22 February, U.S./Canada East —
NS/Pan Am Southern lanes have been dramatically affected by the complete shutdown of its main line due to the extensive failure of the west end of the Hoosac tunnel. NS has advised customers that the closure will be lifted at the end of February, but it seems possible that it will extend into March. These reports are based on available news and unofficial reporting.
Prior to the Hoosac tunnel closure, a long single stack intermodal train (symbol 22K eastbound /23K westbound) ran Chicago IL – Ayer MA. Most traffic was J.B. Hunt and HUB group. Detours using CSX Buffalo NY – Worcester MA were attempted but CSX only moved several trains between 12-20.February, citing crew shortages and capacity issues. NS has layed off Ayer intermodal terminal staff. No STB filing for adverse use has been recorded at this time.
The current plan is for NS 22K/23K to run Chicago – Mechanicville NY, and containers to be drayed to their final destination.
Prior to the Hoosac tunnel closure, Ford autos were moving as part of the 22K/23K to ramps at Davisville RI (via P&W interchange in Gardner) and Ayer MA. This traffic has not moved since the 12.Feb tunnel closure. ( New England Ford dealers may have had an unhappy Presidents Day weekend. – Ed. ) Autoracks are ineligible for the VRS-Pan-Am re-route due to low clearance in Greenfield. Autoracks could conceivably move via CP to VRS (White Hall NY – Bellows Falls VT) to NECR (BF – Willimantic CT) to P&W (WMTC -to Davisville and Gardner). This route has not been used since 2015, and has not been employed so far since the Hoosac collapse.
NS – PAR Carload
Prior to closure, this lane comprised one daily round-trip (symbol 16R eastbound/11R westbound) from Binghamton NY to East Deerfield MA with interchange for Pan-Am. Since the tunnel closure, these trains have been consistently rerouting over Vermont Rail System instead, adding 8 hours or so of running time.
Exception: waste from Ayer had been moving in double-stacked 40’ Maersk containers that cannot fit in the Greenfield tunnel. This traffic has been accumulating in East Deerfield.
NS Haulage traffic
Some carload freight from NS had been moving via haulage rates for interchange between NS and New England shortlines such as P&W. This traffic has not been moving as detour rates are yet to be negotiated, though this is expected to be resolved shortly. Some cars have been staged at East Deerfield.
NS – CSX carload
A PAR East Deerfield – Rotterdam Junction train (EDRJ westbound and RJED eastbound) had been run daily or three times a week before the tunnel closure, heavy with garbage and scrap from Holyoke, and lots of propane. Following the closure, this traffic moved through Vermont via VRS but is now moving east from East Deerfield to Ayer and added to the regular CSX Q426/427 train between Portland and Selkirk yard via Worcester. Another possibility is for this traffic to move from East Deerfield to Springfield for CSX interchange but this has not happened.
Northwestern MA -Southern VT
Schenectady NY – Ayer MA
Numerous blockades of rail lines have been erected across Canada by First Nations activists and sympathizers, protesting Royal Canadian Mounted Police action in British Columbia to enforce a court injunction for work to continue on the Coastal GasLInk pipeline. The blocakde in Bellevue ON has severed cross-country CN and VIA traffic, leading CN to shut down its eastern operations. Montreal-area blockades at Ste.-Lambert QC (CN) and Kahnawake (CP)
New York and New England have restricted traffic to the Maritimes, New England, and New York.
CN via CSX in New York
CN detour trains have been running on CSX Buffalo – Syracuse – Montreal. This may have used crews that might otherwise have handled NS Buffalo – Ayer detour trains bypassing Hoosac Tunnel.
CP (D&H) in New York
CP line south of Montreal blocked at HAK and Montreal – Albany through freight not running. CP local from Whitehall has continued to run, serving International Paper in Ticondaroga NY on Tuesday and Thursday and Glens Falls 3 days a week, the normal schedule. Gasoline and fuel oil from Albany to Burlington VT continues to move. Approximately 100 cars have backed up at the Fort Edward yard.
A Toronto-bound train assembled south of Saratoga Springs NY is expected run via Schenectady and Buffalo via CSXT to reestablish CP access. Another train has been assembled at Whitehall destined for CMQ as a VRS detour extra (Bellows Falls VT – White River Junction – Newport). This move had been pending and now has an approved rate with G&W’s New England Central Railroad.
CN has been blockaded until Fri.21.Feb at St-Lambert and no connecting traffic is reaching NECR which is discontinuing its through train from Saint Albans to Palmer.
CN traffic not reaching SLA. Through trains have been short or not running at all.
CP is blocked south/east of Montreal and traffic is not reaching CMQ. Some through trains have not run and some have been very short. Some St.John traffic has moved via Pan-Am instead of CMQ and been further detoured through Vermont to avoid Hoosac Tunnel. It is possible that traffic may detour through Vermont via VRS to reach CP in Whitehall NY.
Ontario & Quebec
Montreal QC vicinity