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Freight Services

Main Line provides operations planning, traffic projections, and cost analyses for Class I and regional rail carriers. Operations planning studies and core viability analyses have been completed for CSXT, RF&P, CN, CP, D&H, SOO, and BN, Illinois Central, and for the Chicago Missouri & Western's Trustee, as well as for lenders financing shortline acquisitions. Intermodal and bulk transfer market analyses have been completed for the Palmer MA; Rutland VT; Ogdensburg, Saratoga, and Binghamton NY; Edison NJ; Wilkes-Barre, York, and Chambersburg PA; Corsicana TX, and Vancouver WA areas.

Main Line has undertaken operations, traffic flow analyses, and ICC/STB application traffic studies in several major merger cases, providing expert testimony or verified statements. These mergers included the major western and eastern railroad consolidations, as well as potential Canadian projects. These cases involved traffic flow and diversion analyses and operations planning. Main Line also has been retained to assess traffic forecasts, analyze the viability, and develop business plans for a number of rail properties being bought or sold, including assignments for both the Class I sellers and shortline buyers.

Main Line developed a Time-Sensitive Service Design Model for Burlington Northern, which was used for all scheduling and blocking assignments. A similar model was developed for CSX Intermodal that was used to redesign the services CSXI provided its customers. Main Line operations models were used to design the new CP Rail carload and intermodal yards in Chicago, a Conrail intermodal and automotive yard in Toledo, and a BN carload yard in Lincoln, as well as being employed to help redesign the yards at Narva and Muuga on the Estonia Railway. Main Line has also provided locomotive and fleet planning studies for UP, IC, and SOO. Costing studies and models have been developed for Iowa Interstate and Pittsburg & Shawmut, and marketing, sales, pricing, accounting, and payroll services for various shortlines.

Main Line has been retained to assess traffic forecasts, analyze the viability, and develop business plans for a number of rail properties, either being bought or sold. These lines include 18 subdivisions for CN, four subdivisions for SOO, and several Conrail, CSXT and NS lines, as well as some ATSF and IC lines and some shortline properties that were being sold. Main Line staff assisted both CSXT and Soo Line in determining plant rationalization strategies resulting from mergers and identifying viable spin-offs. More than half a dozen shortlines have been created from lines analyzed by Main Line. Viability assessments of Wisconsin and Calumet, Octoraro, Central Vermont, and DEVCO, have also been completed, as well as studies for numerous short line proposals and rail merger applications.

Main Line concluded several rail rationalization studies, including a relocation project in Kalamazoo (MI), a route coordination project in Toledo (OH), a regional rationalization of rail lines in the Johnsonburg (PA) area, and a Philadelphia access improvement study. Projects for Class I carriers have evaluated main line route alternatives leading to line sales or abandonments. In addition, Main Line has been retained on numerous occasions to ascertain track condition and determine maintenance requirements. The assignments have included industrial tracks in Avondale, Chambersburg, Erie, Oxford, and Wilkes-Barre (PA). Main Line has conducted condition assessment reports and rehabilitation cost estimates for hundreds of miles of freight rail lines, determining rehabilitation needs and developing capital programs. As part of the Soo Line Five-Year Business Plan, Main Line helped determine capital requirements for that system.

Main Line has conducted statewide comprehensive rail studies for Pennsylvania and completed a similar study of the anthracite coal region. Main Line completed the Pennsylvania Comprehensive Rail Freight Study, which collected data on the more than 60 railroads operating in the Commonwealth's to identify and determine future lines at risk of downgrading, maintenance needs, traffic flows, and local and regional impacts, while assisting in the development of criteria for funding programs to improve local rail service. Regional rail studies have been completed for MPO/LDD's in several regions of Pennsylvania and for regional rail authorities. These studies evaluated the viability of more than 6000 miles of railroad in light of their traffic and revenue potential, operating expenses and rehabilitation costs. In addition, Main Line staff identified the rail network required to meet New Jersey's industrial needs, assessed intermodal opportunities for Access Ohio, and participated in state rail plan studies for Georgia and Florida, producing traffic data from the Waybill Sample and generating computerized flow maps of the state rail system.

Main Line has also undertaken numerous studies for other public agencies. The Port Authority of New York retained Main Line on a few occasions to evaluate rail options and yard design requirements for the Port Newark/Port Elizabeth complex, as well as the Staten Island and Rahway Valley lines, including assessments of switching options, track layout requirements, operating plans, and cost estimates. Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation retained Main Line to develop options for improved access to the South Philadelphia port complex, while work for the Philadelphia Belt Line evaluated traffic and operational issues in the Philadelphia/South Jersey Shared Assets Area. Other studies include assessments of the rail traffic potential for Lake Michigan car floats and Allegheny River barge-rail transloading, as well as an analysis of rail operations through Brooklyn (NY) and a study of 105A tank car hazardous material traffic flows.