground along with their dedicated employees.

Much has been written about this. Some of their plan went awry with the unforseen consequences of the Oil Crisis combined with a big drop in copper prices messed up the plan to cash out on all that copper wire from the electric operations abandonment. Diesel went through the roof. The roadbed was a mess, they could not guarantee a train could get through without incident. Corporate raiders, crony capitalists, crooks. 

As for a Canada/Alaska rail route....build it...period. Then things happen. The resources alone are mind boggling. 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, October 14, 2017 4:32 PM

I've got no love for Stuart Saunders, the man who killed Norfolk and Western steam, (BOOOOO!  HISSSSSS!) but I wouldn't go so far as to call him a crook.

An incompetant, yes.  A crook, no.  It seems to me that once he got himself promoted to the top spot at the Pennsy he became a living example of the "Peter Principle."  It's happened before, it'll happen again.

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, October 14, 2017 5:26 PM

Yeah....he was a crook. 12 Million bucks was no small thing for individuals in the 70's.

Without admitting any culpability, Mr. Saunders was among a group of former directors and officers who later contributed to a $12 million settlement to end litigation brought by shareholders of the bankrupt railroad. The lawsuits accused the railroad's management of dereliction of duty and of responsibility for issuing false financial statements and misleading proxy material over a period of years.

AND...he was the guy who green lighted the destruction of Pennsylvania Station in the Big Apple and dumped its remains and columns in a swamp in New Jersey. 

That earned him the title of the Vandal of Pennsylavannia Station. 

He was a lawyer and a corporate weasel and could care less about anyone except his bank account ...not a railroader.

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Posted by Backshop on Saturday, October 14, 2017 5:30 PM

CMStPnP

Additionally, my employer wants me to maintain secrecy on what I do during the day for security reasons of not becomming a target.    They like to keep a low profile for reasons that are well beyond my comprehension. 

You're afraid of a couple of foamers?

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Posted by CMStPnP on Saturday, October 14, 2017 7:06 PM

Backshop
You're afraid of a couple of foamers?

Not really, just do not want to have to deal with the drama.

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Posted by samfp1943 on Saturday, October 14, 2017 7:34 PM

Miningman

"...I also believe that the abandonment of the Milwaukee was one of the most stupid, short-sighted transportation decisions that has ever been perpetrated in our country.  Railroad management, the president and Congress all really dropped the ball..."  [quoted and copied from a post, earlier by Fred M. Cain]

Regards,

Fred M. Cain

[Miningman quoted,further] "...Agreed. It was greed and corporate theft and shenanigans...took a page right out of Stuart Saunders and Penn Central ...used it up and ran it into the ground along with their dedicated employees.

Much has been written about this. Some of their plan went awry with the unforseen consequences of the Oil Crisis combined with a big drop in copper prices messed up the plan to cash out on all that copper wire from the electric operations abandonment. Diesel went through the roof. The roadbed was a mess, they could not guarantee a train could get through without incident. Corporate raiders, crony capitalists, crooks. 

"...As for a Canada/Alaska rail route....build it...period. Then things happen. The resources alone are mind boggling..."   YeahWow  Thumbs UpThumbs Up    

['...Build IT, and they will come!.." ]       Whistling

 

And also, to what Firelock 76 said: Most around here would tend to agree; unfortunately, in the current business climates, and general business environment. All to true. Included in the mix; the shenanigans of the individuals who 'Had their hands on the throtles of the railroads [or maybe, around the necks of those same railroads?]  Then the  situations get exacerbated by vaugeries of finance, and 'the markets;, as well as those Cronies,Raiders,Capatalists, and just plain crooked types, each looking to feather their own nests...My 2 Cents

Sam

 

 


 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, October 14, 2017 8:32 PM

I'll say I based my opinion on Stuart Saunders (And I have NO interest in turning this into a "Stuart Saunders Thread") from what I read about him in Rush Loving's super book "The Men Who Loved Trains."  Not just a great business history, but a great history as well, the first time I read it and every time I've re-read it I've found it almost impossible to put down.

In the book Saunders comes across as not really a bad guy, actually quite likeable in a lot of ways, but as someone who found out he was WAY over his head when he found himself in the top spot, a consensus builder when what was needed was a strong leader, a man who could see disaster coming but didn't have the skills or acumen to stop it.  I could go on and on but as I said I've no desire to hijack the thread.

If I have no use for ol' Stuart it's because of what he did to N&W steam, I just CAN'T forgive him for that one!  The "Holy Trinity" of N&W steam, the A's, the J's, and the Y's were so efficient that by all rights they should have lasted until 1965, maybe even 1970.  1975 would have been hoping for too much, though.  Maybe.

And he called himself a railroader and a son of Virginia!  I mean really!  Killing off those magnificent steam locomotives broke as many Virginia hearts as Appomattox did!  Maybe more! 

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Posted by Vern Moore on Saturday, October 14, 2017 10:54 PM

The end of N&W steam was more due to union concerns about commonality in engineer qualifications between the roads being merged into N&W (NKP, Wabash, P&WV and Virginian).

I've read that before those mergers N&W was planning to keep mainline steam in service until 1964 based on projected parts availability from outside providers.

