A key interchange point and an occasional operational challenge for the Vermont Rail System and the Pan Am Southern located at Hoosick Jct., NY, is undergoing a makeover that will allow more streamlined operations and increased efficiency in the swapping of cars.
Pan Am Southern has taken on the Hoosick Junction Expansion Phase 2 project, building upon the Hoosick Junction Expansion Phase 1 project, a project undertaken with a 2016 NYSDOT PFRAP grant award. The original project readied the area with grading and ballast work, while Phase 2 aims at further improving the rail infrastructure at the Hoosick Junction Interchange between PAS and VRS.
The two railroads have been successful in attracting new and additional freight business to rail as well as shifts in interchange patterns with Norfolk Southern and CSXT that have caused service and efficiency challenges due to the increase in business exceeding the available interchange capacity available at Hoosick Junction.
The scope of the Hoosick Junction Expansion Phase 2 project will be to construct a 6100’ second main track on the PAS Freight Main Line, install new switch panels to complete a universal interlocking at PAS milepost 445, and install and upgrade communications and signal systems to enable a new interlocking at PAS milepost 444.
Coupled with the work underway in the Hoosick Junction Expansion Phase 1 project will enable the fully desired level of operational flexibility for both PAS and VRS. The additional interlockings and second main track will allow PAS and VRS to have train crews working on interchanging cars between the two railroads while simultaneously preserving the ability of PAS to pass thru trains.
Hoosick Junction is located on an important part of Pan Am Southern’s Patriot Corridor that is traversed daily by multiple manifest freight trains, two intermodal trains, and two automotive trains. Prior to this project VRS would access the Freight Main Line to reach a controlled siding for delivery and retrieval of interchange cars. Isolating the interchange from the mainline will greatly increase the availability of main track to move these trains efficiently while also improving access to the interchange by giving it autonomy.
Interchange between PAS and VRS has temporarily been largely redirected to the Bellows Falls, VT interchange to allow ongoing work without disruption. Some traffic is still moving through the HJ gateway, however not at normal levels. Plans are to restore the full interchange by early December with a major portion of the project wrapped up.