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 Post subject: Re: Stewartstown RR notice of Intent to Abandon or Discontin
PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 10:19 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8296
Location: Baltimore, MD
Ray Reter wrote:
Actually, the Stewartstown Railroad did recently deliver a local carload of firewood to a local church along the line, and another with company supplies for the recent New Freedom Fall Fest to the yard in New Freedom. The connecting Northern Central line needs to be put back in service in order for the STRT to receive interchange freight. -- Ray


Neither of these involve interchange with the "general system," I presume.


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 Post subject: Re: Stewartstown RR notice of Intent to Abandon or Discontin
PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 9:28 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 252
Location: Baltimore
No they didn't. I think I mentioned that in my original post since the Northern Central line is the only connection the STRT has with the national rail network. -- Ray


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 Post subject: Re: Stewartstown RR notice of Intent to Abandon or Discontin
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 7:45 am 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 4:59 pm
Posts: 323
Location: western Maryland
The latest up-to-datest from the STB

http://www.stb.dot.gov/filings/all.nsf/ ... 233153.pdf

_________________
Apparently Not A Serious Preservationist


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 Post subject: Re: Stewartstown RR notice of Intent to Abandon or Discontin
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:01 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:12 am
Posts: 459
Location: Somewhere off the coast of New England
That looks remarkably like the link which I posted several days ago...

Remember that Mr Riffin is the fellow who tried to claim the Baltimore Streetcar Museum on the basis that the Pennsylvania Railroad could have served the Morgan Millwork spur in Baltimore and as the PRR had not properly abandoned it said spur should be his, along with the Museum trackage, the former ramp to the B&O and the city's roundhouse. As I stated before his I do not believe that his suggestion that the matter should be treated as a bankruptcy would benefit any of the parties actually involved.

A question for Brother Reter which might well clarify the situation for many of us in terms of interchange - My understanding is that the Stewartstown is physically isolated from the general system due to hurricane damage forty-some years ago on the Northern Central. If I were to bill a carload of Cape May sand diamonds from Cape May Point to Stewartstown (CMSL-Tuckahoe, NJ / NS - York, PA / Somebody - New Freedom, PA / STRT - Stewartstown, PA) would it be delivered at New Freedom by a connecting carrier or would there be a constructive placement at York?

The breakdown of the question is really:
1. Is there a connecting carrier which serves New Freedom?
2. If so is that connecting carrier physically capable of delivering a car at New Freedom?

The law concerning common carrier status seems to be evolving toward a demonstration of capability of hauling freight in interstate commerce rather than merely meeting the paperwork requirements. This is primarily the result of parties such as Mr. Riffin, 'Comrail' and 'Pacific Union', holding themselves out as common carrier railroads in order to evade state and local regulation in non-railroad matters. It has also begun to be applied to preservation efforts (very specifically the Denver and Rio Grande Historical Foundation) which have not carried freight in common carriage when there is a dispute over local regulation.

There is a similar question evolving about car storage as a component of interstate commerce. While I am very comfortable arguing that delivery to a customer's siding for any reason or the holding of loads pending a placement order certainly counts, the indefinite storage of empties is nowhere as strong an argument. By the same token, insular passenger tourist service standing by itself may not meet the threshold of being common carrier service.

In this case, despite the best efforts of many people including several posters on this board and indeed Mr. Hart, there has not been a single carload of freight in interstate commerce handled by the Stewartstown during the entire existence of the Surface Transportation Board (1 January 1996). On that basis alone a claim could be made of the defacto abandonment of the common carrier rights from decades of non-use.

Preservation should not masquerade as common carrier service. A legitimate freight common carrier can be a significant financial component of a preservation effort but the two should not be confused with each other. It just creates unneeded business for my brother barristers. Remember that in this context the term 'abandonment' refers to common carrier freight service, not property rights. A determination by the Board that the line does not in fact function as a common carrier or, as has been requested, terminating its common carrier rights, would remove the federal premption and make the real estate subject to state law. It would not take the property away from its owner.

I do wish the Stewartstown group well in this situation. However we must remember that the whole affair is about money, not common carrier rights, and had the operation been able to sustain itself financially after the hurricane rather than depending on the largess of a single board member we would not be having this discussion.

GME


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 Post subject: Re: Stewartstown RR notice of Intent to Abandon or Discontin
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 3:50 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8296
Location: Baltimore, MD
Trainlawyer wrote:
My understanding is that the Stewartstown is physically isolated from the general system due to hurricane damage forty-some years ago on the Northern Central.


