01.April, St. Albans VT – This is no fooling, G&W’s New England Central Railroad (NECR) is scaling back operations and further reducing man hours beginning on 04.April.2021, following continuing declines in traffic levels.
NECR has long been an arm for traffic to and from Montreal and New England and between CN and CSXT, however the changing rail maps of New England and the Northeast are also changing the flow of traffic, some of which is away from the NECR. Seasonal traffic, such as road salt, LPG and fuel oil, have also been at lower volumes after an unusually warmer winter did not require the normal demand for these rail-shipped commodities. Lumber and paper traffic that had been surging has fallen off with the seasonal traffic.
CP’s amalgamation of the CMQ into its network has largely dried up traffic that was being interchanged to and from the NECR at White River Junction off the VRS’ Washington County RR. CMQ, VRS and NECR had been routing a large majority of CSXT and NS-bound traffic from Maine and CMQ points over the Conn River Line prior to the CP acquisition, however that has been rerouted via CP’s own route to interchange with CSXT and NS at other locations in New York and beyond.
To facilitate and optimize service, NECR will reduce the road train, 324, between St. Albans and Brattleboro VT to a departure at roughly 2200 hrs from St. Albans on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. At Brattleboro, the connecting 611 train should depart in the morning hours to make a round trip to Palmer on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. That marks up the returning Brattleboro to St. Albans train, 323, at 1800 hrs on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday also. Other cancelations are possible for the road trains if there is little or no interchange traffic from CN or CSXT.
There is normally a seasonal reduction in traffic, but observation of traffic levels would more likely classify the current situation as a drought, with road trains running under 40 cars on the days they have been operating.
As part of a trickle down, NECR has eliminated employee overtime and may have put on hold a need for additional or exchanged motive power that had been in the works. For now, the reductions are across the board, however if traffic rebounds, additional changes will be made to facilitate any welcome uptick.