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 Post subject: Colebrookdale RR wants $25 mil from County for Upgrades
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:06 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9432
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
Quote:
The Colebrookdale Railroad is in the unfortunate and unavoidable position of having to make extensive improvements to its infrastructure to effectively sustain operations.

That was the grim assessment Nathaniel Guest, executive director of the trust that manages the railroad, delivered to the Berks County commissioners at their weekly budget and operations meeting Thursday afternoon.

And to finance those improvements, the trust is asking the county to invest $25 million.

"What we discovered is that in order to take advantage of some of the opportunities we are going to require capital investments on a level that our capital reserves will not cover," Guest told the board.

"We believe that with infrastructure improvements we can carry more freight business and grow our passenger service. The trust is willing to do its part, but there is a significant infrastructure need. That's where we need the county to help."


More at the link (turn off your adblocker):
https://www.readingeagle.com/news/local ... 54401.html


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 Post subject: Re: Colebrookdale RR wants $25 mil from County for Upgrades
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:41 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1877
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
Nathaniel Guest deserves much credit for taking this formerly out of service branch line and transforming it into a first class, vibrant operation.

I visited it not long ago and was very impressed with the beautiful restorations his team has done on several 1900 era cars and the overall quality of the whole property including their website and marketing efforts.


As the property is owned by the county they have every incentive to help him repair the long neglected bridges so he can continue to grow this worthy enterprise.

I wish him every success and look forward to the day when he has steam as part of his product offering.

Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: Colebrookdale RR wants $25 mil from County for Upgrades
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:57 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:37 pm
Posts: 145
How many carloads does this RR handle and what commodities? Are loads originated or only terminated? What Class 1 does it connect with?

I note article says 2 customers decided against using RR account not able to handle 286, 000 weight. Was this exisitng or potential customers?

$25M is not chump change, it is serious coin! You need lots of tonnage all the time. What employment is there with local customers? Could they leave?


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 Post subject: Re: Colebrookdale RR wants $25 mil from County for Upgrades
PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 11:48 am 

Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2018 3:51 pm
Posts: 111
Location: Ipswich, Mass., Phoenix, AZ
$25 mil for a 9 mile railroad upgrade? The county would have to be nuts to support that. I wonder who did that estimate as it seems on the surface to be completely unrealistic? Sure 286,000 would be nice, but is it truly necessary?
I noted that when the country bought the line they must have not performed an inspection as the track seems to be worse than they first thought. Unreal. Spending the taxpayers dime.
If they can haul passengers then they should be able to support 10 mph freights.


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 Post subject: Re: Colebrookdale RR wants $25 mil from County for Upgrades
PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 12:16 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 993
Location: Tucson, Arizona
$25 million does not appear to be out of reason if bridge upgrades or replacement are required. There is quite a difference between your average passenger coach and a 286,000 pound railcar though. Your average passenger car weighs between 60 and 80 tons. That's 120,000 to 160,000 pounds-significantly less than a 286,000 pound freight car. Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum built a new concrete bridge that is capable of supporting 286,000 pound cars in 1977 and that cost something like a million dollars back then. If you calculate for inflation, that bridge would cost $4.4 million to build today.

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 Post subject: Re: Colebrookdale RR wants $25 mil from County for Upgrades
PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 12:27 pm 

Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 10:30 pm
Posts: 751
Location: Bucks County, PA
R.L.Kennedy wrote:
How many carloads does this RR handle and what commodities? Are loads originated or only terminated? What Class 1 does it connect with?


How many carloads? Not many, at all. Reports are only a handful of freight trains run each year along the line, if that - they connect with Norfolk Southern in Pottstown.

https://www.rtands.com/railroad-news/22181/

Quote:
When the county purchased the line 10 years ago, the fact that it was not up to code was not known, and now freight customers are backing off using the rail. Kenneth Pick, executive director of the redevelopment authority, says recently two customers decided not to use the line because it did not meet the 286,000-lb standard.


- and -

Quote:
The county would like to see a marketing plan for the railroad, and there is some doubt that the infrastructure upgrades can be fully funded. Berks County Commissioner Kevin Barnhardt says he supports the railroad, but the reason the line was handed over to the Redevelopment Authority was so that the county would not have to make such difficult decisions. He says the figures are “beyond shocking.”


The Colebrookdale has been asking for money from years from just about any place they can get their hands on it. They've also been getting grants for freight operations for years. Where has it all gone?

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 Post subject: Re: Colebrookdale RR wants $25 mil from County for Upgrades
PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 6:51 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 12:21 am
Posts: 40
$25 million is pocket change when it comes to many miles
of railroad repair and upgrade. News Flash: It costs money
to maintain a railroad!

I hope the county funds at least some significant portion of this
worthy endeavor.


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 Post subject: Re: Colebrookdale RR wants $25 mil from County for Upgrades
PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 7:54 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:54 am
Posts: 677
Location: New Franklin, OH
Old numbers but track used to run about $2mil a mile. Looking at images, their rail looks like somewhere around 110 to 115 lb.? Fairly light for heavy cars in any appreciable volume. Throw in a bunch of bridge strengthening and I can see $25mil flying out of the wallet real fast. The real question is what would be the economic impact and ROI.