It was until 1984. The Commonwealth of Pa., as I recall, acquired the right-of-way of the ex-Penn Central line between the south end of York and the Maryland state line, as part of the state's massive "rail banking" operation after the formation of Conrail; I believe York County was also somehow involved, putting in the "rail trail" beside/along the track but keeping the track intact.

In June 1972 three large bridges on the line were washed out by Tropical Storm Agnes. Penn Central was in no position to rebuild--about the only real traffic would have been an Amtrak connecting train, which in the days just before Amtrak was an E8 and a single car. The bridges were rebuilt using state grant money in the early 1980s, and the line reopened to "traffic" in 1985 with the Stewartstown as the "designated operator." The Stewartstown did deliver some lumber to the lumber yard in Stewartstown, so it was a legitimate freight operation, albeit at levels really far below sustenance levels, if maintenance of the PRR main had been factored into the equation. The line was later leased by the operators of the "Liberty Limited Dinner Train," which had some of the same equipment (and people) involved as the "EnterTrainMent Line", the second passenger operation on the Maryland Midland out of Union Bridge. Another note that PRR 1361 ran a couple trips from York to Hanover Junction and back during "York 150" in 1987.

Quote:
If I were to bill a carload of Cape May sand diamonds from Cape May Point to Stewartstown (CMSL-Tuckahoe NJ/ NS - York, PA / Somebody - New Freedom, PA / STRT - Stewartstown, PA) would it be delivered at New Freedom by a connecting carrier or would there be a constructive placement at York?


Unless matters have somehow changed--a rail or twelve stolen or paved over, a buffer stop chained to the rails in York, or whatever--the hurdles to getting a car to Stewartstown proper are mostly legal and bureaucratic, not physical. You should be able to physically get a track speeder from downtown York's station all the way to Stewartstown on rails, and I believe it's been done of late by an outing by some NARCOA group. (In fact, a NARCOA outing over both the Stewartstown and Northern Central is planned for October 27th! http://www.ncraspeeders.org/ncra-fall_005.htm )

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdSn7iJvWvs

What I really want to know is how determined you are to reopen the Cape May, Delaware Bay & Sewell's Point Railroad......


Last edited by Alexander D. Mitchell IV on Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Stewartstown RR notice of Intent to Abandon or Discontin
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:15 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:05 am
Posts: 98
Where is part 2?


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 Post subject: Re: Stewartstown RR notice of Intent to Abandon or Discontin
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:00 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 252
Location: Baltimore
Thanks, ADM, for your answer to GME's request.

Yes, indeed, the tracks from south York, PA to New Freedom, PA are still in existence. From time-to-time weather plays havoc, still, with the line but they have been repaired and maintained by the county. From New Freedom to Stewartstown the rails are also still in place. There have been numerous outings by the local NARCOA chapter during the past few years on both lines. Sometimes the more hardy take the entire trip in one day, others split the trip into a Saturday/Sunday weekend outing.

The line from Hanover Junction, PA to New Freedom is slated to come alive with an oil-fired steam engine-powered excursion train next spring, operated by the nonprofit "Steam Into History" group, as part of the Civil War commemoration in York County. -- Ray


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 Post subject: Re: Stewartstown RR notice of Intent to Abandon or Discontin
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:23 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:12 am
Posts: 459
Location: Somewhere off the coast of New England
Thank you Sandy.

First, My proposed routing for the Sand Diamonds is unfortunately not on the Sewell's Point trolley line but on the Cape May Point Branch which was built for the Magnasite Plant. The movement will be by motor car over the (per my contact last week) fully operational swing bridge at Canal, to Woodbine where they will be transloaded into a group of specially modified X-29s dedicated to Sand (Diamond) service.

Second, My question of a connecting carrier wasn't really answered, so, "Does the Stewartstown currently have the legal right, both in terms of contract with the property owner and common carrier authority, to operate between New Freedom and York?"