But with the mergers the need to make the post-merger locomtive fleets common, N&W's steam had to be replaced with diesels that could run anywhere on the expanded N&W system.  The same reasoning was applied to the decision to replace the Virginian's electrics as well.

IIRC a neighbor who was an N&W engineer during those days said the decision for N&W to have their diesel locomotives set up long hood forward was another item that came about from discussions with the unions about making all their locomotives common between the merging railroads.

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, October 14, 2017 11:12 PM

Vern Moore-- That timeline is all wrong big time. N&W took over Wabash and NKP in 1964... they went totally Diesel in 1958, six years before. 

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Posted by erikem on Saturday, October 14, 2017 11:43 PM

The N&W was in active nerger discussions with the VGN, which effectively meant the end of VGN electrics as well as N&W steam. The VGN electrification was probably the most up-to-date electrification in the US when the wires came down in 1962.

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, October 15, 2017 11:01 AM

Vern Moore
IIRC a neighbor who was an N&W engineer during those days said the decision for N&W to have their diesel locomotives set up long hood forward was another item that came about from discussions with the unions about making all their locomotives common between the merging railroads.

Various carriers all had their own ideas of the question of long hood or short hood forward.  B&O went long hood; C&O went short hood - when they formed Chessie System it became short low nose forward.

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Posted by Norm48327 on Sunday, October 15, 2017 2:02 PM

Balt,

I believe long hood forward was a carry over from steam days. No doubt cab in the back protected steam enginers from a lot of incidents.

Norm


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Posted by DSchmitt on Sunday, October 15, 2017 3:19 PM

cx500
I'm not saying the resources don't exist; it's just that they are a long way from where the markets are and most can be found a lot closer.

The Soviet Union built mining and industrial facilities and railroads to serve them in Siberia and northern Russia along with small cities (schools, libraries, movie theaters and other recreational faciliries, parks, stores) for the workers.   Most were not economically viable, but under the Soviet system that did not matter.  A large number of them were quickly abandoned shortly after the Soviet government fell. 

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

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Posted by samfp1943 on Sunday, October 15, 2017 6:43 PM

Norm48327

Balt,

I believe long hood forward was a carry over from steam days. No doubt cab in the back protected steam enginers from a lot of incidents.

 

                       Thumbs UpThumbs Up  I would agree with both BaltACD and Norm 48327 ! I would further suggest that the doctrin of 'long hood forward' was in part a product of 'visibilty in the cab ', not to mention the Rail Industry trying to cut costs.

See linked site @http://www.nytimes.com/1972/03/29/archives/penn-central-men-bitter-as-deadline-on-crews-nears-crewsize-dispute.html

article: "Penn Central Men Bitter as Deadline on Crews Nears"

“We either implement the threeÔÇÉman crew concept, or we ultimately may face dissolution or nationalization at an initial cost to the country of billions of dollars,” asserts William H. Moore, the Penn Central's presi dent and chief executive.

The confrontation, which re calls the successful battle of American railroads, won in 1963, to remove most firemen from diesel locomotives, prom ises to be an epic clash between, on one hand, an industry bent on increasing employe produc tivity and, on the other, a un ion's efforts to protect its mem bership and a historic right won at the bargaining table..." [emphasis, added]

Recalling the times prior; Locomotive crews. were composed of an engineer, fireman, and two headend brakemen.  [So called 'Full Crews'. Laws requiring that count on crewmen, were 'legislated into State laws' in many States. Missouri and Arkansas were two I personally remember.        Trains leaving Memphis(Tn), and crossing into Arkansas were 'manned' by 'full crews' at that time (early 1960's). Engineer and Firemen in leading diesel unit, and the other Brakemen were riding in following unit's cabs. {Not enogh 'jump seats' provided in single units cabs!} 

Sam

 

 


 

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, October 15, 2017 10:43 PM

samfp1943
article: "Penn Central Men Bitter as Deadline on Crews Nears"

Recalling the times prior; Locomotive crews. were composed of an engineer, fireman, and two headend brakemen.  [So called 'Full Crews'. Laws requiring that count on crewmen, were 'legislated into State laws' in many States. Missouri and Arkansas were two I personally remember.        Trains leaving Memphis(Tn), and crossing into Arkansas were 'manned' by 'full crews' at that time (early 1960's). Engineer and Firemen in leading diesel unit, and the other Brakemen were riding in following unit's cabs. {Not enogh 'jump seats' provided in single units cabs!} 

Indiana had a 3rd Brakeman law for trains of more than 69 cars.

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, October 16, 2017 3:12 PM

A rail connection to Alaska can be part of a Bearing Straight tunnel project to have a rail connection between Asia and North America  - despite gauge problems.

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Posted by Fred M Cain on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 9:12 AM

daveklepper

A rail connection to Alaska can be part of a Bearing Straight tunnel project to have a rail connection between Asia and North America  - despite gauge problems.

 

 

Dave,

I don't know how important this is to most people but personally, I think it's a great idea.

Regards,

Fred M. Cain

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Posted by Norm48327 on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 3:41 PM

CN's map on line shows a dashed line running north from Prince Rupert to Anchorage. Perhaps that is in their future plans.

Norm


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Posted by usmc1401 on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 6:54 PM

The CN conects with car barge service in Prince Rupert to Alaska.

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