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 Post subject: Re: Colebrookdale RR wants $25 mil from County for Upgrades
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:52 am 

Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2018 3:51 pm
Posts: 111
Location: Ipswich, Mass., Phoenix, AZ
We're talking about an 8 mile railroad, so it's never going to run at 49 mph, and probably never NEED (emphasis on need) to exceed 10mph, so 110-115RE rail is pleanty for 286,000 lb cars. Tie condition can't be too bad or passengers couldn't ride, so you are faced with replacing every 3rd tie or so, or 1,000 per mile, and all or some turnout timbers. Then, bridge work is left. Does that come anywhere near to $25 mil? I doubt it.
Somebody needs to check their work. I wonder if anyone has actually done a design or if they are shooting from the hip.


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 Post subject: Re: Colebrookdale RR wants $25 mil from County for Upgrades
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:56 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:52 pm
Posts: 144
Location: Pittsburgh
It's been 44 years since I had ready access to a track chart for the what was then a minor Reading Company branchline, but I'd expect that nearly all of the rail would be either 100 pound Reading (similar to 100 ARA-B except with a wider base) or 90 pound ASCE, which used the same joint bars. There might be a little bit of the RDG's headfree 130 pound in scattered locations but I didn't note any during a quick tour of photos on the internet.

If a qualified consultant is involved, and goal actually is 286K cars, I'd expect he would recommend replacing (1) anything lighter than 115 pound and (2) anything with four-hole joint bars. Without knowing all the facts, I'm not certain I would disagree.

Bridges could be a significant issue. I doubt RDG ran any T1 steamers up this line, so the bridges were likely designed for something much, much lighter. And bridges don't get any better with age particularly in the absence of diligent inspection and maintenance.

/s/ Larry
Lawrence G. Lovejoy, P.E.


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 Post subject: Re: Colebrookdale RR wants $25 mil from County for Upgrades
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:24 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:47 pm
Posts: 292
Location: Philadelphia, PA
A 1953 Reading Division Timetable shows speed limit 25 MPH over the entire Colebrookdale Branch from Colebrookdale Jct (MP 0.3 from Pottstown) to Barto (MP 13.0).

All the big steam engines were prohibited Colebrookdale Jct (MP 0.3)- Pine Forge (MP 3.7): (E-5 0-8-0, I-9 and I-10 2-8-0, T-1 4-8-4, K-1 2-10-2). This part of the line could handle 251,000 lbs (then the maximum anywhere)

Pine Forge (MP 3.7) - Barto (MP 13.0) could handle only the lightest diesel shifters (EMC SW, SW-1, Alco S-1, BLW DS 4-4-660, Alco-GE-IR Box Cab) and a maximum of 170,000 lbs.

The line must have received an upgrade since then; the current RR has Geeps.

Phil Mulligan


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 Post subject: Re: Colebrookdale RR wants $25 mil from County for Upgrades
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 12:57 am 

Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2018 3:51 pm
Posts: 111
Location: Ipswich, Mass., Phoenix, AZ
Mr. Lovejoy is the man. But I might debate on the 110 vs. 112 vs. 115.


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 Post subject: Re: Colebrookdale RR wants $25 mil from County for Upgrades
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 8:45 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 5:10 pm
Posts: 1044
When I worked freight on the Colebrookdale Branch during the East Penn Railways era (1995-2000), the line had 90-ASCE and 100-Reading rail for its entire length. There were a few sidings with even lighter, unidentified rails. Much more critical to handling 286K loads are two high wooden trestles, as well as two shorter but longer wooden bridges. One of those bridges was knocked out of alignment by an errant truck a few years ago, putting the line out of service for several weeks until it could be repaired. Despite annual inspections, I'm sure those wooden bridges must be showing signs of their age by now.

Incidentally, the Reading upgraded the bridges on the part of the line as the old I-7 and I-8 Consolidations were retired en masse in the late 40's to handle larger steam locomotives, but the project ended as the diesels showed up in greater numbers.


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 Post subject: Re: Colebrookdale RR wants $25 mil from County for Upgrades
PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2020 12:24 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 1:53 pm
Posts: 129
Location: Annville, PA
In the end, it'll be up to the citizens of Berks County to decide this one but hey, they do like their trains.

I don't see why Norfolk Southern can't help out since they would directly benefit from the increased freight traffic as well.

$25 million is a lot of hoagies to sell but Berks Countians do like to eat too. I'll take a couple ham and cheeses, a turkey, maybe an Italian...


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 Post subject: Re: Colebrookdale RR wants $25 mil from County for Upgrades
PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2020 1:27 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:21 pm
Posts: 414
Location: Danbury, CT
NVPete wrote:
I don't see why Norfolk Southern can't help out since they would directly benefit from the increased freight traffic as well.


How much and what kind of business do they send to NS?

I know of a line with a customer that can offer up to about a dozen loaded cars twice a week and the much larger/busier railroad that interchanges with them could seem to care less.

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