The following was filed Friday by the Estate:
http://www.stb.dot.gov/filings/all.nsf/ba7f93537688b8e5852573210004b318/6bc9556f26187b9285257aa300702e7a/$FILE/233277.pdf

Of particular note in this portion of the conversation is in the last two lines of Footnote 4

Quote:
Riffin, simply to weasel his way into becoming a railroad by acquiring some or all of the SRC Line at below fair market value, contends that SRC's alleged advertisement of car storage service shows that the SRC Line is needed for common carrier purposes. Riffin is wrong. Car storage is not common carrier transportation. For example, the Board has permitted rail line abandonments under the two-year-out-of-service class exemption where the rail line was used in the past two years for car storage. -Citations Omitted - The car storage angle is all the more baseless here because, to the best of the Estate's knowledge, the SRC Line lacks an operational outlet to the balance of the interstate rail network. See Estate Application at 24-26.

The relevant portion of the Application is quoted below:
Quote:
The SRC Line's condition is not the only obstacle to restoring freight operations. Rather, the SRC Line also is isolated from the interstate rail network. As is shown on the map attached hereto as Exhibit E, the stub-ended SRC Line connects on its western end at milepost 0.0 (New Freedom) with the former Northern Central Railway line (the "NCR Line"), extending from New Freedom northward to Hyde Siding, PA (roughly 3 miles south of York, PA). The NCR Line is owned by York County, and it, too, has been out of service for several years. The Estate understands that various interested parties have come forward in recent years to acquire or to secure operating rights over the NCR Line, but no new operator has come forward with York County's consent to obtain an STB license to resume common carrier operations. Moreover, the Estate has serious questions concerning the condition of the NCR Line in light of its utter inactivity for several years.
http://www.stb.dot.gov/filings/all.nsf/d6ef3e0bc7fe3c6085256fe1004f61cb/1e88bc201af40bc3852578c7004a2749/$FILE/230583.PDF

This would imply that even if the infrastructure is intact and operable that there is no carrier with the rights to serve the interchange at New Freedom. Steam Into History's Opposition Statement does state that they have entered into an agreement with York County to operate the northern Central Line but they have not, so far as I am able to tell applied for common carrier authority. and the protest clearly states that restoration of the track between Hanover Junction and York is a future plan, not a present activity. The protest also states that "use of the rail line for freight transport in the future is a possibility". Again use of the future tense, not the present. http://www.stb.dot.gov/filings/all.nsf/d6ef3e0bc7fe3c6085256fe1004f61cb/4558b8d360c756cc852578e6005debdf/$FILE/230778.PDF Unfortunately these matters are decided in the present.

The history and demographics of the area, acknowledged even by the lines supporters, indicate that restoring a sustaining common carrier freight service is at best highly unlikely. If that is the case I am afraid that the Board's decision is clear.

There are several other items in the Estate's latest filing which should be causes of concern. I will not recount them all here, anyone can read the filing and join the discussion.

My greatest concern is that this is primarily an issue of money, and while a number of competent, well meaning, people are putting out their best efforts to effect a resolution other than the forced abandonment, I have not seen any effort at what I would consider a serious capital funding campaign. The debt at the time of Mr. Hart's death was in the vicinity of Three Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($352,415.00). Round that up to an even One Half Million. If this were not down to the wire after two years, that is an amount which a competent Gifts and Grants type should have no problem raising for a valid 501 preservation organization with the assets which the Stewartstown has. Remember that the line's value is not as an operating common-carrier railroad but as a piece of living history.

If you were one of my clients my advice would have been to incorporate the 501 (Not a "Friends" Group)*, develop the capital plan, and when you had raised sufficient capital, purchase the physical assets and the charter for One Dollar and the debt for whatever I could negotiate with Mr. Hart or the estate. The for-profit, common carrier Stewartstown Railroad would become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the non-profit preservation effort.

As I have said too many times, do not confuse operating a common carrier with a preservation effort. While they can be complimentary they are not even close to synonymous.

GME
Who always enjoys a brief which states that Tycoon of Towson is a weasel then goes on to state unequivocally that he is wrong.

* I have nothing against "Friends" Groups, I belong to several. What that means is that I send them money. Their proper role is as a separate support group for almost anything other than a for-profit business. Think "Friends of the Henry Ford Museum" as opposed to "Friends of the Ford Motor Company".


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 Post subject: Re: Stewartstown RR notice of Intent to Abandon or Discontin
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:25 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2440
Location: S.F. Bay Area
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
Ray Reter wrote:
Actually, the Stewartstown Railroad did recently deliver a local carload of firewood to a local church along the line, and another with company supplies for the recent New Freedom Fall Fest to the yard in New Freedom. The connecting Northern Central line needs to be put back in service in order for the STRT to receive interchange freight. -- Ray


Neither of these involve interchange with the "general system," I presume.

