You cant get there from here--CSX and NS wont do short haul intermodal?

I have heard but confirmed that when I talked to the CSX rep that despite having a intermodal station in Cleveland and a Intermodal Station in Buffalo which is about 4 hours away that CSX want take containers between those points...Likewise NS wont take containers on rail from is Pittsburgh Yard to Harrisburg PA Rutherford Intermodal yard and that UPS drives them over. Would not common carrer law say if they have the trains and the ramps that they have to take the freight? How can the RRs afford to cherrypick there traffic like this? What if a company WANTS to pay a preimuim to  ship green or free up its drivers for local delivery.

15 Replies

  • commoncarrier

    I have heard but confirmed that when I talked to the CSX rep that despite having a intermodal station in Cleveland and a Intermodal Station in Buffalo which is about 4 hours away that CSX want (sic) take containers between those points...

    "Common carrier" is not a codeword for "slave of every passer-by", Ray.


  • In reply to anmccaff:

    um--CC law  means if the railroad has the stations and the trains they have to take all kinds of freight (and some say passengers) at a fair rate. Common Carrier Law was to prevent railroads from cherry picking custumers. RRs also in return got enimate domain to build the railroads row in the first place and a reduced tax burden

  • In reply to commoncarrier:

       Ray, you are talking to people who are far more familiar with the whole subject than you are, and, in fact, at least one, possibly two of the authors you are citing show up here once in a while.  There's a cost to running intermodal as well as a benefit to it, and it's only on long hauls that intermodal -always- makes better sense.  The distance at which short haul intermodal becomes feasible varies with a good dozen factors, and it is quite likely that the particular example you are giving would be greenwashing at its worst.

  • In reply to anmccaff:

    First, I suggest you read a decent text or consult a lawyer familiar with rail issues.  Common carriage simply requires that a railroad file a tariff and rules upon reasonable request.  If I were a senior rail marketing official, I might feel I was required to do just that, but there is no provision that prevents me from pricing your short haul at a price that you wouldn't go near.  I don't know who you are, common carrier, but you strike me as another one of these opinionated people who haven't the foggiest understanding of economics.  For intermodal, the length of haul where it was competitive with truck used to be about 1,200 miles, which is why IM developed mostly on the western carriers.  Today, thanks to sharply rising rates on trucks and some tremendous efficiencies by railroads that breakpoint is down around 500 miles.  None of the services "commoncarrier" cited are anywhere close to 500 miles.

  • In reply to commoncarrier:

    Good thing for the te or they would have an enima domain! I am not positive of the spelling either. Emminent Domain? Yes, it is OK to laugh!

  • In reply to anmccaff:

    I used a POD from ABF to mave 1,000 miles. I had it "professionally" packed. Pffffffssssstttt. My furniture was rubbed to a shinny gloss minus the stain/color. My dryer destroyed. That truck must have been used in a Dukes of Hazard remake stunt.

    P.S.- I don't ever want to see those bs meeting words on here again. greenwhat? please.

  • One better ... I once offered traffic to NS from Baltimore to Pittsburgh.  They refused, saying that is not an established service lane.

    But their train from Baltimore actually stopped at Pitcairn outside Pittsburgh, but only to pick up containers going west, not to set out traffic from the east.  Very strange!

  • This sounds like an issue that would be for classroom discussion and not the real world. Who would want to deramp and reramp containers and buy their own shuttle cars

    much less get the TTX flatcars out of the established intermodal system ?  There is a time trucking is best as the railroads found out when they closed circus ramps. 

    I have never heard of a railroad turning down business with a proper return on their investment so betcha they would come up with an uncompetitve rail rate tha no one would use. 


  • In reply to Clinchfield:

    Dead, right on, Clinchfield.  This guy who calls himself "commoncarrier" who started this thread, demonstrates an almost complete lack of understanding of the rail business and of the common carriage concept.  Under the law, a common carrier must publish a tariff upon reasonable request.  "common carrier" doesn't seem to know what a common carrier is or what its obligations are.  It may have to publish a tariff, but the law is very clear that the common carrier may put any rate it wishes in that tariff.  The shipper may protest if the rate is in excess of 180% of variable cost and if the carrier has market dominance.  "commoncarerier" doesn't seem to know or understand any of this.  The railroad obviously will quote a rate that gives it a return on its investment, and if not, the VP marketing should be seeking career opportunities elsewhere.  I don't know wht "commoncarrier"s game is, but he certainly cannot be serious.