Hauling revenue freight for third parties is the very definition of being in the general system. It has nothing to do with whether you have an interchange. Deseret Western is in the general system. 49 CFR 209 App. A

Trainlawyer wrote:
There is a similar question evolving about car storage as a component of interstate commerce. While I am very comfortable arguing that delivery to a customer's siding for any reason or the holding of loads pending a placement order certainly counts, the indefinite storage of empties is nowhere as strong an argument.

As far as "general system", it would be more convenient for railroad museums if storing parked cars did not put you in the general system. I can say for sure that if your interchange railroad, not you, shunts the cars onto your line, it cannot place you in the general system, except for the limits of your track actually needed for the operation, and only during those moves.

As far as "common carrier", that is a different kettle of fish. Car storage involves rather important and valuable interstate commerce - the railcars themelves!!! Railcars are not inconsequential simply because they're tare. There is no question in my mind that should be considered common carrier operation, especially if car storage has been marketed generally to all comers, double especially if an actual diversity of customers is present.

Quote:
By the same token, insular passenger tourist service standing by itself may not meet the threshold of being common carrier service.

I believe tourist/excursion passenger service is NOT common carrier service unless they do something funny to make it so.


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 Post subject: Re: Stewartstown RR notice of Intent to Abandon or Discontin
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:33 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 252
Location: Baltimore
Concerning fundraising, don't forget that this country has been experiencing very difficult economic times during the past four or five years and funding for historic preservation efforts have virtually dried-up. Raising $350,000 or $500,000 hasn't been all that simple or easy during this period.

Many philanthropists are so busy funding health and human services-type needs they simply do not have the ability to fund requests regarding the arts and historic preservation. These philanthropists, both individuals and foundations, are experiencing reduced returns on their endowment investments just like individuals are experiencing reduced returns with their IRAs and 401(k) plans.

The reality is tough economic times have hurt all types of fund-raising efforts. -- Ray


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 Post subject: Re: Stewartstown RR notice of Intent to Abandon or Discontin
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:39 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:07 pm
Posts: 450
Location: B'more Maryland
I wonder what type of impact this will have on Riffin's "empire":

Quote:
BREAKING NEWS: The old distillery building along northbound MD 45 (York Road) at Railroad Avenue (near Valley View Farms) has partially collapsed onto York Road. NB York Rd. is closed and traffic is using the southbound lanes (one lane in each direction). The closure will continue into tomorrow (Wednesday) morning. Motorists urged to use I-83 as an alternate. For more news updates feel free to follow us on Twitter. We're MDSHA there.


http://www.facebook.com/MarylandStateHi ... 2410001187


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 Post subject: Re: Stewartstown RR notice of Intent to Abandon or Discontin
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:10 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:16 pm
Posts: 50
Location: Bellefontaine, Ohio
Can someone post something new on this issue? This is a rehash of old.

Traincrew


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 Post subject: Re: Stewartstown RR notice of Intent to Abandon or Discontin
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:30 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8296
Location: Baltimore, MD
Ed Kapuscinski wrote:
I wonder what type of impact this will have on Riffin's "empire":

Quote:
BREAKING NEWS: The old distillery building along northbound MD 45 (York Road) at Railroad Avenue (near Valley View Farms) has partially collapsed onto York Road. NB York Rd. is closed and traffic is using the southbound lanes (one lane in each direction). The closure will continue into tomorrow (Wednesday) morning. Motorists urged to use I-83 as an alternate. For more news updates feel free to follow us on Twitter. We're MDSHA there.



It was my understanding that he only rented/leased a portion of the warehouse; I could be wrong, but I don't think he owned it, or used all of it. He may have used only the outside as his "junk pile" storage lot.

As far as anything new, I was asked if there was any update on the proposal to run steam replicas on the ex-Northern Central trackage ("Steam Into History" or whatever)......


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 Post subject: Re: Stewartstown RR notice of Intent to Abandon or Discontin
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:58 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 252
Location: Baltimore
Here's a link to Steam Into History's website:
http://www.steamintohistory.com/

--Ray


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 Post subject: Re: Stewartstown RR notice of Intent to Abandon or Discontin
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:06 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:22 pm
Posts: 17
http://www.leviathan63.com/projects.html


Last edited by dwa2503107 on Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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