  • In reply to Larry Kaufman:

     Yes I am- A green company like Ben and Jerrys or  Starbucks may WANT to pay a extra premium to ship green so they might want to pay extra for rail. Also they might have there own drivers who can pick up at the terminal themselves rather then use a drayage trucking service. CN BTW has there own Trucking Company.

    As to Common Carrier law...I have seen and will quote case law in the near future were it does not matter if a railroad makes a profit or not because rairoads have been ruled to be public highways and get a indirect subsidy  in the form of land grants and eminnate domain and have police powers and the virtue of there charters they have to take all shippers and passengers if it  makes money or not

  • In reply to commoncarrier:

    Now to get back on track--Short Haul Intermodal---NS+ Roadrailer CN with its own trucking and LASER train Montreal Toronto and CSX haveing abandoned roadrailer 12 years ago

  • In reply to commoncarrier:

    You continue to display your stupidity for all to see, "commoncarrier."  NS is the only U.S. carrier using RoadRailers.  Wonder why?  Others, and the former BN and UP experimented with them, but could not earn a sufficient return on investment.  NS has or had a nice business moving beer south from Ohio and hauling southern manufactures on the backhaul.  You've heard of backhaul haven't you?  CSX never operated RoadRailers, although it did experiment with a similar technology.  Whether a railroad can make a decent return on investment is a function of the length of haul, the commodity involved, the competitive issues.  You stupidly look at a map and think you know all there is to know about railroading.  You remind me of a snot-nosed kid beating his gums.  As for CN short-haul Lasers, do you know what rates are charged?  I don't, and I have had the opportunity to consult for CN on one of its acquistions.  There is no single FAK rate, I'm reasonably certain.  Differential pricing - something else I'm confident you don't understand if you've even heard the term - allows a railroad to discourage traffic that simply cannot pay a rate that provides a return on capital.  "Capital," oh yes, that's the money that is invested in a business by the risk takers known as capitalists.  CSX and NS - and other railroads like UP, BNSF, KCS, CP and CN do not do much short haul intermodal because at a certain length of haul and below, there is something called truck competition.  "Railroads are competing with trucks on shorter lengths of haul than ever before because their service is at a level that customers are willing to pay, and trucks have so many problems of fuel use, pollution, driver shortages, etc., that their rates are going up, which gives railroads more opportunity to prosper.  I realize that railroad posperity sends shivers up your spine, but them's the facts of life, lad.  Once again, I urge you to take some time and learn something before you start inflicting you obstinate stupidity on this forum.

  • In reply to Larry Kaufman:

    I don't like the nasty tone you two are getting into, but I must say CC wreaks of stupid. From spell check to ridiculous comments like, They use the whatever he said, more experienced conductors". Yeah, right, That's the Ticket. There is no union seniority involved. Dumb-A--! If this guy is not a dumb trucker, I will eat my hat. If he could be a railroader, he learned nothing at work. You FRNs should just stick to taking pictures. By the way, there and their are not interchangeable. Then and Than are not either. As I said before, the word is Eminent. Sig-em Larry.

  • In reply to Systemsnut:

    Systemsnut:  In all sincerity, I apologize if my language has been offensive to you.  I thought about what I was saying when I wrote my replies to "commoncarrier," who still hides behind his cutesy screen name.  If I were as stupid as he is, I'd probably try to avoid letting others know my real name.  I must observe that your comments to him are barely more civil than are mine.  I don't think he's a trucker.  The truckers I have encountered don't waste their time on railroad chat rooms or blogs.  They also tend to know more than "commoncarrier" does about railroading.  He obviously does not work for a railroad; no one could and still know as little as he does.  Perhaps you didn't read him when he pulled one of these assaults on this forum a year or so ago, also under a phoney but different screen name.  He's a malcontent who doesn't like capitalism, or at least the capitalism he thinks he understands.  The same goes for railroads.  He thinks he knows more than anyhone else and then demonstrates that he actually knows far less than others.  I could go on, but why bother.....

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